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"Least Important Instrument"

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by vangoghsear, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. vangoghsear

    vangoghsear Tele-Meister

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    I may or may not get into the background of this question, but I was told in no uncertain terms after Sunday's Service that "Lead guitar is the least important instrument in the praise band."

    The comment came from, of all people, the band's drummer. It caught me off guard at the time and all I could do was agree because lead guitar may well be the most dispensable instrument in a praise band.

    Now that I've had as much time to think about it as he probably had before he said it, I've formed my own opinion and reasoning behind it, which I will share later.

    I am interested in hearing what your thoughts and opinions are of the point of view? (I do realize I am asking a biased audience, this being a guitar forum, but I think you are fair minded and can view the issue with clear objectivity.)
     
  2. bawdyli'lmonkey

    bawdyli'lmonkey Tele-Holic

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    I think the "least important" instrument is the non-anchor instrument in any given song that is doubling the anchor. For instance if the acoustic guitar is chording most of the song and piano is also playing the same thing, then for that song the piano is least important. Or if the bass is being doubled on the piano... nope the piano is least important there too. :p I think this kind of puts a perspective on "importance" in the team.


    https://newfrontiersmusicarmory.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/expand-your-bland/
     
  3. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    I'd go with mandocello

    Or maybe bassoon.

    How many of us play in a worship band with a mandocello or a bassoon?

    They must not be very important.

    And my apologies if that's actually your instrument; don't mean to denigrate them or you at all.

    Just never seen a worship team use them. :D

    On any given song any given instrument may not be essential to the sound. When it comes down to it, you could lead worship with a singer or two and an acoustic guitar or a piano.

    But every player on the team is important. And anyone who plays their instrument well and has the right attitude (worship, not performance) will make important contributions to the worship service.

    See Romans 12, starting at v. 15:
    Now if the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. ....
    But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. ... As it is there are many parts but one body. ...
    The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" ... Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
     
  4. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Kind of depends on the praise band doesn't it? Can you imagine Lincoln Brewster showing up at your church to lead worship without his Strat? On the other hand I saw Hillsong Live in concert about a year ago in the Seattle area. They could have easily left the guitar players at home. I'm not sure their amps were even turned on, that is how buried in the mix they were. I found that odd because the electric guitar is fairly prominent in their recordings.

    Anytime someone starts a conversation (or argument) with superlative terms like "best","most", "least", "worst", you should know you are dealing with someone who is likely very immature, and almost certainly extremely opinionated. I take it your drummer only has one definition for what a praise band is and can't contemplate anything else. These types of folks rarely can. If it doesn't fit his simplistic definition, then it isn't a praise band.

    There is no least important instrument in any song. If there is a part for a particular instrument, then it is important to the song. We may have individual preferences as to which instruments we like to hear, but should we talk about our preferences in absolutes? Only if we're like 5 years old. You can tell your drummer that for me.

    Personally I would be OK if I never heard another Trumpet in the worship music setting. I'd also be OK if I never heard another digital keyboard. Does that make them not "important". Only to me.
     
  5. SynMike

    SynMike Tele-Holic

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    I just can't imagine an acceptable reason for any band member to to tell any other member that they are the least important.
     
  6. bear04

    bear04 Tele-Holic

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    +1. Darn right.
     
  7. henram36

    henram36 Tele-Meister

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    True statement, brother. Sounds like a worship team who needs to pray together. Not much of a team, I'm sorry.
     
  8. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Drummer comments?

    I'm sorry, but...

    Who gave your drummer permission to SPEAK?:D
     
  9. rikomenzies

    rikomenzies TDPRI Member

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    That'll preach.

    Are there instances where a particular instrument may not be as "essential" to a particular musical situation? Sure. Not a lot of arpeggiated lead synth in southern gospel unless you're going for some post-industrial ambient jazz fusion thing. If that's what your place of worship needs, power to you. Heck, sign me up. I just need a Red Panda Bitcrusher and no less than fourteen Strymon Timelines and El Capistans and an a/b switch for my DR-660.

    However, one band member calling someone disposable is not something I've ever heard come from a constructive place.
     
  10. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Important instruments

    Remember all those centuries where drums WERE NOT used in church music?

    Although I do appreciate Charles Spurgeon's take on church music instruments: "They are the devil's whistle".

    Pretty much everything in His church was vocals ONLY.
     
  11. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    It all depends on what instrument is driving the song...

    Is it the guitar, the drum, the piano, etc?

    Praise music is all about the lyrics (to me), which in turn is the melody of the song. You could drop every instrument and still sing praise music. So the importance of instruments are harmony and rhythm first.

    Now, is the lead guitar least important? That depends on what else is there, what else is providing the instrumentation, what the orchestration requires. Maybe in a given circumstance it is least important, but in others, it is critical.

    Personally, I'd dismiss the whole issue as a non-edifying argument. If you can pull it off, and others like it, do it.
     
  12. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    Exactly, that's why they are in a cage! That's not for sound damping but for limiting their ability to communicate :D

    Kidding aside, importance of instrument depends on an arrangement of sections in a song.
     
  13. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been having conversations with my teams about listening and discerning what is happening around them. It is actually possible to be in the moment and discern who is the most important "instrument." When you do, you take on a support role.

