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Why teachers prefer giving private lessons at Coming Hour

Posted on April 18, 2017 by Coming Hour

Running a studio with billing, insurance, taxes, hospitality, scheduling and recruiting students is a messy task for most. Why should you practically have to get an MBA just to run a successful private lesson studio? 

You shouldn't!

At Coming Hour, we do the business so you can be the teacher. Here are some of the best things about teaching at Coming Hour.

Student Recruitment

Parents and students already come to us looking for teachers. We also invest heavily in effective marketing that has proven to get new student leads on a regular basis. Wouldn't it be nice if new students were regularly added to your schedule with no extra effort on your part?

Parent-Friendly Location

Yes, we all value actively involved parents. But that doesn't mean sitting idly for 30 minutes means they're invested. The reality is that we're right up the road from Hy-Vee, and parents value being able to run errands during lessons.

As much as I hate this truth, as soon as bringing a child to lessons becomes a burden, the less likely they are to stick around over time. When parents know they can run an errand during lessons if needed, they are able to remember that lessons are a worth-while investment, not an inconvenience. 

Good Pay and Structure

Every lesson teacher imagines what they could "make" running their own studio, only to forget internet, hospitality (coffee/water), waiting room, bathroom supplies, insurance, sales tax, marketing, instrument and facility upkeep, etc. 

Teachers get paid anywhere from $28/hr - $32/hr (round numbers) based on your number of students, experience, and qualifications. We do everything listed above plus billing, sales tax, scheduling, etc.

And on top of that, you're paid as an employee. No extra taxes for you in April.

In Sioux Falls, that also means you can teach students that you're involved with at a public school. Yes, that's a fact. Because you're employed, it's technically not "you" teaching them, it's "Coming Hour" teaching them, which makes it 100% permissible. 

Great Community

You'll be alongside other passionate teachers at Coming Hour. Our entire culture from teachers to sales staff is a culture of growth, empowerment, and passion. We all love seeing musicians grow, and that's what you'll be a part of. 

Whether you want to collaborate as musicians, or find ensembles for your students, you will grow to love everybody at Coming Hour.

Retail Store Benefits

This definitely doesn't make-or-break anything, but it is sure nice to have. Because our retail store is both local AND online, our prices are competitive with the cheapest online stores. No overpriced gear!

On top of that, all teachers get team discounts on all purchases (I can't publicly state the amount) and all students get 10% off all purchases. I guarantee you that makes it cheaper than Amazon for students and parents on almost every purchase. 

Or if you simply want to pick up a few hours to supplement your teacher income. We all work together!

We Grow With You

Most of all, we want to help you achieve your professional goals. If your goal is as a full-time teacher, we're behind you. If it's also a professional musician with a strong online presence, we'll use you in our retail demos to help get you exposure. If you want to be a clinician, we'll help get you in schools. 

Your goals are our goals!

This isn't just about Coming Hour, and it's not just about you. Working together we can make a greater influence on musicians across the Sioux Falls area more effectively than either of us can separately.

Let's Chat

I would love to chat about you becoming a Coming Hour teacher. Just click that button, give me your contact info, and I'll be in touch very soon. It would be an honor to have you on our team!

-Matt

4 Easy Lessons That Will Help You Learn Guitar Better AND Stick With It

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Coming Hour

Most people have fantasized about learning guitar at one time or another.  And the few that beat the confusion of poorly-made YouTube tutorials and keep playing longer than a few weeks usually end up in a rut, playing the same 3 riffs and patterns because they simply don't know how to go any further.  

Whether you use free online resources or sign up for lessons with a teacher, understanding a few of these concepts will help you love and understand what you're learning, and give you the tools to actually stick with it! (Unlike most people who start learning guitar).

Stick with us, and you WILL be playing by the end of this article!

FYI - I created a free picture/diagram guide to help you understand each section better visually. It's not required, and you can absolutely learn everything you need from this article without it, but if you'd like that (FOR FREE), just CLICK HERE, enter your email, and we'll send it to you instantly.  (References like 1A, 3C, etc. all also refer to diagrams in the PICTURE GUIDE).

www.cominghour.com/GuitarPictureGuide <---Click To Get Picture Guide

1. Don't Be Intimidated By "Technique"

People throw around the word technique to sound smart, but most don't have a clue what they're talking about. 

