Here’s a straight up truth-bomb for ya…  I am not a great guitarist…  I am not the guy at Guitar Center that drops everybody’s jaws with his amazing displays of speed, technique, & all around chops…  I’m just not that guy… And I’m totally okay with that…

I figured out a long time ago that this ship had sailed for me already and I made peace with it. I decided that I’d work what skills I did have to be the best me I could be & so far, that’s worked out pretty well.  Fortunately, as a worship team guitarist… we’re not often called upon to produce blazing solos with 32nd note precision…  Unless that is, you see something by Lincoln Brewster pop up in Planning Center…  But we’ll double back to that later…  What I’d like to offer you here are some easy to apply suggestions to help you be the best YOU possible…  So without further ado…


SIMPLIFY

Whenever I run into a challenging guitar part, I will first make every effort to try to nail the part before Wednesday Night Rehearsal.  Just doing this one thing will stretch the boundaries of what you’re capable of over time, even if you can’t nail it perfectly.

However, if I get to Friday and I’m still struggling with it, more often than not I’m going to simplify that part.  Personally, I’d rather play something that’s close & I can nail 9 out of 10 times vs. playing something more difficult that I’m more likely to botch when we go live.

So what does that look like?  Well, here’s an example from the beginning measures of the Bridge for This I Believe (The Creed) by Hillsong.  So first of all, I’m convinced that Nigel Hendroff has 6 fingers on his left hand and finally, we have the scientific evidence that proves it…

6-fingers

So with the pressure of living up to that off of us, let’s look closely at the recorded Lead Line…  This is at the 2:22 mark of the song if you’re listening in Planning Center…

e-------5---8--------8---8--|------7-7------8-7-5----|
b--5\h8---5--------5---5----|----8--------8-------8--|
G----------------5----------|--7--------7------------|
D---------------------------|------------------------|
A---------------------------|------------------------|
E---------------------------|------------------------|

I’ve looked at several different tutorials online & this seems to be the prevalent arrangement demonstrated.  Personally, I take a slightly different approach…

e-----------8--------8---8--|------7-7------8-7------|
b-------8----------8----8---|----8--------8-----10-8-|
G--5-------------5-----5----|--7--------7------------|
D---------------------------|------------------------|
A---------------------------|------------------------|
E---------------------------|------------------------|

So what’s my thought process here?…  For one… I can get through these two measures (which repeat several times) with just two chord shapes…  A 5th chord shape in the first measure… And a D-chord shape in the second measure…  That makes for a very repeatable lead line.

What else am I thinking?…  Well, for one… I’m betting the congregation probably won’t miss that B-string hammer-on…  And once you’ve added in delay, you’re casual worshiper won’t be able to tell the difference between the two with the entire band playing.

Lastly, take note of the subtle change in the second measure where I’ve subbed the 5th fret High E string for the 10th fret B string.  Its the same note, but by moving it to the 10th fret B, I can maintain that D chord shape & play the 10th fret with my pinkie.  If I stuck with the original tab, I’d have to break the chord shape to accomplish essentially the same thing.

This is just one example of many where I’ll shamelessly make things easier for myself to deliver in a live setting.  But the principles can be applied many places…

See you at Part Two…

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