Tuesday, 21 November 2017

New Worship Pads on Youtube

I recently posted up the 'bass worship pads' that I created in Logic Pro X on YouTube.

These have a bit more bass than other pads but still have that slightly epic sound - well hopefully!

I'm not someone who likes to promote myself as I want to point people to God, but I really believe these pads are of high quality and will add a lot of depth and character to your worship sound. I pray they do anyway!

I've posted an example pad below in G for you to listen to and as an example.


Direct Link - https://youtu.be/2Jk54CXi0w8

There are pads in the keys of E, F, G, A, B, Bb, C and D

Link to the Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM_5fM5dA9HdXDF_cAt4t_Q

These can also be downloaded - link is in the YouTube video.

I am considering whether to create pads for sale because these do take a lot of time. While I love to give good God-things away, I'm also aware that it's good to honour each other.

So stay tuned - but don't worry, I'll keep the freebies coming as well by God's grace and goodness :)


Monday, 6 November 2017

When people reject songs due to theology issues

When people reject songs due to theology issues


The context for this is a YouTube tutorial video for a song called 'Reckless Love' by Cory Asbury. The person doing the video has gone to a huge amount of trouble to put together a brilliant tutorial.

In the comments section, there is a response from someone who states they aren't doing songs from Bethel or from Hillsong any more due to the theology from the churches.

In the specific instance of this song, the commenter also didn't approve of the word 'Reckless' as thinking about God, or the undertones of romantic love in the song.

So why do people dislike some songs?


Often there are people that may have a good point theologically. Other times someone may just have a personal issue or grudge that has built in their mind. Sometimes people focus too much on theology that they lose sight of the wider picture. Others become so tunnel visioned on what's 'right' that they can lose their love and actually become 'wrong'. Sometimes it's a simple misunderstanding of the meaning of words. Other times people want their way or feel frustrated. And there are times where people simply don't like songs.

My Experiences of people rejecting songs


A few years ago, I was at a church that I felt moved away from seeing a wide picture of worship to focusing on some very minor and trivial issues that became so magnified that it started to lose sight of what worship was in a macro sense - songs helping us engage with God, worship him.

This is the same church that (wrongly and actually not even Biblically) felt we did too many songs having the words 'I' and 'me' and not enough saying 'us' and 'we'.

One of the issues that one person had was with the words of 'Consuming Fire' by Matt Redman. In this person's view, they didn't like the lyric, 'There must be more than this...' In their view, this was saying that there must be more to what God will do which seemed to be against the fact that what Jesus did on the Cross is complete.

In this instance, the complaint wasn't right because the song is not saying Jesus hasn't finished his work but a cry from the heart that 'God there must be more to you than what I'm experiencing' with the writer inviting God to breathe within him and waiting on God to do a work in him.

At the same church another week, someone giving a talk made a big song and dance about a song from Ben Cantelon called 'Guardian.' The complaint on this occasion was that the song talked about God as a 'guardian' with the speaker very vocally stating that God isn't our 'guardian' but our Father.

Again, the speaker was completely wrong and he had quite an aggressive attitude about the whole thing! The song is talking about God as our protector and not as a guardian that you'd have to manage a trust fund for an under-18 (which is what the speaker believed the song was saying).

Another person also mentioned their frustration with the lyrics of the song, 'Our God' by Chris Tomlin. In this instance I can't recall what the issues were specifically but a reading of the song shows a strong and Biblical framework.

In the case of 'Reckless Love' on YouTube, I also feel the commenter was wrong to suggest that the song writer was meaning that God was 'reckless' as in 'unconcerned.' This is not what the song is saying. Instead, it is saying that God's love is a love that is daring, adventurous and one that goes beyond what we would do.

The comment about the song being too romantic, is not one that stands up to any scrutiny either. Instead, this song is about God's passionate pursuit of people to show himself as God, as well as his pursuit of his people to make them fully his. A cursory (and for some uncomfortable, even reckless) look at Song of Songs shows both a romantic love and a picture of Christ's love for his bride, the church.

In a more recent case, some people have taken issue with the Hillsong track, 'So Will I (100 Billion X')' which they mainly disapprove of or have questioned due to the use of the lyrics, 'A hundred billion creatures catch your breath, evolving in pursuit of what you said.'

