Category Archives: Godcast episode

Episode predominantly focused on the spiritual foundation – God, scripture, worship, faith, etc.

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.

GOD

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.

GUITAR

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.

GEAR

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!

COMING UP…

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.

ONE MORE THING!

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: chris@godguitarsandgear.com .

Thankya’s!

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 )


How Healthy Is Your Music Ministry? w Richie Allen – S1E9



Before diving into the deep end of this episode, I wanted to again extend an invitation to you to participate in the upcoming “Episode of Encouragement”.  This show, which will serve as the Season 1 finale, will give you the opportunity to be a blessing to everyone involved in music ministry around the world and across time.

God calls us to build each other up, so the “Episode of Encouragement” will give you the opportunity to do it by recording a word of encouragement you’d like to share with others.  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: chris@godguitarsandgear.com .

GOD

I’ve got one of those smart watches that tells me what my heart rate is, how many steps I’ve taken, how much exercise I’ve done, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t figure out how to use.  I’m grateful for it, though, because I can get a pretty quick idea what’s out of whack if I don’t feel right.

As far as I know, they haven’t come out with a smart watch with a band that can stretch around a music ministry team yet, but thankfully, I don’t think we’ll need one, because we’ve our friend Richie Allen!

Richie Allen is a worshipper, coach and pastor with over 28 years of experience in executive, creative and music ministry at well-established churches and highly-successful church plants (you will not believe the story about his church-planting experience!).  During our conversation, Richie shared some general observations about music ministry across our faith, as well as some very specific advice for worshippers who are playing guitar on music ministry teams.  This is another one of those “maybe I should take some notes” kind of episodes…

I did want to zoom in on one thing that Richie shared, and it pertained to Psalm 19:14.  I’m not going to spoil the treasure he drops concerning that particular verse, but I want to encourage you to spend time unpacking the chapter.  Upon considering it myself, I noticed that the psalm reminded me of a perfectly-crafted Sunday morning set. It moves from the exhilarating declaration of God’s identity and attributes, into the extoling the value and worthiness of His commandments, and finally into bridging a deeply personal plea for forgiveness and the ramifications of that forgiveness.  If you’re looking for a place to worship, Psalm 19 is the spot!

GUITAR/GEAR

It’s all about “Mission: Perfect Pick” around here, as we are going to find the best plectrum on the planet!  Yes, I said WE.   And yes, you’ll be compensated for your participation!  Well, one of you will, at least. 🙂

I talk all about what’s happening during the show, but I also said I’d explain it here in the show notes, so here goes:

For Finding the Finalists

  1. You’re going to need to follow @godguitarsandgear on Instagram.
  2. From July 27 through August 2, I’ll be posting pics of each tested pick.  Watch for them, decide which pick you like and like that post.
  3. I’m going to factor fan faves into the grading, so your vote will help me determine which pick I pick to be the Perfect Pick.

Crowning the Winner

  1. On August 3, Ep10 will drop, and in that episode, I’ll announce the three finalists.  That same day, I’ll also post a photo of those finalists on Instagram.  Look for that post, and comment on which pick will win.
  2. When I choose the winner, I’ll go through that post and jot down a list of everyone who picked the winning pick.
  3. After I make sure they’re following the show, I’ll put the handles in a hat and draw one winner.
  4. I’ll buy the winner a pack of the winning picks!  (Yes, I’d love to buy you a lifetime supply or something like that, but this show’s marketing budget is right around $0.)

Looking forward to getting everybody’s take on the different picks in the shootout, and I cannot wait to pick the Perfect Pick!

COMING UP…

I am SO EXCITED to have Unspoken’s Zachery Smith on the show!  He’s an amazing guitarist, a fabulous guy, and he loves the Lord like CRAZY.  You don’t want to miss the cool stories, the great insight and the killer tips he shares with me.  But if you’re looking for the first guest to ace Quick Hitters, don’t hold your breath.

Thankya’s!

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 )

 


So When Do I Get To Worship? with Brandon Oaks – S1E8



MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END OF THE EPISODE…DON’T MISS IT!!!!

