Only King Forever

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Hello, everyone. I thought I’d write about the gear I used, as well how I got some of the sounds on the new record.

Here’s a gear rundown:
Revelator S-Type
Revelator Jag style
Fender ’52 reissue Telecaster
TMG Gatton
Jerry Jones Shorty (mando-guitar)

Badcat Stella w/ 2×12 cabinet
Matchless Chieftain 2×12 combo

Pedal Board:
Dunlop Wah, MXR Dyna Comp, Ibanez Handwired TS808, Ibanez TS-10, JHS Superbolt, JHS Morning Glory, BJFE Honeybee, Electro Harmonix Micro Pog, Boss Super Shifter, Cusack Tap-a-whirl, Analogman Chorus, Boss DM-2, Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man w/ Tap Tempo, Strymon Timeline, Boss RV-5

Here’s a not-so-brief summary of the gear and thought process behind what I played on each song.

This song was really fun to play. Lot’s of noise and shoegaze guitar sounds. Which, you know, I’m a pretty big fan of. I used my Old Black Strat (that’s what I call it, Old Black Strat) and basically turned everything up for the hook on the intro/turn around parts. I had my Memory Man set on the verge of mayhem, into a simple shorter delay on the Strymon Timeline into my reverb. The reverb was set pretty wet, but just for the hook. With all that going on you have to make sure you don’t lose the note definition. To make it cut through I was using my TS808 with the gain at 50% into my honey bee set to give me a more overdrive tone. I kept that sound for the verses when I came back in with the hook part, but I just used the TS808 so I could be a little more subtle with it. Then the choruses for the high part I played I was using the TS808/Honeybee combo into a simple quarter note delay on the Timeline. No reverb on that part, because I wanted to have the high part cut through more and the delay not to fall apart. It adds a different dynamic that way, especially with 3 guitar players playing different parts at the same time. Then on the bridge I turned the Memory Man back on, turned the feedback up and made as much noise as I possibly could. Fun times.

This was one of the songs we had been playing in church for a while before the record. I had some parts written for it already, but when we were in pre-production for the record I wanted something different to sort of break out of the normal guitar range. So I grabbed my Jerry Jones mando-guitar. It’s a 12 string octave guitar. I just played simple rhythm guitar and doubled the hook on the turn arounds. I used a little reverb and delay to widen it a little bit and my Dyna Comp just to push it a little. It gave the song a nice little jangle.

This song was all about dynamics and simple parts and tones. I grabbed Old Black Strat ( OBS from now on) for this song. I love strats. Anyways, for the intro I was playing a single note line and using a filter to sweep up and down while playing it to make it go from a normal tone to a really muted sounding tone. Then I just had a simple quarter note delay (sidenote: my main delays are always set to dotted 8th but I rarely use them for that. I typically tap a 1/4, 1/8 or something else. Not sure why I don’t just make 1/4 note presets…) and a modulated reverb with the TS808’s gain turned all the way down. On the high part on the choruses I turned the gain on the TS808 up to about half way and stacked the Superbolt with it. For the bridge I went back to just the TS808 and used a wah pedal for the lead line. Then when the drums come back in big I kicked on the Superbolt and jumped the octave on the lead part. It was fun using a wah.

This was a slow build. OBS, light overdrive and a Memory Man/DD20/RV5 combo. Slide and picking around some chord inversions in the middle octave range (Joey was playing rhythm so I didn’t want to muddy up his parts and Lance was playing the lead stuff so I didn’t want to fight what he was playing). That’s sort of a good approach when you are playing in a big band; Thinking about what octave range you are in and how to rhythmically compliment the other guitars. A lot of times it’s just going to be finding a pattern with just a couple of notes and staying consistent with it. Making it an actual part and not random is key. Then after the bridge I came in with a high lead line, just using a little reverb and the DMM (i don’t know bpms. it’s usually just spontaneous/on the fly. whatever sounds right) at a medium length delay to widen it and make it nice and spacious.