Technique simply refers to every detail about your posture and guitar position. It helps you stay relaxed by reducing tension in your muscles (as small as your thumb, as large as your back) that enable you to play guitar with the best tone and speed possible.  The goal is to stay relaxed.  It'll help you play better, and keep you from straining any muscles. 

Here's what's really important:

LEFT HAND

1A) Your left hand (fretting hand, right hand for lefties) - Picture yourself loosely holding a tennis ball. Keep that shape, and put your thumb behind the guitar neck (1B) without resting your palm against the side of the neck. Make sure you're playing everything with the tip of your finger (1C), so that you don't muffle other strings around it.

GUITAR POSITION

Where do you put your guitar? Most people put it on their right leg (1D), but notice the feeling in your shoulder and back. Feel any tension? It won't kill you, but you'll probably feel the strain after playing for some time.  

It looks a little dorky, but now try resting your guitar on your left leg (1E), with the bottom sitting between your legs. It probably feels a little formal, but do you also feel how relaxed all your muscles are?  Take note, and find a comfortable middle ground that doesn't cause too much stress.

RIGHT HAND

Now the right hand! Grab your pick, but wait, there is actually a correct way! It will feel floppy at first, but once you get used to it, it's more relaxed than anything I've seen anyone else teach. Put your thumb across the top of the pick (1F), perpendicular to the tip. Then place the side of your index finger on the other side of the pick (1G).  Resist the temptation to squeeze the pick (1H), because the grip I just explained is as natural as your hand in its relaxed position (1I). And when you play, you simply swing your relaxed arm from the elbow (1J).

Always ask these questions: Am I relaxed while I play? Am I comfortable? Is there unnecessary tension?  

And if you do that, you'll play great without every straining muscles!

2. Learn To Speak Music

Music is practically a different language. Too many guitar players struggle to know and describe what they're playing. They only know where to put a finger on the neck, and nothing more. Doesn't it seem logical to talk about what you're playing? Makes sense to me to.  So let me give you some help:

MUSIC ALPHABET

The music alphabet is literally the first 7 letters of the standard alphabet. A, B, C, D, E, F, G.  They do go in order, but only when you play certain frets.  The string names in order from lowest pitch (thickest string) to highest pitch (thinnest string) are E, A, D, G, B, E (2A).  The first E is the largest (lowest pitched) string, and the last E, after B, is the thinnest E.

I always teach young kids to remember your strings with the story: Eddy Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddy.  It's funny, and you'll never forget it.

MUSIC ALPHABET ON YOUR GUITAR 

This is where at least half of all self-taught guitar players bow out, except for you. I'm excited for you to go further than all of them!

Let's start with the thickest string, the E-string (2B). Open is E, 1st fret is F, 3rd fret is G

Next thickest string, A-string (2C). Open is A, 2nd fret is B, 3rd fret is C.

Next: D-string (2D). Open is D, 2nd fret is E, 3rd fret is F.

Next: G-string (2E). Open is G, 2nd fret is A.

Next: B-string (2F). Open is B, 1st fret is C, 3rd fret is D.

Next: E-string (2G). Open is E, 1st fret is F, 3rd fret is G.

THE MISSING FRETS

If you played along with the music alphabet on your guitar, you'd notice we skipped a few frets. Once we fill those in, you'll know every note name for every standard chord you'll play.  Crazy!

Just so you know, I'm giving you step 1 here. Music geniuses will say that you're missing facts, and you are.  But trust me that this is simply a place to start that gives you the full picture still.

The missing frets are called sharps, and it's always named by the lower letter, but not every letter gets a sharp.  In between every F and G is F-sharp (F#, 2H). Between C and D is C# (2I). See how there are no frets between E and F? There isn't an E#.  Same idea between B and C, no B#. I'm sure you can fill in the rest.

It's a little confusing at first, but CLICK HERE to get a free picture guide with a killer diagram to speed up the learning.

**Now it's time to play some guitar for real**

3. Start Simple, Start Here, One Step, One Key

You don't need to master guitar to sound great.  My advice? Pick one key, one set of chords, and learn to rock those first. This is what I would do: the key of G.