A little while ago, I was on the “Line 6 Helix and Pod Go Worship Users” Facebook page, and a member named Jeff Miller shared this:

“I love playing on Sundays and helping the congregation to worship. I am blessed that the Lord is willing to use me in His ministry. However, I get so focused on the part I am playing and thinking about the next part coming up, making sure I am not too loud during the down moments, then add listening to the click, the cues, listening to the vocalist making sure they aren’t in a different place. Sometimes I don’t feel like I get a chance to worship, how do others focus on all those things and get to worship too?”

It was a big – and critically important – topic and question.  I know that, through my own experience, as well as through talking with Michelle Nezat (Episode 4) and Zach Neese (Episode 7), that worship not only can, but should, happen whenever and wherever you are in your day, not just on the stage.  But I wanted to get some help in not only providing specific ways to integrate worship into a guitarist’s regimen while preparing to make their offering in church.  And there was no better guy I knew to do this than Brandon Oaks.

GOD/GUITAR

Brandon’s currently the worship pastor at Ocean Church in Cape Coral, FL, and he is a former music leader at International House of Prayer.  Brandon shared an exercise he calls “singing scripture” – which makes sense, because that’s exactly what you do.  The concept is a simple one, but it’s extremely powerful, and one that WILL bring you into a place of worship during your practice time.  And here’s the bonus – when you feel comfortable doing it by yourself, you can teach it to your team, and then you can integrate into a special event with your entire church!  Bottom line – this won’t just help you worship God…it will help everybody!

I also had to talk with Brandon about his music, because he has released some very inspirational songs.  His most recent release, “Father of Lights”, really struck a chord (no pun intended, I promise) with me and I have a feeling it could really become a powerful song for congregations to sing.  Brandon shared the scripture behind the song and the compelling messages contained within it.  I really encourage you to check it out…here’s the Spotify link:

Brandon Oaks: Father of Lights on Spotify

GEAR

You and me…we have a mission.  Well, actually I have a mission, and you’ve been drafted. 🙂  For years, I’ve been trying to find a pick that has the perfect combination of tone, firmness, hold and lifespan.  Now, with your help, it is time to successfully execute “Mission: Perfect Pick”. I have scoured music store shelves, clicked on countless Facebook ads, and scrolled through an infinite number of Amazon listings to sample picks of all shapes, sizes, materials, thicknesses and price points, all to find it.  The one.  THE Perfect Pick.

I’ve used Dunlops and Fenders over the years, but I decided to explore some different brands for this mission; I’m currently comparing offering from Thalia, HotPicks, Graphtech, Fred Kelly Picks, Howling Monkey Picks, Common Fibers and Timbre Gear.  But I want to try more, and I need your suggestions.  Reply to Mission: Perfect Pick posts on Instagram and Facebook, or just email me what you like – chris@godguitarsandgear.com .  But do it quick, because I’ll have to get them ordered, delivered, and then test them.  Thanks!  Your country owes you for your service.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

I’ve decided to join forces with you on a very special upcoming episode.  Since God calls us to build each other up, and we all know we could use it, I want to team up with you to have an “Episode of Encouragement”.  I need you to RECORD a word of encouragement you’d like to share with others who are participating in music ministry around the world.  We all know it’s not easy, but it would mean a lot to HEAR that we’re not alone, and our spiritual siblings are speaking truth into us, lifting us up in prayer, and are willing to go to the mat for us.

This episode has the potential to have a huge impact, but it can’t happen at all without you.  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: chris@godguitarsandgear.com .  I’m hoping to publish the “Episode of Encouragement” soon, so please follow the Spirit’s call on this one and send something in as soon as you can.

Thankya’s…

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 )


How WE Must Worship The King w Zach Neese – S1E7



We’re now into the second half of Season One here at God, Guitars & Gear, and we’re doing it in style.  If you’re one of the 100,000+ that owns How To Worship A King, you know that worshipping God is serious business.  Furthermore, you know that Zach Neese doesn’t pull any punches in those pages.

