Your worship team guitarist(s) - aka Us!

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by consumnfire1229, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. consumnfire1229

    consumnfire1229 TDPRI Member

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    Up for discussion...Why is it that most of us worship guitarists are undoubtedly the most pretentious of any other guitarist across other genres? Boutique amps, boutique pedals, boutique guitars, overly trendy apparel/hairstyles and the list goes on.
     
  2. bawdyli'lmonkey

    bawdyli'lmonkey Tele-Holic

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    (Just my opinions)
    As far as boutique gear, I think a good bit of it has to do with "quality control" requirements, especially in bigger churches. There is a church video on youtube that demonstrates the "noise floor" issue with lower quality pedals, and when a church has a zero tolerance policy on any sound that is unmusical or distracting it tends to lead us in a boutique direction for amps and pedals and pickups; combined with the playability issues with lower quality guitars... "God deserves the best..." so they buy fender custom shop and dusenburg and fano and shelton and denimaxe and bill nash and suhr and jackson (ampworks) and walrus and on and on and on.

    As far as clothes and hair, its an over correction of traditional precepts, whatever they have to do to be culturally relevant to the upcoming childbearing generation.
     
  3. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Butter on my popcorn, please! :)
     
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  4. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    heh, heh, I think I want to let this one pick up some velocity before I chime in. Should be fun...
     
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  5. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you for opening up this discussion. I actually wondered myself.

    I've been playing since 92 and even though I never made it as a pro, I recorded an album and played guitar and bass live a lot in a diversity of genres (jazz, fusion, classic rock, grunge etc) and I only started playing worship for the last couple of years. I have never encountered the level of gear scrutiny I have seen in my medium sized church lol.

    It must be a hipster translation of Psalm 33:3
    (e.g. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on boutique gear, and shout for joy. ? )
     
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  6. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Tele-Holic

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    Living the dream! :D

    Kidding aside, I think it's unfair to paint with broad brush. The choice of gear, clothing and attitude are really different "issues". There may be few that fits all 3 but I've also seen few that doesn't even fit any of these "issues".

    As with style, every person can be different. Just because I like slim fitting straight cut jeans (not loose nor skinny) doesn't make me better or worse than the person wearing a 3-piece suit whilst playing his electric guitar. It's just what it is, a personal style.

    Gear, we can argue all day about this. In the end of the day, it comes to personal preference and conviction for how everyone wants to spend the resources afforded to them.

    Attitude on the other hand, I'll leave it up to the higher being :)
     
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  7. mnfidel

    mnfidel TDPRI Member

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    Okay, I'll poke the hornet's nest.

    Some people listen with their eyes instead of their ears, and some guitarists use their gear to hide their deficiencies.

    The average worship guitarist unfortunately still thinks that if they buy the "right" stuff, they will sound like Nigel Hendroff or Daniel Carson or Ben Gowell. They haven't yet realized what they really need is many long hours in the woodshed.

    Nothing wrong with excellent gear, but all that really matters is that you show up prepared to play with equipment that is in good repair and appropriate for the style of music you will be playing.

    If people want to get bent out of shape, they should do it based on results, not appearances or brand names.

    Discuss. ;)
     
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  8. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    First, not all worship guitarists are the same. There are some contrarians out there. Second not all congregations are the same. My wife and I helped start a church a few years ago that sprang out of the Acts 29 network, which plants(ed) Pastors and not churches as it turns out. In that congregation, goofy mustaches and full bushy beards were the in thing and not skinny jeans. The church we attend and serve at now is a much more traditional church where people get dressed up for Sunday. Every church has it's own way of putting on an affect and hiding. I wear my Carhartts and Romeo's up on stage almost every Sunday as a little protest to the fakery.

    Anyway, when you are a worship guitarist, and you are not "supposed" to be seeking out the spot light like a rock guitarist, how do you distinguish yourself? How do you make yourself noticeable? You bulk up on all kinds of flashy gear in the name of the best tone because the Lord "deserves" it. He deserves a whole heck of a lot more than gear and tone, but that is another discussion. If worship musicians were really interested in giving their best to the Lord, they would spend A LOT more time practicing and honing their skills, and that includes the recognizable names mentioned above. It's a little humbling when you actually realize that He doesn't care one whit about our "best". Even our "best" is rubbish. He really wants our hearts, freely given in understanding that He accepts them in their imperfection because He has chosen to.
     
