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Need guidance and inspiration


(@thegrimm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 119
Topic starter  

Greetings, all. I'm looking for some inspiration for how to spend my practice time. I've recently rescheduled my, er, schedule, and now have an hour or more to “practice” a day. However, I'm a little short on inspiration on how to spend that time.

The obvious response is, “what are your goals?”, but I'm a step ahead of you guys. ;) I've come prepared:

I currently play in a church worship team. None of us have more than a few years experience, so we're all just figuring things out along as we go. My short term goals involved improving my playing in any way that will contribute to an enhanced worship “performance”. Let me describe the problems we have; and perhaps you all can offer suggestions for things to practice to overcome those problems (and possibly suggestions on how to divide my time).

-Lack of material.
-Lack of variety in style. A lot of worship songs are in simple open chords, and I can often learn a new songs in 20 minutes, but I'm already frustrated that a lot of the songs I learn to play are, well, just like all the other songs I can play. What's the difference between song A and song B? The words are different. Whoop.
-Lack of “synergy”. With all guitarists essentially playing the same simple chords, more guitars don't add anything extra that one guitar doesn't already add. I often find myself resorting to playing only chord changes with a simple slow strum to avoid cluttering the sound.
-Occasionally, a less than firm grasp of the basics (timing, rhythm, tempo)

Ideas I've already considered are:
-Learning new songs. This is easy. There are stacks of worship CD's available, and chords are always easy to download. I just play along. Too often, I find myself playing the same boring style, though.
-Analysing songs. For every song I learn, I could work out the key, try and transpose it with a capo, try and figure out the riffs from the CD based on the key of the song, etc.
-Er, and that's where I run out of ideas.

I'm not limited to any particular style or technique…electric or acoustic (I have both) guitar, open or barre chords, strumming or picking, clean or effects…I'm willing to learn whatever makes it sound good. And although I'm playing primarily gospel, I'm not limiting myself to that…indeed, I love playing (almost) all styles of music.


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(@clockworked)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 216
 

There's lots of things you can do to color playing with multiple guitarists. Just a couple ideas..

- if you insist on both playing the same chords at the same time, one guitarist could play chords in the open position, while another plays the same chords in a position up the neck.
- one guitarist could play the chords while another finger picks the same chords.. one could emphasize a certain root note while playing and the whole band could work around that note
- have one guitarist hammer on to his chords, while another just plays them in the vanilla style (if there's a volume difference, it might sound neat)
- have one guitar go silent for a little while, and than build a crescendo and have that guitar join back up later
- one guitarist could pick up a slide and add to the mix with very small slide riffs and/or sliding between chord playing.
- you could work soloing into the mix, where one guitarist strums the chords as one guitarist takes off and solos over those chords, than switch it up and have the other guitarist take a back seat while the other one solos. Even very basic coloring riffs (simple stuff like tremolo picking a single note could add to it)
- adding guitar-driven bass-lines
- using an acoustic to play the rhythm and the electric for the lead for a couple of songs would already set songs apart from the ones where you use both electric guitars, and than switch it up.. have electric play lead and acoustic play some acoustic riffs over it

I can't help with a less than firm grasp of the basics, but the longer you guys play together, the better you'll start sounding (theoretically ;)). I've never even played guitar in a band (I played as a bassist, though -- that was a joke in it of itself) but I have listened to a lot of music with multiple guitars. Go out and listen to some bands with multiple guitars to see how they mix it up. I think just finding ways to color your pieces is what you should look for.

Used to be, was a part of me felt like hiding.. but now it comes through. Comes through to you.


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(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3297
 

- one guitarist could play the chords while another finger picks the same chords.. one could emphasize a certain root note while playing and the whole band could work around that note

Similarly, in our P&W band, one guitarist usually strums while the other flatpicks arpeggios.

-Lack of material.
-Lack of variety in style. A lot of worship songs are in simple open chords,

I am a bit surprised by both of these. Are you using a fakebook? Or just playing Chris Tomlin songs? (LOL ) I see simple open chords in less than half of our sheet music.

