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Is "lead guitar" a lost art?

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by DADGAD, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    As noted, not everybody hears things the same way, churches are different, WLs are different, player skills are different, etc., etc. I'm not going to say I like this or that, because what does that mean?

    Of course, I'd be happy to be able to play like LB, but even if I could, I know my opportunities to use that would be few and far between, because what works on a recording, or concert setting might not work in a church setting, and would probably go against the purpose of the music in some cases. It's one thing to sit and listen to a song being performed, where a well done instrumental break can offer a little rest from the words. BUT, if I'm (a congregant) actively participating in the worship music, singing along, and then the focus changes from my worshipful participation to the performance in the band, it can add some risk, at the least. (If LBs in the band, it's probably all good; but in a lot of the bands I've heard, including ours, it's not a slam dunk that it'll turn out well :).)

    I'm glad I don't have to figure out the "calculus" problem the WL does, i.e., what does the pastor want to hear, what songs will engage the most number of congregants and, you hope, not cause any to complain to the pastor, or simply make them go away and not come back (especially the ones who help keep the lights on), and, at the same time, not be so watered down nobody gets excited while playing it.
     
  2. hotraman

    hotraman Tele-Afflicted

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    Besides LB, Tommy Walker is one great lead guitar player.

    But.. Back to the OP, I feel that improvisation ( lead guitar ) is not as popular as in the early days of the Jesus rock movement.

    I still solo when it fits the song, and the churches I lead worship at dig it!
     
  3. SngleCoil

    SngleCoil Tele-Holic

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    Yes, liking the solo in Your Amazing Love!
     
  4. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I had a solo on Sunday. It was one song and I improvised for 16 bars over the C, D, & Em chords. I was asked to be ready for it during practice the same morning and I don't expect to have another solo for six months.
     
  5. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    I'm not as prolific as others (maybe including you) with improvisation so I'd rather get an advanced notice so I can somehow "compose" the solo on top of the changes. I feel more confident than just winging it on a Sunday morning unless it's not part of the regular singing (jamming before/after).
     
  6. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Ear training takes time and practice. I'm not sure if it's something one is born with. It took me years to feel confident enough to wing it. But it's not often I find a WP who even asks for a solo.
     
  7. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    We have guitar solos at church - because I'm the worship leader! :D

    On the other hand, making them fit the song is key. Worship playing isn't about showing off but lifting up. If the congregation is ready for a huge solo (the equivalent of Robert Randolph or EVH) then go for it...but usually the congregation isn't. I keep my solos simple and melodic - like you'd expect from a piano solo - because that way they support the song and don't break the congregation's concentration.

    I wonder how many worship leaders are afraid that they if turn a guitarist loose they'll get a wannabe Ted Nugent or Slash.
     
  8. starkd12

    starkd12 TDPRI Member

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    im sixteen and play lead for the youth group on sunday morning, and i solo/do lead riffs/improv when needed. So not quite
     
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Tele-Meister

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    I'm not a great improviser but I typically know what songs we're doing and if there's a solo part coming up, so I'll work out a solo in advance and practice it well. If there's a solo on the recording I'll often use that as a start point and develop it from there. I was lead guitar yesterday on 'Holding Nothing Back' - we loosely base it on the Jesus Culture arrangement but I find the solo a bit dull so have worked out my own part that I'm happy with.
     
  10. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    For a paid session professional, this would be the expected norm.

    For a once a week or once a month volunteer, this is (imo) very unfair. You are either extremely gifted, extremely tolerant, or both. I like to think I'm a pretty good player, and this situation would make me quite uncomfortable, unless I knew the song really well from playing several times in the past and it was chord changes that I'm used to, then I could probably do something. But nothing takes the place of quality rehearsal done well in advance.

