#1
I recently started playing rhythm guitar in our band at church. There is another electric rhythm guitarist, a drummer, bassist, and the leader/singer plays either acoustic guitar or keyboard most of the time. We usually play lots of light rock style contemporary Christian songs ... music like Third Day, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, etc.

The other electric rhythm guitarist has a metal background, and while he is a much better guitarist than I am he doesn't know this style of music very well yet. He typically plays understated riffs and barre chord strums. I'll do arpeggios or stop and go strums for slow songs, and I use several different strumming patterns with hammer ons and other basic techniques to spice it up for faster songs. I'll palm mute or strum power chords in some songs, and will switch between clean and crunch depending on the song. I'm using alot of chorus, reverb, and some flanger for the tones. Basically the two of us are playing different styles of backup, and it actually sounds pretty good because we aren't cutting on each other or playing the same thing or the exact same chords. We try to play something different than the acoustic guitar (when the leader isn't playing keyboard) and we try to play something different than each other. It works.

But I'm playing with mostly acoustic rhythm techniques on an electric, and there has got to be so much more than can be done and other techniques I should be using. What are some techniques I need to be working on to be a better electric rhythm player for this style of music? I'm starting to learn triads and learning a few riffs to plug in here and there. I'm working on legato and getting faster/cleaner on barre chords that aren't used often. And I'm working on several different power chord techniques and phrasings. But I really dont know *what* to work on and what techniques should be developed. I'd appreciate hearing from others who have experience with playing this style of rhythm backup.
#2
I don't know about Christian Rock in particular, but I play Jazz and Funk, and mix that in with my Rock and Metal songs, so I may have a few tips.

It sounds like you aren't really using different voicings for your chords, you make it sound like all your chords are root position. Try experimenting with inversions of chords, and extended chords such as major/minor/dominant 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, etc. Use the other guitarist to make more interestin versions, eg you play a major 7 and he plays a dominant 13th, with the bass playing a different note to the chord you're playing (eg Cmaj7, C13, with a G in the bass).

another trick for spicing up chords is to constantly vary the chord, so change between a major 7 and a dominant 7 etc. Also, you could slide into the chord from a fret or two below. Also, try string dampening in between strokes to give a different feel, that way it isn't just a wall of sound.

Hope this helped.
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yeah fire him secretly... thats what im doing except im firing myself and secretly joining someone elses band

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#3
i can barely hear the guitar at our church and man i feel bad for your other guitarist...metal to worship :P
#4
Quote by chickrawker
i can barely hear the guitar at our church and man i feel bad for your other guitarist...metal to worship :P

don't say that, surely he chose that transaction...my rock/metal band is doing a charity gig in a sodding church. not looking forward to that, the natural reverbs will be hell....
that's a point...TS, does your band sound good at this church? if so, how do you get a sound that isn't horrible?
Quote by uvq
yeah fire him secretly... thats what im doing except im firing myself and secretly joining someone elses band

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If you get a virus by looking at porn, is it considered a sexually-transmitted disease?

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thanks for the compliment man!
#5
Left hand muting on your barre chords, for sure.

You could also do a southern rock style power chord (5 then root, basically the ring finger bit of a barre chord) leaving your fingers more free for embellishments, and quick riffs.

+1 to what MetalTabber said.
#6
Thanks for the tips. I'm already doing different chord voicings quite a bit ... doing things like A2 instead of A, switching between C2 & Csus, switching between D & Dsus when the actual chord is Bm7, playing only the root of a slash chord ... stuff like that. Basically trying to stay with the song but not playing exactly what the singer is playing when he has the acoustic. It's easier when he's playing the keyboard, because then I can play the electric like an acoustic and sometimes even use an acoustic pedal. I do need to work on sliding between chords and muting/dampening.