GOD

Zach joins Chris on the show this week, and there aren’t any punches pulled here, either.  Zach shares a multitude of scripturally-based truths about the good, the bad and the ugly concerning our what we have titled “worship.”  During the conversation, Zach addresses:

  1. The truth behind one’s calling
  2. The modern church’s biggest problem
  3. The link between music ministry and marketing, and what it has caused
  4. The battle between submitting our culture to the Word of God vs. submitting the Word of God to our culture
  5. What worship REALLY means, its relation to living in service to and ministry to God, His kingship and the gospel
  6. A lead electric guitar part vs. God’s prophetic word through a lead electric guitar part
  7. How to change the worship culture of your team and church
  8. A CRITICAL call to action for everyone involved in music ministry

And a whole lot more than that.

Simply stated, you must listen to this episode.  Better yet, listen actively, take notes, hit the rewind button, pray about what the Spirit is speaking to your heart through Zach.  Last, but not least, share this episode with anyone and everyone you can.  If you know anyone in music ministry, it’s a guarantee that they’ll benefit from it.

COMING UP

On the next episode, we’re going to be addressing a topic broached by listener Jeff Miller regarding the act of worship, and the best time to do it.  But we’re not going to dive in alone; we’ll be joined by Brandon Oaks, Worship Pastor at Ocean Church in Cape Coral/Estero, FL.  Brandon’s got some great ways to worship with your heart and your guitar, wherever you are.

Finally…

BIG thanks to listener Chris Foster, who took a moment to send along a very encouraging email to chris@godguitarsandgear.com .  It’s kind words like his that keep the fire burning for all of us.  Thanks for being a worshipper and encourager, Chris!


Music and Scripture with More Than A Song’s Michelle Nezat – S1E4



There’s a lot of significance to the number four. Consider a four-leaf clover, which some would call lucky.  Consider The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which I would think most would consider extremely unlucky. What about the Fantastic Four?  Not sure about lucky, but they’re pretty cool nonetheless.  Now, with all this considering you’ve done, what about Episode 4 of God, Guitars & Gear?  How ’bout you just listen and find out…

GOD

Chris was joined by Michelle Nezat, host of the “More Than a Song” podcast (subscribe here on Spotify) to talk about what she does during each episode.  Since 2014, Michelle has been examining popular contemporary christian songs, as well as our favorite new era hymns, using their lyrics to go back to the Bible for what God has to say.  Every episode is packed with spiritual truth from the best writer of all-time: God himself.  What Michelle shares is insightful, thought-provoking, and will stir you to you turn to scripture in a whole new way.

During the conversation, Chris mentioned several episodes that focus on some of the more popular music ministry selections; here are some you should check out:

#9 – Oceans

#138 – Great Are You Lord

#152 – Revelation Song

#154 – No Longer Slaves

#185 – O Come To The Altar

#271 – Build My Life

#360 – Graves Into Gardens

#367 – Battle Belongs

Please understand this is FAR from an exhaustive list, and you can find so much truth in every one of the episodes…even if you don’t particularly know or like the song (I know that personally  LOL).

GUITAR

Pickups are the heartbeat of any electric, but sometimes that beat just doesn’t seem to get a guitarist’s blood pumping.  If you’re looking for a great way to make your favorite sound like more than just one, Chris spends some time talking about – and highly recommending Guitar Fetish pickups and they’re really nifty Kwik-Plug system.

By rewiring your system with Kwik-Plug, you can swap out pickups in no time, and without solder.  Collect a nice mix of Guitar Fetish pickups, and you can mix-and-match to your heart’s content.  Since he first installed the system, Chris has got everything from high-gain humbuckers to lipsticks to Trons to humbucker-sized P90s!

Best of all, the pickup quality is there, and they’re really affordable, too.  Check them out at www.guitarfetish.com !

GEAR

This week’s gear tip really isn’t about gear…it’s about something that’s about gear.  Not making any sense?  Let’s hope this helps: Chris recently watched Reverb’s new documentary “The Pedal Movie”, and he’s got a review for you.  You’ll get the good, the bad and the fuzzy on the film, and you can find out whether he thinks it’s worth the rent.


