Category Archives: Gearcast episode

Episode predominantly focused on guitar gear – amps, effects, accessories, etc.

The Holy Spirit and One Perfect Pick

This one has been WEEKS in the making…and it’s been a bunch of fun, too.  It’s time to crown a champion – and worship a King!


During this episode, I’m going to be playing a bunch of music; playing acoustic, playing electric, playing chord progressions and lead lines.  Lots of different sounds, but they all come from one song: “Spirit Move” by our friend Ty Caskey.  It’s a great song that our music ministry team and our church family has really embraced for service, and I share with you in the hopes you’ll consider sharing it with your team.  Click HERE to find it on Spotify.

I asked Ty if it would be okay to post the lyrics here, because as I mention in this episode, I believe it’s an exquisitely balanced combination of thoughts to consider.  “Spirit Move” does a great job of simultaneously addressing the power and glory of God and the Spirit through both corporate and personal spiritual engagement.  Ty gave me the green light, so check this out:

I want to sit here in Your presence, I want to know more of Your goodness

Filled with wonder – expectation…for You to move within this place

Lord, we wait here for You…

This is a sacred invitation

The creator of all is here right now (yes, He is)

Filled with wonder – expectation…Lord we are gathered in Your name

Lord, we wait here for You…

Spirit come and move in our hearts, stir up revival in this place…Lord we worship You

Spirit come now and have Your way, Lord, let Your presence fill this place…Oh, we worship You

I feel it moving, my heart is pursuing everything you’re doing

Is making me new again

Your presence with me, pushing back the enemy…fear, you have no hold on me

Jesus is my victory!

Like I said, there are a lot of good and powerful things to think about when you take some time with the lyrics.  I’ll also tell you that, when you hear Ty’s recounting of the circumstances and the scripture that provide the motivation to write this song, you’ll have an even better connection to it.


I dug into the open of “Spirit Move” a bit to illustrate the importance of balance between offering YOUR excellence to God (your take on a track, your style and experience) as a truly unique gift and providing the structural foundation the rest of the team needs to play the song.  Forgive the sub-par acoustic work…


I put the wraps on this episode by putting the wraps on the Mission: Perfect Pick competition.  You get to hear some sound samples (in which I use Alex Strabala’s latest and greatest Helix patch) of a few different picks, including all the finalists.  So which pick takes home the crown?  Listen and find out!


Season One will come to an end with the “Episode of Encouragement”.  My hope is that, of all the episodes you’ve heard, this one will be the one you remember most.  If you need encouragement, affirmation, motivation – this is the episode for you, and I can think of no better to close this chapter of God, Guitars and Gear.


Ty Caskey – Ty wrote and performed the God, Guitars & Gear theme, and he also cranked out all that cool guitar wizardry that pops throughout each episode.  Connect with Ty:

  1. Instagram ( @tycaskeymusic )
  2. YouTube ( Ty Caskey )
  3. Spotify ( Ty Caskey )

Ambient Trails – AT does the well, ambient trails you hear in the background of every episode.  Hear more Ambient Trails on Instagram ( @ambienttrails )


Unspoken’s Zachery Smith – S1E10

So far, God has blessed this podcast with some pretty great guests: if you wanna listen to some God-centered people, how ’bout Michelle Nezat (Ep4), Zach Neese (Ep7) and Richie Allen (Ep9).  What about the nuts and bolts of guitar?  How ’bout Reverend Guitars CEO Ken Haas (Ep2) and Seventh Day Guitars founder Scott McDonald (Ep5)?  If you’re thinking about playing that six-string, you’re thinking about Brandon Oaks (Ep8).  And since this here show also focuses on gear, you got some great stuff from Alex Strabala (Ep3) and Ty Caskey (Ep1 and Ep6).

But what if it were possible for God to connect me with somebody who could roll about all three?  What if it was somebody people knew, respected and thought the world of?  Well, if that’s the kind of guest you were looking for, God has just dropped this love bomb on ya.  This episode is all about God, guitars and gear courtesy of Unspoken’s lead guitarist Zachery Smith.


Judges is a great book in the Old Testament.  It’s action-packed, and loaded with heroes from beginning to end.  And for the teenager in me, it’s got some gore and great reference to somebody pooping their pants (don’t believe me?  Do a multi-translation study of Judges 3:22…and get ready to howl.  You’re welcome!)  But I digress…

While studying Judges recently with my Life Group family (love you guys!), I stumbled across a verse that led me to a very telling comparison study between Gideon (Ch. 8) and Samson (Ch. 13).  Who’s a better deliverer in your mind, and who do you think God considers the deliverer?

It’s all about our ability to compare, and just how badly things can go because of it.  Listen in to find a way to get out of the comparison game.