Those who believe in creation in 6 days and reject evolution (but not adaptation) question whether this is a song that promotes an evolutionary worldview (and indeed one where there must have been sin and death before Adam and Eve). The question here is whether the songwriters meant 'adaptation' (within species) as opposed to evolution (between species and something that has not ever been found). Then the question is 'if they meant evolution' then should we reject the song?

Should We Reject Songs due to theology?


This is perhaps at the root of some of the comments made. Their cases are specific, but the general point is about whether we reject songs due to their theology? Or whether we reject songs if we don't like a particular artist, ministry, church.

One question revolves around Biblical interpretation: how do we understand and read the Bible? If we take the Bible literally then we have to literally do all the things the Bible says. But this can never be the correct way to read the Bible and it also reduces the Bible down to only what we read (so it can never comment on things that aren't in the Bible).

Instead, the Bible needs to be read as God intended it to be read when he moved on people by the Holy Spirit to write it. This honours God and the Bible in the highest and greatest possible way and is our model for living. As followers of Jesus, we are mini-christs, reflecting his glory and carrying his light, life and presence.

Reading the Bible in this correct way, it helps give principles as well as specifics about issues of every area of life, death and eternity. We see what God gives us to see, feel what he gives us to feel and do what he says we should do.

Theologically, we also know (from Scripture) and common sense, that not everything about God is in the Bible. The Bible is God's true word to us that he knows that we need. The Bible is not a complete overview of God, his character, nature, history etc. God's Word makes it clear that God is above and beyond our understanding. The way we approach him is to seek him for revelation into what we do know revealed in the Word. Sometimes he reveals what we don't know and other times he doesn't, knowing that we couldn't understand or deal with things. He is God, we are not!

We also know that not everything Jesus did, said, thought is in the Bible - the Bible testifies to this in John 21:25. So conversely, we know that Jesus did things and said things that were of God (because he is God) but that aren't in the Bible.

In terms of song-writing, songs directly from the Bible should be at the heart of what we do. It is good when songs are taken completely from Scripture. The International House of Prayer in Kansas City do this in a great way. But if we always do this for every song, we're sometimes forced to compress words into spaces that don't fit, or we can lose a poetic rhythm, lyric or timing that God may give us.

So along with songs straight from the Bible, songs that capture the essence of the Bible, of God, of Jesus, of his Kingdom should also be part of what we sing. To not do this is a denial of the fullness of God, who he has released us to be (creators, creating in the image and for the glory of the creator) and of songwriting potential.

It is good to use words that we maybe can't find in the Bible but that reflect God's heart - or even modern ways of saying things, or even new words.

Remember that God's Word was written outside of time (by God, although in time by man inspired by him) for the whole of time - but was written for every tribe, race, tongue and generation - and we're all different. We all say things different ways, express ourselves differently. As another example, the English language (as one example) doesn't have the words for something that the Greek language does, so obviously using different words is a good thing.

Ultimately it all boils down to whether something glorifies God. All of our life should do this. We can sing a theologically correct song and read the Bible in church but if our life isn't being transformed into his likeness and we're not loving God and others, then our words are empty.

In terms of the rejection of songs from places or people we may not agree with, it's a slightly more tricky or personal choice. My own view is that we can lose something if we become incredibly limiting in what we sing. And the question is: you may not like something or a church (like Bethel) for example. But are they glorifying God? Is God using them? And be really, really honest with yourself - what's the real reason you have an issue?

I personally have no issues with Bethel or anyone else and unless a church is completely off the Biblical grid I don't consider these to be issues when choosing worship songs. Remember that David was a mess and yet his Psalms have been used in millions of songs through history. Are we to reject David because he had views we don't agree with or did wrong things? Can we even deny the redeeming power of God in we become so choosy? Are we placing our personal preference over what we sing? Is it about control? Maybe it's not, but it's worth considering.

I often find those with the biggest issues with things like worship or songs are often people who are deeply frustrated within themselves and even struggling.

And maybe you need to be challenged about what you believe. Maybe it's you that's limiting God. Sometimes our fear of being wrong in something can actually hinder a work of God that regularly (in the Bible and in the life of God's church) does things that confound, confuse and offend. As someone famously wrote, 'God often offends our minds to reveal our hearts.'

So maybe a question for all of us is that when we feel offence rise, maybe this is God's challenge to us and not for us to judge others with a standard may or may not be right. Don't miss out on something of God because you don't fully understand it. God did great things in the Bible that people would have missed out on had they been offended! He is still doing that today.

