Advice on knowing when not to overplay in Worship

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by Clouds84, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. Clouds84

    Clouds84 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    37
    Posts:
    151
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Just looking for some advice on when not to overdo it in worship. I'm starting to learn the pentatonic scale and forming melodies. Yesterday at worship practice, we did a song called You Are Good. There's an electric riff at the beginning (search YouTube for your reference). I only started learning this riff yesterday, and while I can do it, I'm not sure my nerves will hold up on Sunday and feeling a little uncomfortable about it. The song feels quite empty without it, though.

    My question basically is do these 'riffs' take away the worship element? It's important to not overdo it and showoff how good you are and to praise God, but at the same time you don't want the worship to be boring.

    I'm enjoying learning the electric thus all my questions.
     
    dougstrum likes this.
  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,477
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    France
    We guitar players think people notice our mistakes. They don't. Guitar players will notice your mistakes, but other than that, non musician listen to the voices.
    So go with the riff.
     
    Jim W, mRtINY, hotraman and 2 others like this.
  3. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,738
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Location:
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    Good question, the fact that you asked it shows you're thinking about it, so are less likely to over play.
    Riffs can be great for boosting the energy level of a song, adding interest, or signaling transitions.
    So many ways to play lines, punctuate a vocal phrase, or play the melody line on a particular verse, or create a harmony line like a descant, double the line with another instrument perhaps an octave apart. Endless possibilities:rolleyes:
    The one rule I always try to follow is: don't step on the singers toes:confused::D
     
    GoldieLocks and Deeve like this.
  4. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2021
    Location:
    Covington, LA
    It's good to be concerned about overdoing it and showing off your guitar skills in church. But couldn't you accuse pipe organists of having done this for centuries? Shown off their keyboard skills?

    Is a pipe organ any more sacred than an electric guitar?
     
    GoldieLocks and dougstrum like this.
  5. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,721
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    A common pattern is for that simple riff to start the song. They're usually simple and repetitive and die off before the first verse begins. It may re-emerge during the interlude or not. I tend to think of it not so much as playing lead as just contributing to the structure of the song. It's about supporting worship which means the words are more important than us.
     
    mRtINY and dougstrum like this.
  6. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,730
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    Location:
    Pahrump, nv
    In modern p/w many of the riffs are the signatures of the songs. They are actually pretty important.

    As far as overplaying goes, we are called to play with excellence, but if we are show boating/playing with excellence for our own merit that’s a problem. If we’re playing with excellence in a way that suits the song, in order to help lead the congregation to worship, that is the purpose.

    Regarding your nervousness, You’ll get there. The most important lesson I learned when I was starting out was to laugh off mistakes. If I get down on myself for a mistake it makes me more nervous and that starts a domino effect of mistakes. If I laugh it off, I keep my mood better and keeps me from down spiraling which helps me not make as many mistakes.

    mileage may vary...
     
  7. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2021
    Location:
    Covington, LA
    Great advice! And it's true of any endeavor in life. Tom Seaver, the late, great baseball pitcher, said not to let a hitter hurt you twice.
     
  8. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,234
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ballard
    Asking the question is a good start - a way to answer it is to ask yourself another QQQ
    How much would you like to hear some Johnny B Goode riffs in How Great Thou Art?
    Peace - Deeve
     
  9. SBClose

    SBClose Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    249
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Location:
    Lakeland, Fl
    It's really all about context...it always is. My direction to our band is that it's our job is to provide a musical backdrop and support to the people's performance. In my view, we (congregation and band) are singing to God about God and our experience with God and, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the result is worship.

    That signature riff at the beginning of the song is the same signal that an organist would give in a more traditional setting by playing the first couple lines of a hymn before the congregation joins in. In our context sometimes we really lean into that riff and sometimes we come up with a different intro that suits us better. I'm not sure how many of our people actually listen to the songs we use on Sunday morning through other sources so I don't know how effective this is for us but, it may be important in other contexts.

    As others have said, if you're concerned about overplaying, there's little danger of you overplaying. Others are bringing their voices and instruments into the soup. Your guitar is just another ingredient BUT doing the right thing in the right spot can enhance the atmosphere of the song and make all of us sense that we're doing something much bigger than ourselves.
     
    dougstrum, telepraise and black_doug like this.
  10. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,638
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2019
    Location:
    Scootchin' Over
    Resist the urge to give the sermon an edgy soundtrack. If Sodom and Gomorrah come up, maybe one or two power chords, but restrain yourself.
     
  11. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,052
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    Intros, hooks, and endings are important in any song whether it is secular or praise music. Spend some time learning the recognizable riffs well. If you need another week, ask the leader to hold off for a week while you work on it. There is no shame in that.