This was another one where i was basically just playing atmospheric, vibey stuff. Taking it to vibe town, so to speak. Again, with Joey playing big rhythm parts and Lance doing the fast picking lines, I needed to stay out of the way. So just simple inversions and things of that nature with a washy, but still present sound. Not too busy. Simple!

This is a good song! I broke the slide out on this one. I used my 52′ reissue Telecaster and a metal slide to make it really cut through. That guitar is probably my favorite guitar to play slide on. I wanted it to sound like a laser. I know that doesn’t make sense. Anyways, I kept it simple on the verses and just kind of droned on the 1 chord. On the Choruses, I slid back and forth from the 4 to 1 chords, but making it really big and dramatic sounding by sliding pretty fast and stoping kind of abruptly on the chord. It’s a cool layer for Lance to play the picking part over. When you’re using the right delay/overdrive sound it kind of makes it sound really urgent. Like waves crashing or a 747 flying by. That’s the way it sounds to me anyways. I was stacking the TS808 and Morning Glory for that and the bridge, where I was playing the single note, bendy sounding part.

I used my Revelator Jaguar-style guitar on this one. It’s got a cool, hollow tone that works really cool with a more overdriven sound. For the whole song, I think it was my TS808 and Honeybee. I was going for sort of a retro, cranked low wattage amp tone. I come in at the top playing diamonds with a pretty fast tremolo. Then on the choruses i’m just playing a high rhythm part. I think I was just playing one note the whole time. probably the 1… Then I play the riff on the turn arounds with the same sound. The bridge was just a high strummy rhythm part that follows the vocal melody. I switch from the Honeybee to the Superbolt for that. Just to clean it up and make it a little more chimey. Easy.

I used the Jaguar on this song too. I come in at the top, fading in really washy with the fast picking high chord inversions. I was looking for it to sound like an extra vocal part. One of the tricky things with using reverb is not losing the actual guitar. If it gets too washed out it just muddies up everything. You lose the presence. One way I’ve found that helps is to crank the effect but turn the mix knob down. So it’s got the wash but your guitar can sit on top. That gives the illusion but you can still cut through. On the verses, I backed the reverb down and switched to a single delay for the picking part I played that sort of goes around the vocal. Then for the Choruses I am playing a high driving part that kind of enforces the vocal. I love finding parts that support the vocal with a similar melody but maybe moves through the notes a little differently. It adds a contrast but it’s still familiar so it doesn’t distract from the vocal.

’52 Reissue, ceramic slide and a Memory Man. Lot’s of swells and pedal steel bends. Just filling up a little space and staying out of the way. I found a couple parts to double London’s melody. Then I just build with the drums. One thing I’ve learned with the big ambient sounds is that it’s more about a having good sustaining guitar than an endless delay. If you have a nice pushed, sustaining guitar it affects the delay in subtle ways that you can’t get if you don’t have the sustain and are relying on delay and reverb to give you sustain. Just a thought…

I LOVE this song. We playing this song on Easter last year and it was such a powerful moment for our church. I was so glad we put it on the record. This is another slow building song that really requires a lot of delicacy from everyone. I stayed on my ’52 reissue and droned chords and single notes. Often times letting them sort of bleed into other chords to make it kind of messy. Staying out of the way of the piano and vocal is important on a song like this. I had the timeline on a long quarter note delay and the memory man set to another long delay (I don’t like them to be at the same tempo, so I don’t worry about tempo on the DMM) and some reverb. And the TS808 with the gain all the way down. As the song starts building, I start doubling the melody with the piano and vocal. I slowly start turning the gain up on the TS808 (always turning knobs with my feet while I’m playing). Then when the drums start to really build I stacked my Morning Glory with the TS808. Then Lance and I are playing the melody together (with Lance playing the harmony). Then I think we both just went crazy at the end.

