The Electric: Worship Guitar Amplifier Buying Guide

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll continue the conversation about finding the best amp for worship.

 

Last week I gave some thoughts about finding the best amp to use for worship leading (HERE).  This week I thought it might be helpful to write out a check list or buyers guide of sorts that you can use as a tool in your search for you amp. The goal of this tool isn’t to tell you what to buy but to help bring clarity to your decision process.

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The Electric: Amp In A Box

 

Amp In A Box Style overdrive pedals are a slightly controversial concept. Some feel that they are pointless. Others think they are a waste of money and time. Still many more think they are a welcomed addition to our guitar effect arsenals. Today we’ll look behind to the current to find out just what an Amp In A Box OD is, If they make sense as a pedal genre, and if they make sense for us as worship guitarists.

WHAT ARE THEY?
As the name implies, an Amp In A Box pedal is trying to emulate or capture the sound and feel of a guitar amplifier in stompbox form. Some pedals like the Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive have a generalized, non-descript “amp” feel to them. While others, like the Wampler Black ’65 (Fender Blackface Amp), the Catalinbread CB30 (Vox AC30) or the JHS Superbolt (Supro tube amp) have a very specific sound in mind.

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The Electric: Compression Pedals

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 compression pedals. What are they? Should I use one? If I bought one, what would I do with it?

When I first set up my electric guitar rig, a friend of mine who does sound professionally told me to get a compressor pedal. If I’m honest, I didn’t really understand what he was saying when he told me why I needed it, but he seemed to think it was important and I trusted him, so I researched and found a good lower priced compession pedal, and I bought the MXR SuperComp. I’m glad I did, because compression has become a huge part of my sound, and my tone. But, if you’re like I was, and you don’t get what a compression pedal is or why you’d want one, then hopefully this blog will help you out.

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The Electric: Best Amp For A Worship Band?

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 amplifiers, which ones are good for a worship band, and which ones should be avoided.

KNOW WHAT AN AMP IS

An amp isn’t just the speaker that produces your guitars sound. In many way, the amplifier is an instrument in it’s own right. An acoustic guitar is just an acoustic guitar, but an electric guitar rig (guitar, amp, effects) is a group of instruments being used together to produce a sound or tone. My point is that it doesn’t make any sense to put money into a nice guitar or effects pedals and then have an amp that is sub par. An amp is an instrument. It has to sound good in its own right. To that end, if the amp doesn’t sound good on it’s own, without effects, and without a high quality guitar then it’s the wrong amp.

NOTE: This is why I DO NOT advise buying digital amps or amps with built in DSP effects. Your tone will be better off with just your guitar and a Fender Blues Jr than with an amp that has 15 poor quality onboard effects.

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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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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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