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Thread: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

  1. #21
    Mojo's Minions Lazarus1140's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    I always enjoyed the benefit of playing with top shelf keyboard players and learned most of what I know about music theory from them. In my opinion, if the music is already heavily focused on keys and acoustic, the best thing you can do is give every song a lot of space to breath. My approach was always what can I add without drawing the focus away from the purpose of the worship service. Less is usually more, and I suggest avoiding a lot of movement. Obviously, I'm not talking about physical body movements ... but you have a drummer providing rhythm (hopefully) and an acoustic player likely strumming away, and a keyboard player with 10 fingers dancing all over the place. What can you add to tie it all together without adding to the commotion? How can you be a stabilizing factor?

    What do I know? I am years removed from that gig and don't recognize the songs you've mentioned ... at least not by title. Because of the pastor's roots we played about 15% old hymn based stuff, but mostly it was Hillsongs, old Christ for the Nations songs, and towards the end some Gateway songs.

    Gateway worship, in my opinion, is absolutely great. The guitar players (all the musicians actually) are unbelievably good, but they all just play stuff that is very supportive of the song, but unless you're listening specifically for guitar it's as though it's buried in the mix. Everyone plays the song and no one ever draws a spotlight - as it should be.
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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by Lazarus1140 View Post
    the best thing you can do is give every song a lot of space to breath. My approach was always what can I add without drawing the focus away from the purpose of the worship service. Less is usually more, and I suggest avoiding a lot of movement. What can you add to tie it all together without adding to the commotion? How can you be a stabilizing factor?
    Great suggestions. Here is an example of what you are talking from a song we picked up a few weeks ago.
    First time we played it out I had not really gotten a feel for what I wanted to do and WAY overplayed the song here.

    When I listened back to the song in this recording I was going YUCK man that sounds like POO!!
    Last edited by Ascension; 06-12-2018 at 07:30 PM.

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    The question is really why, not how. What's wrong with playing them the way they are written? The purpose of religious music isn't to keep the musicians playing it from getting bored. I say just stick to what's there. If you have a style, it will become evident in everything you do, even if you're just following a basic chord chart.
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    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Next time we played the song really went minimalistic and tried to add color and depth but not over play. Here is that clip and it sounded MUCH better!!

    Most times in a worship setting less is more but sometimes I forget that lesson!

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    The question is really why, not how. What's wrong with playing them the way they are written? The purpose of religious music isn't to keep the musicians playing it from getting bored. I say just stick to what's there. If you have a style, it will become evident in everything you do, even if you're just following a basic chord chart.
    Have NEVER just played a worship song just like a recording!! To me it's like why am I here if I'm just playing in a cover band? There is no heart no soul and no emotional connection playing like that. Just put the recording on as that is not WORSHIP that is not SINGING and playing a NEW SONG!
    No you don't need to overplay be a star and over complicate in a worship setting but you also can not be just a machine following a chart as a worship player.
    Here is In the river by Jesus Culture as an example.
    Like the basic song but HATE that simplistic weedle deedle repeating guitar riff on every turn around to me it just didn't fit the flow of the song and was like nails on a blackboard!

    SO we took the basic song and made it ours as a team!
    Last edited by Ascension; 06-12-2018 at 07:46 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    No repeating jangely super simple riffs and the entire song became more organic and more flowing.

    It took on the personality of US as a team and once it was out of the box became fresh for US!
    Last edited by Ascension; 06-12-2018 at 08:35 PM.

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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Here is one where Jesus Culture took a song and made it theirs as a team. Original from Susie Wills it was an old Morning star Song.
    Original song by the writer.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Jesus Culture they took the song made it their own to fit their team and it took on a much different feel and flow.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    GREAT VIDEO about overplaying in a Worship setting! ALL these guys have MAD chops but play to the song and flow. My former pastor was the Bass player in Living sound with Moen BTW.

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    Super Toneologist Blille's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    A lot of great tips here.

    I started playing P&W a couple of years ago, coming from a fusion trio and classic rock background so there was a LOT I had to learn and adjust.

    Some thoughts below, all IMHO so YMMV. Our church plays Hillsong, Bethel etc I'll number them in case anybody wants to reference them.

