I’m an acoustic guitarist. Plain and simple.
I love playing my Strat and Gibson but when it comes down to it, I’m an acoustic guy. I lead worship with acoustic, write songs on acoustic, and enjoy the raw stripped down sound of my six string.
Usually, as is the case, as the worship leader I’m the only one with an acoustic in my hands. However, there are plenty of times when either I’ll play electric and hand the acoustic responsibilities off to another musician or we might have two acoustics on any given Sunday.
This can be tricky due to the variations of strumming, mechanics, and rhythms of the acoustic guitar. So how do you get on the same page with the worship leader when your playing acoustic guitar?
Here are 7 ways to play acoustic better:
- Finding Space – Just because you can play, doesn’t mean you always should. Finding space within a song is really vital for any acoustic guitar. Find the appropriate space and stay there.
- Playing Underneath – The acoustic guitar is generally a filler instrument when in a full band context. Once the band gets rolling, the acoustic will fade to the background. Learn to play underneath the rest of the band.
- Intro’s, Outro’s, & Drops – Many of our worship songs either start with an acoustic, end with an acoustic, and/or have dynamic drops where the acoustic can really shine. Be confident in playing in this space.
- Basic Strumming – Learn to strum better. Don’t get caught up in using all down strokes or one or two different strumming patterns. Listen to what sounds good for each song and part and be creative in how you attack your strumming.
- Playing Together – If there are two acoustics, follow the leader. Play with the lead acoustic. Don’t try to vary the strumming pattern. Stick with them and everything else will sound better.
- Be in Tune – I cannot stress how important this is. Invest in a good quality tuner and use it often. Before service, before practice, after practice and any other moments you get. Be in tune because when you’re not, everyone will know.
- Technique/Dynamics – Playing the acoustic guitar is more than 4 chords and a pick. There are many dynamics that can be created with an acoustic as well as learning new techniques. Always be a learner and get creative with how you play. Check out Phil Keaggy… he is simply amazing!
The acoustic guitar is really a fantastic instrument that has so much potential. It can be a lead instrument as well as one that stays in the background. It can add so much to the worship experience so do your homework and get better at your craft by following these suggestions!
Your worship pastor will be happy you did!