A Great Resource for Beginner to Moderate Electric Guitarists who Play in Modern Worship Settings

Zac HicksWorship Resources1 Comment

(I am not being paid or coerced to write this.)

For worship leaders, you can basically boil down musician-recruitment philosophy into two camps: hire professionals from the outside, or work with the (most often amateur) body on the inside.  I think there are merits to both, and each is suited to particular contexts and ministry goals.  In my current context, we hold to philosophy of using musicians in the body.  That comes with its blessings, but it also comes with its challenges.  I have learned over the years as a band-builder that one of the hardest things to find and cultivate is a good electric guitar player.  And I mean a real electric guitar player.  Acousticians who own an electric guitar and strum it like an acoustic don’t count.  Good electric guitar playing is a nuanced art.

I would consider myself a moderate electric guitar player.  After several years of playing, I think I finally understand the basics of tone and gear (i.e. guitar and pickup types, amps, and pedals), and I continue to grow in my lead-playing and color-painting.  So when I picked up the Electric Guitar Instructional DVD from the Modern Worship DVD Series by worship leader Paul Baloche and electric guitarist Ben Gowell, I was viewing it as someone who definitely still has much to learn, but also as a worship leader who might be wanting to pass this resource on to some beginner electric guitarists in my fold.

This is definitely a resource I would recommend if you are in a modern worship setting and want to see some growth in the electric guitar arena.  What I appreciate about it is that it’s both thorough and brief.  It is accessible, but it doesn’t cut corners.  Furthermore, the DVD points you to their companion workbook (PDF) so that you have both the notes already taken for you and diagrams to help digest the material if it’s new to you.  Here’s a breakdown of what the DVD offers (from leadworship.com):

On this DVD, Paul and Ben cover:

* chord voicings and positions
* electric guitar tone
* equipment and effects pedals
* playing with a band
* creating rhythm “parts”
* octaves
* volume issues in church
* soloing concepts, demonstrations
   … and much more

This DVD contains 80 minutes of bonus footage featuring instruction by veteran electric guitarist Glenn Pearce. This footage was originally released as the Electric Guitar DVD. 

If I were attempting to teach what I knew about electric guitar, I would want to break it down the way that this DVD breaks it down.  And what makes this DVD special is that it addresses issues and thoughts specific to the church music context, which most “learn electric guitar” resources won’t do.

The way I will most likely use this is to pass it on to a few burgeoning electric guitarists and then have some follow-up one-on-one sessions with them.  What I imagine this can do is to establish a vocabulary through which we can communicate before or in rehearsals about what we’re looking for. 

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for more ways to recruit and raise up more musicians.  This DVD can be a helpful resource as part of the journey toward that end.

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