Resource Guide: Worship Guitar and Beyond

Worship guitar has come a long way from the late 80’s early 90’s style that helped grow modern worship.  It has almost become it’s own style of guitar.  Sounding inspired from the U2, Coldplay, and other more alternative influences, it has become a sound that is almost instantly recognizable to those in the church as well as some outside the church.  A heavy dose of delay, reverb, and just enough effects to achieve the perfect texture for each song, worship guitar has become a passion for many guitar players in churches today.

Because it has sparked such following, many websites have popped up to help you our your team learn the parts from the recordings as well as inspire creativity for guitar players alike to develop their own style and sound.  Here are just a few that I have found recently and have utilized myself to learn a part or to give to my players.  They are tremendous resources for you and your team – not just guitar players.

Guitar Praise – I have been using this one for a while and the team behind it has everything from lessons, to theory, to tone and effects and more.  It is a great place to start for any guitar player who is involved with worship. (FREE)

Worship Tutorials – mainly acoustic driven this site has a good number of songs to choose from. (FREE)

DBWorship.com – Gear talk, loops, tutorials and more.  They are accurate and easy to follow with a good selection to choose from. Site has been really slow as of late hopefully that will get remedied. (FREE)

Guitarmann – Lessons galore, not just teaching you the songs but teaching you guitar! tons of info on this site.  Also check out his YouTube channel for more song lessons. (PARTIAL FREE/SUBSCRIPTION)

FQ Worship – Founded by worship leaders for worship leaders.  This site has charts, lessons, planning resources and just about everything you’ll need as a worship leader to prepare to be your best each week.  Lessons for guitar, piano, drums, equipment and setup and more. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Leadworship.com – Paul Baloche’s site dedicated to helping worship leaders grow.  There are some tutorials, charts and more but is limited to Baloche’s catalog (which is by no means small). (FREE)  You can also check out his DVD series to help the worship guitar player, drummer, bass player and more HERE. (PAY)

WorshipRiffTV – youtube channel dedicated to the Worship Electric Guitar. (FREE)

WorshipArtistry.c0m – the site is still in Beta testing but what you can see from their YouTube Channel is very exciting for what’s to come. (FREE)

Gateway Worship Youtube – it may take a little search through their videos but if you are looking to play their stuff they basically just tell you exactly what they are doing.  Electric, acoustic, drums, bass, keys, and vocals depending on the song  You can also find the videos at PraiseCharts.com for most songs. (FREE)

WorshipTraining.com – the mother load of videos and instruction covering just about everything. (SUBSCRIPTION)

Hillsong Creative – Has every instrumental part from just about every song on the God is Able album. Plus if you search YouTube for Hillsong Guitar tutorial you’ll find a number of videos featuring Hillsong’s Guitar players. (FREE)

RehearsalMix.com – Has just about every part of every song separated out for you to rehearse with. (PURCHASE CREDITS)

Music Academy.com – everything you would ever need for guitar training and much much more (DVD BASED VARIOUS PRICES)

Guitar For Worship.com – no actual song lessons that I have discovered but a tremendous resource on gear.  with great YouTube demos of pedals and more – this is a great site to talk shop.

 

Though this list is quite long, it is by no means extensive.  What resources do you use for guitar or other instruments?

Re-Visioned Hymns: A Resource Guide

Hymns are making a comeback. Well you could argue that they have never really gone anywhere to begin with. But with the praise and worship craze that swept across the evangelical nation the hymn was something that was replaced with the praise chorus and relegated to the insignificant in many churches. The seeker service saw better results with more contemporary language and sounds. That is not to say that they disappeared all together but the shift from hymnbooks to powerpoint and beyond has seen the decline in hymn use.
Cue a new generation looking to connect the contemporary worship they were brought up in while desiring to learn the roots in which the church took shape. Now you have re-presented hymns introduced as new worship to a generation who didn’t necessarily know them growing up. Some have contemporized language (some thankfully with more gender neutral language others just to present hymns in a language the worshippers are speaking). Drums, pads, guitars, banjos, and more added to bring a new life to wonderfully written theological songs.
I have fallen in love with some and others prefer the more traditional. Here is a list (by no means extensive) of some groups re-presenting hymns for the next generation.

Resolved Muisc: The Enfield Hymn Sessions – Absolutely have fallen in love with There is a Fountain as well as many others on the list.
Bart Millard: Hymned No. 1 and Hymned Again: The MercyMe front man released a couple great Hymn compilations that have inspired my song selection.
Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern: If there is one group associated with the desire to reach the next generation it’s Passion
Jars of Clay: Redemption Songs – this group has been one of my favorite for a long time so when they released an album of hymns, I jumped on it.
Covenant Life Church: How Sweet the Sound: Good collection of hymns to spark your creativity.
Page CXVI: Hymns I, Hymns II, and Hymns III: One of my most recent favorites. Wonderfully thought out remakes that just inspire you to sing a new song.
Red Mountain Church: More great hymns presented beautifully
Indelible Grace Music: Another group that just keeps coming up with creative ways to re-present music.

