Our top picks at a glance
- Fender American Original 50s Stratocaster
- PRS SE 24
- Fender American Special Telecaster
- Gibson Les Paul Standard
- Fender American Original 60s Stratocaster
- Fender Classic Series 72 Telecaster Deluxe
- PRS Custom 22
- Gretsch Guitars G5420T
- D’Angelico Excel EXL-1
- Epiphone DOT ES Style
Although no guitar is ultimately designed for worship, there are just the best guitars in worship. They are available in the market or perhaps, you’re already using it right now.
If you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll probably know of Hillsong, Planetshakers or Kutless. They don’t use one kind of guitar and they don’t have the same guitars. They have different equipment used, but they offer inspiring music that encourages us to reflect and ponder.
Guitar is just an instrument for a worship band, but it can make or break the atmosphere or the kind of mood the worship song is trying to create. Hence, I’ve carefully selected 10 guitars in the market I see fit to praise and worship. This article is a good start for you, especially if you’re aspiring to be a worship leader.
The best guitars for worship service reviewed
- Ash body with lacquer finish
- Thick "Soft V"-shaped neck profile; 9.5"-radius fingerboard
I will start big by giving you the all-time favorite Fender American Original 50s Stratocaster. This is a solid-body guitar made of Alder with Maple neck and fingerboard. This Strat offers a vintage voice in modern playability because of the 9.5-inch fretboard radius, soft “V” neck profile and tall frets.
The electronics are amazing in this guitar. You’ll have three Pure Vintage ‘59 single-coils, which not only give its vintage voice, but with pure, clear, and shimmering tones. You can find a knob for the neck and middle pickups, so you can dial it back to smoother trebles without any problem.
- Soft V-neck profile for comfort and access to higher registers
- Vintage tall frets for easy bending of notes
- Pure Vintage ‘59 single-coils for clear and sparkling tone
- Pickguard is just made of cheap material
- Might be pricey for beginners
- Body wood: mahogany
- Neck wood: Maple
You don’t need to spend more than $1000 when you can spend less with the PRS SE 24. Probably your best guitar for worship, this one is a recreation of the Custom 24, which is PRS’ flagship model. It has an all-mahogany construction with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
You’ll get a very good sound when plugged in because of the PRS 85/15 “S” pickups with coil taps and PRS patented tremolo. It gives a powerful voice, that is perfect for cutting through the mix to be able to produce wonderful guitar effects.
- Sounds way better than its more expensive competitors
- Pickups are superb in giving warm, open, and beautiful voice
- All-mahogany construction makes it more resonant
- The tuners are a bit substandard
- Has almost perfect setup, but the G and B strings need further tuning
- Pickups still have tinny bad trebles
- Loaded with a two Texas Special Tele pickups, the American Special Telecaster delivers classic and contemporary tones that are perfect for Blues, Country, Rock, and Pop
- With a 9; 5" freeboard radius, Jumbo frets, and a satin-finished neck, the American Special Tele offers easy string-bending and a fast, modern feel
If the American Original 50s Strat is too expensive for you, why not have the Fender American Special Telecaster? Fender is very good enough to help you get both traditional tones and modern sound from this Tele. For sure, this will pull out wonderful sounds for you in your next Sunday service.
Like the more expensive Strat, it’s made of Alder body which is known for its strength and clarity of tone. It’s equipped with two Texas Special Tele pickups — the single-coil neck pickup for a meaty and full tone and the bridge pickup for warm tone with that Tele bite. Again, with 9.5-inch fretboard radius and 22 jumbo frets, you’ll have a completely playable guitar.
- Unmatched pickups that offer classic and contemporary tones
- Flatter radius for easy string bending and fast play
- Still made of Alder body, which offers great clarity
- Has sharp fret edges and need sanding
- Wood Species: Lightweight Solid Mahogany Body, 2 Piece Plain Maple Top, Hide Glue Fit
- Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
The Les Paul Standard has been one of the greatest masterpieces from Gibson, and I love it. The gorgeous Grade-AAA figured maple top on the resonant mahogany body is something that you will notice right away. Then, you’ll be amazed by the Burstbucker Pro pickups that deliver a wide range of tonal capacity — a perfect instrument to explore for worship.
You won’t be disappointed by the asymmetrical SlimTaper neck and rosewood fretboard that support fast action and effortless playability. It’s designed to be played for longer hours because of the ultra-modern weight-relieved body, so you don’t strain your back while playing. Other exciting modern features include Tune o-Matic bridge, locking Grover tuners and self-lubricating TekToid nut.