    1) It's not about the music, it's about the worship. At the end of the day it's about leading the congregation in worship. The actual worship, the experience of people, whatever the worship leader or pastor has to say matters more than any line you want to play. Don't mess up but don't miss the point.
    2) Electric guitar does not lead the songs. The keys provide the harmony, the singers the melodies and bass and drums the rhythm. Guitar is usually there to provide texture. Sure, there are some riffs and what we think are memorable lines but at the end of the day the guitar does not have the lead role it has in other genres. Even the "lead" guitar.
    3) Tone maters more than chops. As a consequence of 2, the heavy reverbs, delays and overall tone play an important role. No need to fall into snobbery (very common btw), some cheap effects can work fine. I resisted this trying to push with my unique tone, no reverb etc. but it's pointless. Don't try to imitate necessarily but a dotted eighth note delay and long reverb will help you fit in the mix better and not be distracting.
    4) There's just a few cliches, get comfortable with them. In many songs there are up to 7 recorded electrics even though the songs or hymns were designed to be for acoustic like you say. Some very recurring tools P&W guitar players use are, which may be the core of your question:
    a) arpeggiated triads - I think the bridge of one of the Forever Reign versions has this
    b) 8th/16th note strummed triads with normal chords underneath - Christ is enough from hillsong in chorus
    b) muted (or not) 8th note picked lines - one note per chord, mostly chord tones - a lot of the Sons and daughters songs do this
    b') a variation of b with more note variety and dotted eight note delay - never gonna stop singing from Jesus culture
    c) distorted power chords - mostly whole notes or quarter notes - JC and elevation worship use this often. EW here as in heaven bridge
    d) pentatonic or chord tone riff lines - lion and the lamb from bethel
    e) SWELLS - Everybody and their mother all the time
    f) Wet only reverb - what a beautiful name, hillsong - bridge?
    You see these used over and over. I'm sure there's more I can't remember now but the point is that you can pick any hymn or basic song, add two or three of these and you got yourself an arrangement.

    Best of luck!

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    Reining PunLowered LesStrat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Go to YouTube.

    Search (song name) electric guitar tutorial.
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Pillar is my favorite Christian band. You could always add a couple of their songs to the set.

    [

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set


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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Not trying to be rude but at the end of the day what you're doing is a worship service and the primary target is not the music or the band but the inspiration and feel for the love Christ. If it's a church picnic, a church fund raiser etc. Rock on!.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikesr1963 View Post
    Not trying to be rude but at the end of the day what you're doing is a worship service and the primary target is not the music or the band but the inspiration and feel for the love Christ. If it's a church picnic, a church fund raiser etc. Rock on!.
    Yeah, but I don't want to impede their worship by having them notice that my playing style doesn't fit the genre. CCM is so "formulaic", if I'm using that word properly, theres very few space for improvisation and I can't really shine. I can easily do blues psychedelic versions of these songs on my lonesome, but it doesn't fit the rest of the band.

    If Bob Dylan made Christian music, I could rock that. If Van Halen made Christian music, I'd be all over it.

    Funny you were saying about a church fund raiser, we were just doing one and we got to play "All The Small Things" by Blink 182, and our lead guy put a solo in it that sounded much better than anything DeLonge could have done.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by '59 View Post
    Yeah, but I don't want to impede their worship by having them notice that my playing style doesn't fit the genre. CCM is so "formulaic", if I'm using that word properly, theres very few space for improvisation and I can't really shine. I can easily do blues psychedelic versions of these songs on my lonesome, but it doesn't fit the rest of the band.

    If Bob Dylan made Christian music, I could rock that.
    Dylan *did* make Christian music. Late 70's, early 80's- check out the albums Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love, Infidels, and his box set, The Bootleg Series Vol 13: Trouble No More.
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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Dylan *did* make Christian music. Late 70's, early 80's- check out the albums Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love, Infidels, and his box set, The Bootleg Series Vol 13: Trouble No More.
    Yep and so did Clapton in his Blind faith days. Played this one a few times live.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Quote Originally Posted by '59 View Post
    Yeah, but I don't want to impede their worship by having them notice that my playing style doesn't fit the genre. CCM is so "formulaic", if I'm using that word properly, theres very few space for improvisation and I can't really shine. I can easily do blues psychedelic versions of these songs on my lonesome, but it doesn't fit the rest of the band.

    If Bob Dylan made Christian music, I could rock that. If Van Halen made Christian music, I'd be all over it.

    Funny you were saying about a church fund raiser, we were just doing one and we got to play "All The Small Things" by Blink 182, and our lead guy put a solo in it that sounded much better than anything DeLonge could have done.
    You haven't listened to some of the melodic METAL stuff for example that is explicit Christian out there right now evidently!!
    Bands like Harmony, Theocracy and believe it or not WASP is now in this camp as is Revolution Saints With Deen castrnovo, Jack Blades and Doug Aldridge!!
    Here is one for you from Theocracy that s truly a worship song. These guys flat RIP and the lyrics leave no doubt what they are about.
    Last edited by Ascension; 06-22-2018 at 05:36 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

    Here is a little Revolution Saints with FREEDOM!

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    Default Re: How to Spice Up A Christian Rock Set

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