Worship Guitarist No More! – S1E1



Welcome to the premiere episode of God, Guitars & Gear!  Thank you so much for checking out the podcast; if you like it, please subscribe.  Be sure to join the Facebook group as well – God, Guitars & Gear Podcast – and get in on the conversation!  The more friends we bring in, the more topics we can dig into, the more gear we can chat about, and most importantly, the closer we can all get to God.  Finally, follow the podcast on Instagram: @godguitarsandgear.

GOD

As will be the case with every episode, things kicked off with some spiritually minded conversation.  Chris shared his personal story, documenting his transformation from a “worship guitarist” to something much more accurate and God-honoring.  During a turbulent 2020, God took Chris on a journey, revealing three important truths that Chris either didn’t know or had forgotten.  God revealed that worship wasn’t about him, that he wasn’t a worship guitarist, and he didn’t belong in a worship ministry; it all boiled down the truth regarding what worship really is and who it’s for.

During the conversation, Chris referenced several scriptures – here they are for you to read and meditate on:

  1. Psalm 150
  2. Psalm 96:1
  3. Romans 12:1
  4. Colossians 3:23

A special thanks to Patrik Tamelin from the Facebook Group Line6 Helix and Pod Go Worship Team Users, who provided the comment that sparked some great conversation!

GUITAR

Pivoting into a little guitar talk, Chris shared his newly found and immediately preferred guitar care products for keeping his frets and fretboards in top condition: the MusicNomad Total Fretboard Care Bundle.

He breaks down everything in the kit: the FRINE Fret Polish, the fret guides, as well as the microfiber polishing cloth. You’ll also get step-by-step instructions on how to use the kit, a nice little hack to avoid getting all kinds of goop everywhere, as well as his thoughts on the “secret weapon” of the bundle: MusicNomad’s F-ONE Oil for the fretboard.  SPOILER ALERT: it’s a great kit.  However, it isn’t perfect, and Chris takes some to share what it’s missing, as well as what you have to watch out for while using it.

When everything is said and done, you’ll get a little insight into why this guitar care item is so important, and you’ll be able to make an educated decision about whether THIS kit is THE kit for you.  If you’re convinced, and you want to pick up a bundle of your own, click HERE.

GEAR

Chris welcomed in Ty Caskey for the first of many appearances on God, Guitars & Gear.  Ty is my Worship Pastor at River Christian Church, makes a bunch of spiritually-focused music, plays a mean Nash T-63 (among several other guitars), and has developed himself into quite the gear guru.  In an effort to get the relationship off on the right foot, Chris thought it would make a little sense for you to get to know Ty a bit.  Ty gave us some background on his journey into tone-chasing (which, by the way, started in a manner that was a little surprising), the layout of his current signal chain, and provided a bit of helpful insight on some particular effects.

If you’re looking for some in-depth analysis and amazing test drives of the pedals he talks about, here are links to some of the reviews he’s done on his YouTube channel, Ty Caskey Music:

RockStock Nano Chromatic Tuner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY4jfeMy09I

Benson Pre-Amp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1tx6-uaJaM 

NUX Duotime Dual Delay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV2D3GqtUIk

HX Stomp AC15 Praise and Worship Patch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybn-nTWNmeU (and if you watch it, like it, and wanna use it on your HX Stomp, he’s giving away the patch for free…just check the notes!)

And, as mentioned in the close of the show, here’s a link to a great sermon Ty shared with our congregation about worship and what it really means: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuxXgezM1cA

COMING UP…

On Episode 2, we’ll be talking guitars with Reverend CEO Ken Haas.  If you’ve never played a Reverend, or the brand is unfamiliar to you, you’re not going to want to miss this one.  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  If you order now, you’ll also receive the 12-in-1 Crispy Copper Corn Crusher all-purpose tool!  No, you won’t get that, because, well, odds are that doesn’t exist.

Anyway, there is more: when it comes to gear, if you’re looking for some freedom, Chris has an amazing recommendation for you about the best product you’ve never heard of.  Even better, you’ll hear a story about how powerful a song can be, and how the music we dedicate to God each week with our church families can turn someone back to Him.

A big thanks to Ty Caskey for supplying all the music you hear in every God, Guitars & Gear episode.  Told you he could play that Nash!