Lead guitarists get a bad rap. Everyone seems to think that the lead guitarist is a show off, or a crazy, overly energetic performer. What some people don’t seem to realize is that every form of music needs a lead guitarist, and that includes worship music.
The lead guitarist is the melody keeper, which as nearly important as the rhythm guitarist’s job as the rhythm keeper. The lead guitarist brings power to a piece, and in worship guitar, power is extremely important.
You want to be able to properly convey the spirit of the song, and to do that, you’ll need to learn a thing or two.
Your job as the lead guitarist is to be heard above all else except for the vocals. This doesn’t mean that you need to blare out a guitar solo. Quite the opposite, in fact; you want to highlight the vocal power of your church. You want to be able to underline each syllable and give it a second, stronger life and voice.
To do this, you need a full understanding of keys. In order to play an overlying melody, you need to understand why you are playing the melody, and how it should work. A melodic line should be used to unify the voices as one. While it is the rhythm guitar, and if used, bass guitar’s job to create the backdrop, it is your job to really make the piece shine. This can only be achieved when, and if, you learn your keys and scales.
Another key element of becoming a better lead worship guitar player is learning when and where to carry a melody over a piece. Not all pieces require a melody, and sometimes substance can be given to a song in other ways. Playing the octave of a chord can breathe power into it, and help accentuate the other voices involved.
To properly lead, you must first learn. Go over the chords involved, and then go over your fret board and find the separate notes of the chord. You can use these notes to lead the other instrumentation as well as your congregation without separating yourself in doing so.
Great lead guitarists are exactly what the name employs; leaders. Don’t be afraid to lead your band, choir, or other musicians. This is what lead guitarists are intended to do. In order for the other musicians and vocalists involved to create a powerful sound, they must first have direction and leadership. It is your job as the lead guitarist to give this to them. Help them find their voices, their proper ranges, and more importantly help them convey their message.
Don’t allow your songs of worship to be unfulfilled; use your skills to empower each syllable and each note. As with all techniques you will ever learn, the only way to master being a lead guitarist is to practice. Put aside a block of time each day to practice your skills. Good luck!
Here are some other tips to help you out on learning to play worship guitar…
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