- The tone and feel of this Les Paul is unbeatable
- Has great value for the money
- Guitar is very comfortable to play, especially the SlimTaper neck and the weight-relieved body
- Tuning is a bit unstable
- Pickups can sound brassy at some settings
- Alder Stratocaster Body with Gloss Nitro Lacquer Finish
- 25.5" Scale Thick "C" Maple Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard
A solid-body guitar is just what you need to bring to church or when recording worship songs. The Fender American Original 60s Stratocaster has a solid-body made of Alder. This means you’ll get a clear and full-bodied tone associated with beefy mids and nice lows.
It features three Pure Vintage ’65 single-coil pickups in the neck, bridge, and middle. With the 5-way pickup selector switch, you’ll be able to explore tons of tones from the true ’65. It’s lightweight with a resonant body to extract full tonal characteristics of a solid-body electric guitar.
- Guitar is nice with consistent pickups
- You can get bell-like chime and fuller tone
- The neck might not be the best
- Poor setup with very high action out of the box
- There are rough spots on the fretboard edges
- Two Fender "Wide Range" humbucking pickups serve-up loads of huge '70's Classic Rock tones.
- This model's "amp" knobs, large Strat headstock, bullet truss-rod nut, "F" tuners, and 3-Bolt neck-plate (with Micro-Tilt) recall the hallmark aesthetics of the decade.
This list is dominated by Fender and I also noticed that. But, since Fender has been here for 73 years, it has tons of electric guitars that I considered as best worship guitars. The Fender Classic Series 72 Telecaster Deluxe is one of them with a pair of Fender’s wide range humbucking pickups.
Additionally, it features a vintage-style string-through-body hard-tail bridge, three-way position switch, and vintage-style tuners. It’s made of Alder body with C-shaped maple neck, so it seems to duplicate the aesthetics and cosmetics from three decades ago.
All I can say, this is a well-made guitar, ready for the church and the stage. It offers versatility and playability, with a sound quality that is absolutely Fender.
- A great piece of work, outstanding craftsmanship
- Neck feels perfect and the flat fretboard aids soloing
- A cheaper alternative to get better Tele sound
- Some players find the pickups to be muddy
- Beveled Maple Top with Flame Maple Veneer, Mahogany Back
- Wide Thin Maple Neck, Rosewood Fretboard, Bird Inlays, 25" Scale Length, 22 Frets
I’m sure you’ll like the PRS Custom 22 as your ultimate guitar for worship. From the looks to the pronounced midrange, you can easily cut through the sound of your band. It sports a maple top with mahogany back to provide a sweet, full tonal base for your music.
This is a 22-fret guitar with a wide thin maple neck with 25-inch scale length. Equipped with PRS Patented Tremolo Bridge and PRS 85/15 “S” Bridge & Neck pickups, you’ll surely be able to deliver just the right sound for your worship band. With the three-way toggle switch, volume and tone controls, you are likely to become a versatile guitarist.
- Beautifully made and very smooth to your hands
- Has great tone and sustain
- Tuners are fine and the bridge is solid
- Not as improvised as other models
- Thin neck won’t work for everyone
- G5420T Electromatic Hollowbody Electric Guitar Fairlane Blue
If you think Gretsch ‘twang’ is a great add-on to make interesting worship music, have the Gretsch Guitars G5420T. It’s made with a laminate maple top, back and sides, to give more definition of sound. It’s equipped with flexible electronics that help you pull a lot of tonal tricks.
You can find the vintage-voiced Gretsch “Black Top” humbucking pickups, Rosewood-Based Adjusto-Matic Bridge and Bigsby B60 Vibrato for a refined pitch modulation Gretsch is known for. The pickups are reversed engineered to achieve tonal versatility to be ready for everything — from rock to country. With the three-way switch and four controls, you can use it for worship concerts, as well.
- Super nice neck with great tone
- Lighter than expected, it feels great to play
- Amazing craftsmanship, especially the quality of the pickups
- Some players get buzzing on A and G strings
- Has paint blemish, though it’s just a minor issue
- Mother-of-Pearl split-block inlays indulge in Art Deco decadence-a small but impactful aesthetic detail new for 2018.
- An aesthetic nod to original D'Angelico Art Deco decadence, an elegant scroll-style bevel adorns the end of the EXL-1's fingerboard.
The original archtop design of the John D’Angelico is a legend, what about the D’Angelico Excel EXL-1? This is the legend’s modern counterpart upgraded with USA-made Seymour Duncan Johnny Smith Floating Mini-Humbucker to accommodate demands for modern music. This maximizes the acoustic tone of this guitar that has 3-inch deep and 17-inch wide.