Worship is Powerful and Transformational

Finally, worship is about God's presence and it is transformational. When I sing a song, in my heart I'm asking the question, 'is this anointed?' Is this a worship song that is God-breathed, reveals something about God, does something in my heart or in the heart of others?

The answer most times is yes.

Reckless Love, So Will I, Our God, Guardian, Consuming Fire have all lit fires in the hearts of people that I have worshipped with. They have breathed life, fuel, God's encouragement, a passion for God, a desire for the nations, for prayer, for a life that honours God into hundreds, maybe even thousands of people that I've known and seen.

It is absolutely right to want to honour God and his Word and the pursuit of this is what we're all after. But...

At the heart of worship songs for me are these questions: does it have God and his Kingdom, his Holy Spirit, his love, his power, his glory all over it? If it does and it's got a good tune (!) then I want to use it. At my heart I don't want to miss anything of God that he has for me.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

BeatBuddy, doing your own MIDI tracks, Logic ProX and bass sounds

The BeatBuddy is a great device for playing back your beats and managing / creating your own MIDI beats to play back. New features are being implemented all the time with firmware updates from the manufacturer, Singular Sound. Some of these updates have come from user suggestions or even hacks.

An overall guide to creating beats for BeatBuddy - http://forum.mybeatbuddy.com/index.php?threads/create-your-own-songs-for-dummies.4898/

One of the hacks to the BeatBuddy has been the implementation of other instruments into the BeatBuddy so that it plays back not only beats, but bass and even piano and synth.

To do this, you need to download a 'with bass' kit. There are a couple available over on the mybeatbuddy forums but it's good practice to buy a beat from Singular Sound first and then ask contributors for the 'with bass' beats.

In order to get the 'with bass' kits to work, you need to export the MIDI files from the BB Software (this is the information that the kits within the BeatBuddy plays back). The MIDI files then need to be imported into a MIDI editor, edited, re-exported and then imported back into the BB Manager software.

The ability to export and manipulate the MIDI also means you are able to create your own beats via MIDI then implement them into BeatBuddy. Within the BB Manager software you can add your own beats, replace beats, update beats and change the order of the song.

This is a quick look at the process within Logic Pro X on a Mac.

You can also find help on the forums such as here - http://forum.mybeatbuddy.com/index.php?threads/how-to-create-with-bass-bb-songs-on-a-mac.4896/

MIDI isn't the same as audio. MIDI is information and includes a number of different pieces of information within it - such as velocity etc (meaning the same track can produce different sounds etc). MIDI has a range of numbers and BeatBuddy has to have MIDI information in certain numbers in order for it to play back. So any MIDI file created by you (or edited by you) will need to be set up to play back within BeatBuddy and need to have various numbers to play back the drums. Those numbers can depend on the drum kit within BeatBuddy, so you just need to check, test and test again!

When creating a new track, you can do one of 3 or so things. Firstly you can find a MIDI track online, save it and import into Logic Pro to edit (or direct into BB Manager only if the MIDI files have already been prepared for the BeatBuddy). Secondly, you can create your own MIDI track. Thirdly you can export a MIDI track out of BB Manager into Logic, edit it and then import it back to BB Manager.

More information here - http://forum.mybeatbuddy.com/index.php?threads/import-midi-files.6942/

To be certain you're using the right MIDI notes and everything is in the right place, the best way can be to export a MIDI file from the BB Manager. Select it, right click and 'export as MIDI'. Save somewhere you'll remember (I created a folder called MIDI in the BB Manager folder and in the user_lib folder).

Then you'll need to open this within Logic.

The MIDI track as a software instrument 
If you click the waveform editor in the top left of Logic (the pair of scissors), it will open up the MIDI editor.

The MIDI editor (the colours represent different velocities / sounds)


In this instance, I imported a file from the Blues 6/8 file and then slightly re-arranged some of the sounds to suit the Cory Asbury song 'Reckless Love' (without really getting into copying the beat, which I have done within another MIDi file).

If you were simply using the beats, you can then simply export the song from Logic (File > Export Selection as MIDI file).



If you want to export the file back with bass, then you'll need to know the MIDI location for the notes on the keyboard. I've got the 'Standard Pro with bass' kit which I got off the BeatBuddy forum after buying the Standard Pro drum kit. So for this kit the bass notes need to go above C3 on the MIDI keyboard as you can see in my example below.

