In this conservative age, the worship team tends to be limited to the usual acoustic, electric, bass and drum.  I've known of teams that didn't know what to do with a flute or a baritone horn.

But there are others who have more imagination.  In my own time, I've had a few worshippers on the team, and out of the box:

  • Saw  (played like a cello -- sounds something like a theramin, very sweet, but by its nature about a measure behind the melody)
  • Marimba -- not that unusual, but the lady that played it was named Carmen.
  • Vibraharp - downright gorgeous instrument for worship - a metal xylophone with tubes like a marimba, but also with rotating baffles in the tubes to make a Leslie vibrato.
  • Tuba - amazing room-filling effect, except that the tubist took his style cues from the 30's and it was really hard to cure him of the chromatic runs.

Good, bad or indifferent -- what experiences have you had with out-of-the-routine instruments (or, for that reason, out-of-the-routine vocalists)?

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That also means you have brothers and/or sisters there who don't need to play all the time to feel validated.

That is a very good situation.

I've been learning the Oud (or Ud).  If played well it has a gorgeous sound, somewhat richer than classical guitar in my view.  I've used it several times in worship settings, and it works well if used judiciously.  Here's a link of my teacher playing it.  He's a virtuoso - I can't play anything like him!  If only he were a believer...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0E-_nZCkzM

It's a bit like a kind of 12-string classical guitar, if you like, tuned a little differently.  The crucial thing is that it plays melody rather than chords.  And it's fretless, so learning to play in tune can be a challenge if you're not used to fretless instruments.  In a worship setting it can play the tune, or little twiddly bits in between phrases, or can do short improvisations leading into songs.

No joke, we got very good use out of a cowbell in Go Tell It On The Mountain.  For some reason every time we play that song with our praise team it turns into a kind of galloping country feel.  It's odd because none of us do country.  To break it up a female vocalist that was a senior in high school picked up the cowbell.  After all the expected more cowbell jokes, the drummer gave her a little instruction on timing and playing it with a spare drumstick he had.  At the end of each verse we all drew out the last word and we paused.  She hit the cowbell three times "Ding Ding Ding" and we all would launch into the chorus.  The congregation loved it.  When she shipped off to college we got her a "Cowbell Hero" T-Shirt.

Our violinist has been learning to play a hammered Dulcimer. 

Anyone here ever use one in a worship band setting?

For me a ukulele has done wonders. 

I've been getting into ukulele over the past couple of months and passed the landmark tonight of using one to lead worship at church for the first time - definitely an experience I hope to repeat.

just saw davidcrowder and he led some great worship with a guitar, banjo, upright bass, and violin. the banjo actually worked well.  

I personally love variety and creativity. I'm the Youth worship director at my church, and we're exploring incorporating percussion like beat-boxing and box drums.

 

We also have a regular violinist who plays with us, and it adds a huge element of class and richness of sound. She will sometimes play the part of the electric guitar, and it sounds amazing!

Utterly cool!  I have never considered the violin as an ersatz electric guitar, but yes -- a good player with a creative mind could do it!  (Currently we have no lead guitarist)

For the first time...  uh...  ah... er... I don't know what to say!

Worked for Jimi. ;-)

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