These are just some groups that I have been listening to as of late to be inspired. What else is out there? What are you listening too?

Loops For Worship: A Resource Guide

I posted a while back about the benefits of playing with a click track in worship. One of the benefits what once your band can stick with a click track you can then open up the ability to use drum loops, sequences, and more. There are many benefits to using loops even beyond having those cool lo-fi drum loops and etherial sounds. In a worst case scenario you can fill in a missing instrument (smaller ministries can utilize this to create a “bigger than appears sound” from stage). Sound samples have come so far in the past 10 years that you can literally have the London Symphony Orchestra at your fingertips or backing your worship set. The sonic possibilities are endless.

“How do I do that you ask?”
“Great question” I respond.

There are a variety of tools you can utilize from GarageBand, Ableton Live, Main Stage, Pro Tools, Reason and many many more. There are also a variety of pre-made loops created by other for sale or free. Some sites will sell the multi-track file so you can edit rather than start from scratch.

While this is not an extensive list of all the resources available here is a great list to start you on your way. (special thanks to Brannon Hancock who compiled a part of this list to help get me going).

*NEW* DB Worship – Free reason files, loops, training, gear talk and much much more.  Great resource!!! *NEW*

Loops in Worship YouTube Site – Training
Loops in Worship Site – Loop Elements and Training
Our Rising Sound – Blog and Loops for Sale
Loop Community.com – Free Loops, Loops for Sale and Training
My Music Writer.com – Loops for Sale and Custom Loops
Bwack’s Forum – The David Crowder Band Drummer BLog, Forum, and Musings
Interactive Worship Live.com – Multi Track Loops, Lite Loops, Loops with video
Sacred Loops.org – Loops and Training
Drum Loops for Worship – Free Loops and Training
Modern Worship Loops.com – Loops for sale
Praise Charts.com – Sheet Music, Multi-Track Files, Click Tracks, Rhythm Tracks
Looping Worship.com – loops, training and more
Create Digital Music.com – Great training resource

What other resources have you found to be beneficial for Worship loops?

Inspiration: Talking Head Testimony

Here is a collection of some of my favorite talking head shots used by churches for testimonies and more. It can be a powerful way to tell a story. It gives distinct advantages to live testimonies; exact timing (no rambling), utilizes an array of media to help give power to the story (music, photography, art, etc.), and it allows you to help craft and perfect the story through editing. I don’t know if you employ the use of video testimonies in your church but I would recommend it.

Here are few tips when creating your talking head testimony.
1. Story is paramount. A great story can make up for other lacking areas (produciton, video quality, sound). But conversely bad production can hinder the power of a story.
2. Lighting will help tell the story. Use what you have or can get a hold of to light the subject of the video (work lights, paper lanterns, etc).
3. Get the best quality sound you can. A shotgun mic is best but other mics can be used. Do not, I repeat do not use the onboard camera mic unless you are with in 12 inches of the subject.
4. Get good b-roll and cut shots. Yes you can do it with out but b-roll will help smooth over transitions as well as reenforce story ideas and help move the story from A to B.
5. Never stop recording. 99% of the time people say the greatest lines the moment after you stop recording. You can always edit out the useless stuff but you can’t recapture real moments. A little trick I use is to tape over every and all red lights on the camera so that no one knows when it is recording.

All the videos below are great examples to help inspire you.
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Inspiration: Church Video Announcements

Video announcements are a good way to move from the dreaded awkward moment at the beginning of service where the youth pastor or some other unlucky person at bottom of the totem pole talks about postponing the carry-in dinner for sister Midlred. Ok it is not that bad, in fact I have been to many churches who have a cool looking guy with a graphic tee and thick rimmed glasses delivers the announcements with a charisma that engages every last person in the room. Anyway announcement time is important to help get information out but can also be a tricky time in service. It can be awkward at times as well as disruptive to flow. We have moved to video announcements used right before service and have found them to be a great way to communicate creatively and effectively. If you are thinking about video announcements or are doing so now and just want some inspiration, here is a great list of some church video announcements I have come across.
The production quality is great (this is important because the church has a reputation when it comes to production quality – see reference here) they are informative and in my opinion these are among the best produced video announcements I have come across (and I have come across some bad ones – in fact we have added to the pot of terrible video announcements in the past). Enjoy the samples below.

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