We reworked this song for the record. It used to be more piano driven and happy and ballady (I just made that word up) and we went in a little more of a moody, vibey direction for the recording. Which I like. So, for this song I wanted a little more of a round sound for the intro. So I used O.B.S. and used the middle pickup. I added a little verb and made a preset on the Timeline that was pretty present for the first 3 or 4 repeats. Then just an old Ibanez TS-10 set for a light overdrive. For the solo I used a Boss Super Shifter pedal to get pitch shifting, whammy pedal type of thing and my Boss DM-2. I’d turn it on right as the note shifted up to the harmony and it would oscillate real crazy for a second then I turned it off and repeated the process.

I used my TMG Gatton for this song. The intro was just a light delay from the DM-2 and my Honeybee for the overdrive. Just a pretty, clean, raw sound on the middle position (both pickups on together). I played super soft on the intro part too, which gives it a different, hollow type of tone. Kept a similar sound for the verses and choruses but switched to the bridge pickup and kicked on the Superbolt to brighten it and push it a little more. For the big outro section I switched to a wider longer delay with my TS-10 and Superbolt to get that big chimey sound.

This is my favorite song. Back to O.B.S. and playing really soft using a plate reverb and a real subtle delay. A lot of times I’m controlling a lot of the dynamics with just my right hand and how hard or soft i’m picking the strings. I’m always leaving room, volume wise so I can be as sensitive to the song as possible. That way I’m in control and not relying on volume knobs and pedals to raise the dynamics. On the choruses, I added the Superbolt into the mix and used a bit of a longer delay. I play a driving part under the vocal, but switch up my strumming to match the vocal melody on specific parts. It’s that interaction with the driving 16th note thing then switching to 1/4 notes for a second that mixes it up and adds a little interest. In my opinion anyways. It’s a way to let a part of the music breathe. It’s allowing your guitar to disappear for a moment that adds the power when you do come back in. For the bridge melody I started off with just the TS808 and the gain down (I am always turning the gain up and down with my foot while I’m playing) and turned it up slowly as it builds. Then when the drums come in strong I turn on the Superbolt and keep building it. At the end when it goes down to just the drums I let my delays keep going, oscillating into the distance…


tête-à-tête: stu g

Sometimes you get introduced to a band and it changes your life. Delirious was one of those bands. Stu G was the guitar player. His playing changed everything for me. It was beautiful and brash. It was tender and tough. It was perfect. He raised the bar. Big time. The way he constantly evolves as a musician is an inspiration. I met Stu a few months ago when I was in Atlanta recording the new Matt Redman album. We sat and he let me talk for hours about how much I love him… which was quite kind and patient. A couple weeks ago we had another chat. We talked about his day to day life as Stu G, his own inspirations (he saw Queen play Wembley Arena. OMG.), his new album, fuzz pedals and much more.



Hi Stu G. What are you doing?
Right now I’m working on my new EP and all things to do with my PledgeMusic Campaign at the same time as finalizing things for my eldest daughter’s wedding at the end of September…wow time goes fast!

What’s a normal day like for Stu G?
Well everyday can be different but always starts with a coffee, a read and some meditation. I spend my time nowadays either song writing, guitar sessions [in my studio or tracking sessions elsewhere]. occasionally producing, or playing live with an artist. OSS (One Sonic Society) takes some time too, but it’s not a full time commitment.

A typical day in my studio would start around 9am with more coffee and creating a to do list. If i’m co-writing, that would start at 10:00. I try and get home for dinner around 6:00. I’ve done that ever since the kids were born if i’m at home. There is no greater gift than family and eating meals together is really important to me. If I’m not busy in the evening, Karen and i will catch up with whatever TV obsession we have… currently it’s either Breaking Bad or Madmen 🙂

Did you grow up in a musical family?
Both my parents played an instrument but not professionally. Mum [piano] Dad [violin, guitar] So there was always music around. I used to go to my Grandmas and raid my uncles record collection and bang along on upturned saucepans. Once I was aware of Top Of The Pops on the BBC I would grab a tennis racket, pretend it was a guitar, and play along. 