THE SCALE

Scroll back up to all those notes above, and play these individually: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G (3A). Play them up, down, skip 2, or any other variation you want.  The goal is to get incredibly familiar with where those notes sit on the guitar, because all our chords will use those notes.  I wrote (and made videos) out a few bonus patterns that I use a lot in the free Picture Guide (3B-3E).

If you'd like it, just -->CLICK HERE<-- and we'll send it to you for no charge.

3 STARTING CHORDS

These chords work perfectly together! They are slightly simplified for starters, but if you're anything like me you'd rather sound great than be textbook-perfect. Here are the diagrams, but one note first:

The numbers are you finger numbers for your fretting hand (3F). Index is 1, middle is 2, ring is 3, and pinky is 4.  On the diagram, the thickest string on the left, which is also the closest string to you when you're holding the guitar. Strings with the green dot above should be played open. Here are the 3 chords.

G MAJOR (3G)
C MAJOR (3H)
E MINOR (3I)
If you want to see a few pictures of a real hand playing these chords, just snag the Free Picture Guide by clicking HERE<----

4. Now That You're Playing:

You've got a few chords, exercises, and knowledge under your fingers now. If you're anything like me, you can do them all separately with only a little struggle, but the pure thought of mushing them all together is a little daunting. So you'll just need to trust me on this one...

Take it slow, but still take it!

If you're committed to understanding and loving guitar for the long-haul, it's important to think about everything you do in 2 ways: the shapes and the music.

Place your fingers in the G Major chord shape above.  While holding that, refresh your mind with the notes from section 2.  Can you figure out the names of each note you're playing in the G Major chord? Download the PICTURE GUIDE to see if you're right, because there's a great diagram of every single note on the neck of the guitar in there (4A). 

If you only think about guitar in shapes, you'll sound great without any understanding to keep driving you forward.

If you only think about guitar with music knowledge, notes, and technique, your playing won't have any soul or emotions, and you'll likely overthink everything.

And in the end, just remember the most important thing...

If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong!

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7 Easy Ways To Encourage Your Kids to Love Music

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Coming Hour

7 Easy Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Love Music

You don’t need another study that shows the psychological benefits of music for your kid. It’s time to start investing.

Musical experts aren’t required for these simple activities. Only a willing heart, because that’s truly what inspires your kids. All of these are, “No Skills Required” activities.

Don’t be limited by this list, but use it as a springboard to find specific things that perfectly mold to your youngsters. Share this with a friend, and brainstorm some new and creative ways to cultivate creativity in your home.

1. Play Recorded Music 

Mozart is great, but he’s not perfect. Find some fun tunes that you like as well, and create a soundtrack for your home. If it’s playtime, reading time, cleanup, or snacks, turn on some tunes.

Humans are drawn to what makes them comfortable, and comfort comes from familiarity. All the scientific studies aside, if kids get used to hearing music they will learn to love it, and begin to reap the rest of the benefits as well.

2. Sing Songs Together 

Don’t think you’re a singer? No worries! You can belt out “Let It Go” with your daughter or croon a solo lullabye while they dose off.

Your kids love you. Your kids copy you. They love being like you, which means:

You have fun singing = they have fun singing. You’re not necessarily their music teacher, but 100% guarantee you are their motivaton. And NOBODY can accomplish that as well as you can, regardless how well you sing…so sing!

3. Sing Conversations 

This sounds harder than it is, but in reality it’s as easy as it comes. You probably even do it without recognizing it (cue Buddy The Elf, “I’m singing!!! I’m in a store and I’m singing!!!”). 

It’s as easy as Buddy makes it look. Instead of talking, just sing! If your kid is old enough, they’ll catch on and you’ll have to figure out a way to make them talk normal again. But even if they’re still young, sing away.

4. Name That Sound

You’ve heard of Where’s Waldo? How about I Spy? Imagine those games, but with sounds. This one is easy and super effective...and a side effect is quiet kids, but don’t focus on that too long!

It could be the sound of birds chirping, the squeaky back door, or mommy or daddy walking upstairs. All you need to do is, “SSSHHHHH, can you hear that bird?” It’s helpful to connect a visual at first, but quickly they’ll be stopping you to listen!

You probably already this game’s common counterpart, “what sound does the cow make?” Yup, similar skill, but helps with auditory awareness, which could even make them aware of their surroundings and keep them safe as an adult!

