Worship God UK (2014) - initial resources

Hello! This is a quick post for the Worship God UK guitar session folks. Here is a copy of the 60+ page Worship God Guitar Packet  I’ll be using for the guitar sessions (a few more resources are listed below too). Many, many updates are to come soon, but I wanted to make the packet available to you quickly. More to come!

Voicings - Open Chord Packet

Voicings - Power Chord Packet

Voicings - Triad Packet

Scale - Diatonic - C - CAGED v2

Scale - Diatonic - G - CAGED v2



Guitar Tutorial: "Show Us Christ" from Sovereign Grace Music

I had the pleasure back in December to work with Sovereign Grace Ministries on filming some guitar tutorial videos for a handful of their songs. I've appreciated so much what they've been doing in creating gospel saturated, biblically rich, and musically compelling, congregational songs for the church to sing and it was an honor to be a part of the project. These tutorials are geared towards acoustic players and give you options for how to play if you are in a variety of circumstances, i.e. just acoustic to playing acoustic in a band setting. We cover things like chord voicings, capos, fingerpicking, strumming, timing, etc.. Hopefully you'll find them useful!

"Show Us Christ" is one of my favorite songs from SGM (I explain why in the video) and, musically, Bob Kauflin did a uniquely beautiful job playing this on piano. As guitarists, it can be frustrating to try and take such a beautiful arrangement on piano and translate it convincingly to the guitar. We just don't have the same range as the piano. But! With a few changes we can model it after what Bob played so beautifully while making it sound at home on the guitar. I show you a finger picking solution for just that with some chord voicing ideas.* Also, I offer some tips for going from fingerpicking to strumming and/or what choices (including not playing!) you might make if you were playing with a piano player here and in a band. Check it out:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_kVqw3qL0w *I came up with a solution to play the intro exactly like the piano but it involves right hand, plucked harmonics. It can be done but its not necessarily what you want to be focusing on while you're leading the song! When I'm leading a song I try to minimize the ways in which I could potentially train wreck it by doing something too fancy or distracting :).

Worship God 2013 Homework - Chord theory you can understand (and use . . .no, really)

Hey everyone, Here are a few more ideas about how to actually do the stuff we talked about in the guitar sessions of Worship God 2013 (East and West*). For your convenience, here is a link to all of the sessions from WG2013 East and WG2013 West.

I'll be going into much more detail in upcoming posts but for now:


Simple Chord theory (I - IV - V etc. . . ) or "How to understand chord progressions"

A lot of people shy away from music theory, but trust me this is so useful and really easy once you get it.

Every chord in a key gets a number and understanding how to think about this can really unlock chord progressions for you, help with using a capo, transpostion (changing keys), etc..


Think about a scale in C:     C   D   E    F   G    A   B


In music theory, the notes get numbered like this:

C   D   E   F   G    A   B

1   2   3   4   5    6   7


Well, the chords you play in the key of C are based on those same notes with the same numbers. So your chords (in C) get numbered like this:

C    Dm   Em   F   G    Am   B diminished (you don't play diminished chords much in basic pop music)

1    2    3    4   5    6    7


Stay with me. Different approaches to theory use different numbering approaches. Really, they just tell you if a chord is major or minor. Here are a few of the most popular:


1) Traditional

C   Dm   Em     F     G    Am    B diminished

I   ii   iii    IV    V    vi    vii°

(Uses Roman numerals. Uppercase/big for major, lowercase/small for minor."°" is diminished if you ever use it.)


2) Nashville

C   Dm   Em     F     G    Am    B diminished

1   2-   3-     4     5    6-    7°

(Uses plain numbers. A "-" sign tells you a chord is minor. "°" is diminished if you ever use it.)



Do you get the idea? Your chords take on number names. Certain chords are major and certain ones are minor and that is where the traditional or nashville systems come into it, but f that throws you off, just think numbers for awhile until things click.

Let's try a real song. A song with chords like this:

|  C    |  Am     |  F       |  G        |

Can also be thought of like this:

|  I    |  vi     |  IV       |   V        |   (using the traditional method)


|  1    |  6-    |  4          |   5        |   (using the nashville method)

You'll hear musicians talk all the time about "the one chord" or "the five chord" etc.. They are just talking about the numbers associated with the chords.

So, just take your chord charts for the next couple months and write the numbers that correspond to the chord nearby until you don't have to think about it any more. Even just think about it as you encounter charts. Even better, pick one song a week (of course you can do more) and work out the numbers for the chords. You'll find it starts to come easily as most sections of songs repeat over and over again.

This is the first step. With consistent work it will become second nature and be very, very useful. Trust me. The next step would be to use it while playing to change the key of a song by sight without having to write the chords out. More on that later.



*There is some overlap but I did talk about different guitar related issues in the West and East conferences. It interested, it would be worth checking out the recordings for both.

