!-- Beacon Ads Ad Code -->

Sponsor Ad:

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Worship Band: Rethinking Which Instrument Does What?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Worship Band: Rethinking Which Instrument Does What?

    I have played for my church with the same people and the same songs for quite a while. Its an acoustic, bass, keyboard and drums. Acoustic usually handles most of the rhythm, bass and drums do their thing and the keyboard comps and does some lead stuff.

    Since we only have one keyboard the most lead synthy stuff we hear is a piano strings blend because of 2 things: when we take away the straight piano sound, it sounds dead and its hard for our keyboard..ist to switch between sounds and remember when and what and where.

    I recently went to a conference where Jesus Culture was playing and it sounded like the keyboard was doing heavy synth airy stuff just changing chords but holding them out and the electric was doing more of the lead more busy stuff with some reverb and delay, not too much distortion. It sounded pretty full, and yes I know, they're Jesus Culture and we're just a church band, but still. They also had an acoustic, but it wasn't even audible.

    Since we're playing more of that kind of stuff, is it worth it to try and make the switch? I feel like it would be a hard transition for some people. Should I spend the anywhere from 500-1000 to get an electric, amp and pedals to start the move? Does anyone have any input?

    Thanks

  • #2
    I would say yes, but no.

    At the risk of getting hammered by the "tone" camp, you don't need to start out spending that much to test the waters. When I made the move to add electric a few years back, I was in very much the same spot you were. I bought a cheapo Dean guitar and a used RP multi and a used amp. Total investment was about 250, and to be honest, I should have skipped the amp to start, because the added stage volume created it's own problems.

    So for essentially 150 bucks I got people used to the idea of seeing an electric on the platform and hearing it during worship. I still use both an acoustic and electric most Sundays, depending on what the song list looks like. And obviously, I quickly replaced that gear for better stuff once I knew the changes would be no problem.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mikeymo1741 View Post
      So for essentially 150 bucks I got people used to the idea of seeing an electric on the platform and hearing it during worship. I still use both an acoustic and electric most Sundays, depending on what the song list looks like. And obviously, I quickly replaced that gear for better stuff once I knew the changes would be no problem.
      Same here. I think it's a great idea to get into electric - it will open up a lot of tonal possibilities and options for you that you don't have now, especially for the newer stuff (as you noted). Don't feel the need to invest massive amounts of money right up front. We had already had solid electric players at our church when I got into electric, but I still didn't know if it would be a good fit for me, especially since I wasn't much of an acoustic player before. I bought a $150 Epiphone Les Paul and a $50 Zoom multi-effects and just started working on it. Like mikeymo, I didn't stick with that setup for long, but if it hadn't suited me or worked well in our setting, I would have been very glad to have not spent $1000 up front. Even now I can admit that most of the upgrades I have made have been more for me than anyone else. I've certainly never heard anyone in the congregation say "wow the guitar sounded good today - did you get a new overdrive pedal?" :-P

      If you have a little more money to invest, I would definitely advise to put that money into the instrument first & not the other gear. A good guitar can sound pretty good through a cheap amp, but the best amp in the world won't do anything for a crappy guitar. Get a good instrument and a simple effects setup and start working on your technique - the want & need for the other gear will follow naturally.
      Eric Frisch
      www.ericfrisch.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by d.t.maldo View Post
        Does anyone have any input?
        Sure, take it for what it's worth. All of this is obviously IMO (In My Opinion).

        Church music contains (typically) most of the following:
        * Percussion
        * Rhythm
        * Chord structure
        * Accent
        * Melody

        At our church, when we do a hymn with organ & piano, the organ typically covers chord structure, melody, and occasional accent (little frills), while the piano's more focused attack does its best at covering rhythm, chord structure, and melody. Both players are using all of their fingers (and feet) pretty much all of the time: it's what they're used to and both are filling up a lot of sonic space with their instrument, but with only two instruments it's doable.

        When we field a band similar to yours, (drums/bass/kb/guitar), drums and bass cover the percussion and rhythm, and melody is covered by vocals. The guitar and piano/keyboard player in this case adjust their roles based on the song, players, and the tone intended.

        Since the two "uncovered" portions are accent (color, instrumental solos, etc.) and chord structure (very necessary), the song -- and the two players -- will typically search for a sound that works well. In "How Great Is Our God", a rhythm guitar sounds best, so the guitar will cover chord structure (and rhythm) with strumming, while the keyboard player will move into the upper octaves (to leave sonic space for the guitar), and do little solo/accent lines, not chords. In "Jesus All For Jesus", the drummer (toms) really covers the "rhythm" part by herself, so the piano/keyboard player sticks to chords (pads work well, a piano sound is OK also), and the guitarist moves up to the upper ranges so they can do cover/color work.