Next I simply drew some MIDI notes (or you can play them) on one track and then simply added them into the original beat MIDI track in the correct location (above C3) as below. The alternative is to add the 'bass' track within Logic as a software instrument, then combine the two tracks (beat and bass tracks) via Cmd-J.

Then the song is exported and then imported into BB Manager and onto the BeatBuddy by saving and synchronising.

With other drum kit files (ones that add synth and bass or piano etc. check the creator's information for where you need to place information to be played back accurately for that individual beat!)

The MIDI information on the MIDI keyboard within Logic's editor

Finally


Re-reading this, it may not be the simplest tutorial ever done! But hope it helps someone. When I started trying to create my own MIDI files I was a bit nervous but this is my workaround.

Just remember that if you want to edit a song within BB Manager, it's worth exporting it first, then re-importing it, re-naming it and then saving it first. This avoids editing original files!

Once you've got the hang of this you can create / replicate song beats and bass within BeatBuddy and then have a more flexible, dynamic and accurate drum pattern than simply an audio backing track!



Wednesday, 4 October 2017

TC Helicon Play Acoustic Review

The Play Acoustic is a great sounding, compact and high quality vocal harmoniser and guitar effects pedal that gives you great value for money, including both a looper, an effect to give your guitar a richer sound and a built-in DI.


I've been using the Zoom G3X for acoustic guitar for a while. It's been great and is still great but I often play on my own in worship and at events, so in order to boost the overall sound I thought it would be interesting to get a harmoniser pedal as an experiment. I also play at places where they don't have a PA person or effects such as reverb on the channels, meaning that the ability to have your own reverb and other options is useful. (I also play where I do PA and worship so that can get interesting!)

Play Acoustic


Seeing that the TC Electronics Harmoniser pedal alone costs around £175 or more and that the harmoniser from TC Helicon (the sister company) was around £200, I thought I'd pay a bit more and try the Play Acoustic which offers vocal and acoustic guitar effects and options!

The Play Acoustic in the words of TC Helicon... 


  • - Professional vocal effects and tone
  • - Natural sounding vocal harmonies guided by your guitar
  • - Guitar FX styles from TC Electronic®
  • - BodyRez™ Filtering and Onboard EQ and DI for impeccable acoustic guitar tone
  • - Version 1.2 Firmware offers a TC guitar delay plus per preset Guitar FX storage

How does all this promotional prose stack up in the real world?


Well first of all, here's how it works. You plug your mic (via XLR) and your guitar (via jack) into the Play Acoustic. It then has an output for each channel to your desk via XLR with the guitar output effectively acting as a DI.

Back of the Play Acoustic


The Play Acoustic picks up the key of the song via the guitar input, meaning that before you use the vocal harmonies, you'll need to at least strum a bit on the root chord - unless you pre set the key of the song within the Play Acoustic guitar FX menu beforehand.

With the latest firmware installed (via USB), both the guitar and the vocal effects can have various presets applied by scrolling through - or you can manually edit most of the settings within the 'Vocal FX' and the 'Guitar FX' menus. You can also create your own presets.

You can also assign controls via an external foot switch (any appropriate one is fine - I bought the Digitech FSX3). By default this controls things like setting the key, scrolling, delay on and off and guitar 'boost' mode. You can change what the pedal is assigned to within the Setup menu options.

The guitar presets are around reverb, delay and 'mod' effects like chorus or flange. Again, there are varying types of reverbs included and you can set the amounts, which is highly useful.

The guitar also has a 'BodyRez' option which gives the guitar a 'fuller body' sound. Again, you can turn this on and off and set the level and type, so if you don't like it or prefer a true bypass output, this is also possible.

There is also a Looper (recently had its time limit extended so don't go by early reviews saying the loop time is too short). This is accessed by pressing the 'up' and 'down' foot switches at the front of the Play Acoustic. You can use the external foot switch to control the looper (at least you can with TC Helicon's Switch-3 pedal so I'm sure it's the same for any external foot switch). You can loop guitar, vocals or both depending on how you setup the looper. It's a fairly basic one so it's not going to allow you to bring parts in and out like a dedicated looper, but it's a great option and one I use to strum basic chord progressions and then play over during 'ministry' times.