What first drew you to the guitar? What kept you interested?
I was a huge Queen fan and when I heard Queen Live Killers at 16 years old I wanted to be Brian May. My love of music kept me interested as well as the lifelong search for tone, hooks and melodies

Did you play in bands growing up? Any exceptional band names?
Yes I was in a band back in Ipswich [my home town]. It was a christian band playing bars. It was called 33 Across – quite an exceptional name.

After I moved to London I had a band called The Stuart David Band [my two first names] and then The Treasure Park 🙂

33 Across is exceptional! Who is your favorite band?
that would have to be Queen historically and Radiohead currently.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen? And why.
HARD! Historically – The first time I saw Queen at Wembley Arena or Pink Floyd The Wall at Earls Court both in 1980, no explanation needed! More recently – Arcade Fire at the Ryman in Nashville. I’ve never seen more joy exuded by a band performance EVER!

I want to ask you about your writing process. Specifically guitar parts. The thing that really hits me when I listen to you play guitar is that the parts are very catchy. Very memorable and timeless sounding. Then you have a knack for finding the perfect guitar sound for that part. I think often times when I am listening to bands it’s one or the other. What comes first, the melody or the tone? What’s the process like when it’s time to track guitars and write your parts?
Thank you! I think it’s a combination of things. The music that inspires me, the desire to put the song first, years of making music in the studio, basing everything I do from the major scale, being both a rhythm and lead player.

There is always a gut reaction melody that comes to mind, but getting the tone right makes you play less so it always develops at the same time. I hardly ever sign off on parts without collaboration. I am always better when someone else is there, producer or artist, to bounce ideas off.

I remember the first time I heard Glo. Those fuzz guitars and all the crazy noises you made. It shocked me and made me rethink everything I was doing. One thing I liked about that album was the guitar sounds were so aggressive but the guitar parts were very melodic and pretty. So it created a really cool tension. Who were some of your influences as far as the more experimental guitar sounds you were going for?
Well the producers were an influence, Chuck Zwicky, Lynn Nichols and Tedd T. I was listening to a lot of Billy Corgan combining that with an Edge like melodic sense. It just kind of evolved. ZVEX pedals were also to blame and the Line6 DL4 had just come out 🙂

You have a rather large discography now. What are some of your guitar performances over the course of your career that you are especially proud of? Are there any that stick out to you? 
I think my work on Mezzamorphis, Glo and AudioLessonover were really defining for me and I’m proud of that. Any time we played live in Southern California or London pulled the best out of me too. So I think back to shows at The Greek Theatre and Shepherds Bush Empire specifically. I love what I did on the first two OSS eps and on my new EP OF Burdens Birds And Stars

You are making a solo record! Tell me all about it!
Yes It’s called Of Burdens Birds And Stars and is a collection of 6 new songs written in the time since Delirious finished up to the present day. These are stories and observations of my time of transition and include a love song, a prayer for a friend, therapy from relationship failings, a song for my youngest daughter when she left home for a year traveling. a real mixture of styles and sentiments. They don’t fit into OSS or anything else I’m involved in and once a few friends heard them, they encouraged me to get them out there. These are not songs to sing in church they’re just songs. I’m not trying to be cool, trendy, mainstream, alternative or anything else i’m trying to be honest and obedient to my story, and maybe these songs can help other people with their story. I’m nearly done recording, but ran out of money to mix and master so I’m running a PledgeMusic Campaign to help me finish it. I’ve never done anything like this before and really enjoying the social media interaction. This is a new day for me and I’m really excited about getting this out there