As I mentioned at the top, this isn’t just about guitar, because Zachery Smith is definitely not just about guitar.  He is a 100%, all-in, over-the-moon Jesus-follower, and everything else comes after that.  In this conversation, we talked about his history, his growth within God’s will, what he’s learned about humility, as well as the difference between “knowing the psalm” and “knowing the Shepherd”.  Zachery was also FULL of tips (whether he stated them as such or not) about playing, practicing, being up on stage, and how to keep yourself in a worshipping state with a guitar slung over your shoulder: “You’re pouring it out at the feet of Jesus.”

Go ahead, write that down.  I did.

He does talk about gear quite a bit, including the brands he’s moving to as he grows in his role with Unspoken for touring – and recording – they’re doing (yes, Unspoken fans – they’re recording!).  Like I said, Zachery covers it all, and with a smile.


It’s all about Mission: Perfect Pick this episode.  If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen all ten picks.  In this show, I give you my top three finalists, and in general terms, I explained that all of them represent the best combination of performance and value.

Now – got to @godguitarsandgear on Instagram, find the post with those finalists, and make your guess as to which pick will be crowned The Perfect Pick!  If you guess correctly (I’ll reveal the winner in Ep11), you could win a pack of your own to enjoy!


In Ep11, Mission: Perfect Pick will come to a close, and I will reveal the Perfect Pick…and the winner of the Perfect Pick Contest.  Even if you don’t win, I’m going to give you some sound samples from several of the picks I compared so you can make your own decision on which one was best.

The little bits and bobs I’ll be playing will all come from a song called, “Spirit Come” by your friend and mine, Ty Caskey.  Ty will stop in to talk about the inspiration for the song lyrics and generate some excitement about the Holy Spirit entering into our lives and all of the moments when our church families come together to glorify God.


This season’s finale is coming up, and it’s going to be great.  It’s the first-ever “Episode of Encouragement”, which will give you the opportunity to share some encouragement with other music ministry servants.  There’s still a little bit of time for you to be a part of it: record an mp3 of your encouragement, affirmation, a special scripture, a prayer, or maybe even a tip to help a team or guitarist to play better, practice more efficiently, or connect with God during a service.  Whatever God puts on your heart, put it in a recording and email it to me: .


Ty Caskey – Ty wrote and performed the God, Guitars & Gear theme, and he also cranked out all that cool guitar wizardry that pops throughout each episode.  Connect with Ty:

  1. Instagram ( @tycaskeymusic )
  2. YouTube ( Ty Caskey )
  3. Spotify ( Ty Caskey )

Ambient Trails – AT does the well, ambient trails you hear in the background of every episode.  Hear more Ambient Trails on Instagram ( @ambienttrails )

Overdrive Covers Over A Multitude of Sins – S1E6

In our lives, as well as in our playing, we goof up.  Shocking revelation there, but its true.  In this episode we look at lots of things that can be improved.  Yeah, it’s kind of like God, Guitars & Gear’s version of Home Improvement.  Well, except that Chris isn’t as funny as Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, and we don’t have an odd guy peeking over the fence at us.


Overdrive effects may be the calling card of this episode, but the title shifts us toward something much more important: scripture dealing with our suffering.  Peter wrote his first letter to churches scattered across a wide region where persecution was taking place in an intensifying manner.  Recognizing this, he shares some inspired guidelines for the church family in I Peter 4:7-11.

“The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Peter is sharing with those churches, and us, what we need to do to stick together when standing against an outside world that berates, insults, humiliates, abuses, blocks, deletes, cancels and ostracizes us…or even worse.  Chris goes into some detail about each encouragement, and he also shares how these things can be employed in a music ministry team setting.  Here are 6 tips for you:

  1. Do you have people on your team who seem to know just how to cause problems for you?  Keep your mind clear and stay controlled so you can pray about the situation and your relationship with them.
  2. Do you have somebody on your team that causes problems, division or other issues for the entire team? Love them deeply and actively.
  3. Is your team disconnected or do you know of certain members who feel isolated? Be the one to welcome people, and let them know they’re welcome.
  4. Are you struggling with how things are happening with you on the team? Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about serving God and the bride of Christ.
  5. Are you at the point of letting somebody have it? Even if you’re right, administer God’s grace…the same grace He’s given you when He could have let you have it.
  6. Are you unsure what to do with anything (or everything) happening in your church’s music ministry? Say what God would say, do what God would do.

The world is against us, family…we’ve got to stick together or we’ll fall apart.  Be thankful we have a loving God who, through Peter, showed us how to do it.


One of the biggest “sins” we face as a music ministry team is playing over each other.  Because of the way most teams operate, we practice separately, and rehearse only briefly prior to playing for service.  The result can often be an end product that is actually less than the sum of its parts, and may wind up being a distraction for the congregation.

