Top 5 Praise & Worship Guitar Solos

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Guitarist at BluesfestI 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:

Hosanna

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.”

Click here to listen to Hosanna. The solo starts at 2:41.

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.

Click here to hear None But Jesus. The solo starts at 3:19

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.

Click here to listen to Today Is The Day. The solo starts at 2:32.

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.

Click here to listen to Here In Your Presence. The solo starts at 4:30.

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.

Click here to listen to Everlasting God. The solo starts at 2:18 

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.

-Jed

7 Responses to "Top 5 Praise & Worship Guitar Solos"
  1. rhoy says:

    Besides the Brewster songs, I have these on my list, too :)

    Let The River Flow: http://youtu.be/wAWMEcvfLf0?t=4m29s
    Your Amazing Love: http://youtu.be/U4IYNPbuvWo?t=2m47s
    God Is On Our Side: http://youtu.be/z8_5056hUsI?t=1m40s

    there’s also a Tommy Walker version of “He Knows My Name” that he did a nice acoustic solo but I can’t find it on the net.

  2. Jed says:

    Rhoy, good to see you again. Do you know which guitar player is playing on Let The River Flow?

  3. rhoy says:

    I’ve been lurking :)

    Not sure who the guitarist is on that song.

  4. Steve says:

    Sorry that I am late to this discussion but I wanted to add my two cents. All the songs mentioned in the article are great and I don’t want to take anything away from those solos. That being said, I love the solo on Let The River Flow. This version was released on Winds of Worship 7 and is Brownsville Worship with Lyndell Cooley. The guitarists’ name is Glenn Pearce. In addition to Brownsville he went on to tour with Michael W. Smith on his worship tour. He has also done DVD’s for worship guitarists with Paul Baloche and Lyndell Cooley. Not sure what he is involved in right now but he is a great player and the solo on this song has everything that a great solo needs…emotion, melody, feel, and plenty of great technique. If you love great musicianship you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.

  5. Jed says:

    Glenn Pearce. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. I remember watching him on a VHS shredding on a gold Tyler strat sitting next to Paul Baloche. Great player.

  6. Patrick Gesner says:

    Check out some of Glenn Pearce’s work on Michael W Smith worship albums, especially..”Step By Step”, “I see You”, “You are Holy”. Also look at his work on “Sing Out” on Paul Baloche’s album, “Open the eyes…” Lincoln Brewster’s live worship album also has some great solo’s…like “Surrender”

  7. In The River by Jesus Culture is very popular right now for the guitar part in it. It’s pretty awesome. People at our church have requested us to do for weeks now!

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