    Example: Ever been in a situation with a song where you planned an arrangement and rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed and got the band really tight, then you do the song in the service and suddenly realize that the congregation just took over? They are singing so loud, and with so much passion and feeling and emotion as they become like one entity directing their worship towards God that the best thing to do is for the band to give them space? And it lasts for like ten minutes? If any person up on stage is thinking he is the most important instrument, that moment might not happen. It's OK to work up a slick solo and have it ready to go for the instrumental, and then get "bumped" because the congregation just took the song somewhere else.
     
  14. rikomenzies

    rikomenzies TDPRI Member

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    As a worship leader, honestly, some of my favorite moments are when the congregation takes over. To me, that is the sound of heaven - the worship of multitudes.

    I tell my team this all the time, the most important thing is to be aware and know how to respond appropriately. Quit messing around with your sick fills and note runs and stay in the flow of what is happening.
     
  15. Boltneck

    Boltneck Tele-Meister

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    The lead guitarist is the " least important instrument in a praise band".. Wow. Nothing like an encouraging word from a brother in Christ. I suggest flowers for the wife or girlfriend. Maybe then this person may get some badly needed love.This person needs to feel good about somethin'. Sounds a little insecure, maybe your guitar is cooler than his drums. Maybe it was a lead guitarist who took his girlfriend, Ha!
     
  16. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I would have to say "Tambourine"! least important! Lead guitar is like icing on the cake. Acoustic Guitar or Piano would be the first layer, bass & drums second layer and synth, mando, violin, horns, harp third layer of the cake. Then lay on that sweet lead guitar icing!

    I have played lead guitar with as little as just one acoustic guitar as backup. The better guitarist can raise a stink with just one guitar. Lead guitar is great, I love it but does require some back up to do properly. The more the merrier. However I do love the freedom of playing in a tree piece--bass/drums/guitar.

    In all my years of playing, don't think I've heard such a statement as your drummer. He needs to read what Paul said about the body of Christ--because I'm a head, I don't need a foot? Because I'm a drummer, don't need lead guitar. We all need each other to function right.
     
  17. vangoghsear

    vangoghsear Tele-Meister

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    My opinion is similar to many expressed already.

    1. No one instrument is inherently more or less important to a P&W band, but varies with the song.
    2. Someone needs to inform Lincoln Brewster that lead guitar is the least important instrument, I don't think he knows.
    3. IMHO, the entire reason we include instruments other than keyboard/piano/organ traditionally used in churches is not just to appeal to other musical tastes, but, and this to me is very important, to show people who like musical styles younger than the last 50 years that the church understands that music need not be mired in the past to be acceptable for the church.
    4. If lyrics were the only thing that mattered, then music could be unaccompanied, or simply accompanied by piano. Why include any other instrumentation, unless that instrumentation means something?
    5. To me, if a P&W band doesn't have guitars, or I can't hear them, they don't click with me. I went to a different church closer to my home on Easter Sunday. They had a praise team that sung with a keyboard and tambourine. They harmonized (something my team does not do) and sang just fine, the keyboard player did fine and the tambourine was not obnoxious, but I can't even tell you what songs they played. Nothing resonated with me. Back a few years ago, I played with several other P&W bands at a Christian school for an event, we played then listened to the other bands. Several of those had really good guitarists, I still remember songs done that day and bits of phrasing the guitarists played, AND lyrics. I recognize the songs when I hear them played elsewhere as ones I heard. Guitar resonates in me, it locks the songs in my mind, in my memory.
    6. As long as I am doing no harm to the song (playing in key, in proper time, not overly loud, etc) then who is to say that what I am doing is not the element that God will work through in a listener? Once a woman stood up in front of the entire congregation during the prayer requests and said she came to that service mainly for the music style. She said that "that guitar sound," was for her the "voice of God." I'd say for her lead guitar was not exactly the "least important instrument."
     
  18. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    We have led worship for several years without a cowbell.
     
  19. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Regarding Lead Guitar. It's strange! Its happened many, many times over the years. I played what I considered on top of my game nailing everything that I was aiming at and nobody seemed to even notice. Other times I was way off and thought I was playing terrible to where I even turned my own stomach and that's when people say "You played Awesome today"! Sounded Great! Apparently what I am processing and what they are processing is two different things. It does help when people tell you from time to time that they were blessed by your playing.
     
  20. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, we know that King David played a stringed instrument (Daveocaster), so as an instrument type, it has been in P&W since year dot.

    OTOH, the drummer could be right. There's a book by Dr Werner Gitt about the role that 'information' plays in communication / creation etc. It's the Rhythm (drums or not) that carries the signal that informs us that what we are hearing is not random but is designed AND carrying a signal/message we can ALREADY interpret as a constant. ***

    You could argue the Rhythm/signal carrier is more fundamental to music than the role of Melody or Harmony because without perception of where we are, the rest is just noise?
    (Even a single flute playing a recognizable tune by itself is doing so under a Rhythmic rule, variation from the Rhythm breaks the tune in the same way variation from the Melody breaks the tune.)

    Personally though, I think it's like the real 3-in-1 in that they are all equally as important.

    I think it's likely that Jesus plays the Drums --> where we are concerned. :)


    Ok - Eddie.



    ***The book describes that for information to work it needs several already in-place factors like, symbolic codes, interpretable code source, a transfer medium, pre agreed method of decryption etc. So because you can interpret Rhythm for example this shows that all of those factors are already built-in before you were born. The argument is that because information is perceivable and exists in the first place, it must have had a designer, it could not exist at random.
    Anyhow, it's a viewpoint, read it here if you like.

    In the Beginning Was Information: Dr. Werner Gitt: 9780890514610: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51SWldBK3ML
     
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