I’ve sat on this topic for over a year. So if it seems jumbled, it’s because it’s been edited multiple times every few months…
So… I like gear… Playing it. Collecting it. Or whatever other word you can put with gear. Is it really that bad that my hobby and part of my ministries cross paths? Or run parallel depending on how you look at it… I do the research to better my knowledge of the craft and learn how to improve like any other artist from any other medium would. Why are we so different? For example: Why do church media artists get to get high powered/expensive Macbook pros or an iMac and whatever other peripherals and plug ins, that I’m pretty sure aren’t cheep, but heaven forbid musicians get the best guitar or pedal we can afford and we get flack for it? Sometimes from other musicians….
Now, I can kinda see where these people are coming from. As a primarily electric guitar player, I can say we do have a lot of “fluff” between us and the audience compared to any other musician in a church setting. Just in case you don’t know what I mean by fluff, I mean basically anything between the fingers and the mic going to the PA.
Lets take this subject by subject.
Guitars range anywhere from $25 pawnshop specials to hundreds of thousands if you just really have to have Hendrix’s Strat for those sweet sweet tones. Generally, it appears people like to keep their guitar purchases for a nice guitar in the $300 to $3000. I know people with a few guitars closer to $4000 but that’s beside the point. Personally, the guitars I own range from the $250 to $900 range with my next planned purchase being in the $700 to $1200 range if I don’t try to go for the Fano at my local shop… After 10 years of playing, I’ve figured out what I like and don’t like and figure it’s time to get myself a pretty nice guitar. Is that wrong of me? I don’t think so. I’ve had a $250 Squire and I’ve played a $4000 Fano. Yes I was “GAS-ing” for it a while back… Do I need the Fano? No… Sadly it’s out of my price range but the build and tone quality is spot on. Is the audience going to care about that? No, not at all. Are you as the player going to care? Yeah. If a guitar plays like crap no matter how many times you get it setup, you’re going to care. Do you have to spend $4000 to get a good playing guitar? No. My $300 MIM Strat plays just fine. If I wasn’t into collecting, Id probably have stopped there. If you’re still reading this, Find what feels good to you. There’s nothing at all wrong for thinking a lower end guitars feels good enough to be your one guitar. Some people like Mac, others like PC. Half the time people are just using it to browse Facebook, watch cat videos, or edit selfies.
Pedals… I’d say prices range from $5 to… well… the most expensive pedal I’ve personally heard of is around $2500 on a good day. Excluding the $6000 Zvex Candle Trem. On average I’d say $100 to $300 for your average person. Here I can see a little more eye to eye with people. Does everyone need a Strymon Timeline and Klon on their board? No. While these pedals are really nice, most of us don’t need the amount of control, quality, or uniqueness those pedals offer. The two most expensive pedals on my board right now are a Strymon Dig and a 1984 TS9. Both we’re quite an investment honestly. Both times I said to myself, I can’t believe I’m doing this. Did I need them? I probably didn’t need the vintage ts9, but the Dig I can justify a bit easier. The delay pedal I was using was giving me trouble and I needed something.
Amps. I dont know what else I could say that hasn’t already been said….
Recently I’ve even seen people throwing out in a gear group, that mostly talks about gear because they try to keep it gear related to save arguments, that it seems we talk so much about gear and worship music that it seems we put aside other ministry opportunities. Which is simply not true for a very large majority of church musicians. Personally, aside from playing I also run lighting, sound, or whatever is needed on a tech side. I’ve also helped in community outreach and gone on some domestic mission trips with previous churches. I know plenty of other church musicians that go out into the mission field doing what we as Christians are called to do. TO BE CLEAR, I’m not saying that so you can see all the good that I’ve done or what others have done. It’s to make my point that despite “popular” belief, Church musicians do more than play. Even if they do, that’s still cool. Leading worship is just as important to God as anything else. You know the whole “Body Of Christ” thing? I believe that plays a roll here.
My worship leader says in every service that “we (the band) are not here to put on a show for you.” Which is the mindset I’d like to think most church musicians. What are your thoughts? Id like to hear your thoughts!