    For the players who are put in that situation and cannot or are not used to dealing with it, it is very unfair, and - more importantly - it frequently leads to exactly the kind of distractions in worship that should not happen. Whether WLs like to admit it or not, obvious errors and flubs are just as distracting as show offs and performers. In many cases it is simply akin to setting up the worship team to basically fail. It is, imo, poor planning and poor time management on the part of the WL.
     
  11. rickym

    rickym Tele-Meister

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    I played in bars and clubs before I played in church, so I brought in years of playing what influenced me. Being around other musicians and trying to learn something off of each and every one of them helps me to discipline myself. I'm not a worship leader per se, but I do co-lead sometimes. I only solo if the WL asks me to. And when I do, I make sure it compliments the song. Sure I can blow my wad in 12 bars, but I don't need to. Just giving back what has been given to me. :)
     
  12. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    There is a responsibility for WL's and MD's to know their team's talent, and to utilize it appropriately. Why ask someone to do something that they shouldn't be doing? There's a difference between stretching someone and pushing someone into water that is way over their head without a life vest. When I lead, I make a point of knowing what my team can do and what their limitations are (including stuff like practice time to learn parts, life happens, babies are born, business trips, etc.)

    There is also an opportunity for team members to be honest about where they are at. Why volunteer for solo duties if you can't learn a part, or if it is improv, can't play anything more than a pent scale? It's OK to say, "this is where I am at in my musical ability, and what you are asking me to do is not where I am able to keep up (yet)." I've had people tell me they can pull something off, and found out during rehearsal they were basically full of it. I've also bitten off more than I can chew, and had to go to the WL and say it would be better if someone else took over that part or maybe we can dumb it down to my level. More honesty, more communication, less ego = something that sounds good every time.
     
  13. bacongrease

    bacongrease Tele-Meister

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    I feel like good rhythm playing is more of a lost art. Throw a rock you'll hit a "lead guitarist," but he may not be able to carry a song. Just play the song. I wish we didn't have solos.
     
  14. bikeracr

    bikeracr Tele-Meister

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    Agreed! I still like melody, fills, & solos too.
     
  15. tjalla

    tjalla Friend of Leo's

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    Its easy to be a 'good' or 'not so good' lead player, but rarely wrong - unless you truly suck.

    With rhythm, you are right/wrong every bar.

    "Good" = how many bars you can sustain without being wrong.
     
  16. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Afflicted

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    Lots of good replies here.
    I also played in bands before playing in church. That prepared me for learning the solos in today's Christian (CCM) music. There's not many real hard solos other than those by Lincoln Brewster and a few others. But if you need to create an intro for a song, say an older one that didn't really have a signature guitar part, knowing how to play melody by knowing your major scale really helps. I don't think too many young players understand the importance of the good old major scale, your best friend when playing melody and improvising solos. Learning the scale is much better than "hunt and pick" & memorize.
    I could go on about that, but everyone is at a different level, does things their own way, and plays mainly what they like. I've been put on the spot many times to come up with a solo. It took some stress off by getting organized, learning scales, theory, all the main chords, some flatpicking, licks, and just learning hundreds of songs. It gets easier with every song you learn. And it's not rocket science. I enjoy lead guitar in the church band. We have intros and solos, but try not to take away from the worship or try to be guitar heroes!
     
  17. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    But he won't know he's been hit by a rock. More likely he will think, "There.....that's loud enough now."
     
  18. sequencepro

    sequencepro Tele-Meister

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    Loud enough? Never heard a guitarist say THAT! hahaha
     
  19. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    Listen to James Burton's electric catalog, starting with Ricky Nelson in the '50's, and Don Potter on acoustic, and that's an education in guitar; not "lead" or rhythm, just "guitar" as vocal ensemble accompaniment. Unfortunately, Brewster always evokes SRV to me.
     
  20. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Excellent points here.

    I have been in worship teams for over thirty years (as a volunteer) and play by ear so I didn't mind the last minute request. I agree though that "nothing takes the place of quality rehearsal done well in advance".
     
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