Today's Electric Guitar Tone

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by black_doug, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    Agree wholeheartedly.

    I play mostly acoustic in church, but when I go electric it's my tele or modded Epi Dot through a Tech21 Liverpool pedal. My congregation is older, and the Liverpool lets me mix up a clean tone with some thickness while still going straight through the board.

    Even if I could use a small amp (or even my big amp!) I want to sound my way rather than the bees-in-a-box sound, or the miming-guitar-since-it's-not-in-the-mix you're hearing more often now. Most people like that it sounds real and personal even if it's not just like the recordings, and those that don't like it don't tell me very often.
     
  2. henram36

    henram36 Tele-Meister

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    In my church it's certainly piano, acoustic git, and keyboard based. We have a bass, full drum kit (non-miked and 1/2 enclosed...don't get me started), flute, violin for some songs, singing WL and 4 backup singers. And there's me. If I cut through the mix at all I'm playing "too loud." I guess I'm mostly there to add an edginess (no puns intended, but I do use some tape delay) to our LOOK since you mostly can't hear me unless you're straining. I'm playing with just a little more grit now than I did in the past, since the clean sounds tended to clash with the vocals/piano/keyboard. It doesn't help that the piano and acoustic players are playing with both fists constantly. There's not a lot of space in the mix for much else and I hate adding to the mud by banging all 6 strings. Anyways....such is the existence of the modern, decorative, worship electric guitar player.

    I love Johnny Marr's clean tones. Absolutely brilliant. The Smiths were mostly a 3 piece band live, so there was no question who had what part to play. When you have 7 or 8 instruments all playing in the same range, no dynamics, no space....you get the picture.
     
  3. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    Depends on where you play. Right now I am shredding my brains out regularly as a guitarist in a little mostly Black Pentecostal church. When the wife and I first came in we were the only White folk in the house and the band absolutely RIPS!
    Urban gospel stuff is a far different animal musically that say Jesus Culture or United stuff is and if you are going to try to play guitar in that stuff you better have CHOPS! Tones are more pure tube and we do use gain a LOT!
    I'm running an old Boogie .50 cal + on a Fender 2/12 on stage and most time it's just me the amp my guitar and a little verb no other effects.
    This was from last night I'm playing my 07 PRS Custom 24 through the Boogie and yes that is a real all tube C-3/Lesley you are hearing .
    https://app.box.com/s/k5e5j8l3jic6mihq4v4mpcuxb9cb60f3
     
  4. JT1031

    JT1031 TDPRI Member

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    I'm not really personally a big fan of the current lightly OD heavy delay sound most new worship songs have right now. I don't really ever try to emulate that sound or anyone else's sound really. I'll occasionally use that sound if the song really calls for it, like the lead parts on Broken Vessels by Hillsong. Other than those rare occasions I just go with the sound I prefer and feel fits the vibe of the song. I'm lucky enough that my worship leader is really cool guy who gives everyone a pretty decent amount of creative freedom in what they play and what their sound is. Our worship band as a whole has a pretty heavy sound compared to a lot of churches I've heard. All of our electric guitar players are into metal, hard rock, and punk, which is also what our drummer likes so you can hear those influences in the sound without it totally losing the feel of a worship song. Lots of overdrive and distortion coming from the electric guitars, and when I'm not playing I run sound and I love that sound coming from the amps on stage. Personally on a lot of songs without any prominent lead stuff I try to come up with stuff to add something without it taking over so we don't have two electric guitarists going crazy playing the same power or open chords.

    I play a Epi Les Paul right now through a Blackstar HT-20 on the dirty channel. That's my primary sound. I keep the gain around 12 o'clock and when I really wanna get dirty or heavier I use my Jekyll and Hyde pedal with the overdrive half getting most of the work. I use that combination a lot and I'll use some delay when I think it will add to the sound or song.

    As for the way worship songs are written right now it does seem the electric guitar is kind of being forgotten, but the newest Passion album has more electric guitar than anything else in the last few years that I can think of. I'm really liking Lift Your Head by Crowder, I'm hoping we play that at church soon.
     
  5. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome JT. Looking forward to your contributions here.

    BTW, nice example given, "Lift Your Head" by Crowder. It certainly does give space for an electric tone. I think that is the key. The arrangement creates space.

    That's the kind of stuff I look for when I listen to bands. Example:

    Is there a piano and does the player know how to lay off and leave a nice chord comp when another lead instrument is filling space? Ever notice how musically trained piano players often play like they are the only instrument? It's really hard to teach them to lay off.

    Is there a keys player, and does he recognize what the bass groove is doing? IOW drop the bass line.... the bass gtr has it. Or purposely rest the bass gtr and let the keys add bass swells to the pads.