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  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think worship guitarists are any different than any other genre of guitarist. You have a uniform that social convention strongly encourages you to wear (if you are punk, you are unlikely to wear a suit and tie, if you are a metal head you wouldn't be caught dead in JCrew and khakis with a tightly trimmed haircut, etc). You also have tools that are valued and respected among your peers, to the point of fetishising them. Why on earth does Slash need a Marshall stack just to carry his signal 3/4ths of an inch to a waiting microphone? Why did Pete Townshend or Brian May insist on walls of amps (many of which were just props). If you are a metal head you are required to like certain amps, carry certain pedals and play certain types of guitars to win the approving grace of your guitar brethren. Alice J. Saddlesores, sitting in the third row lip syncing to the song could care less.

    I have two theories that I think gets to the gear head issue: Both of them are false, but endlessly entertaining to think about.

    1. Electric guitars take a low voltage signal from the magnetic pickups, convert it to a toxic potion of Y-chromosome narcissism and broadcast it at an inadequately low volume (says us) out a speaker and into the hearts and souls of unworthy listeners who can never appreciate the depth and breadth of our art. As if there's no path to God but through my amp. (I never hear piano players bickering about tone. Ever. Some pianos are better than others, but usually the one they are playing right now is good enough to get the job done. We're the only ones who blame our tools. )

    2. My other theory is that guitars are carriers for inferiority complex. Whoever falls into the trap of loving to play guitar is infected with this "look at me, look at me, look at me" affliction, no matter how much of a shrinking violet they are in every other area of their lives. We know that we are the most important component of the band and it eats at us that absolutely no one else agrees with that. We're not willing to face the sad reality that people who listen to music (whether it be in church or in a club) may find some stupid little dexterous trick that we practiced hours and hours to be able to pull off as being, eh, kinda interesting. Because really its the bass and the vocals that they are grooving to.

    So the safe bubble that we take shelter in is populated by people like us who love boutique anything and would never settle for playing a guitar through an amp that wasn't imbued with (fill in the blank). I mean, this is a telecaster forum. Is anyone aware of a Steinway forum or a discussion group solely committed to talking about Deering banjos?

    I don't do the boutique pedal thing, or the skinny jeans or whatever. But I am no less afflicted with whatever I've convinced my pea brain is absolutely vital to getting good tone and making a statement. I love that Geddy Lee replaced his wall of bass amps with rotisserie chicken cookers and/or washing machines. Hilarious. I hope we never lose the ability to laugh at ourselves.
     
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  10. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Afflicted

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    Ha! Not much much room for pretensions in our small country church, less than 100 folks. Our part is to facilitate singing praise. I play
    through an old Champ 12 with a home brew tele. Bass player goes
    into the board, as does the leaders Taylor.

    When I'm out gigging I can be quite showy. At church I stay back
    in the corner with the bass and percussion. Putting on a show and
    playing for congregational singing are very different endeavors.
     
  11. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    Following.
     
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  12. bknyblues

    bknyblues TDPRI Member

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    I think excellency is important. So I am not against that. Buying the best sometimes is the best route. But it can become and idol if that is our focus. I mean, if I go to church and leave thinking "That guitar player/worship leader was really good" or "That guitar was off the chain" I think its time to find a new church. If the Gospel is not first and foremost on my mind and impacting my life after church then I might as well go to an Eric Clapton concert.

    The worship leaders, guitarists, bass, drums, singers, all serve a purpose, and that purpose is not them, but Christ. If we are pointing people to their need of the Gospel and the glories of Christ then we served our purpose. Sadly, what get's lost in many churches today is the preaching of God's Word. Don't get me wrong there are many good churches who are faithful to the gospel. But there seems to be just as many where the choir, or worship band, or leader is more popular than Jesus and his Word.

    I think Soveriegn Grace's song Show Us Christ says it all

    Show us Christ, show us Christ
    O God, reveal Your glory
    Through the preaching of Your Word
    Until every heart confesses Christ is Lord


    Everything in the service should be geared towards seeing Christ in the faithful expositional preaching of God's Word. Whether you have skinny jeans, or spiked hair, or look like Grissly Adams, for God uses all kinds of strange folks in his Kingdom, the bottom line is that Jesus should be our focus on Sunday's (and everyday), not the worshipleaders and musicians, or the pastors. I personally can't stomach a Koolaid smile, flashy, worship leader who is more like a cheerleader than anything. I guess some folks like that, but just give me Christ.