Jason Brown, contributor for, penned a brilliant article called, “The Game-Changing Secret That Will Make Your Band Sound Better”.  In it, Jason introduces “The Fraction Principle”, a simple formula to keep everyone in their lane and maximizing the beauty and impact of the music we’re charged to share for God’s glorification.  Chris does his best to explain the idea, complete with basic math as it relates to pizza.  Just listen…you’ll get it.  He also shared some tips directly from Jason’s piece that you could apply right away to help your music ministry team sound better.  Here are a few:

  • An acoustic guitarist shouldn’t strum all the time—they should stick to simpler downstrokes, occasional strumming, light finger picking, etc.
  • Electric guitarists shouldn’t strum chords the same as the acoustic guitarist, nor should they belt out riffs all the time.
  • A bassist shouldn’t play busy melodies and licks all the time, if ever—they should embrace consistent, repetitive patterns that lock in tightly with the drums.

Be sure to listen to get more tips and insight…but if you really want to dig in, check out the article for yourself.


Alex Strabala set the stage for this discussion back in Episode 3 when he talked about overdrives being the foundation of a player’s tone.  We picked up on that point this week by bringing back Ty “The Pedal Guy” Caskey to dig deep in the dirt…the dirty, grimy, greasy, lovely sound of overdrive.  Ty delivers a great explanation of what overdrive actually is, how it works, how to stack overdrives, and breaks down the different types of overdrives you can employ to find exactly the tone you want.   Chris even managed to get Ty to offer some specific pedal recommendations spanning different price points to get you shopping for just the right thing.

Ty has done YouTube reviews on a few of the pedals he mentioned…just click on the name to watch the vid!

Benson Preamp

Earthquaker Devices Plumes

JHS Morning Glory (vs Danelectro The Breakdown)


The next episode of “God, Guitars & Gear” is one for the ages.  Chris will be joined by Zach Neese, author of the ground-breaking book, How To Worship A King.  Their conversation covers several issues critical to everyone in the church, most notably those of us in music ministry.  We can guarantee you will be challenged, encouraged, convicted, and moved.

We can’t stress enough how important this episode is; if there was ever an episode of “God, Guitars & Gear” to share, this will be the one.  Mark Tuesday, July 13 on your calendar and prepare for a life-changing experience.

Holy Helix! with Alex Strabala – S1E3

Even though this episode is entitled “Holy Helix!”, don’t think that’s all about the Helix.  It doesn’t matter if you’re using another modeler, using pedals, or you’re a hybrid kind of player that jumps around between analog and digital, there’s A LOT of good stuff in Episode 3 for your listening pleasure.


In these times, there’s a lot for us to worry about – our personal lives, the lives of those we love and care about, our brothers and sisters in Christ, the state of our communities, our countries, our world.  It’s really easy to become overwhelmed by fear, to be honest.  However, if we turn to scripture, we soon discover that we’ve been given the ULTIMATE gift to combat that fear and worry.

On the eve of his arrest, persecution, torture, and crucifixion, Jesus shares this with his closest friends:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

This peace – the peace that stayed with Jesus as he endured the very worst for us – is ours.  How can we put it to use in our own lives today?


Line 6 modelers (Helix Floor, Helix LT, HX Stomp, Pod Go, etc), as well as other modelers, provide users with virtually unlimited possibilities.  That sounds great in the marketing brochure, but when trying to find a sound you like, the choices can be a bit of a problem (at least they are for Chris).

To circumvent this “patch paralysis”, Chris suggests a hack that actually has nothing to do with the modeling unit at all.  As is always the case, it all comes back to your guitar and what you do with it.  Find out why you should head back to the shop with your favorite guitar and do everything backwards!

Chris mentioned during this part of the episode that finding a list of Helix models and their real-life counterparts would be a big help, and he also mentioned there would be a link here in the show notes.  Well, this is the place, and this is the link:  This is, by far, the most up-to-date list he’s ever found, and it’s a 100% guarantee that it will be a big help to you.


Chris had the privilege of sitting down with patch-building and guitar-slinging guru Alex Strabala this week, and it was SO MUCH FUN!  The conversation went all over the map, and he included some great insight – what the key component of any good patch really is, what special techniques to use to maximize the ability to stand out in the mix, as well as the patches he recommends for you if you’re just starting out.

Alex had a lot of great information to share, but be warned…Alex talks like he thinks – FAST!  You may need to keep your thumb on the “rewind :15” to get all the cool stuff he throws out during the show.

Be sure to check out his website for his patches, and as he gets ready to hit the road again, be watching his Instagram account, @alexstrabala.

Finally, this is can’t miss stuff, because you’ll finally be able to say his name without wondering if you’ve pronounced correctly. lol