    Multiple electrics? Please don't tell me they are both wailing away on thick OD/distortion the entire time. Please do tell me that they have an agreement among them to create space for each other, and each have the maturity to sometimes just hold the guitar and smile.

    Does the drummer understand what is happening every time he crashes a cymbal or taps heavy eight-notes on his ride? Can he control his dynamics on the hi-hat, or can he only pound it to avoid losing the beat?

    Here's one of my preferences (so take it FWIW). If there is an acoustic, and I can't hear it *ever* then the arrangement is way too busy. Too much instrumentation, too many clashing parts, etc.

    IMO most church bands don't understand the concept of arranging and the players don't have a clue how to comp.

    When musos know how to comp, the electric player finds it easy to choose a tone and work it in to the arrangement. Most electrics just default to the weak buzzing bees thing though. It is easier than fighting it.
     
  6. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's

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    That pretty much sums up my feelings too.

    I like to "just hold the guitar and smile" . . . sometimes through an entire verse. Seriously.
     
  7. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

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    I use a PRS DGT and and a Line 6 X3 live processor. I've spent a lot of time dialing that thing in to sound great through the sound system.

    I'm also lucky to have a degreed bass/guitar player running our mix. He has a great ear and gives all the instruments their space.

    I try to emulate the tones of the songs I'm copying, and also strive to copy the music as close as I can.

    We a have a lot of schooled musicians on our worship team, so were really picky about tones and arrangements.

    Everyone tries to bring their A game every weekend, so it's really easy to go through the songs and get them to sound great in a few takes.

    I always hear my guitar in the mix, and it's never buried. As long as I've got my tone down and know my songs well, I always stand out in the mix.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  8. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    there would be songs I would intentionally not play save for a bridge or a couple of choruses. works very well ... I should start smiling more, though :D
     
  9. bawdyli'lmonkey

    bawdyli'lmonkey Tele-Holic

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    It could be awkward

    [​IMG]
     
  10. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    In the meantime while pondering about today's worship tone....

    Then there is the potential "bung note" tone (to borrow a phrase introduced in another thread)....

    Let's just say, today I was reminded about how important it is to be accurate on the last notes you play just before stepping on a kill button, meanwhile the Spillover button on your TCE Nova Repeater is activated, and you have stacked delays and a reverb to repeat this heavy ambient sound for about 6 or 7 seconds.... It felt like an hour.
     
  11. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    I did keep smiling though
     
  12. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    My favorite guitar tones are the Gary Moore tone with his SLO's.

    With my Zinky Velvet and PRS Custom 24 I can get pretty close.
    Who do I try to sound like?? ME!!
    I play high gain amps dirty run no outside dirt box, with only a delay/ wah / chorus and use the volume knob to clean up 90% of the time.
    Many times I will get a lead sheet dropped in front of me ( that is IF it is a written song and not just spontaneous improvisation on the fly ) to play a song I have never heard on the fly in the middle of a live set. Other times the worship leader just pulls something out without warning calls a key and flashes Nashville. Lends itself to some really interesting arrangements some times!
    Like here from my old Church band. Worship leader came in with charts and played the song on keys letting us work out our own parts but we never listened to the original song.
    Original version

    Us
    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=4453782
    I'm playing a Pearl White 1988 Carvin V220T through a CRANKED same year Carvin Hot Rod mod X100B halfstack with 75's in front of about 6000 folks here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  13. islander

    islander Tele-Meister

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    Ha ha ha, been there, done that... my smile was some what smile somewhat cringe somewhat where can I run hide...

    My tone starts with a clean tone, then add drive as I see it. I take into account the original recording, sometimes, sometimes not. I like to be creative and fall into the song writer vein of things. That being said, I don't have an issue when someone asks for it to be like the recording, assuming I can play it. LOL.
    My clean tone is a snappy tone, and I like a couple low gain drives to play with, one full tone, one mid bumped or else shimmery for a little sizzle on picking/chording. Currently my higher gain tone is a bit brighter and not really "high" gain. Some good grit you can sink a pick into and be responsive. Stack an OD for a little more. I have an old Rat, but it has been off the boards for a while now. My current set up will probably last at least this year, maybe longer, but that could change with the right new pedal/amp/guitar too.

    I do have to admit, my first few listens to many of the modern worship guitar tones, fail to excite me. And when you see their gear, it seems more about marketing and keeping up with the cool gear than tone. Just my two cents.
    I just like using my ears to make something that works for the arrangement I find my self in and go from there. I remember hearing a song after playing it for months and thinking, oh, wow, we do that way different. And I was totally okay with it. I have also spent minutes (or hours) learning specific guitar parts for songs.
    For me, I love to play. And I love to be a part of something. I hope and pray that what I add, leads people somewhere, including me. Oh, and that there aren't to many ugly delay trails
     
  14. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I posted this on another thread

    But it might be worthwhile here, too, regarding playing in a worship band:

    "1. the difficulty of bringing along new players (or singers) on our worship teams; and

    2. Am I being musically fulfilled playing on this worship team?"

    The first issue is maybe trickier, and maybe has to do with whether you have a strong discipling culture in your congregation.