        There are certain tones/sounds which sound better on an electric guitar than on an acoustic, so if you can afford even a basic electric, it gives you an additional tool to listen to, and learn how to match to the overall band sound. But unless your members are already listening to each other, and trying to learn how to best complement the overall sound on any given sound, an electric may bring as much trouble as help.

        Two notes regarding the keyboard:

        1) You say you've played together for a long time, and yet the keyboardist is having trouble dealing with multiple patches. At this point, you need to understand why and determine a course of action. If it's a keyboard player that just doesn't like the other patches, it's one thing... if it's just someone who is uncomfortable with technology, making cheat sheets, giving time for switching, and some practice with changing patches can go a long way. If you can learn the keyboard, it will be easier to teach them a "different way", if they're interested in learning it.

        2) Lots of guitar players love the synth pads on the keyboard: it allows the keyboard player to cover the chord structure (only) for the song, giving the guitarist lots of room to run around on rhythm and accent work as he/she/it feels like doing. The problem is, it's really boring to hold the same chord for (sometimes) many measures in a row... if that's all they're doing, they're going to get bored unless they're really new at keyboard playing. From a guitar perspective, it's somewhat similar to telling the guitarist to "play the down stroke at the beginning of the measure, and then let it ring out for the rest of the measure" for an entire music set.

        If you use pads, don't use them on every song... unless you have a very patient keyboardist. It's very hard for someone used to using all ten fingers (and a foot) to go to holding down three notes for long periods of time... they get bored and/or frustrated.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd also say yes, but you can get into it fairly cheap.

          You can save a lot of money shopping used. If you know what you are looking for, you can check out your local Craigslist and Guitar Center, pawn shop, etc. Most of the time, used gear runs about 60% of new gear, sometimes less if you don't mind some dings and scratches.

          As far as the guitar itself goes, many of the Asian imports have come a LONG ways in the last 10 years. For example, Squier has the Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified lines that have earned a lot of respect from even the most discriminate gear snobs. They run new for about $300-$350. The Vintage Modified line has Duncan designed pickups and the Classic Vibe has higher end pickups as well. My band mate from work uses a Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster for our gigs and only brings his high end PRS as a backup.

          You can even pick up used Mexi Fender strats for $250-350. A lot of times, you can find a like-new used guitar because people buy them for their kids who mastered Guitar Hero but quickly lose interest in the real thing.

          As far as amps, if you are only going to use one at church, you have a few options.

          Like Mikeymo pointed out, an amp on stage can create stage volume issues. So one option is to pick up a decent used multi-effects board and a good DI box and run through the system, or basically do the same thing and find a small amp as a stage monitor. Some downsides of running to the system without an amp is that you are going to be dependent on your sound system's monitor mix and who you share it with. If you can trust your sound crew to keep your guitar loud enough in the mix you can hear it, then you probably don't need an amp.

          Of course, the major downside to an amp is they are very directional. It could be quiet to you, but blasting out the first 3 rows because the sound is blowing by your ankles but blowing in their face.

          As far as effects, Lincoln Brewster started with the Line 6 pod. The guitar players I know seem to prefer either Line 6 or Boss for a multi-effects unit. The digitech stuff is ok, too. I have a digitech bass effects pedal (that I don't use much) that gets the job done. Again, try to find used stuff.

          Amps can get into some money, especially if you are looking at a full-on tube amp. However, many manufacturers like Line 6, Marshall and Fender are offering small digital/solid state amps in the 20-30w range that are loaded with a plethora of presets and sound pretty decent. But, you'd likely have to mic the amp or if it has a line out, go to a DI box. So it might be just as easy to pick up a pod/ multi effects unit and a good DI.

          Punch line- you can pick up enough stuff to get you started and should be able to keep it under $500.

          On the aspect of 'if they're ready for it', some people will freak if they see you with an electric guitar., Others will run you down and give you a hug.

          Much of it is dependent on your sound- if it's overbearing and sounds awful, that would be the worst case scenario. Again, it's going to depend on your sound crew and what you give them for feed, and if it's real hot on some settings and quiet on others, that might take some time to dial in.