5. Dance to Dinner

Every kid will learn to walk in a straight line at school. What fun is that?

Whether you’re going to dinner, outside, to the park, or just relaxing in the living room. Every time is a good time to dance. Dance and music are internally connected, they’re inseparable. Again – no skills required. 

6. Record Yourselves

Have you ever heard a kid say “Can we look at my picture again?” or “Let’s watch my movie again”? Pull out your phone, and use Voice Memo to capture a song-conversation to listen to together. Or write a song about grass and flowers, then record it.

They’ll think they’re famous!!

For ambitious parents, turn that phone into your video camera and let little Suzie perform her “Unicorn Song” in front of the camera, then watch it on the TV.

She’ll love music, love creating, and love being in front of people. All are lifelong skills.

7. Watch Musical Performances

I’m not advocating more time in front of a screen here, but perhaps use some of that time to watch a concert of some form? Kids learn names and sounds of instruments, and are inspired by polished performances that sound bigger than life.

They see someone in the ensemble quickly aspire to be that performer.

It can be last night’s high school band performance, the area symphony, or dance your way to the band in the park. You’ll be amazed how much they start to love and get inspired by these performances.

 

I only listed 7 here, only because I like the number 7. Experiment with these and find what works best for you and your kid, invent some of your own, or borrow from a friend. These are “No Skills Required” to start encouraging your kids to love music. So why not start now?

 

Try A Music Lesson for FREE:

One of the most exciting things to see is your child getting excited about one of the few activities that they can love and grow in for life.  

We'd love to help you determine if music lessons are a great fit for your family.  

Just click "Give Me More Info" below and sign up to get more info about lessons, and we'll send you an email to claim your free first lesson!

3 Worship Leader Roles that Aren't Leading Worship

Posted on June 18, 2016 by Coming Hour

frustrations of being a worship leader

The endless tasks and duties that are involved in being a worship leader tend to go unnoticed and under appreciated.  We recognize everything that goes into each and every service, and it gets hard because Sunday comes every..single..week, and without your work, people would not be engaged in worship at the level you are blessed to see every week.  Thank you for all you do!  

My hope is that reading this post will help you understand what's really happening, and maybe help you do it better.  If you chuckle from recognizing your insanity, or break a tear from being overwhelmed, please hang on because we'd love to help you succeed in at least a few ways.  This definitely isn't an exhaustive list, but just a few to get you recognizing and leading like there's more than just being in front on Sundays.

You're a Music Teacher (or you're probably not)

Aren't music teachers just in schools?  Why can't I just lead worship and let other people do the teaching?  That would sure be nice, but you can't ignore the truth that because you're a spiritual leader there are people looking to you for guidance in every area of life...including music.  It could be bass, vocals, guitar, keys, running sound, or playing drums.  

Don't be ashamed, most worship leaders are hired based on their ability to lead a congregation into worship, not teach music.  People will still be coming up to saying, "I really want to play drums [insert any instrument] for worship, can you teach me??"  Wouldn't it be great if you could send them somewhere that you can trust? Somewhere that will teach with excellence AND encourage a heart of worship?  Keep scrolling to the bottom if this is you.

The Recruiter

"Hey worship leader, how come we didn't have a bass player this week?"

Ever heard that after a week of dropouts, endless phone calls, and a short lineup of musicians to pull from?  Surprise.  You probably didn't realize that it's also your job to find new people to serve on your team, and recruiting from other churches only contributes to the endless cycle of worship teams not  having enough musicians.  

Wouldn't it be great to have a way to take groups of interested individuals from within your congregation, and turn them into active musicians in your rotation?  They're probably looking for a way to serve anyways.  A way to take people from zero experience to a level where they can confidently start participating, and then grow from there?  If you like this idea, keep scrolling..

Tech Director

 The pastor's mic screeched during announcements.  The slides designed on Thursday look different on Sunday.  We can't find a solution within our budget for new mics.  The drums need to be mic'd.  In-ear monitors would be great, but we've got no clue where to start.  It'd be great to train some sound people, or at least get some people who understand a little about that sound board.  