    Church should be a place where people can learn to play, sing, lead worship, etc. I was singing in church before the age of 7. I got to play guitar in Sunday school before I was good enough to get paid to play. When I was good enough to get paid to play I led the youth choir.

    20 years ago I was trying to figure out how the good musicians were around town and how I could sit in with them--so I could learn from them.

    I'm at a point now where the shoe is on the other foot--and younger players want me to show them things.

    There are at least three different issues there--(a) do they want to get better; and (b) can I help them in a way that's positive and reinforcing; and (c) do we do songs in keys that aren't unnecessarily difficult to play.

    Keys is relatively easy. When we add a new song, we try to keep things in keys that will be easy to play in. Most guitarists and bassists hate the flat keys. If your keyboard player (or horns if you have them) can make it work, play in the sharp keys, especially D, G, and A, as much as possible without making it awkward for the congregation to sing the songs.

    Moving on to more complicated issues: It's hard to make somebody want to get better. We had a young drummer in our church band who got up to competent, then stagnated. He didn't, and still doesn't practice very much. I'm not a drummer and didn't know what kind of advice to give him. About 4 or 5 months ago one of our bass players, a guy with a lot of experience and a music degree, gave him a couple tips. He got better overnight. He still doesn't practice enough, and could be much better than he is, but he's willing to take advice and constructive criticism.

    And that leads to the second point--can you give people feedback that's encouraging, positive, and reinforcing? I often show one of our young guitarists an easier or better way to play something--or give a young bassist some suggestions--and sometimes it helps. But I try (not always successfully) to do it in a positive way.

    We had a young man who went in two or three years from needing a lot of help to playing rings around me in turns of technical ability. He practiced a lot. And at several points along the way I challenged him.

    At one point it was challenging him to take the music home and learn every song as if he would be the only guitar player--so that he would have to carry anything that ought to be guitar driven. For the last several months before he joined the Navy I was always irrelevant when he was there. At other points i challenged him to figure out a particular riff on the recording.

    It takes a lot of work to do this. We have a young man who sings with us now, who couldn't sing a note 5 years ago. He had absolutely no experience and no sense of pitch. But he wanted to sing. Our worship leader worked with him on a regular basis for months. He still needs to get more comfortable--but he's come a long ways.

    So people need to have the desire to get better--to grow in their ability to play or sing in worship. Just like they need to have the desire to grow in their faith.

    And then people who can help them grow have to be intentional about helping them. This probably requires cooperation of all the experienced musicians, the worship leader, and maybe also somebody on your pastoral staff to help set the tone.

    But it's worth it. Our small congregation is producing musicians who will serve the church for years to come. And they're growing in their faith as they become better musicians.
     
  15. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    Here's my other post from that other thread that called out similar issues:

    Several Different Ideas on this thread
    Many of them fall under one of these two categories:

    1. the difficulty of bringing along new players (or singers) on our worship teams; and

    2. Am I being musically fulfilled playing on this worship team?

    I'll try to discuss the second question here.

    One of the things about experienced guitars players is that, at some point in our lives, we probably spent a bunch of time figuring out how to play like Jimi, Eric, Stevie Ray, Steve Cropper, Eddie, Albert Lee, Brad Paisley, Doc Watson, or some other guitar hero of ours. Maybe we got really good at it. I never really got that good.

    If we got really good at it, we'd like to get to show that off once in a while. Maybe not every song. But give me 8 or 12 or 16 bars to show off once in awhile. (I don't feel that way on guitar, but I do on harp.) And we probably like guitar-based music, or we would have taken up some other instrument.

    All of that time we put in learning cool licks and finding a killer tone may or may not help lead worship, which is way different from performing.

    I've played in worship bands where it was very frustrating because I didn't really get to play very much or the I would have liked on a particular song--or maybe through the whole service.

    After 20 plus years I've finally figured out that, as a guitarist in a worship band, my job is just to play something that will support the worship leader and help lead the congregation into worship.

    That might mean that I play the best licks I can come up with on a song that needs them. It might mean that I lay out entirely on a song that doesn't need guitar. It might mean that I get the best modern rock sound I can on Hosanna (Praise is Rising)--like I did today-first time doing this one with my new rig. It might mean that I play some clean Fender-y tones on something with an R & B feel. Except when I'm the acoustic guitar player in a small worship band, my instrument may seldom be the driving force on a worship song, or need to be prominent in the mix.