The vocal effects presets are wide, varied and are a slightly motley mix from 'high' harmonies to 'low and high' harmonies, to radio sounding presets and others that you'll only use if you're messing around. In fact, I'd say that the majority of the presets are very unlikely to be used. You aren't able to change the pitch of the harmonies which is a minor irritation but have to stick with the various presets. For example if you normally harmonise above on the 3rd, you can't specifically change the Play Acoustic to harmonise above on the 5th etc. But you can at least find workarounds and use the presets to suit your needs.

One of the vocal FX presets - use the arrows to scroll through options and buttons to access submenus


The vocal FX come with various types and varied levels of delay, reverb and more. Each of these is useful to tweak your settings and to get the right types of sounds you like. I turned down the level of the overall harmonies on mine so the harmonies didn't overload the vocal mix generally.

The vocal harmonies have the reverb on all the time (again you can adjust the levels) so just be aware of this.

To use the vocal harmonies, you click on the front left foot switch labelled 'Hit'. Click again to switch off the harmony selected. If you hold your foot on the 'hit' foot switch it will bypass all the effects and give you a straight flat signal. This is useful during the times you want to talk!

Hit me baby one more time...


Yes, yes but what does it sound like?

Play Acoustic with the BeatBuddy. Space at front for iRig Blueboard to trigger pads from OnSong


In short the Play Acoustic is brilliant. The BodyRez bit on the acoustic can really lift your guitar. I've got a built-in tube amp on my Takamine, but it even gives that sound a real boost. It really does work in giving the acoustic a fuller and richer tone.


The vocal FX are also pretty good but I would use them very sparingly and minimally. I only use the higher harmonies generally and have turned down the harmony level - but it is useful and gives you another voice (albeit your own at a higher pitch!) Now you can set it to an autotune type 'Cher' sound but it's optional and otherwise doesn't sound too fake.

However (and this is a big one), it only tracks what you sing so if you're out of tune, your harmonies are out of tune. It really has helped me 'up my game' in terms of singing in tune!

Overall, I use the Play Acoustic and may start to phase out using the Zoom G3X. However that does have a volume pedal (sometimes sporadically working) but that would be a useful addition to a mini pedal board. The argument (conversely) is that without a volume pedal, you won't forget to turn your guitar up (as I have done with the Z3X!)

Using this with BeatBuddy (and programming in MIDI beats with bass and/or synths/piano) plus triggering Pads from OnSong via the iRig Blueboard, you've got some serious thinking, foot tapping and band sounding potential at your finger and foot tips...

A good solid investment if you're looking to get a harmoniser and guitar effects unit. Boss do the VE-8 which is their competitor in this market and this also has many good reviews. Go online, go to Youtube and ignore the snide comments you often see and decide which one works for you. Better still, thank the guys doing Youtube reviews for their time and efforts!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

BeatBuddy in smaller worship settings - Review

Help - one of my drummers is missing!


I'm fortunate to be part of a larger church with a number of very gifted musicians - but many are University students and so aren't always around. I also play at smaller events where I may be playing alone or with another one or two people. Recently, two drummers moved away to new jobs. Simultaneously we had a Spring and Summer without a number of other regular drummers - with people being away, busy or unable to play every week.

What was the solution to our beats problem? One student leading worship used our kick drum with the pedal to drive the songs during a recent worship time - with another student playing foot tambourine mic'd up (with a condenser above his foot and a ton of reverb on the channel).

A friend at a church near me started using the BeatBuddy pedal over a year ago for worship. The church is smaller and their drummer isn't always available. The solution is the BeatBuddy which is a bit like having a drummer contained within a foot pedal (and additional footswitch if wanted).

The BeatBuddy - https://singularsound.com




The BeatBuddy (BB) uses recorded and real drums and these are stored on an SD card provided. The one provided is 4GB but others have successfully used up to 32GB cards. The BB comes with a ton of presets within folders in various genres such as Blues, Funk, Rock, Techno etc. So within each of the presets (for example 'Blues') you will have a number of different beats - usually around eight. You select one of these and then you can play back that beat. Navigation is fairly simple clicking the arrows on the pedal.

The BB sounds very good without any mods and therefore can easily used 'out of the box' as soon as you receive it. You also have a BeatBuddy Editor (Mac or PC) which can be downloaded from the BB website (singularsound.com) and this allows you to do various things such as modify the beats, create new folders (effectively acting as Set Lists) and even import other beats created via any MIDI editor (click for a link to the BB forum explaining how to do this). This means you can use MIDI files out there (or create your own) to play back specific songs. You can also buy new kits (and new songs) from the BB website.

