I don’t know if anything deserves the “icing on the cake” analogy more than a good guitar solo in a great worship song. You know that moment when the congregation is singing a chorus together like a choir when the song breaks into a tastefully composed instrumental by the electric guitarist.
Even though your aren’t singing, you can’t help but join in worship. Then solo ends and the whole place sings louder than you thought they could, as if the solo had turned everyone’s voice to eleven.
As magical as the perfect guitar solo can be, we have all been apart of the worship experience when the guitar solo doesn’t really match the song or moment of worship. It feels like smoothly driving down the road at 50 miles an hour and then hitting speed bumps.
With both good and bad guitar solos out there, going for a guitar solo can be risky business. So let’s take some time to celebrate the great solos Praise & Worship has to offer. Here are the Top 5 P&W Guitar Solos:
This solo comes in with force. It ranges from powerful melodies to intriguing dissonance, this solo is not ashamed to be a guitar. But the brashness serves the song so well. It lifts the song to place it hadn’t been before and leads the worshipers into one of the most powerful bridges to ever come out of Hillsong (and that’s saying something).
This one wins points because it is so unlike many other solos in worship music. Most guitar solos are …well…nice. Their polite and pretty, which is great most of the time, but that’s why this one stands out. It’s a bold tone with a bit of a provocative melody line. It’s like it’s telling the sound guy “turn me up, or else.”
None But Jesus
Tasteful. Simple. Beautiful. To be honest, I had forgotten about this solo until I asked everyone at the Facebook Group: Gear Talk: P&W what their favorite solo was, and this song kept popping up.
I took another listen and I couldn’t help but agree. This solo is probably what more of my solos should be like: a beautiful new melody that captures the emotions of the song and lifts the song to engage worshipers into a deeper sense of adoration. Don’t underestimate the power of solos like this one.
Today Is The Day-Brewster
You knew this guy was going to make the list. Lincoln Brewster has the uncanny ability to write a shred-tastic solo that work well in worship songs. This song is no exception. It’s hooky, it’s musical and, wow, it’s so cool.
It’s not every day you can get a solo like this to be hit on Contemporary Christian radio charts, and with this song, Lincoln Brewster did it again. That says a lot about this solo and why it’s on this list.
Here In Your Presence-New Life Church
Have you ever thought to yourself “what if David Gilmour played on a worship song?” I have, and my guess is that it would be special and it would sound something like the solo Erik Todd wrote for this song.
This solo depends on a lot of hammer-ons, slides and bends, and it creates for musical composition that is just that: a composition. Many years back, I was fortunate to sit down with Erik Todd and he showed me how to play the solo. I was surprised how much of the solo wasn’t dependent on technique like the Today Is The Day, but it was based on feel.
Compared to the previous song, it’s not as difficult (that’s not saying it isn’t), but it’s the kind of solo you could play ten times and play it differently every time.
Everlasting God-Lincoln Brewster
Great tone, great hooks, with both shred and soul mixed in. This solo was such a well composed solo and well executed solo that it really changed the way a lot of people thought about solos on Sunday morning.
Up until Everlasting God, the tasteful-worship-inspiring-shred-solo was only theoretical. If you were having a conversation about it with a friend you would have to say “I don’t think we should rule out the possibility of a technically difficult solo working well on Sunday morning.” Then your friend would say, “oh yeah, show me one.” Once Lincoln Brewster released this song, it didn’t just open up people to the idea of guitar solos on Sunday morning, it also showed us how.
This solo may not work well in every church, but because of this song, a lot more churches and worship pastors are open to the idea of their guitarists taking 8 bar solos.
So that’s the Top 5 P&W Guitar Solos…so far. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what I got right and wrong in the comments below.
Until next time, keep sharp.