    Today we had a five piece band with piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and me on electric (some days I play acoustic).

    We played 7 songs in worship. I laid out entirely on two. On two I tried to play something that helped a little and didn't get in the way, and laid back a lot. If I hadn't played on those 2 nobody would have noticed. Only three of the songs really needed electric guitar.

    When we play in a rock, country, or blues band, for example, it's often all about the guitar (or in my case the harmonica). When we play in church, it's about leading the congregation in worship, which is entirely different.

    "I"m coming back to the heart of worship, where it's all about you, all about you, Jesus."
     
  16. mikeiscool42

    mikeiscool42 TDPRI Member

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    I LOVE that song. I loved it when I first heard it on the Crowder Neon Steeple album and then when I saw clips on YouTube of them playing it live...game over. We started playing it about a month ago and it has continued to get good responses, even my Pastor is starting to come around. See http://www.tdpri.com/forum/worship-service-players/544264-pastor-says-you-cant-worship-song.html

    We played it last night at a very traditional Baptist church and at first I'm not sure then knew what to make of it but by the end, most were grooving away in their pews.
     
  17. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Har! Guess I'm definitely old school. I first wanted to play guitar when I heard the "Ventures"--my original inspiration. Then came the British invasion of the 60's, then soul music, Santana, EC, Hendrix, Allman Bros, ZZ Top, Lynard Skynard (no disco)and many others--I played in clubs/joints throughout the 70's where I learned to play country music and in 1979 I got saved!! So then I'm in Church playing with the church group and here 35 years later still there. I originally rejected all my old influences and tried playing southern gospel which at the time was told was the only holy music. After years of maturing in the Lord I finally discovered the Lord just wanted me to be myself in him and play what I knew applied to Christian songs. So much better! I even do a Southern Gospel song from time to time but it's by my own choice and leading of the spirit. Not dictated.

    My sound is mostly clean. A moderately set compressor, slap delay and maybe a little reverb. Also a tremolo pedal or amp tremolo on tap as needed. For my Dirt a tube screamer. No high gain stuff for me. Guess that's for the younger guys. I'm a classic guy with classic tone:>) Platefire
     
  18. smithsonian

    smithsonian Tele-Meister

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    i could've sworn i replied to this thread when it first came up in FEB...but it looks like i didn't.

    I try to sound most like Buddy Miller to be honest. i try to encourage our band to do as much Americana tinged stuff as i can(all sons & daughters, Cageless Birds, etc.) I'm not a big fan of guitar as pad or keyboard sound that dominates the CCM/P&W.

    EDIT: however, I am a big James Duke fan as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  19. rikomenzies

    rikomenzies TDPRI Member

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    I used to try to get that Continuum/Trio-era John Mayer tone. I was surrounded by blues/funk/jazz musicians at the time and, in my inexperience, thought that if I could find that sweet bluesy tone that it would be all I ever needed. Then I wised up and realized that no matter what I do, I'm not going to sound like that because famous tones aren't just equipment - it's years of a guitarist's little idiosyncracies that make up that sound.

    Also, while there are certain universally-understood things that make a tone "good," the same sound isn't always appropriate for every musical situation.

    A year ago I picked up a Telecaster for the first time in what felt like several years (because it was). There's something sweet and bell-like about the way that the pickups blend that I just try to dial in a tone that brings that out at any gain setting.
    Most importantly I try to find a tone that doesn't hinder leading and supporting the musicians in my team. Can they hear and discern what I'm playing? Is my delay tone warm enough that it's not overly present, but clear enough that I'm communicating the tempo/rhythm well? Am I contributing to the overall mix or am I just cutting through it?
     
  20. babalooga

    babalooga Tele-Holic

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    I used to go guitar, Boss ME-70, Sans Amp, to board. I've gone back to using a Hughes&Kettner tube amp in a back room mic'd. I still use the ME-70 but added a Jeckyll&Hyde and a Soul Food as a clean boost. I use whatever guitar (Strat, semi hollow Schecter, or PRS McCarty are my go to's) to get the sound I want for the worship set.

    I don't really care a whole lot for the "modern" U2 inspired worship sound. Fortunately the WL lets me play it the way I feel it, not always the way the recording is. I sometimes use more OD or distortion than the recording, but it seems to work for us. I think playing with feeling and dynamics is something very important, but sadly lacking with some praise bands. I dunno, maybe the WL is just humoring me :lol:.

    I must say that we are truly blessed to have sound tech who is a seriously good musician, that feels more lead to run sound and make us sound good. The only thing our sound tech can't do is find the talent button for my channel :lol:.
     
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