The Basics


The basics are this: to start the beat, you click the pedal once. Unless removed via the software, the BB plays an intro of 1 bar. It then automatically plays back the first beat. To use a fill, you click the pedal again. There can be 2-3 fills in-built (you can change / add this via the Mac / PC editing programme). If you hold down the pedal it plays the transition. When you let go of the pedal, it automatically goes into the second part of the song. A double-tap leads to the outro, usually of 1 bar.

So the pedal has essentially 6 parts:

1. Intro
2. Part 1 of 2 of the main beat
3. Fills
4. Transition
5. Part 2 of 2 of the main beat
6. Outro

Drum Kits


The other thing to note is that you have a list of genres - Oldies, Pop, Punk, World etc. When you select the patterns within those genres / folders, you can also amend the drum sounds within the pedal directly but only temporarily (at least that's what I've found).

For example, if I'm using the 'Rock' kits, when you select on an individual pattern, you'll see that there will be a 'drum set' shown not he screen. In the rock kit, the drum set is the rock drum set. But you can change that, so you play back say the Rock 1 pattern, but with another drum set (for example the brushes kit).

Going away from that and returning to the Rock 1 pattern, you'll find that the drum set has gone back to the rock set. But if you then go to the software and copy the Rock 1 kit into a new folder, you will have the option of saving the Rock 1 pattern with another drum set. Once you synchronise with the BB pedal itself, this will be available as one of the 'folders', alongside the existing folders.

Patterns


Onto the actual drum patterns. There are a range of patterns which should cover various types of songs and genres. Admittedly as ever with all products, there are some that you won't ever use but they are there for your help. There are some varied time signatures as well - the usual 4/4, 3/4, 6/8 but also others like 12/8 and more - many found within the 'Odd time' folder. There are also beats with a swing timing as well.

Footswitch


There is an option of an external footswitch. At the moment, the BB firmware allows for only 2 assignments on an external pedal. By clicking down the Drum set and Tempo buttons, you go into a settings menu which allows you to define an external footswitch if needed. You can also select what action you want an external footswitch to do - for example tap tempo, move to another song etc.

The default action for the left switch of a footswitch is an accent (again what the accent is can be changed within the BB software on Mac or PC). So in a song, you can click for an accent such as a cymbal crash at the start of a section etc.

There are two options for footswitch selections for when the BB pedal is stopped - so you can assign the left switch to one thing and the right switch to another thing. You also have two selections for what you want the footswitch to do when the BB is playing - so my right switch is set to end a song - as it can be a bit tricky to double-click to end a song (you can easily end up doing a fill instead etc).

Worship That Flows


OK, so one area that you'll need to think ver carefully about is the flow in worship. As a worship leader, this is an essential part of leading people - making them feel at ease and transitioning between songs naturally. We have extended times of worship at every service and ministry at the end, so flow is important so as not to break the Holy Spirit working through worship. The same is true of anyone leading a service - sensitivity to people and especially to God is a pre-requisite. Without this, your service will break down into a series of songs! Nooooo!!

The BB needs to be used sparingly therefore - and likely in combination with a keyboard player or with pads, so these can give time to load up the next song on the BB.

The other thing you will need to consider is getting rid of intros and outros on the BB. Sometimes they're quite distracting as often we'll have a click into a track - or have just the acoustic start a song and the drums build. This is much harder to do on the BB, without using a metronome / click. So just be aware that your worship leading practice and skills will need to consider new elements if you use the BB.

Other Downsides?


The downside is that you can't individually assign 3 actions. I have the Digitech FS3X footswitch which has three switches on it. The third one simply does what the first two individually do, but together). So if the left switch is set up to do an accent and the second one is set up to tap tempo, clicking a 3rd switch will accent and tap tempo.

Presumably there are only 2 options because the BB external footswitch only has 2 switches. But this should be extended to 3 options in my opinion - or more. Now, you can set up more using MIDI but the trouble with MIDI footswitches is that they tend to be very large (for example having 8 assignments). On smaller stages this is impractical, especially if you're using other pedals - for guitar / vocal effects / triggering samples / using OnSong etc.