I’m really excited to hear it. What’s happening with your band One Sonic Society?
We remain busy with playing at conferences and churches. We are writing some new songs right now too. We’re talking about the next year or so and looking at how it’s going to look. We all have an influence and are involved with many different worship leaders and movements. It’s a privilege to remain a part of writing and influencing the church in terms of songs and music. Jason and Paul are my biggest supporters and friends. We have some history now, and I have to recognize it as a God connection… I’m both lucky and blessed 🙂

Who are some bands and guitar players that you are really into right now?
Anything Jack White, Blonde Redhead, The new Jars Of Clay record Inland is amazing, All Sons And Daughters, The Brilliance, Loud Harp, Radiohead, Oceania by Smashing Pumpkins is a great record as is The Next Day by David Bowie

Ok, well you are Stu G, so I need to talk to you about some guitars and amps and pedals and things. What’s your favorite guitar that you own? What is the guitar you find yourself using the most in the studio and live?
Ugh! That’s hard. I think it would have to be my Cherry sunburst Les Paul Standard from the 90s. This was my mainstay for most of the Delirious years. It’s the best Les Paul I’ve ever played. Next in line would be my ’66 Gretsch duo jet, Then my ’79 Strat. Live I use my Duesenberg Star TV player most. It’s kind of a mixture of Les Paul and Gretsch, but is a newer, well built guitar that I don’t mind flying with in a Mono gig bag.

If you had to choose just one amp, what would it be?
My ’76 Park 50w combo it’s incredible!! Made by Jim Marshall in a time where his distributor Rose Morris only wanted certain designs, he made these and sold them through a store in Birmingham England 

Ok, and what are some pedals that have caught your attention recently?
Earthquaker Devices are amazing. I have just got The Organizer, Bit Commander and Hoof Reaper. They are a little like Zvex in as much as you need to be ready to experiment and expect the unexpected. 

I am proud to have relationship with both DMB and JHS pedals. both these guys make really solid and useful tools for the guitar player. They both make extraordinarily good delay pedals in the Lunar Echo and Panther Delay respectively well worth checking out their range of stuff.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Apart from “don’t eat yellow snow”? 

That’s great advice! Anything Else?
I think it would be “don’t strive to be who you are, help others be who they are” this came at a time when i was trying to figure out life after D?

What advice can you offer to aspiring guitar players?
Hold on to your dreams, work hard, practice, learn the major scale in every key in all 7 positions. Finally prayer works… it’s the only thing that can change circumstances when we have done everything physically possible.

Thank you, Stu. Bye.
THANK YOU! byebye

guitar lesson: U2 Please

here we have U2 performing Please from their amazing, yet unappreciated, album POP. This is filmed in Mexico City at the end of their POPMART tour. This song evolved over the course of the tour into one of the best live songs they have ever performed.

I think it’s one of The Edge’s best guitar performances. There are so many great parts throughout the song. It’s a great example of how he can fill up a song with just a few notes. And the solo is in my top 5.

Guitar Players, take note of each section of the song and how he has a simple, yet extremely effective part for each. Sometimes it’s just playing off of 1 chord (the verse/Chorus), playing a 3 note pattern (pre chorus), a classic style riff (bridge), or an arpegiated pattern at the end. It’s all simple, but there’s such an attention to detail on the tones of each. he doesn’t do what you think he’s going to do. He makes each part sound the opposite of what i would usually make them sound like. For instance, The riff he plays on the bridge is a pretty funky riff, but he sort of turns it on it’s head with the tone he uses. He puts a really intense, over the top envelope filter with the delay and it’s just so great, guys! It’s the same with the pre chorus. He puts a different, slower envelope filter on this really simple, pretty, 3 note part that keeps it from being predictable and adds a totally different feeling to it. Also, the way he modifies the verse part for the chorus is so killer. It ties the whole song together. And the solo… oh my god.

I remember sitting in my room as a teenager and learning each part of this song. I’ve borrowed many ideas from his playing on this song.

Learn each part. It will teach you so much.