Best Praise & Worship Guitars Under $500 (2020)
So you are looking for a Praise & Worship guitar for under 5 bills? This is great because I happen to know quite a bit on the subject. The good news is, there are a whole lot of great options. Manufacturers have really stepped up their manufacturing quality while at the same time lowering prices. You can get a very solid, reliable, and great sounding guitar for 5 bills or less.
The biggest factor for guitar players in the worship genre is GUITAR TONE. I cannot overstate the importance of guitar tone. If you don't really know what I mean by guitar tone, don't worry. You will learn what it means as you progress in this genre. But for now, here is a simple definition.
Guitar Tone: The quality and richness of the sound a guitar makes.
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When I started in the Worship genre, I had very little idea about guitar tone or how to even get a decent guitar tone. I just had to learn through experience. I can help you however, by giving you a list of guitars that are capable of great tone. Any one of these guitars can be a great foundation for your guitar tone. This list is a culmination of my own experiences and those of well known guitarists in the praise and worship genre.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is "Worship Guitar"?
"Worship Guitar" is a niche or style of guitar playing. Many churches have a Praise & Worship Team that leads the congregation in songs, almost like a live concert. There are usually two to three guitarists in any one team. (Along with Bass, Drums, Keyboard/Synth, Vocals, etc.)
The trademarks of a Worship Guitarist are very unique, and have lead to a whole new genre of guitar. "The Edge" (Guitarist of U2) has been a major influence to the generation of guitarists that are currently at the forefront of the genre.
The result is an amazing Guitar Tone. Telltale components include Digital Delays, Huge Atmoshperic Reverbs, Clear, Crisp Clean Tone, and Perfectly Dirty Overdrive. Worship Guitar is a style of its own.
What is the best electric guitar for Worship?
The short answer is, the one you like to play. However there is a short list of guitars that sound amazing and are particularly well suited to the Worship Genre.
5. Gretsch Double Jet (w/ Bigsby)
4. G&L Doheny or Fender Offset (Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Mustang)
3. G&L ASAT or Fender Telecaster
2. Veritas Mini Master
1. Veritas Portlander (Used by all guitarists of Bethel Music)
What is the best acoustic guitar for Worship?
5. Yamaha LL6M
4. Ovation Celebrity Standard Plus
3. Cordoba C5-CEBK
2. Breedlove Pursuit Concert Mahogany
1. Martin LX1E
Things to Consider Before You Buy
Before you narrow down your guitars, you need to know what type of sound you want. Electric guitars can be divided into two groups.
-Single Coil Guitars
This is referring to the type of pickup the guitar utilizes to "pickup" the vibrations the strings are making and sending to the amplifier.
Single Coil Pickups are the first type of guitar pickup to be invented. They utilize one coil of copper wire wrapped around a magnet and pole pieces. They produce a very bright, crisp, and thin guitar tone. They sound particularly good for clean and low gain guitar parts. They also can cut through the typically heavy mixes of the worship genre.
Fender Stratocaster is the typical example of a Single Coil Guitar. A Fender Telecaster is another great example of Single Coil Guitars.
Bright, Crisp, Clean Tone
Can sound a bit harsh and thin
Not great for high gain (distorition) guitar tone.
Humbucker (Dual Coil) Pickups are the response to need for quieter(hum cancelling) guitar pickups. They consist of two coils of copper wire wrapped around a magnet and pole pieces. When paired together, these two coils cancel out the hum created by the single coil. They produce a very strong and thick guitar tone. Lots of low and middle frequencies. They have a bit flatter EQ for clean playing, but really shine when it comes to heavier (high gain) guitar tone.
Thick Bass and Mids, Warm Clean Tone
Great for high gain (distortion, fuzz, overdrive)
Duller Clean Tone
Can be harder to cut through a full mix.
I prefer humbucker guitars myself. I find they are more versatile and can always be modified with push/pull potentiometers to get the single coil sound if need be.
Most electric guitar players have at least one single coil guitar and one humbucker guitar.
Gibson Les Paul is the typical example of a Humbucker Guitar. A Fender Jaguar is another great example of Humbucker Guitars.
Best Praise & Worship Guitars
First of all, Fender guitars no matter the model, have a certain bright and resonant tone. Their expertise in guitar manufacturing is obvious in this guitar. The jazzmaster has great tone and sports dual P-90s. You can cover just about any song in the Worship genre with this axe.
