Posted by: worshipguitarguy | September 2, 2008

“Trend” Effects in Recent Worship Recordings

If you’ve played guitar for a while, you know there are certain “fads” that change from time to time when it comes to effects.  The same can be said of worship guitar playing.  If you listen to some recent recordings from the past 18 months or so, you might notice a few of these sounds making their way through the background.

Octave Pedals:  This is one I’ve really noticed a lot of on recordings from Fee, Matt Redman, and Kristian Stanfill…  (Hmm, I wonder if there’s a certain guitarist that’s been an influence on all of these bands?  😉  )  Boss makes the OC-2 pedal, which does this, but you can also find the same effect on many MFX units.  Usually, the lead guitarist will play a high melodic riff, (especially on the B and high E strings, above the 12th fret), and the octave effect will double the effect 1 or 2 octaves below.

Cocked Wah:  This effect has been around forever, but I’ve really heard a lot of it in worship lately.  I believe HS United does it in several recordings.  The idea of a cocked way is to engage a wah pedal and leave it stationary at a certain point along the sweep path, (instead of moving it back and forth.)  Usually that point will be one that’s pretty close to the “natural” EQ sound of your tone clean.  The effect though introduces a bunch of “dirty” harmonic sounds, especially when playing certain individual notes.  I find that pedals with a vintage “Fasel” style inductor are the ones that create the richest variation of this sound. 

Changing “Mix and Repeat” Settings on a Delay Pedal:  This effect is an ambient style effect that works particularly well with analog style delays.  By playing a note or chord then slowly increasing your mix level, you create this cool effect where your volume “swells” from your delay.  Increasing the number of repeats after hitting a note just makes your tone sustain for an extended amount of time. 

To create this effect, you’ll either have to bend down and adjust your effects while playing, or with a Line 6 DL4, you can buy the expression pedal and program it so you can do the same with a foot sweep.



  1. Great observations – I had no idea about the cocked wah. What’s a good wah for trying this technique… that’s cheaper than a Fulltone Clyde!

    I think the trend of the octave pedal was sparked by the absolutely killer solo on the Hillsong United track “Hosanna” from their “All of the Above” album. I know so many guitarists who were asking “What was THAT?!”

    I’m hoping to pick up an Eventide Timefactor and use an expression pedal to do some of the mix blending you mentioned (fingers crossed!).

  2. I just have a Dunlop Crybaby Classic on my board…just about $100 new, and I’m sure less used… 🙂

  3. you probably better off using a fixed-wah if you have the money. i found these 2 pedals from the web but they are pricey. demo sounds great, though.

  4. There will always be fads, but a simple setup and skillful playing will always be in style.

    I think hours of practice are the best effect we can have for our guitar sound. When you throw in alternate tunings and/or simple gadgets like a slide or a capo, you have access to a ton of new, interesting sounds without having to spend tons of cash on effects that will be popular today and dated-sounding tomorrow (which leads to a player thinking he/she needs to spend even MORE money on more effects).

    Players–especially weekend warriors who don’t have as much time to practice–often think that a new pedal will make them sound way better when all they really need to do is spend time playing instead of searching for the next piece of gear that will make them sound good.

    For example, the best player around my neck of the woods has been playing the same 3 bolt, 70’s strat since the seventies. It’s virtually unplayable for a normal person. It’s beat up to the point that it would have little or no value to a collector. The original electronics have all died out. It’s got 80’s ceramic Dimarzio pickups, not any fine Alnico custom jobs. Frets are worn down to nothing, the neck is warped, and the action is dreadfully high. He’s about the only guy that CAN play this monstrosity. Yet, he makes it sound awesome. Does he play through a sweet vintage amp? Nope, he got a deal on a peavey delta blues a couple of years ago.

    The point is that it’s easy to get GAS and hard to get GPS (get practicing syndrome). Sorry it took me so long to get there.

  5. Sounds like I need to get with the program, on practicing AND on tweaking my sound. I have to confess that I’m guilty of the one-sound-fits-all method of playing. I play an early 70’s Strat through a Boss super overdrive, an old DOD chorus, and a Boss digital delay (DD-6), into a Fender Blues Junior amp (mic’ed). It works, but it’s pretty much the same-old-same-old. Thanks for the ideas.

  6. If you do not have a delay pedal with an expression pedal, a company named TIB has a pedal called the third hand, which is essentially a volume pedal style box that can be hooked up to anyone knob on a pedal to control it. For example, you could hook it up to the mix control on the delay (or the rate control on a tremolo) to get some really cool sounds, all of which are controllable with your feet.

  7. Sounds like the old EH hotfoot–a pedal that deserves reissuing.

  8. The octave effect that Alex Nifong uses is from his Digitech Whammy, not the boss octave pedal. The whammy is a sweet pedal though. I love it!

  9. Great post G! If I can recall, I remember hearing from someone that Jimmy Page would use a wah and activate it toe down to give his guitar more of a treble-ly, bright tone….

  10. that’s why jimmy page’s tone is horrible, ear-piercing and shrill. an overrated player if you ask me..

  11. Great post, I didn’t even realize that Line 6 had a foot-pedal to go with there line..

    I just read up on it, how perfect, im tired of not being able to mess with my dl4 without bending over..

    thanks bro

  12. Great post. I enjoy your articles.

    I have also some guys using a compressor and a lot of reverb and playing quick sticatto type notes almost like what you typically hear on mandolin…the goal is to create an ambient background sound

  13. Just catching up and noticed the comment around the song Hosanna from Hillsong. We play this song on our youth team and I was able to pretty much nail the tone with a cocked wah. I hear a real nasally sound. I’d be happy to share my PODXT Live patch with you. Also, if I’m playing my strat on it, I play in position 4, on my LP I play it in the treble position.

  14. I agree that simple is the best way I have been playing for 16 years and have had every pedal combo you can think of and when i is all said and done I am 90% of the time plugged strait into my Blues Jr. and thats it…….also just once do you need a pedal in your chain to flake out and have to figure what one it is and fix it mid song to really appreciate a simple setup \m/><\m/

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