The Soul of Tone: CJ Natale
Yesterday I started my series on “The Soul of Tone” Today I have a guest post from CJ Natale who is the leader of “Nusound Worship.” I have known CJ and his family for years and even crashed on their couch. Their Father John Natale is an itinerant minister and Nusound travels with him when he ministers around the world. Today CJ gives us a look at his guitars, his effects, and his amps. Following this he shares his thoughts on tone.
My Pedalboard: From beginning to end of my chain.
CMAT Compressor – This is a great compressor built by CMAT pedal mods. It is based off an old Ross compressor with the added tone control. I love this pedal it is one of the best compressors I have every played. I usually use it 50 % of the time during a live set. I turn it on for mostly clean parts of songs that need to stand out or lead riffs that need to stand out a little more with some added clarity and of course sustain.
MXR DynaComp – My backup compressor. Very good pedal for the price, but if your looking for that boutique sounding compression you will want something with a little bit more juice and squeeze to it.
BBE Boosta Grande! – Overall great sounding boost. For the price you can’t beat it. I paid $50 for mine. I use this pedal quite often for lead parts that need to stand out a bit more apart from the band and clean parts that need just a little bit more grit.
Modtone Tuner – I love this tuner because of the awesome led lights it has in it. You can see the note show up on the display screen in the brightest of days if your playing an outdoor gig with some bright sunlight. My favorite part about the pedal is the blue led light that remains on when the pedal is disengaged.
ProCo Rat Distortion – One of my favorite dirt boxes of all time. This thing is killer. You can dial in Van Halen type tones to paramore, this thing is great. I mainly use this pedal for solos that I need to stand out away from the band with. I would recommend if you buy this pedal if it is a newer version to send it out to Keeley to get it modded. Because the newer ones tend to sound a little fuzzy.
Barber LTD “Silver Edition” Overdrive – By far one of the best overdrive pedals I have every played. It replaced my Ts 808 and my Maxon OD 808. This pedal sounds incredible. If you ever wondered what your tube screamer would sound like with out all that extra mid they tend to have in their circuits, then I encourage you to try one of these out. You will not be disappointed. This pedal is on about 70% of the time I play live.
Dunlop “Original” Crybaby Wah – Not too much to say about this one it’s a crybaby haha. I rarely use this pedal live but I like to keep it on my rig because you never know when the time might come that it needs to be turned on and taken for a spin. A very good sounding wah.
Eventide Timefactor Digital Delay – Pretty much the holy grail of digital delay pedals. This one by far is probably the best digital delay out on the market today. My favorite part about this pedal is the huge amount of presets you can set. Mine came with 50 banks with 100 storable presets, “stock they come with 10 banks giving you 20 storable presets”. Another great feature that the pedal offers is the blending of two different types of delay timings or “tempos”. This pedal is just plain amazing and has 9 different delay settings that will give you studio quality delay tones. I recommend it to every guitar player that is involved with worship.
Custom designed Clean Boost and Overdrive – Got this pedal from a buddy of mine. I believe it is based off an old tube screamer circuit and sounds really nice for a hand made pedal. I use it as the last pedal in my chain to boost my volume and to give my amp a little bit more edge.
Vox AC-15 Custom – I love this amp it really just chimes, and that is what it’s made to do. It plays very well with pedals and dirt boxes. I love the clean and crunch tones you can get out of them as well. For only 15 watts the thing can rip. I usually turn my volume to about 11 o clock to get a clean tone that is just starting to break up into overdrive. Very nice amp. I would recommend if you are buying one to replace the speaker if it hasn’t come with one already to an “ Alnico Blue” made by celestion. This speaker will give you that classic vox tone that was made famous from the 60s and 70s.
Peavey Classic 50 – My first tube amp I ever bought. I really liked this amp and for the price of $400 that I paid for it, it was really worth every penny. This amp sounds a lot like a fender deluxe but just a bit darker sounding, and creamier. It played great with overdrives and different effects pedals and really just had a good chunky, rich sound to it. For the beginning guitarist this is a great first class inexpensive tube amp to buy.
My Guitars –
Peavey T60 – Love this guitar. This is my main guitar that I use when I play live. It sound like a mix of a tele, a les paul and a strat combined with humbuckers that enable you to blend in from single coil as well. Great guitar and also very underrated. My model is from 1979 and has a rosewood finish on the fret board, which is a very nice addition, considering 90 % of them come with maple frets.
Gibson SG – One of my first guitars and all time favorites. This thing kills. Has a very rich fat tone to it. Especially great for rock and harder styles of music. Doesn’t get used too much during a worship setting but is still a great guitar to have lying around ready to shred.
Breedlove C25 – My main acoustic that I use live and in the studio. This is a really great acoustic guitar that is built well and sounds incredible. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of an acoustic. This one gets the job done for me quite well.
In Conclusion: I am always searching for new sounds for my rig. I like to use effects pedals not so much to change my sound but to enhance it and make my playing come to life. Being a guitarist who is into worship you are constantly going to alter your set up and continue to seek after that “perfect tone”. My main word of advice is to first get a good dry sound in your amp then work from there. Consider it like building a house, add things here and there little by little until you finally have that completed project in your hands and are confident with your tone and sounds. In the world of effects the possibilities are endless. You just have to get out there and explore!
Along with His writeup, I asked CJ Natale to send me a youtube video that Really inspires him in his search for tone.