Worship God 2013 Homework - Open chords

Hey all, Here are a few more ideas about how actually do the stuff we talked about in the guitar sessions of Worship God 2013 (East and West*). For your convenience, here is a link to all of the sessions from WG2013 East and WG2013 West.

I'll be going into much more detail in upcoming posts but for now:

CAGED - Open chords

-As mentioned before, the CAGED system represents the voicings that you can  use up and down the neck, but also, and very simply, it represents the keys you will play in all the time (and the "keys" or shapes you play in when using a capo). So, it is really, really useful to get to know the "families" of chords in the keys of C, A, G, E, and D. You might think, "Ya, I already know my chords," but I guarantee you this can get pretty deep and you'll be thankful you spent time looking for new voicings (i.e. chord shapes). Think of it like building your vocabulary. Here are categories I think in:

     Basic - your simple, maybe "go to" versions of chords you know

     Common tone - these have notes that stay the same (therefore "common tone") on the higher strings while the base notes change from chord to chord. Nice and clean sounding. They blend well with the rest of the band.

     Big - Chord voicings I use when I want to play loudly! They usually cover most, if not all of the strings and you can really dig into them.

     Color - these are chords the have "color" (for the theory people: extensions) added.  Notes added or taken away that give it a beautiful, tense, longing, whatever sound that is different from your normal version. I tend to use them for more intimate song settings, fingerpicking and, generally, not strumming.

     Drones  - These are shapes are big, often open chord shapes that really ring. I often use them on acoustic when the song is really big and the acoustic becomes more of a texture. Also use them all the time in Irish music. More on that later.

There is lots of overlap between all these categories, but thinking this way helps you choose the right version of the chord for the right moment in the music. Lots of examples are included in the open chord packet.

Practice different ways of going through parts of the song: a big chorus with strumming, a stripped down chorus with light strumming or picking, etc.. Try using new chords that you've learned on a song. Force yourself to check out new voicings. New things are always hard. Keep at it. What chords garb your ear? Which ones are interesting to you? Which ones don't you like? What new chords do you really like from the key of C? G? E? D? A? Some voicings of a chord are very specific to the key. Keep those in mind. Each of the CAGED keys will have their own personality and interesting/useful things about it.

Again, there is a lot of depth here. We'll follow up in more detail but for now, force your self to move forward, learn new chords, new tricks. Its all part of developing a creative chord vocabulary.

Check it out and let me know if you have questions!



*There is some overlap but I did talk about different guitar related issues in the West and East conferences. It interested, it would be worth checking out the recordings for both.

Worship God 2013 Homework - CAGED Chord Sequence

I thought it might be helpful to offer some homework, or ideas for practice, for the guitarists who sat in on the guitar sessions from Worship God 2013. Here are some ideas to keep you moving forward: CAGED Chord Sequence

The first goal with this is to be able to recognize, memorize and have at the tip of your fingertips the CAGED chord sequence for (ultimately) any key. Again, CAGED represents the main chord shapes that make up most of the shapes we play anywhere on the guitar AND it is also the order that chord voicings move up the neck (the C shape of C, then the A shape of C, then the G shape of C, etc. - you can refer to the packet for diagrams), and therefore a great guide to capo-ing throughout the neck. This is useful for acoustic and electric players and lays the foundation for some deeper things down the road with this way of thinking through the guitar neck.

We'll start basic and move on to more difficult things:

-Start with the key of C and make sure you can move to the A, G, E, and D shapes of C up the neck. Try to memorize where they are. Look at it. Say the names if that helps. You can use a capo but ultimately if you can do it without a capo, even better.

-Then try the other keys represented in the CAGED sequence, i.e. the key of A. Play the A shape of A, then find the G shape, the E shape and so on. Also do this for the keys of G, E, and D.

-Once you have the CAGED chord sequence down for the keys C, A, G, E and D, you are ready to try the rest of the keys. Start with the ones you might play in a lot like: Bb, Eb, F, and B. These can be trickier but, trust me, really worth working out. Eventually, you should be able to do this for all 12 keys.

C, G, D, A, E, B, Gb or F#, Db, Ab, Eb, Bb and F.

You never know what chart or key you'll be asked to play. When you're playing with a vocalist or serving a congregation at church, your flexibility in being able to play/capo with open voicings for any key will really help out. More on that later!

Good practice and improvement is just consistency over time. Don't get discouraged! Do what you can. You might master this in 8 hours but I can guarantee you it won't be 8 hours in one day. Take it slow and steady and it will sink in over time. Pick one thing and work on it, consistently, in little chunks over a long period of time. Seriously, if you're crazy busy, even just 5 minutes a couple times a week for months can really work wonders (of course you can do more though!)

Listen to Bob Kauflin's message from the conferences this year for some inspiration to be Faithful to grow!

Let me know if you have any questions and keep practicing!



P.S. Audio from the main sessions from Worship God 2013 - East