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Hey! This is a great thread!!

I've played bass almost exclusively in church for 30 years (had a sheltered life!) and I agree with a lot of the advice that's been offered already so I won't go over old ground...just a few things...

  • It's definitely a thing that the key matters! For this reason I started to use an iPad app called OnSong - it's a bit pricey but I used it for years as my digital songbook, as did the lead guitarist in the band. It transposes with a tap.
  • Do be sensitive to the audience (congregation I guess is the word) - it's an unusual gig because there are babies and old folk and everyone in between in the same room.
  • Invest in some Subs if your sound set-up doesn't already have them. And then talk really nicely to the sound guys about what kind of sound you're looking for...I spent some years working with some sound guys who had me so low in the mix that I may as well have stayed home, that was until we agreed that bass is more about frequency than volume!! 
  • Rehearse with the drummer, if you have one - get to know how you both deal with changes in tempo, sudden shifts from verse to chorus, ad libs, etc...
  • Don't forget that you own the root! Whatever you do in between, try to keep the root note solid because the congregation need all the help they can get to keep in the right key....
  • If you have an organ or cellist, or even a competent pianist, you really need to speak to them about who plays which parts. I had a great relationship with the cellist in a church I was in - she was very happy indeed to let me take the bass parts that she'd been holding down before I arrived. And don't forget that any organist worthy of playing a church organ will be pretty handy (feety) with the bass pedals and they have a lot of power but not much clarity - so rather than compete with them, get used to enjoying the middle range.

Playing in church is where I learned to use and came across IEM's, Ableton live & logic, click tracks, synchronised videos, lighting rigs, smoke, feedback destroyers, 6x15 (x2) subwoofers!. I've also had the privilege of playing in every set-up from 1 guitarist through to a band with two drummers, percussionist, horn section, choir, 2 x electric, 2 acoustic guitar, string section....

Also - there's some excellent new church music out there that is pretty contemporary...don't limit yourself!! (It's been a long long time since I've played what most would recognise as a hymn!)

 

Let us know how you get on...

 

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This is a great example of a typical modern church set-up that is becoming very common in the UK...this was for a live album recording but this is pretty much the same as you'd find on a 'normal' Sunday morning...(Life Church Bradford & Leeds)

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43 minutes ago, BassPhil said:

Oh...and there's also a whole magazine all about playing in church....it's bang up to date and includes advice for the tech team, bass player and drummer...

https://www.worshipmusician.com

@BassPhil Thanks for the comments and for bringing Worship Musician to my attention, I have never heard of it but I will certainly have a (cyber) flick through it.

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There's probably a whole thread to be had on apps for digital music. OnSong seems popular for chords, I use MobileSheets and have used Picascore in the past. SongSelect is probably the default source for downloading music covered by CCLI onto PDF. No doubt there are others too.

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I could happily go to an app that can transpose chord charts on the fly, but some of our people use the dots so that is a non starter. 

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3 hours ago, Richard R said:

There's probably a whole thread to be had on apps for digital music. OnSong seems popular for chords, I use MobileSheets and have used Picascore in the past. SongSelect is probably the default source for downloading music covered by CCLI onto PDF. No doubt there are others too.

I’m trying to get us onto a digital solution. We use opensongs for the presentation and the opensong format supports  chords and they have a free android app that supports them - opensong files also can be read by OnSong ... the thing is you then loose OnSong ability to create and beam sets but it’s more accessible to non Apple owners

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Posted (edited)

Echo a lot of the comments already made. Been playing bass in worship for 30+ years in a number of contexts and situations (tho not for the last 9 months for a number of health and family reasons). From pop-up churches in school halls to conference centres. My current church has its own building now but for the previous 15 years hired rooms at Sandown Park every Sunday.
 

Our general format is a small rock band - drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and sometimes keys. Lucky that although none of us are pros (and range in age from 16 to 60ish) we manage to play to a pretty good standard. We’re also fortunate that all our keys players know how to stay away from the bass register! Yay! It’s great fun playing in the band as well as really rewarding. Looking forward to getting back to it this month!
 

Here’s a few photos of the band... general typical Sunday set up...

3D183E6E-51AA-4EC0-A499-BAF5E460978C.thumb.jpeg.5b235d062c707194bc6560212fce2221.jpeg

An acoustic evening we did...

8F7E7492-D983-4AA0-951C-546EF1ACFE4D.thumb.jpeg.08ce106efe0f2605eeffab59f2fc5dd4.jpeg

Our Pentecost service celebrating the various nationalities in the church...

38B85057-CA09-4200-9260-5C87CE543DF7.thumb.jpeg.dcd23e182708085a94f657dd36d3f68e.jpeg

Me rockin’ the bass...

062BFCFD-5B0D-48B7-BD2D-58663D167CD4.thumb.jpeg.b058e5524ecb578101c4d4f0ad38b884.jpeg

 

 

Edited by TrevorR
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Posted (edited)
On 06/01/2020 at 14:53, BassPhil said:

Oh...and there's also a whole magazine all about playing in church....it's bang up to date and includes advice for the tech team, bass player and drummer...

https://www.worshipmusician.com

Big +1 on OnSong. I curate all our chord charts and have converted them all to OnSong transposable format and PDF for old school printing. However the ability to have the band’s whole repertoire on your iPad at a swipe is really handy when the set list gets changed or songs transposed at the last minute. Love it. Better than kneeling on the floor riffling through a huge lever arch file! I use it with a Bluetooth page turner pedal which makes using it in the service a doddle!
 

Here’s a few more resource pages I find really good and helpful...

WORSHIP TOGETHER:   https://www.worshiptogether.com Lots of current/recent song sheets on here for free use, licensed by the publishers If you register. Includes transposable ChordPro format files for a load which are compatible with OnSong etc. Great video tutorials etc too. I like their “New Song Cafe” videos where a writer talks about one of their songs and demos how to play it. Use this website a lot.

WE ARE WORSHIP: https://www.weareworship.com/uk Lots of free tutorials and download PDF song sheets when you sign up. More stuff available on subscription but I don’t bother. 
 

WORSHIP READY:  https://www.worshipready.com   Similar sort of thing. Really a paid subscription service.  However, the free registration gives you access to lots of tutorials, online chord sheets and a free OnSong etc chord sheet download per month.

C’mon @Big Rich, we’re on tenterhooks here... how did it go? ;)

Edited by TrevorR

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@TrevorR  I've got to sit in on a couple of rehearsals and be adult baptised before I can play so it'll be a little while yet.

I'm new to the church and obviously they want to see that I'm committed before they let me loose on the likes of `My Lighthouse', `Anchor' and `Raise A Hallelujah' .

In the past I've always played in rock and metal bands so I wanted to do my homework and get some pointers before I start.

Thanks again for the links.

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