    As far as overplaying, I approach it this way. I just play with the other musicians on stage, and don't worry about it. The key word here is "with". If you are playing with the other musicians, you're not overplaying. One of my favorite things to do is play harmony parts along with the vocal lines. Some might say that is stepping on the vocalist, but it is not if it's done well. I've had vocalists sing non lyrical parts over top of my lead parts, so it is entirely possible to over sing too, and I've yet to meet a church vocalist who spends 2 seconds worrying about over singing. Make good music and play in ensemble with your band mates and don't get caught in the trap of studying your belly button lint as it pertains to "over playing" in a praise setting. Listen to your heart and play what the Lord has put there.

    I've played worship music in church for about 30 years. In all that time, I've encountered one guitar player who was a true over player. I've encountered lots of piano players who are over players though. It's funny you don't hear Balloche warning the Piano or keys players to not "over play". This whole topic is an overblown non issue in my experience. In my opinion this is a never ending discussion birthed by people who don't like the electric guitar in church and a clever way to emasculate young guitar players and rob them of their creativity before they ever really get started.
     
  12. hotraman

    hotraman Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,281
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Camas, WA
    @Clouds84
    Glad you are enjoying playing electric in church.
    Its true, a lot of modern worship guitar riffs are essential to the song. I've been guilty of missing quite a few of them: I'm an old guy and often mix them up: usually they are major pentatonic or minor pentatonic.
    When I'm asked to play the riffs, I do the best I can.
    I try to hum those riffs in my head, or make tabs / notes for me to remember where the riffs are.
    Playing second rhythm is fun too: lots of crunch guitar tones.
    I prefer Zack Willams, and Maverick City Music, where the riffs are not so prevalent.
    The old saying is true: less is more. Especially if you are playing a riff with delay and deep reverb: the mistake go on for what seems like an eternity. This just happened to me last Sunday night: I just laughed it off.
     
    dougstrum likes this.
  13. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    1,123
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2021
    Location:
    Covington, LA
    My late brother was a church guitarist for maybe 25 years. He was also a Beatlemaniac. At his funeral, nearly two years ago, the worship leader played an acoustic guitar riff from the Beatles' "Blackbird" in between verses of "It Is Well."
     
    dougstrum likes this.
  14. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,738
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Location:
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    A bass player had me do a jazz version once:)
    A Chuck Berry version would be super in some churches:D
     
    Deeve, hotraman and CapnCrunch like this.
  15. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,052
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    We used to do a George Thorogood inspired version of The Old Rugged Cross. It was so much fun to play, and the congregation loved it.

    I don't think I've ever heard a Balloche song that I didn't personally think was Boooooring. But some love him, and that's OK. Point is, some other people like bouncing high energy rocking worship songs. I love leads in worship songs whether its the b3 the piano or the guitar. I like contemplative stuff too, but I don't like an entire service of dirges. Give me some Chuck Berry, George Thorogood, AC/DC, or Pink Floyd style rhythms, tones, and leads and sprinkle them in amongst other more traditional sounding "church" songs. That speaks to me. Of course YMMV.

    Edit to add: What I forgot to say above, is that you always play to your "audience" in this case congregation. I've played in churches where Electric guitar leads of any kind would not be appreciated by the congregation. So it is important to approach any worship service having prayed for inspiration and a good sense of what will speak to, and move, the congregation. Not all congregations are created equal. Some love to rock, some don't. So, if you're playing warm pablum worship to a congregation that wants to rock, you're underplaying.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
    GoldieLocks and dougstrum like this.
  16. mRtINY

    mRtINY Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,231
    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Location:
    Orygun
    Awesome idea... I may need to modify the riffs a bit....
     
    Deeve, dougstrum and CapnCrunch like this.
  17. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,871
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    Learn it as presented and practice diligently before the performance.
    Play it best you can in the moment.
    Learn from the experience.
    Move forward a more experienced musician.
    This is all that there is.
     
    soundchaser59 likes this.
  18. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,619
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    Up The Creek
    I wish I could like this more than once. Definitely worth repeating.
     
    CapnCrunch likes this.
  19. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,336
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Newly Indiana
    "Oceans (Feet May Fail)" cries out for Gilmour-style leads.*

    But he only plays those big leads at certain points, right? Good leads show up then back out again in favor of rhythm and riff. Good lead guitarists leave room for the whole band to play.

    *we're doing this song tomorrow and at rehearsal that's exactly what I did. The leader thought it sounded perfect...and I didn't tell him where I got the idea. Great artists steal, right?
     
    hotraman, CapnCrunch and dougstrum like this.
  20. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,995
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Abbotsford B.C.
    Yep, it depends on your church's vision and culture. But no matter what - the Vocals are the most important thing.

    weirdly, i've been to many churches where the Organ or Piano is the most important thing. For some awesome reason: Black Gospel churches seem to have awesome rockin' music but the vocals stay on top. They got that right.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.