It’s made with laminate spruce top, flame maple back and sides and maple C-shaped neck. The Mother-of-Pearl split-block inlays on the Pau Ferro fretboard is still part of the 2018 upgrade. Additionally, the fretboard scroll-style neck-bevel adorns the end of the fretboard.
- Well-made and a solid guitar, very playable out of the box
- Has bell-like jazz tones with genuine character
- The pickups are very nice and clear
- Since it’s a jazz guitar, it’s not that versatile in terms of sounds
- Doesn’t have that distinctive midrange of an archtop
This semi-hollow body electric guitar could be your best guitar for worship because of its deep, rich and full sound. The Epiphone DOT ES Style is made from laminated maple body and top with a set mahogany neck and 22-fret rosewood fretboard. It features dual humbuckers with a three-way pickup that helps you dial into just the tone you need.
It has 24.75-inch scale length with a SlimTaper ‘D’ profile to achieve better playability. Epiphone equipped this electric guitar with its very own exclusive LockTone locking Tune-o-matic bridge and Stopbar tailpiece for better sustain. So, whether you’re in the church or recording your worship songs, this guitar is a very suitable instrument.
- Guitar has good tone and fun to play
- Sound is bright from the bridge, deep and rich tone from the neck pickup
- Solid electronics, very reliable
- Nice action, but the sharp fret edges are sticking out
- Not too smooth to play, you need to press close to the frets
- Machine tuning heads need replacement
Factors to Consider When Buying a Guitar for Worship
You may have wondered how I was able to find those great guitars perfect for worship. Of course, I have a guide and I have some considerations. It’s not a one-sitting event and it takes me a lot of thinking, but the guidelines really help.
Though I’m not a worship leader or close to being one, I’ve heard a lot of praise and worship songs. So, I know their common characteristics, especially on the guitars. And, with my special addiction to guitars, I come up with these guidelines to be able to easily pick a guitar that is suitable for worship.
Choose an Electric Guitar
In modern worship music, what you always hear is an electric guitar, and only a few songs are produced with acoustic guitars. If you also see music videos or live worship performances, you can see electric guitars more commonly than an acoustic guitar. And, on the list, I only include electric guitars. Why?
Electric guitars give you more full sound, explained Worship Online. This means that you’ll be able to give the projection and emphasis that you want, especially if you want to achieve full band sound. Though worship leaders may use acoustic guitars in live recordings, in their final mix, they are using electric guitar, which brings the song into a whole new level.
You need a good-quality guitar for worship. After all, you’re playing to enhance the experience and help bring the worship sound to a whole new level. You don’t want a guitar with mediocre quality. In short, you want a ‘perfect’ guitar so everything is smooth and flawless.
With this in mind, you don’t just settle for a cheap guitar, right? You need to invest in something more reliable – from some brands that have proved themselves worthy and great.
Again, a guitar in a worship band or accompaniment for a worship or a gospel song has a critical role. And, that is to give the ultimate worship experience of the listener.
Yes, maybe it’s safer if you’ll explore electric guitar brands that have stood the test of time. For one, you are sure that they are of quality, not just the sound, but the construction, as well. You don’t want to get a snap guitar neck in the middle of worship activity.
Second, the guitars of the common brand are most likely being used by leading worship bands, so it’s easy to emulate their sound, if you’re a newbie. Among the popular brands used in modern worship music are Fender, Gretsch, Nash, Fano, and Duesenberg, stated Reverb.
Ensure that the guitar you’ll be playing isn’t too flashy or those with vulgar design used for metal bands. Aside from enhancing the overall musicality of the worship band, you also have to sustain the feeling and not distract it with your ‘too hard to ignore’ design and finish of your guitar.
Maybe you need something more natural or those that aren’t very striking like neon-colored (or bright-colored) guitars, striped guitars or use multi-colored strings. You don’t even want to have some of Dean guitars to your worship band, as their design is more suitable for hard rock and metal. So, ensure that the message you’re delivering in your worship won’t be distracted by the looks of the guitar you’re holding.
This YouTube video will cover more considerations when choosing your next guitar for worship. This also aids my journey on how I’m able to furnish this list. It gives a lot of tips that are practical and very helpful to aspiring worship musicians and worship leaders out there.
For this roundup article, I’ll choose the all-time favorite Fender American Original 50s Stratocaster. From the playability to the sound quality, nothing beats this electric guitar. It’s an Alder solid-body that offers a vintage voice for modern guitarists.
It gives the best value for your money. However, not all guitarists, especially beginners can afford this Strat. Yet, if you just know how great these ‘59 single-coil pickups are and how well you can play this guitar, you’ll surely invest.
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