So you've been playing acoustic for a few years but the worship leader has asked you to take up lead guitar to fill the need. You agree confidently thinking it can't be much different than acoustic. Turns out you're wrong. Sure you can learn the exact parts on our song lessons, but if you don't know what songs you are doing in advance, you need to understand how to approach a song as a lead guitarist. In this four part series, I'm going to give you some philosophical approaches to playing lead guitar for worship as well as practical examples so you can see how the pros do it.
Find Your Frequency
You may have seen my Tasty Tips series on YouTube but I can't stress enough how important this is. The thing that makes a song sound full is a full frequency range. One of the biggest mistakes lead guitarists make is trampling all over a range that is already filled by another instrument. Instead of sounding epic, it just sounds like mud. So how do you find your range? Look and listen to what all the other instruments are doing. Unless your bass player is playing high up the neck, you usually don't have to worry about them. To stay clear of your acoustic guitarist, watch where they are chording on the the neck and steer clear of that area. Keyboardists can be tricky because they have so much range on their instrument, but simply talking it over and finding out where on the keyboard they're playing should help you out. Usually you're safe if you focus on the the top 4 strings (D,G,B,E) higher than the 5th fret. It's kind of like a safe zone.
Put It To Use
I've included some songs below that utilize higher frequency playing. Notice the range of the riffs in "At The Cross", the arpeggios in the first verse of "Depths" and the bridge of "Come To The Water". You can also check out the triad lesson which will teach you 3 string chord shapes that you can move around the neck. Give those a try and then try applying them to a few other lessons. If you run into trouble, I'll take questions in the comments.