Getting A Little Too Satisfied With The Status Quo

When I started playing guitar at the ripe age of fourteen, my goal was to be the best guitar player at my school. Within my first year I began learning some very difficult songs. I also learned solos by Jimi Hendrix and Slash which took me tedious hours to get them down pat. Once I reached college I started playing only Christian music with a band called Mordecai’s Courage. The music we began to write together was of a different nature than what I had grown up learning. It was more melodic and did not require so much of the “shredding” and rippin’ blues licks that I was used to. This proved to be a challenge for me but over time I was able to change my style in order to accommodate the alternative rock that MC was creating. By the time MC called it quits around 2003 I had become quite comfortable with playing more melodious lead guitar.

During this time I had also began playing with my church’s praise team. I really felt like a little fish in a big pond at this point because most of the other members knew their instruments far better than I knew mine and they knew music theory far better than I did. They were always changing keys on me and playing songs in key other than what was written on the chord sheet. Not only this but they also expected proper lead guitar. This was a lot for me to take in and several times I came close to dropping from the praise team because I felt I just was not up to par with the rest of the team. But thanks to my brother-in-law (who was also on the team), I began to understand scales and relative minors and the components of what makes a chord progression. All of this helped me to get a better handle on playing lead guitar as well as playing in other keys. I finally came to the point where if I knew what key we were in (i.e. what chord to start on), then I could easily figure out the rest of the chords by ear and by understanding how most modern popular music is written. This helped pave the way I think for my later role as a worship leader. I now find myself helping less experienced musicians work through the same hurdles that I once had to overcome.

But now I am at another interesting crossroads. I feel that my tenure as a praise and worship leader has caused me to neglect my first love, lead guitar. The reason I started playing in the first place is so that I could rip up some blues/rock scales and imitate my guitar heroes (Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Zakk Wylde). In fact I can remember in the first month or so of learning guitar I thought an electric guitar was called a lead guitar. So I at first was telling my mom that I wanted her to buy me a lead guitar. Wow, that was so long ago. Holy, moley, I just did the math. I started playing guitar fifteen years ago!

I realize that I waste a lot of time. I get online a lot and play around and watch YouTube videos. If I want to regain my lead guitar playing prowess then I need to spend that time refamiliarizing myself with the major and minor pentatonic scales and relearn how to incorporate them. I also need to get my chops up again because I can not fret as fast as I once could. So this is my resolution: I will not waste my spare time with idleness but will redevote myself to excellence in guitar playing. So it’s time for me to take out my lead guitar…I mean electric guitar, fire up the ol’ Marshall and scrub off a lick or two.

Put out the spotlights one and all
Let the feelin’ get down to your soul
The music’s so loud you can hear the sound
Reachin’ for the sky and tearin’ up the ground

It’s all part of my rock ‘n’ roll fantasy
It’s all part of my rock ‘n’ roll dream
–Bad Company

By the way, for those of you who like hearing about folks’ dreams. During my afternoon Sunday nap this past week, I dreamed that I was starting the praise and worship set with Evergreen’s praise team. The house was packed with folks ready to worship. There was extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. The only problem was kept having to stop playing in order to correct sound problems or work out song arrangements during the set. The large congregation was gracious and understanding but I still tried to crack some jokes in order to lighten the situation. However it was still frustrating, but also still fun. Anyway, I’m not saying it means anything, I just thought it was funny.

Josh H.


10 Responses to “Getting A Little Too Satisfied With The Status Quo”

  1. April 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Hey Josh, I came across your blog, somehow. I’m still not sure how. I think it’s great that you still play your guitar. I also think it’s wonderful that you use music to worship God. I can still see you jumping around on stage in high school playing in the talent show. Good times.

  2. 2 Renee
    April 22, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I have not finished reading this awesome post yet, but I wanted to share a Daniel funny with you. As I began reading this, with Daniel on my lap, he pointed to the top of the screen and said, “Look! Uncle Josh!” Then he pointed to the picture of the guy on the smartguyreviews.com ad and said, “Look! Jake!”

    “Who’s Jake?” I asked.

    “Uncle Josh’s brother!”

    Ha! I couldn’t believe he remembered your brothers name or thought the guy in the ad was him.

  3. 3 kev
    April 22, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Wait…getting online a lot and watching YouTube videos is a waste of time?!?

    It’s only a waste if you’re watching pointless videos, though…right? Videos of kittens playing with balls of string are okay, right?

    Ah, kittens. I could watch them play all day long.

  4. 4 Ryan Cruce
    April 23, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Well, if I can stop wasting time myself and get this song written, whenever we play it on a Sunday night you can play some lead guitar on it!  I may actually get to work on it tomorrow, as I’ve put it off for far too long.

  5. 5 Steve
    April 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I like kittens, too.

  6. April 25, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Its weird that you dreamed that Sunday, Josh, cause that is exactly what I was thinking during the service.  I could hardly hear you at all and kept stopping to see if you were even coming through the monitors.  The whole time I was thinking, "Would it be bad to stop and get this situation fixed?  Its just our little group of folks."  Then I saw that you dreamed that.  Weird.  ‘course in your dream the church was packed.
    I can’t wait till we have an electric guitar!  That is gonna be so fun!

  7. April 25, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Its weird that you dreamed that Sunday, Josh, cause that is exactly what I was thinking during the service. I could hardly hear you at all and kept stopping to see if you were even coming through the monitors. The whole time I was thinking, "Would it be bad to stop and get this situation fixed? Its just our little group of folks." Then I saw that you dreamed that. Weird. ‘course in your dream the church was packed.
    I can’t wait till we have an electric guitar! That is gonna be so fun!

  8. April 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Stink! it told me there was some sort of proxy error or something, so I posted again.  Now I look like one of those dumb butts that doesn’t know to hit "Submit Comment" only once 🙂

  9. April 26, 2008 at 8:42 am

    That’s ok, Saige. If that kind of thing ever happens I will usually hit refresh just in case.

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