          Hope it works out ok for you
          If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for all the input. The guitar seems like a problem I can resolve. The keyboard is that she just doesn't know enough to know what pad or synth to use and when and what sounds good. We end up both playing chords together, which obviously sounds full but lacks the character of a song. I think it might be a matter of just sitting down and giving her time to switch and stuff, like after5 said.

            We had a good thing going and then 4 members of the worship band left, leaving us to start over. It's been going really well, just not like it used to be and instead of those 4 musicians who knew how to play tastefully, we are dealing with people who know chords and thats about it. I know its going to take time, just hard putting effort in sometimes, especially because I am picking songs, directing during the services, playing guitar and making sure the audio guys are ok (they are just stand in too) and then you look over at the congregation and there is no one participating, even when we are playing at our best and you can feel the energy and the Lord moving. I hope that doesn't sound like I am trying to toot my own horn, its not. I wish I could only do one thing so I could do it solely and really perfect it, then that would also leave time for worship personally.

            Sorry if this turned from a technical post into an emotional, just need to get it out sometimes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Good decision to switch, I say buy as nice a guitar as you can afford from the get go. A multi pedal board is fine til you realize that you want an amp and individual pedals. I am of the tone camp, but I also have a very limited (read none) budget, I would start with the Best guitar I could afford and then like a small line-6 amp for it's varied, switchable tonal options. I can't stress enough, get as good a guitar as you can afford. This is where good tones originates. If you can get an American strat or Tele, they are the best for worship. Les Pauls and Gretsch are nice but usually much more pricey, stay away from the Ibanez, Schector, style and camps (not so humble opinion, remember I am of the tone camp). I never have liked them and probably never will, they are nitchy guitars with iffy quality and tone. Hope this helps.

              Comment


              • #8
                As a recent convert I've got to stand up for Ibanez. This is great:
                And this is probably the best worship guitar I could think to recommend:


                I'll agree don't get any pointy hot pink Ibanez but that normally goes without saying if you're playing P&W.

                If you want the absolute best bang for the buck I'd suggest a used Mexican made Fender (~$250) or Agile LP style (~$200). I've owned both, and they really were great. I totally agree with the get the best guitar you can afford, but in the sub $500 range "best" isn't going to be a measure of sound as much as tuning stability and playability. Who cares how good the tone is if it's out of tune and isn't enjoyable to play.

                Besides the gutiar I'd really recommend looking at the Zoom G series. I picked up a G3 for $115 off ebay, I've heard people with the highest line 6 (HD500) say they perfer the G modeling. You basically trade away complexity/control for ease of use. But with some pretty good effects even after you upgrade you'll probably keep it around. Also it works quite well as a USB audio interface, if you ever want to try out recording.
                I need pictures of your drummer in his booth/cage/room http://drummersbehindglass.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  but in the sub $500 range "best" isn't going to be a measure of sound as much as tuning stability and playability.
                  Especially with strats, you can generally pick up a loaded pickguard with Duncans or something in it for a decent price. For the motor heads out there, I always compare Fenders to small block Chevys- they are everywhere and everyone makes parts for them, you can hot rod one up pretty cheap.

                  I second the Agile recommendation- people who like the LP style guitars and played one consistently say they sound and play nicer than the comparable Epiphone.

                  As far as tone, it's like money- a great servant but a terrible master. Guys can spend years and thousands of dollars chasing it. But you gotta start somewhere. Try a few different rigs. A lot of tone also comes from you. Your individual attack, playing style, all factor in.

                  It's gettin' GASsy in here
                  If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Worship Sounds

                    I know this thread has gone pretty much to a gear discussion, but I would like to return to some of the original questions, and make sure we are not putting the cart before the horse. The real issue here is that of providing the right sound for a certain type of music.

                    First off, you are right, you are not Jesus Culture. At the same time, they are not you. You are called to minister in music to your congregation, and that by nature may suggest covering a broader type of sound than any one band. I was fortunate to talk to some of the JC folks, and have played some of their music in our Church. It is great stuff, and very playable, but I would not want to do it all the time.

                    As a worship team, you are probably very much a cover band. There is lots of music out there. It is a great challenge and blessing to broaden your selection and base of skills. Unless your congregation is pretty homogenous, having a wider variety is a good thing, but realize that learning new songs is a challenge for any congregation, and unless managed carefully, can be another barrier to worship.

                    In terms of gear, you need to make choices that compliment the musical mission that you are given. If the Church leadership is supportive of an expanded sound, there are some very interesting things you can do on the platform without spending a lot of money, but understanding the risks is important. Moving to more electric sound takes much more management. Unless you are prepared, you can again, easily create barriers to worship.