There is a mod called the 'Norbert Hack' which involves voiding the warranty - by drilling another hole into the pedal, soldering onto one of the diodes inside and opening up the option for a 3rd switch to be used with the pedal. You can find this mod here - http://forum.mybeatbuddy.com/index.php?threads/norberts-beatbuddy-hardware-hack.2109/

One other downside I've found is that the crashes on the Rock Kit are way too loud relatively!

Worship Songs



So what have I used / what do I suggest? Here is a very brief list, partly taken from the BeatBuddy forum, partly from the list on Singular Sound and partly from my currently limited experience..! These will just give examples of what to use. Note these are all beats already on the BB.

10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman: Blues2. Tempo 81bpm.

Be Thou My Vision (3/4): - Odd Time 4 (6/8 sounds like 3/4) at 90bpm.

Be Thou My Vision (4/4): Country 5. Tempo 100bpm or in and around that tempo.

Cornerstone - Hillsong: Funk 4 with Brushes drum set. Original tempo is 71.5. I've got at 74bpm.

Forever (Give Thanks To the Lord ) - Chris Tomlin: Pop12. Tempo 118bpm

Guardian - Ben Cantelon: Techno 4 with standard kit. 106bpm

Here For You - Passion / Matt Redman etc: Funk 3. Tempo 85bpm or around that.

How Great Thou Art: Brushes 1 at around 110bpm for a driving kind of rhythm

This Is Amazing Grace - Jeremy Riddle / Phil Wickham: Rock9 at 100pm is one possibility (use the standard kit if the ride is overpowering).

Can also be done with Country 8 as per suggestion on forum. 106bpm.

They also suggest Techno 1 with Rock kit which gives it a more driving sound. I also replaced the first transition in Techno 1 with the transition from Techno 4 (Fill 13) as the Techno 1 transition is a bit over the top. I further replaced the excessive outro with the same fill as the intro. 106bpm.

We Have Come - United Pursuit: Techno 2 with brushes drum set. 87bpm.

In general you can find a good beat within the Blues 1-2, Brushes, Rock (loud cymbals), Funk, Pop and by slowing down Drum & Bass.

Conclusion


The BB is a brilliant bit of kit. It can also link via MIDI into OnSong which is incredibly useful albeit slightly complex to set up.

The ability to have basic drums in a pedal is fantastic. The capacity to then amend within the software, create your own set lists and import MIDI signals to use with the BB kits is exactly what's needed. You can also purchase excellent other drum sets and songs from the online store.

The one thing that is missing is the ability to customise a bit more within the software / firmware and the limit of only 2 foot switches. Aside from that it's a great tool.

Just be aware that you need to practice your stomps and you need to create set lists beforehand for individual songs. In this way your worship will be enhanced on the songs you choose to use kits. Just keep things varied and creative - the same songs with the same drum patterns can become a bit monochrome. So a few changes here and there will enhance and enrich worship!


*Note I have no affiliation with BB or Singular Sound and bought this pedal myself.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Free Worship Backing Tracks

Over the years, I've probably put together over 100 backing tracks for worship songs. Obviously backing tracks aren't flexible (unless someone's controlling it in something like Ableton Live). You're limited to the format of the song you've put down, which not everyone likes.

There are also various options like the TC Helicon Voicelive 3 Extreme which mean you can add numerous backing track elements and then trigger playback via the interface or separate footswitch.

But set backing tracks can have their place!

So here's our Youtube link to our Youtube worship backing tracks - some you may like, some you may not. But they're there to inspire, even if they inspire you to write your own better ones!


Latest one is Bethel's incredible 'Take Courage' -



Our Worship Backing Tracks Youtube Playlist

Here's the link to our backing tracks on Youtube. Just wanted to put this link up as always want to inspire and help others in worship - so feel free to use or ignore :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWrsZZDupVs&list=PLOBi-HWvRc_fbichLy8_H_3AyHADAvNjH 

More Free Worship Pads - Spacey Worship Pads

A bunch more worship pads uploaded to Youtube.

These are only in the keys of G, A, B flat, B, C, D and E

The link to our Pads playlist is - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6K429HuBcs&list=PLOBi-HWvRc_c07fBQ7WR2B7-UMOifY2sr 

Spacey Worship Pads in G



Spacey Worship Pads in A



Spacey Worship Pads in B flat



Spacey Worship Pads in B



Spacey Worship Pads in C



Spacey Worship Pads in D



Spacey Worship Pads in E