Yes, I've had my fun being critical of those who have made certain sound and equipment choices. Hey, I like the sound of a telecaster, and there's something very nice about the sound of an AC30. But what I've got, I've got. I have a very nice old Gibson SG. I have a 50W amp that sounds like a JTM45, saggy and smooth, not chimey, and with that sound when the volume knob is twisted past noon. But I don't put it there in church. When I play, it sounds more like Steve Cropper than it does like Edge, or Nigel H. I've practiced for a very long time to sound like that. I prefer to sound like that. If I want to sound like the CD, friends, I'll be looking for a different CD. Did you know it's possible to play "Blessed be your Name" as an R&B number? So what do you do to accommodate the differences between what you've got, what you are good at, and the songs that you play? I'm not asking you to recommend equipment upgrades to me. I've read article after article about what equipment and effects are indispensible to the worship guitarist and I've dispensed with most of it. I've got what I've got and I'm thankful for what I've got, and I like what I've got. Contentment. So when you play songs with your worship team, what makes you sound unlike all others?

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Just a though about thin sounds - if you insist on having a lot of instruments on a song it's probably easier if you keep the frequency range of each very narrow so they don't overlap too much and go muddy.

Yes, there are places one could do that. In fact if we had a basic backing track then using something simple & free like Audacity we could each record a track and either upload or email it for assembly into a whole song.

More instruments = less for each to do. 

It's just not the same without amps.


Now this is how it should be done. ;-)

(please excuse the lyrics)

Although I use a Line 6 HD pedal I find that I set up a particular set of sounds, usually 3 or 4, that stay consistent.  Once in a while I will try to dial in something to fit a song specifically but mostly just the same sounds and alot of technique changes.  Recently I was in a church that played with clicks and loops and everything was exactly like the CD.  Now I play in a church with some really great players and things are always open for interpretation.  It's like opposite land.  I do spend alot of time honing my guitar chops.  When I like a part I play it, otherwise I make up my own.  Either way I try to prepare something tasteful and challenging.  If I do it right it also sounds interesting.  No matter what my style comes through and every song becomes my own.  So in my case the amp and sound isn't really where it happens.  It's in the fingers.  I am using a 97 American Standard Strat into a model of a fender twin.  In front of the twin is a Boost Comp, Tube Screamer, Analog and digital delay(not at the same time) and Digital reverb. All that is in the POD then I plug it into the front of my Ampeg VT-22 head which feeds a 2x12 cab.  It's a very versatile rig with nice tube power and warmth.

The biggest problem with imitating the recording is that you spend way too much time trying to sound like the recording. I really think bands should strive to sound like themselves instead of someone else. That's why I have come to hate the dotted eighth note. It's like no worship guitarist is complete without it. And it all sounds the same. And it seems like a cheap way of getting away with not having to be creative. There, I said it.

I agree with you on the dotted eigth.  I don't spend alot of time trying to sound exact.  I just listen and comp the riff, if I like it.  My worship team is so off the cuff anyway.  Half the time I wasn't told about the song ahead of time and play what I think the riff is.  :-)

Good man!

I love this discussion!  Interpreting songs your own way is the way to go.  I do like to push people a little out of their box to stretch them musically, but sounding just like the cd is not a great goal to strive for... especially since they have about 8 guitars on each recording.  Funny you guys mention the dotted 8th... I like to use it occasionally, but most often when the original DOESN'T call for it.  Anyhoo, great stuff here, fellas.

Mississippi John Hurt. Blind Willie McTell.

you're right on.  i double transpose all the time because i don't want to redo the sheets.  like if a songsheet is in D and we are playing it in Bb and i capo3 and play in G, some really accomplished pianists say "how do you do that?"  When they sightread mozart or something, that is what i say! haha.  I see that a lot, though, what you are saying about playing a simple strings or pad sound, they can be lost.  very strange isn't it?

Most acoustic guitarists have a capo, and if they sing then it will often get used as they don't really want to be *playing* the guitar so much as just using it as a backing wash. Our singer/AGist is all over the place with pitch, but as long as I can get either the key or the first chord then it's usually fine. On this basis I'd say that 'guitar-friendly' means providing words and chords showing the actual chords used, together with a suggested capo position and the capo chords.

To take this one stage further, guitars are very pitch-specific in the way they behave, whereas a piano is effectively pitch-independant. By this I mean that combining open and fretted strings creates different sounds and behaviour from having all strings fretted. This can make capo use musically valid (instead of just making up for a lack of skill, as it usually does) and it can also make one wish to 'force' a song into a certain key, even when it doesn't really sit comfortably there. So guitar-friendly might mean making use of the open A chord that sounds so glorious, instead of pitching the song in Bb, which tends toward the bland or Ab which is a bit murky.

"flesh capo"... love that.  that is another thing i find funny.  many guitarists who have been playing their entire life can't seem to barre very well.  although i am a great proponent of the capo and its uses, being able to use that "flesh capo", and use it easily, is essential in my opinion.


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