The other guitarist is really excellent and he does play some shows outside church so he has his opportunities to let loose. He is much better than me, but is still learning his way with his style of rhythm to play this style of music. He wants to be versatile and is trying to learn great rhythm for a style he isn't used to, so he is taking the situation as a learning experience rather than with the mindset of him being held back. Right now his lack of knowledge of this musical style is holding him back, but he is going to pass me quickly and I'm working hard to get better so I don't hold him and the other guys back. I'm the worst musician in the group as I haven't been playing guitar all that long. But I've played the banjo for a few years and the musical knowledge from it is helping to learn guitar fast. We are doing a good job playing together, and yeah IMO it really sounds good most of the time. We do play loud and you can very clearly hear the guitars, and some of the songs do lend themselves to a decent level of distortion.

Sorry I don't understand the question of how to get a sound that isn't horrible. (Are you talking about equipment setup for room dynamics of a hall or auditorium setting like that?) I'd be happy to describe anything about our sound setup if anyone cares.
#8
Quote by Bornlivedie UK
I dunno about rhythm, but make sure you use the tritone as much as possible


Fact.
#9
Although some really accomplished guitarists (like Buckethead) use them some, I thought tritones were more for organs and keyboards and soul gospel type music? What we are playing is basically rock that is really happy & hopeful sounding stuff with lots of major, 2, and 7th chords.
#10
Tritones?

I won't advise that for light christian rock.

Try shifing between major chords and nearby sus chords. A nice one is:

     D    Dsus4 Asus4        
        
E||--2----3-----0----------||
B||--3----3-----3----------||
G||--2----2-----2----------||
D||------------------------||
A||------------------------||
E||------------------------||



Overall though I would say spicing up your existing chord knowledge. Add 6ths, Chord inversions etcetera can make a big difference.
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Last edited by Eternal_One at Apr 24, 2008,
#11
Quote by Eternal_One
Tritones?

I won't advise that for light christian rock.

Try shifing between major chords and nearby sus chords. A nice one is:

     D    Dsus4 Asus4        

E||--2----3-----0----------||
B||--3----3-----3----------||
G||--2----2-----2----------||
D||------------------------||
A||------------------------||
E||------------------------||



Overall though I would say spicing up your existing chord knowledge. Add 6ths, Chord inversions etcetera can make a big difference.


That last chord is a Dsus2
#12
close your eyes and let Jesus guide your hand...
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#13
Quote by Bornlivedie UK
That last chord is a Dsus2


Dsus2 = D E A
Asus4 = A D E

They are really the same chord. Since A is in the bass in his example, it would make the most sense to call it Asus4
#14
Quote by isaac_bandits
Dsus2 = D E A
Asus4 = A D E

They are really the same chord. Since A is in the bass in his example, it would make the most sense to call it Asus4

It depends on the context. What the bass is playing, chords around it, etc.
#15
Well, I ended up ordering Paul Baloche's electric guitar DVD. Wow. All my questions have been answered. Probably the best instructional DVD I've seen yet. I'm totally rethinking the way I play rhythm.
#16
I play lead guitar in my church band, however I do get sucked into playing rhythm because the other guitarist sometimes has trouble carrying a song...

I hadn't listened to a whole lot of Christian music before I started playing at church, so I was doing a lot of basic playing to get a feel for the music and get comfortable with the band. Now, I'm doing a lot of triadic playing and using inversions wherever I can to change the sound up a bit. You may also want to learn your intervals...they come in handy as well to use as kind of a "fill".

Christian music is also filled with chords like +9's and Sus4's. If you haven't yet, grab yourself a Tremolo pedal and/or a delay pedal. Those are the two that I use most frequently at church...Hope this helps you a bit and good luck
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#17
Thanks, that's really good advice. Among other things the Paul Baloche DVD extensively covers triads, intervals, power chord techniques, and arpeggio techniques that I've not seen in any other DVDs and online lessons. It's just a super resource. It seems like every new chapter they are showing techniques in great detail I hear in the music, but didn't know how to play.

There do seem to be tons of 9th, suspended, and 2 chords in this style of music. I have a Digitech RP250 (floor multifx) and use it for effects. It sounds decent and fits in the front pouch of my gig bag I'm still learning what works but am mainly using chorus, reverb, and a noise gate for most tones. I have a footswitch for my amp now and that's opening up more possibilities. I use a little flanger and delay for certain songs but haven't done anything with tremelo. Going to have to experiment with it some. Thanks