When you’re playing guitar with a band, there’s one thing that far outweighs everything else. It’s something so simple and obvious, yet I see way too many guitarists forget about it! So what’s the most important thing when you’re playing guitar with a band?
This is actually true for every instrument, but today I’m talking to guitar players because we are the ones that tend to forget this the most. We tend to be very… “showoffy.” I’ve seen way too many guitar players show up and just “fiddle around.” What I mean is that they aren’t playing anything with any significance, and just wait for their moment to shred a solo.
I’m going to be very honest here. If this is you, you might as well just get off the stage, because you aren’t doing anybody any good. In fact, the band would be better off without you.
A great guitar player is always conscious of the band. He (or she) is always asking the question, “what can I play to make the band sound better?” Hear me loud in clear when I say this: In worship music, 99.9% of the time, it is NOT a guitar solo! If you spend your time playing guitar just waiting for the next opportunity for a guitar solo, you’re reading the right article.
That is a very selfish way to play. There are a thousand other things you could be playing that actually support the band and make it sound more full. Now I’ll stop there with guitar soloing before I jump up on my soapbox, but I will definitely talk more about this in the future.
Now I want to take this a step further. I know I said that the band is the number one thing, but I want to narrow this down even further. I started with the band being the most important thing, because that is an important concept to grasp. If you can get that, you’re on the right track. However, in worship music there is one thing that trumps even the band. It’s the vocals.
Vocals lead the way in worship music. They are the forefront of what people in the audience are connecting with. Never step on, take attention from, or get in the way of the vocals. Great worship musicians know this! What are you doing to support the vocals? Hopefully you’re not soloing over the top of them.
It’s important to know your place in the band. It may take some humbleness to admit, but the vocals are way more important than the guitars.
So here are your action steps:
- Always be listening to the band, not just your instrument. This will cause you to hear the band as a whole and encourage you to play things that are going to support and make the band sound better.
- Never get in the way of the vocals. If you don’t have them turned up in your monitors, do it! You always need to be aware of what they are doing.
- Show up to rehearsal prepared and knowing the parts. This will keep you from fiddling, soloing, and doing things that just aren’t vocal and band friendly.
I’m a firm believer that the easiest way to do this is with a WorshipOnline.com account. With our video tutorials, you can learn all of the parts (even the hard to pick out parts) in minutes, so the “I don’t have time” excuse isn’t valid anymore. Check out some of demo tutorials on youtube. I believe that they speak for themselves.
So now I want to hear from you! How do you keep your focus on the band and not just on your own playing? Share with us in the comments!
Do you play electric guitar for a worship band? Check out our FREE 5 part video series on How Today’s Top Worship Guitarist Are Using Effects Pedals!