I have played in churches since I was 16 years old. Almost 50 years now. Hard to believe. Back when I started, electric guitar players were not necessarily the most popular member of a praise and worship team. There was a fair stretch of time, almost ten years, when I served only on bass guitar as electric guitar was not to be played at church.
Then came a new generation of worship music and worship leaders. Contemporary Christian music evolved to become the mainstream style of worship music for many evangelical churches. And it opened up opportunities to serve on electric guitar.
When I retired last year and moved away, I was really concerned about whether there would still be opportunities to continue serving a church in music.
I am so thankful to have found churches in both the United States and Canada that have welcomed me into their worship ministries.
We just came back to Canada on May 1st and I am already fully engaged at our new church home, Harvest Barrie.
A little apprehensive as I will be doing a number of firsts for this coming weekend. First time out with a new team of players. First time out on a new stage. First time out with a new guitar. First time playing through a new (to me) sound system.
Our church provides a silent stage so I will be playing through my Helix. I have to have 8 songs memorized for Sunday. No music stands. And the monitoring system is all in-ear with the band playing to a click track.
I have a bunch of resources that I use to help me prepare. These include:
Planning Center Online – this is where the worship leader posts the songs and the charts
Worship Artistry – I have been a long-time subscriber to this service. I find it is a quick way to get at the various guitar parts in worship song. Many of the songs we use feature a variety of guitar parts with specific hooks, tones, arpeggios that need to be learned
Worship Online – Similar to worship artistry. Handy if the worship team is going to have a second electric guitar
Rehearsal Mix – a life-saver for me. Often the keys are different from the original cover and it is very helpful when memorizing the tunes to groove in the muscle memory in the correct key
For the Helix, I have used presets from Worship Tutorials, Alex.guitars and Guitar For His Glory. And I have acquired numerous IRs for the cabs on the Helix. But, what winds up happening now, is I build my own presets. A preset for each song with multiple snapshots depending on how the tones need to change for that song (e.g., intros, verses, choruses).
I have the time to really nail the tunes now and it has been a lot of fun getting the fingers stronger and getting into the finer aspects of tuning the Helix platform. I continue to be impressed with what the Helix can do.