Its is by far, the coolest looking guitar in the list. This particular model is the hardtail version, however you can get the tremolo version. With the standard Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge you'll be able to add that tremolo sound to your playing style. It is built like a tank and will stand the test of time. It would pair great with a Fender Blues Junior Tube Amp or a Vox AC30. I also know for a fact you can get great tone using a Line 6 POD HD500x or the new and improved Line 6 Helix LT.
Alright, so this guitar is a great option for those players that like play electric but want to retain the tone of an acoustic. This semi-hollow body Gretsch G2622 will give you the best of both worlds. They have a larger body than a typical electric and you can still sit down and play without having to plug into an amp.
The secret to the Streamliners sound is two-fold: the BroadTron humbucking pickup and the spruce center block. When you are playing in a big band, like a worship team, you need to be able to stand out but, still be able to blend well. You are in luck, this axe was specifically designed by the expert engineers at Gretsch, with the high-output BroadTron pickups. They spawn robust lows, pristine highs and a throaty midrange for a unique tone that blends well with other instruments.
This Ibanez AX230T really catches the eye and is an affordable option. I own two Ibanez guitars and they have served me well for years. When you buy an Ibanez guitar you will immediately notice the amazing guitar neck. Ibanez is well known for building the fastest guitar necks on the market. There is a reason so many rock and metal players choose Ibanez.
The first thing you notice on this guitar is the three humbucker configuration. Its not something you see on most guitars. You will have a plethora of tone options. Add to that an Ibanez brand tremolo modeled after the classic Bigsby, and you have a truly unique axe.
As far as value for the money, this Ibanez AX230T is a surprisingly good deal. The style alone gives it big points in my book. This is a fairly new model so there aren't a great deal of reviews on this guitar. The one review I did find gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
There are certain models that you'll see over and over in the worship genre. The Tele(thinline or not), Gretsch Double Jet, Gretsch Streamline, Veritas Portlander, and the Jazzmaster; Just to name a few. At first I couldn't stand any guitar with the offset body style. However, it has grown on me, and offsets are one of my favorites. Fender's offset guitars can come in basically any configuration you can think of. The jazzmaster has great tone and sports dual P-90s. You can cover just about any song in the Worship genre with this axe.
Squier® honors alt-rock godfather and Dinosaur Jr. leader J Mascis with a striking new Jazzmaster® guitar model that delivers as much massive sound and performance as its namesake. The pickups, hardware and finish are all specified by Mascis himself for tremendous tone and value. Only one instrument is good enough to bear his signature on his headstock; the J Mascis Jazzmaster
Maybe you are a bit confused on this one. Schecter guitar for Praise and Worship? Isn't Schecter normally reserved for Rock and Metal?
Schecter Guitar Research is in my opinion one of the best manufacturers of guitars in the world. I own two Schecters and I love them. They put the word "Research" in their name for a reason. They really know what they are doing.
They have a line of guitars modeled after all the classics. The PT is their version of the Telecaster. I know this brand, and trust the quality of their product immensely. If you are looking for a Single Coil Tele Type guitar but don't want to go with the traditional brand, then this is the guitar for you.
Interestingly enough, Schecter also makes a PT with a Bigsby Tremolo on it. If you are interested in that, its called the Schecter PT Fastback IIB Electric Guitar.
This is a guitar I personally own and use. For the price you are getting massive value. This guitar is very heavy duty, the tone is incredible. The quality and craftsmanship of this guitar really sets it apart from the others. One particular feature that sets it apart from the others, is that it straddles the line between single coil and humbucker guitars.
The pickups on this Gretsch are unique to the Gretsch brand. They are called Filter'Trons. In terms of tone, the Filter’Tron has the warm humbucking tone of a PAF and the brightness and clarity of a single coil. I can personally attest to the uniqueness this guitar brings in terms of tone. You won't be mistaken for the other guitarist on your team, thats for sure.
This is by far, my favorite Worship Guitar on this list. Its the one I play week after week, month after month, year after year. G&L guitar aren't as well known as Fender, but G&L was actually founded by Leo Fender Himself. This tele type guitar is everything Leo Fender designed a Tele to be.
This guitar single coils in both positions. When combined in the middle position this guitar really hits it's stride. Beautifully clear and crisp tone.The real benefits of this guitar is its playability, versatility, and its ability to cut through the thickest of mixes.
If I were to do it over again, I may have gone for a more modern version of the ASAT with dual humbuckers instead of the Single/Humbucker configuration. G&L also offers the ASAT in a Deluxe model with dual Humbuckers. Its also got a carved top which gives it a more modern look. Check it out here.
For more information on this guitar, check out Review of G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy.
The modern variant of the G&L ASAT. May be better for humbucker lovers.