                    In my small Church situation, we have gone from very simple to very complex and back. At this point, depending on the song requirements and who is available, we have acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, electric keys, electric drums, acoustic drums (djembe and congas), and multiple singers. We have eliminated instrument amps and on stage monitors, as well as moved to the electric drums. All our sound goes through the board, and back out through in-ear monitors, and the mains. Our 1866 era sanctuary is acoustically very live, and we have to be careful not to cause problems with volume, mix or feedback. We have also found out that as far as on-stage, you can still carry out the spirit of a given song without getting too complex. We run all the guitars through fairly simple combination pedals. There are enough voices to carry out most of the songs on a credible basis.

                    At the same time we have simplified on stage, we have invested in building up the sound system, and in giving the sound guys much more control over what we and the congregation hear. Experience has taught us that even the most talented musicians sound terrible if it cannot be controlled. One thing that has helped us a bunch is that we run a music festival outside during the summer. Both the experience of producing the show, and the interaction with other musicians and sound techs has given us valuable knowledge that helps in the sanctuary. Our approach to handling sound is far different today, and the sound in the sanctuary much better because of it.

                    Assuming you have reasonable quality musicians, I agree you don't have to spend a lot of money on stage to create a more diverse and good quality sound. You do have to invest both time and money into the Church sound system. The ability of the sound guys to manage things may be much more important to your sound than what you do on stage.

                    Blessings...
                    Dave

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was just thinking this morning Ian McIntosh the keyboard player for JC/Bethel used to be an active member hear. I'd love to hear his opinion on this, specifically the, "Pads are too borring".
                      I need pictures of your drummer in his booth/cage/room http://drummersbehindglass.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does anyone have any input on getting an effects pedal for an acoustic for the time being? I have a Taylor 414 that I love and plays great. Just until I can buy the electric and effects, would it be worth it to get an effects for m acoustic or does that sound super cheesy? I was looking into the Fishman AFX Delay pedal. Also the Line 6 POD. I know its for electrics but wont it do the same for acoustics that it does for electrics? I wont be using anything other then reverb/delay probably and once I purchase an electric, I wont have to buy another pedal since that one is already made for electrics. Is this something that could work or am I just being a little too cheap?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Acoustic with pedal

                          Originally posted by d.t.maldo View Post
                          Does anyone have any input on getting an effects pedal for an acoustic for the time being? I have a Taylor 414 that I love and plays great. Just until I can buy the electric and effects, would it be worth it to get an effects for m acoustic or does that sound super cheesy? I was looking into the Fishman AFX Delay pedal. Also the Line 6 POD. I know its for electrics but wont it do the same for acoustics that it does for electrics? I wont be using anything other then reverb/delay probably and once I purchase an electric, I wont have to buy another pedal since that one is already made for electrics. Is this something that could work or am I just being a little too cheap?
                          It is possible, and I have done this on rare occasions with my Ovation Elite for specific roles where a guitar switch is not practical, and we do not have enough guitarists. I run my acoustic through a RP500 on a regular basis, using clean, acoustic, and chorus channels with reverb, now and then hitting the distortion switch. The sound guys have indicated this creates some pretty nice effects and does not confuse the sound. "Happy Day" is one example of a song where we do the entrance with distortion, and then I click back to acoustic. It is not ideal, as you are playing an instrument that projects a fair amount of acoustic sound, coupled to a different effect that will be projected over the mains. I found a need to physically turn the instrument away from the congregation in order not to create a confusing sound. This creates a problem if I am singing vocals. Our sanctuary is small, so this may not be a problem for you. We have found ways to make this work, but it is not ideal, and the better solution is to just go ahead and pick up a moderately priced but workable used electric guitar, or, see if you can recruit another electric player into the team.

                          Blessings...
                          Dave

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just to add in two cents from a keyboard players perspective. If you are going to go the route of the keyboardist only playing pads and patches, prepare yourself for them to quit. Especially if they are a trained pianist at the core. We will only put up with it for so long. That's not being elitist or "not a team player", it's just the truth. Playing pads is, quite frankly, a waste of a keyboardist's time. If you are committed to getting that eternal drone underneath everything, ala Jesus Culture, I would highly recommend starting to play with click tracks rather than condemning your keyboard players to musical purgatory.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How else do you achieve that sound? I mean that literally too. This is the style that the congregation and everyone likes, so how do we do it?

                              How does the keyboard player for Jesus Culture do it? Everyone has their purpose...I used to play bass, I know what its like to play boring, time wasting stuff.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X