Apparently I’m a worship guitar player now?

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by Redleg37, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. Redleg37

    Redleg37 Tele-Meister

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    I play bass at a relatively large church. (5 services at 3 locations per week).

    I’m being added to our rotation as an electric and acoustic guitar player, so I will be rotating through all three instruments. I will still primarily play bass but will play guitar when they need one and have a different person who can play bass.

    we use IEMs, a click track, and a backing track. The church will provide me a pedal board since I only have a bass pedal board.

    I need a crash course on how to play worship guitar, simplified for a bass player.

    What do I need to know

    what do I need to start practicing?

    Any hints or tips?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like a growing season in front of you. Answers to your questions are completely dependent upon the style of music you will be playing. Despite what some u2 fanboy worship players believe, there is no one "worship guitar" style or genre. That said, this would be my advice.

    1. Learn the fret board (you're a bass player so you're one up already there)
    2. Learn all the movable chords that you can so you can play as many chords, and inversions, as you possible anywhere on the neck.
    3. Practice a lot. Pick songs that you do in church and learn them. Focus on the intros, recognizable riffs or hooks, and endings. Youtube can be a very helpful tool if you learn better from seeing someone else play a part.
    4. As you learn individual songs spend time learning how to use the relevant effects for that song, but don't worry too much about getting the best effects while you're learning. Proficiency is more important than having the right effect.
    5. Play with other people as much as you can.
     
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  3. Redleg37

    Redleg37 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you.

    The context of the initial conversation was pushing myself outside my comfort zone. We are kind of in the U2 school of worship music but with some added country-like acoustic stuff.

    I’ve been playing guitar off and on for a few years but I’ve never played it in front of anyone despite two decades of playing bass in front of others. I can do basic barre chords, pentatonic scales, some finger picking, and play basic CAGED stuff.

    We use Planning Center. For now I am taking the songs I’m scheduled for bass in Planning Center and just also trying to learn the guitar parts. This seems like it will be helpful.


    Mostly I’m just excited and nervous. I can play bass in front of others all day long without even really thinking about it but I don’t play guitar in front of other people. I just never have and I’ve always been uncomfortable doing it.

    Time to jump in the pool to learn how to swim.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
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  4. Redleg37

    Redleg37 Tele-Meister

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    The pedal board will be interesting. My bass board at home is four pedals; my bass board at church is three.

    the guitar board at church probably weighs 80 pounds, it has multiple delays and reverbs. Honestly I think navigating the board will be the hardest part for me.
     
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  5. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    If the board you will be using is that complicated, you will definitely need to get to a place of comfort with it before you get up on stage. There really is no need for a board that complicated. I would see if they have a smaller board or put one together myself. Will you be running direct to the board or into an amp? Ideally you should take the entire rig home to practice.
     
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  6. Redleg37

    Redleg37 Tele-Meister

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    taking the board home is an option; they have allowed it before.

    they run the board to a Kemper which is kept backstage in an isolation box; Or a Vox AC30 depending on how many guitarists are playing.
     
  7. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Definitely take it home and familiarize yourself with the effects that you will use. How to turn them on and off, set gain and volume on drives, and set tempo on the delay(s), Trem, etc. It will be hard to fine tune your sound if you don't have a Kemper at home to run into (with the same amp profile and rig set up as the church). You at least need to be really comfortable with the board and practice at the church as much as you can. That situation would be a bit of challenge, for someone just stepping into it cold. Do they just run a single amp profile on the Kemper? I'm assuming they don't have a remote for the Kemper. Switching rigs in performance mode is a whole other thing to learn with the Kemper.
     
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  8. Redleg37

    Redleg37 Tele-Meister

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    unless they do it remotely, the profile doesn’t change. No one is backstage during a service. I think they just have it set to a profile they like and they adjust how it sounds via pedals, different guitars, and the sound board.

    My pedals as a bass player are a tuner/mute, a compressor that’s always on, and a DI with an overdrive button. At home I add a reverb pedal that’s either on or off. Pretty simple.

    The church actually has multiple sound boards per location and several guitarists being their own. I’ll make sure to borrow whichever before I play.
     
  9. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Enjoy that Kemper (funnest tool ever! Honestly, everyone I know who bought them... eventually sold them and went back to REAL Tube amps -- or simply a good Helix)

    Rule #1 get a good tuner pedal
    Rule #2 get a good overdrive pedal
    Rule #3 learn Sus2 chords (A2, B2, C2, D2...) the language of church music.

    Anything else can be mediocrely done with onboard effects (delay, reverb, trem, chorus). Enjoy the gig: at least you're out playing.
     
  10. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Acoustic guitar will be the least complicated. If you can cleanly strum rhythm you should be fine. After the first verse/chorus, most worship tunes build strong enough that the acoustic gets drowned in the mix.

    For electric, which role you're in is the most important. A common format is that there is a lead electric guitar that plays simple repeating melody lines, these days it's a lot of Jazzmaster twinkling. A second electric does chording, often with strong overdrive that fills in stronger as the piece progresses. For that role you need to have your overdrive settings down. I find having a volume pedal indispensable for muting and swells as well as modulating my volume without messing with knobs. I put mine after the overdrive so I can still get a crunch sound at a lower volume.

    If there is a second electric player, obviously the two of you need to work out who is doing what ahead of time. If you're the only electric player, get with the WL and establish which role you'll be fulfilling so they can dial in the track for the other guitar part.

    As far as practice goes, get the backing track sent to you ahead of time along with the lead sheet. I run the track through near-field monitors in my shop and play along with it on the electric. It's a good opportunity to get your delays and overdrives fine tuned. I mark up the lead sheet with what I'm doing where. Also, if there's a version they're patterned after, you can find it on YouTube and see what the guitars are doing in the original version.

    It sounds like you have a great opportunity to grow and expand as a musician and your church has good tech resources. I hope you find it enjoyable. I've found that even when I thought I was sounding pretty bad, the worshippers still thought it was good. Of course our role is to support the worship experience, not showcase our own skills, so don't be too hard on yourself.

    In His Service. -TP
     
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  11. hotraman

    hotraman Tele-Afflicted

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    The guys at Worship Tutorials are helpful with guitar lines, and gear.
    It will be fun. I'm sure your worship pastor / director will tell you what effects to use, on specific songs.

    I'm thankful for the new music thats coming out: Maverick Music and Zach Wililams, where the effects are not a big part of the sound. I look for the vibe / feel of the song. My pedalboard is not a typical "Bethel JC board".
     
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  12. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Becoming a well rounded multi instrumentalist
    can be a fun process with lots of hard work in between.

    You don't have to "master" everything they throw your way,
    but rather embrace it and make it yours. Your own style and
    vibe will come shinning through no matter what instrument
    you're assigned! You got this!

    What comes to mind is the many articles in Guitar Player Magazine
    in which the legendary studio guitarist Tommy Tedesco gets
    handed a chart and he needs to play it on a stringed instrument
    he has never played!

    What Would Tommy Do? Lol.
    He embraced the familiar and tuned the instrument
    like a guitar and ran through the session like butter!

    I hope this helps you. Thanks.



     
  13. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I wanted to say something similar in my first post. Play guitar like you. Don't try to emulate someone else, at least to the point of not developing your own "voice".
     
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  14. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    Hardest thing to learn as a worship guitarist for me was what NOT to play! Less is more is absolutely true in Worship guitar. There is a time to shred in a worship setting but knowing when and when not is half the battle. Stay in the pocket and listen to the overall is one of the most important things. it's a different mindset from playing in most secular bands that's for sure.
     
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