It’s Kinda Like Coldplay

This post isn’t just written for the worship leader. It’s for every member of the church’s worship band and community.

 I vividly remember the night. I was driving home from work in the summer of 2000. I had just graduated from High School and my car only had an FM radio. Then it happened, a song I’d never heard before came over the airwaves with sound that was both ground breaking and familiar all at the same time. This being the dark ages of technology, I had to sit in my parked car for three more songs to find out who this band was. The song was Yellow and the band was called Coldplay.  On my lunch break the next day I walked over to Sonic Boom records in Seattle and purchased the album Parachutes. Within two weeks, everyone I knew seemed to have a copy. That was 13 years ago.

Since then, Coldplay has grown and established itself in the mainstream musical consciousness of the Western World and beyond. Even if you’re the type of Christian who has a personal conviction not to listen to secular music, you have heard Coldplay. You often hear about Christian bands ripping off U2 (I’ve written about it HERE) but the truth is that they’ve been influenced by Coldplay just as much. Yet, again and again, I’ve been in a worship band practice and said “it’s kinda like Coldplay” and received nothing but a blank expression back. It’s been 13 years.

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The Electric: Knobs, Switches, and Settings

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about playing without effects or pedals.

 I’m a little hesitant to write this post. When I write in general it just about my experience and things I’ve picked up over the years. But I’ll fully admit that I’m still learning more and more about how the guitar and amp work on their own. Effects pedals are great, but they can do us a disservice by letting us cut corners and thus not forcing us to learn about the relationship of the guitar and the tube amplifier.

Younger players often rip on older player who seem to only want to relive the classic rock glory days of the 70’s and 80’s (and if that’s you it’s time to learn some new tricks 😉 ) but I’ve gained an invaluable amount of insight from those older players who can do more with just a guitar and amp than you or I could with 12 pedals. So here’s some thoughts on what happens when you choose to or are forced to play with out effects in your rig.

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Q&A

Every so often I like to look over the Google searches that bring people to this blog. It’s interesting what people look for, and what brings them my way. There are a few great questions, and a few ridiculous questions. What questions are people who stumble upon this blog asking? Let’s find out.

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Hymns and Worship Culture

The Gospel Coalition had a great discussion about Hymns and Church culture. I recommend this video as well worth 10 minutes of your time.

Here’s what I took from it:

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The Electric: Gearing Up

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk getting ready to play on Sunday, especially if you don’t know the set list.

I’m playing electric guitar in the band this Sunday. I don’t know the set list, or anything other than that I’m supposed to show up. How do you get ready for something like that?

It’s not an idea situation but it is what it is, and a lot of churches do it that way and it works fine for them. So if you’ve new to a worship band that operates on short notice and you don’t get the set until the morning of, or if you’ve been doing it this way for a while but are still struggling with how to do it well, here’s some thoughts:

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The Electric: Leading Vs. Backing

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about leading vs. backing with the Electric Guitar. How the two are similar, and how the two are completely different.

One Guitar. One Rig. Two Purposes.

My guitar rig is set up for versatility. I’ve talk a lot about this before in this series of articles. But I haven’t really touched on the versatility between leading the band and being in the band. What’s the difference. Is there a difference? And is it a big deal? Let’s talk about it.

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The 5 Point Band

Let’s be honest about two things:

1. Church bands tend to “overplay” and step over each other on a regular  basis

2. Church bands are often a hodge podge of who’s available instead of who is needed.

What I’m going to suggest will hopefully unmuddy the waters sonically speaking and give structure to arranging and picking your church’s band for a worship service.

When I put a band together for a Sunday or Wednesday I first look at who is available. It’s all well and good to want a thick analog synth sound on a song but if all your keyboard players are on vacation, you’ll need to rethink your plans. Once I know who is available, I start to fill roles based on my “5 point band”. I admit that I don’t always do it consciously, because I’m so used to doing it. But it’s always there in the background of my mind. So here are the 5 points that I look for to put a band together. I’m going to write them in order of importance.

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