If you want some variety, try some David Crowder Band songs. Definitely the most creative band in the genre, and he uses a lot of interesting chord voicings. Also some of the Hillsong material can be complex, with lots of chord changes. Or throw in some gospel-fusion stuff by Israel & New Breed - sure you can simplify the chords, but try the jazzier voicings they use.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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(@thegrimm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 119
Topic starter  

I am a bit surprised by both of these. Are you using a fakebook? Or just playing Chris Tomlin songs? (LOL ) I see simple open chords in less than half of our sheet music.

Lack of material as in we haven't learnt much material together as a band. And "mostly simple open chords" for worship music was perhaps a gross generalisation. Let's rather say we tend to avoid the tougher stuff, due to said lack of experience. So, a lot of OUR music is simple open chords. I'm teaching myself some more varied stuff "on the side", although I'm looking to colour my playing over the simple open chord strumming of my band mates.

Great ideas, though. I'll try the arpeggios, especially. Tried that a few times, but it sound awful. Guess I need to plan my arpeggios beforehand. Can practice with the CD, too...

Might also try transposing songs, and playing them with different voicings and with a capo myself!

Thanks.


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(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3297
 

Sounds like you're on the right path! Best of luck to you!

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1689
 

Greetings, all. I'm looking for some inspiration for how to spend my practice time.

Forgive me if this was already mentioned, but what about allocating some practice time to improvisation?

And might I suggest participating in a GN online jam/collaboration? Great way to motivate and shake things up a little.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


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(@thegrimm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 119
Topic starter  

Forgive me if this was already mentioned, but what about allocating some practice time to improvisation?

Yeah, I'd love to. Uh, not sure where to start, though. Is it like noodling over a backtrack? I try that occasionally, but I get a little frustrated, because I'm not sure how to approach it.
And might I suggest participating in a GN online jam/collaboration? Great way to motivate and shake things up a little.
Margaret

Intriguing. How does that...no, nevermind, I'll go look it up. :)


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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1689
 

Forgive me if this was already mentioned, but what about allocating some practice time to improvisation?

Yeah, I'd love to. Uh, not sure where to start, though. Is it like noodling over a backtrack? I try that occasionally, but I get a little frustrated, because I'm not sure how to approach it.
And might I suggest participating in a GN online jam/collaboration? Great way to motivate and shake things up a little.
Margaret

Intriguing. How does that...no, nevermind, I'll go look it up. :)

Yes, it's exactly like noodling over a backing track. :D

I'm no expert, but I've been dabbling with learning to improvise. First, you gotta figure out what key the backing track is in, and what key(s) will sound good with it.

Here's a thread that has some useful information and resources, complete with a link to a backing track that is easy to improvise over.

https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=30250

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


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(@presbystrat)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 28
 

If you want to learn some improvisation, I highly recommend Fretboard Logic SE for about $13 from Amazon. It prevents a very natural way of learning the fretboard that lends itself well to improvisation. If you are into worship music, I would also like to recommend another BB: http://www.christianguitar.org It's a great place to connect with other Christian musicians. They also have a large collection of tabs for worship music.


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(@steeder)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 17
 

I would also add:

http://www.worshiptogether.com/ (primarily for contemproary worship; also check out the Essential Modern Worship Fakebook)

and

http://www.leadworship.com/ (Paul Baloche's website with free tab and chord/lyric sheets)

Steed


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(@thegrimm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 119
Topic starter  

Thanks guys, those are some awesome resources. I'm going to have to keep them handy, because, as of last night, I'm leading one of two teams.

Better get better in a hurry!

We now have a guitar, a keyboard and a base guitar, which cuts down on the problem of guitar interference significantly. Drums would be nice, but you have to work with what you have.

Thanks again, all.


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 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2823
 

I second the David Crowder comment. One thing I have been doing lately, and I am not very good at it yet, is to take songs from old hymn books and really just updating them. Putting my own chord progressions to them, singing them differently than written and so forth. I have nothing to be proud of yet, but its fun and I think its been educational.

Another thought is... dont avoid the tough stuff. :D Seriously, I really wanted to learn Wholly Yours by David Crowder but I kept putting it off cause I felt like it was way too tough. Well, after some practice I can play and sing it really nicely. Funny thing is that it wasnt that complicated after all.

Best of luck to you and your worship band.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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