    Allistair Begg says it best. Kind of funny!
     
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  13. Sarde

    Sarde Tele-Meister

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    Maybe it has something to do with the fact we often have to provide all our gear (guitar, effects, amp); and we need more gear than your average bear. Keyboardists, singers, and the like all use church equipment. Heck our church Bass players play through a DI. Plus that gear is what all our idols (pun intended) of worship music play and use.
     
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  14. jonhart

    jonhart Tele-Meister

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    I agree with this completely. I have a lot of high end gear but I certainly didn't start out with it. I used to play a parts Tele through a solid state Marshall at church when that was what I had. I spent way more time practicing than I did drooling over some new piece of gear. It certainly paid off, as I now study classical guitar at a great university.

    I've played in many churches from the time I was about twelve years old. Being the only guitarist in my home church, I didn't start in a youth band. I worked with people older than me on a weekly basis. Since then I have played in numerous other churches and have traveled to play for conferences and whatnot. I also play outside of church and as mentioned before I play classical as well.

    I enjoy my gear. It's cool whenever I get something new but it's not my main concern. The focus shouldn't be on the image. You can have all the greatest gear and not be a good musician, or worshipper for that matter. Attitude and dedication is so important.
     
  15. Jhengsman

    Jhengsman Tele-Holic

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    Perhaps because worship guitarist are the largest genre group playing before a live audience. Lets say every other corner church has a guitarist in their normal weekend service where as almost every other historical musicians venue has a DJ or a national/international touring act.

    Among those still playing outside of churches their gigs are most often are in front of chemical altered audiences late at night and the security of gear is a great concern for them. Meanwhile we are mainly in front of people doubling their efforts to present a Sunday's best when meeting with the Kingdom family. While church PAs and back lines are the target of the local criminal class during the week on the weekend the guitarist who brings in a few guitars, pedal board and small amp is probably safer at church than leaving his best stuff at home while away for a few hours during the weekend.
     
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  16. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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  17. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I've often said the church I serve will never be "cool" because I'm the pastor!

    This Sunday we had a guest preacher who told me I look like a rock star.

    Since she knows all the original members of Van Halen, I figure she knows what she's talking about.

    Since I'm about 45 pounds overweight these days, I figure she meant Lowell George or John Popper.
     
  18. Jhengsman

    Jhengsman Tele-Holic

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    The blog reminds me of my first church home when I became a Christian. We used to have quarterly joint Bible studies a yearly praise service with four other churches and each team did a few numbers. I quickly learned that each congregation had its own "standards" be they current hits or 10 years old and in the Hal Leonard fake books.. So if I visited some friend's church like the blogger did yes I might recognize one shared song during a set. And as far as I know the balance of the set were not filled by original songs but rather that local church had made different decisions on what songs to cover as it fit their ministries. I was for the most part I was able to find the recording by another big name gospel artist.

    I am just saying I am rejecting the thesis that recording artist are settling for worship ministries because the little money left in recordings or are using the church they work for as a workshop to get the album ready. And if you go by the recommendation then even smaller churches should reject the new songs offered by members. Even if they that don't start with a captured crowd of thousands and the guarantee that the music will be recorded and released either on YouTube for the evangelistic effort or for sale through the normal channels.
     
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  19. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    When I read this article, my first thought was "it's interesting to think about the problems that other people are having". I also had to laugh about the quote where the author said something to the effect of "I'm thankful that we're past the traditional worship v. contemporary worship nonsense". The church we currently attend and serve at is still in the grip of that nonsense...........They're a little behind the time. In 20 years or so, maybe we'll be having the problem described in this article. Just goes to show that with humans all things are imperfect.
     
  20. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    I thought this was a JOKE.

    Most churches I visit barely have a properly tuned acoustic. And the black fender Strat package (being used) still has the New Christmas wrapping covering part of it.

    NEVER in my life have I walked into a Sunday church with a boutique Guitar or amp on stage. (far as I remember) And i've been in 100's of churches over the years.

    OF course: i'm fully guilty of exotic music toys... and my 1970's Skynyrd haircut. I just want the senors to feel comfortable.
     
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