Any of these sound familiar?  I bet they do, and you had no clue that leading worship meant running the Audio/Visual/Lighting department as well.  There are people that make careers from each of those areas, and now you're a musician who needs to magically run an entire Tech Department.  Wish there was someone that could help?

We truly value you for everything you do for the Kingdom.  And maybe you've chuckled, or maybe you cried while reading this article.  This is far from an exhaustive list of everything that goes into being a worship leader, but if there's ever anything we can do to help you, we'd love to help any way we can!

The Sign You May Have G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome)

Posted on May 27, 2016 by Coming Hour

Gear Acquisition Syndrome.  

It's a myth, it's a rumor, but you definitely don't suffer from it.  Guitar players in a far off land are plagued by it.  The disease causes you to constantly be chasing the perfect tone, selling off limbs to afford the newest pedal.  But you definitely don't have it.....or do you?!?!?  There are many symptoms, ranging from multiple credit cards to commenting "save it 'til Friday when I get paid" frequently on used gear posts.  Some who suffer from GAS even spend their lunch hour at the music store just hanging out.  

None of these things are really issues by themselves; they point to a greater issue.  This all helps in the diagnosis process, but there's one obvious symptom the puts the biscuit in the basket:

If you think you don't have GAS, you have it.

That's right...denial.  Here's the reality, you have it.  Whether you're openly in support groups or you're in denial, you have it.  You have maybe even made it WEEKS without something new, but you know your heart longs to demo the latest and greatest pedals and amps for hours on hand just hoping somebody will walk in with a blank check to give you because of your good looks.  

For the times when that doesn't happen, we have the solution.  There's a mystical land where demoing gear is void of sales pressure, where trade-ins are valued at the highest possible dollar, and you get complementary coffee and tea to calm your nerves while you bond with tone.  This place is Coming Hour, don't believe it?   Believe it.

And if you have no desire to overcome, at least we have TONS of pedals for you to buy :P

We Aren't For Everyone, But We Might Be For You

Posted on April 24, 2016 by Coming Hour

The thought that any individual music store is the perfect fit for every single musician is a crazy and impossible idea.  We're not claiming to be some universal fit, but there are generally 3 types of people that particularly fall in love with shopping at Coming Hour.  These are truly based on popular and unprompted comments from the Coming Hour Family, new and old.  There are many other reasons people hang with us, so don't feel left out, we appreciate you just the same.  

I Love Supporting Local Stores Without Suffering For It

Over and over we hear this phrase, "I love being able to support a local store that treats me like a valued customer and has prices that compete with any internet store...I'm so grateful I found you."  It flatters us every time and never gets old.  There's no reason you need to pay crazy prices when you can overnight it from Amazon for half the price.  We value your business and don't want your wallet to hurt for doing business with us.  

I Love Great Tone And Unique Gear

Boutique pedals, boutique amps, custom drum kits, hand-built and one-of-a-kind are just a few phrases that describe what people love.  We carry many recognizable brands (only the great ones though), but also love carrying gear that is excellent AND unique.  People who appreciate great tone and great sounds appreciate what we carry.  You can explore new sounds for days, or compare the best Tubescreamer circuits you've ever heard.  You won't find our inventory in any big-box store, which is why we love bringing it to town for you to explore.

I Love Shopping With Worshipers

While this definitely doesn't include all of the Coming Hour Family, it is a large part.  If this isn't you, don't be concerned - we do NOT have a hidden pile of tracts to slip under your receipt.  Here's the truth, we are worshipers of Christ and this is why we do what we do.  If you're involved in your local church, we speak your language and understand your passions.  If this isn't you, we promise to never push it on you or trick you into anything weird.  But what it does mean, is that we value you as a unique individual and want to see you succeed as YOU in whatever setting you're in.  Our goal is that these values mean far-above average service for every single customer.  

For Everyone Else

If these three popular descriptions don't jive with you, don't write us off yet.  There are many unique reasons people have joined the Coming Hour Family, and we are truly honored by every single one of you.  But here's the truth, we are not infinite human beings (even though we wish we were), and we just simply can't be the perfect fit for every single musician in every single setting.  We'd still love to meet you and support you in any ways we can, we are still friendly musicians after all!  

Our heart is to invest in musicians who are trying to be the best versions of themselves, and if you haven't figured what the looks like yet, we would be honored to help in any way can.

Peace,

Matt T.

What Is A Christian Music Store Anyways?

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Matthew Tims

Here's the truth, people everywhere are slapping the "Christian" title on every business and expecting you to support it, even though the organization remains unchanged.  Christian coffee, Christian shirts, Christian graphic designers, Christian social media.......Christian music store?

I can't speak for everyone else who operates a "Christian" whatever, but let me tell you exactly what that looks like for this music store.

Our Team Members Are Active Worshipers

There is something helpful when somebody helping you make a purchase is actively aware and involved in an environment similar to yours.  It's also encouraging to know they aren't just aware, but believe what you believe.  Like-minded people tend to work well together.  The Coming Hour Difference isn't just about selling stuff, it's about investing in worshipers and helping them succeed with passion and excitement about worship. This only happens because each team member (from teachers to sales) is frequently serving at their local church, and truly has a heart for worship.

Christ's Excellency Is Our Standard

**Disclaimer: there are no theological statements in this section**

Everything we do, we strive for the highest standard.  That includes: customer service, product selection, prices, turnaround times, communication, lesson instruction, industry knowledge, integrity, character and ethics, etc.  Let me elaborate on a few of those:

Customer service: our goal is to make you successful, not to sell you something you don't need.  Yes, businesses need to make money to survive.  Our method isn't with crazy prices or up-selling you.  Our method involves connecting you with the best gear at the best price that serves your need so well, that you can't help but recommend our services.  This encompasses our integrity, character, and communication.  We make sure you understand what you're doing, and then you can make the decision of what you need.  We're here to help you!  That being said, we're not perfect and don't know everything, and we won't try to tell you that either.  We do strive to know the industry and be informed to help you how you deserve to be helped.

Product selection: we are rapidly growing, and every item we add to our lineup has a specific individual in mind.  Our goal is to carry things that are relevant to musicians everywhere, helpful for worshipers, and some of the coolest items in the industry.  While we're still growing, we directly respond to requests, whether they are normal for other stores or not.  If you're part of the Coming Hour Family, that's enough for us!  

Prices: Why is this even on here?  Because two terms that we own have negative connotations.  These are: "local store" and "Christian store".  You can check our prices on our website, or in the store.  I like to prove that you can be both a local store and a Christian store with quality products, at prices competitive with the internet.  Why should you have to suffer just to support something you believe in?

We Give Back

I hesitate to even include this section, because I don't want this to be a "look at us" section, in light of principles taught in Matthew 6.  The reason I've included it is simply to show that our mission doesn't stop at marketing, and it's definitely not all about bringing business in.  But first a quick business lesson for everyone :) These are not official definitions, and I'm not a legal advisor.  They're functional (and ultra-simplified) understandings relative to how we relate to each.

For-Profit Business: the goal and intent is to have more money come in than goes out (operation expenses, cost of goods, staff pay, etc.), that is called profit, and is generally how businesses are measured to be successful.  This is how we're legally defined.

Non-Profit Organization: an organization whose purposes are centered around a mission, not on profits, and often do not have direct correlations between services provided and revenue.  This includes churches, para-church ministries, and many other social organizations.  

There are many things we stand for that makes us feel like a non-profit, but the means we've chosen to express those values allow us to function as a for-profit business.  If we continue to survive, and continue to grow, that is affirmation to us that we are serving people's equipment and instructional needs well.  Then our profits and resources are often used for continued growth, as well as giving and sponsoring local and national organizations that are non-profit organizations, but align with our values. Here are a few, but not all, examples:

  • Sponsor local worship-leader meet-ups and events with Shift115.
  • Write gear reviews for The Church Collective to help musicians find equipment that fits their needs.
  • Hold equipment centered events to educate and build community among instrumentalists across churches/denominations.

Our heart is to come alongside churches, ministries, and organizations that are doing a great job discipling worshipers.  We do this in monetary and non-monetary ways, but both are in unique ways that the resource of a music store can offer.

We're Here For You

We equip musicians with equipment, repairs, and instruction to move in excellence in worship.  And we are here specifically for you.  Whether you're online or local, you matter to us and we would be honored to serve you.  If you ever have questions, or even just want to swing by and try some fun guitar pedals, we would be delighted!

Blessings,

Matt Tims, owner