We take a look at the best worship guitars, specifically the best electric guitars for worship
Trying to find the best worship guitars or worship guitar tone can be a little difficult when you don't know what you're looking for. With the sheer amount of guitars out there, you're probably wondering which guitar is best, and what makes a good worship guitar?
With that in mind, we've rounded up what we think are the 10 best worship guitars for praise and church musicians. For this list, we've specifically focused on the best electric worship guitars. We've specifically focused on finding the best electric guitar for worship, in this list because we want a versatile option.
But first, let's answer a question we get asked a lot:
What makes a good worship guitar?
There are a few key features that make a guitar more suited to praise and worship sound. Of course, there's no solid rule when it comes to what makes an electric guitar better suited to worship, but there's certainly a sound that you should be looking for when it comes to choosing the best guitars for worship.
In summary, a good worship guitar should have or be capable of:
- Crystal clear, clean tones
- A bridge pickup - think Telecaster style tones
- Lots of mid-tones for weight
- Lots of high end to cut through the mix
- Preferably a single-coil pickup or coil splittable humbucker
- Be able to handle ambient tones
- Minimal feedback
- Able to handle punchier tones when necessary, but not be too 'heavy'
You don't need powered pickups, you won't need a guitar that can handle metal tones and you certainly won't want a guitar that'll get lost in the mix. You want something that plays nice with the other instruments but adds a crisp, clear punch to your sound.
Also...you need an electric guitar that'll handle delay pedals without becoming muddy, hence the clean tone.
Show Me the 10 best Worship Guitars
Without further delay, we'll round up the 10 best guitars for worship and praise. Again, these are predominantly guitars with a great clean sound, and guitars that are not too sonically overbearing as after all, it's not all about you!
1. Fender Lincoln Brewster Stratocaster Signature Guitar
We'll start with the Fender Lincoln Brewster Stratocaster Signature Guitar. This incredible artist has been responsible for bringing the sound of Worship and Praise to a much wider audience thanks to his incredible songwriting and skills on a guitar. So it makes sense that Fender has teamed up with him to create one of the best worship guitars that we've ever seen.
Part of the reason we think this is one of the best guitars for worship comes down to its tonal versatility - there's nothing this cannot do. It's also designed by one of the most influential worship and praise guitarists ever.
You have three single-coil pickups built-in, including a DiMarzio Area 61 pickup in the bridge position and two Area 58 pickups in the middle and neck positions.
These pickups have been designed to recreate the sound of 1958 Stratocaster pickups offering crystal clear tones that punch through the mix and provide a sonic quality that brings out the treble and mids - it sparkles.
The cool thing about this guitar's sound is the custom boost circuit found in the first volume pot. This gives you an extra 10dB of mid boost power - ideal for solos and lead lines.
The Aztec Gold finish has been brought back specifically for this release, the Maple neck with V-shape profile is comfortable to play and the vintage style locking tuners are extremely reliable.
If you can't stretch to the heights of the signature model, then the Fender American Original 50s Stratocaster Aztec Gold is a slightly cheaper, but still professional level worship guitar. This and the Stratocaster, in general, would probably be the best electric guitar for worship.
2. Fender Player Telecaster MN Butterscotch Blonde
In general, the Telecaster is one of the best worship guitars as the bridge pickup alone is responsible for some of the most iconic sounds ever recorded.
We recommend the Fender Player Telecaster MN Butterscotch Blonde as its budget-friendly price at just over £500 makes it an affordable option for players of all levels.
The powerful Player Series single-coil bridge pickup really cuts through the mix and shines when played through a clean amp. A Telecaster, in general, is a particularly inoffensive guitar in terms of style but has plenty of personality under the hood.
Add a little grit and the guitar responds nicely, use a delay pedal and you'll find your repeats crisp and clear - it's an all-round workhorse that provides a great worship and praise sound. Easily one of the best worship guitars thanks to its simple yet effective sound.
A snappy, powerful worship guitar that you'll enjoy playing thanks to the satin finish Maple neck and 9.5” radius Maple fretboard.
3. Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO-III Plus Heritage Cherry Sunburst
A standard Les Paul guitar maybe a little too overbearing for the worship sound due to the extremely powerful humbuckers. This is where the incredible Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO-III Plus in Heritage Cherry Sunburst comes in.
Epiphone Les Paul guitars, in general, are incredible value for money and offer a professional level sound, but this model, in particular, makes our best worship guitars blog due to the built-in Push/Pull Coil Split and Boost Switch.
This means you can split the humbuckers and turn them into single coils for that added snap and articulation. However, you won't lose any of the volume or power as you have the ability to engage the boost switch - ideal for hitting those solos or bringing your lead lines out of the mix.
The Mahogany body with Flame Maple top ensures your sound is rich and warm, whilst the 60s SlimTaper neck provides a comfortable playing experience - perfect for those long jam sessions and performances.
4. Gibson Les Paul Junior, Vintage Tobacco Burst
The Gibson Les Paul Junior pictured here in Vintage Tobacco Burst bridges that gap between a single-coil and a humbucker pickup. So if you still prefer a bit more power and the thickness and warmth from a humbucker, but want the clarity of a single-coil, the P-90 within this Gibson Les Paul Junior is ideal.
The P-90 Dog Ear single-coil pickup in the bridge position cuts through the mix but adds a weight that doesn't become too overbearing when there's a touch of distortion in your amp.
This is a simple, yet extremely effective guitar for worship that is affordable, but comfortably sits in the professional bracket.
The hand-wired volume and tone knobs respond beautifully to even the subtlest of changes, so you can change your sound via the guitar rather than relying on a drive or boost pedal to push your sound - just turn the volume knob!
5. Fender American Original 60S Telecaster Thinline MN Aged Natural
Thinline or semi hollow-body guitars are ideal for adding ambience to your performance. The airy, spacey sound they can produce is perfect for laying sounds underneath a speaker and they provide a really full yet open sound that brings weight to your performance.
Again, you have two single-coil pickups at your disposal, including the all-important bridge pickup. This combination of the Thinline semi-hollow body and a single-coil pickup ensures you still cut through the mix, but reduces the shrill sound that can sometimes occur when using a solid body with single coil through a clean amplifier.
We recommend the Fender American Original 60S Telecaster Thinline MN Aged Natural as it is a professional level guitar that will outlive its user.
The Tim Shaw designed 60s pickups are incredibly powerful and crisp whilst the 3-saddle vintage-style Tele bridge with slotted steel saddles ensures each string rings out clearly. You'll be heard loud and clear. Nigel Hendroff of Hillsong plays a very similar guitar, so you know you're on the right track.
6. G&L Tribute Legacy Gloss Black Maple Fretboard
Next up we have the G&L Tribute Legacy Gloss Black Maple Fretboard. After Leo Fender moved on from the Fender brand, he co-created the G&L brand with a focus on improving his original designs. The results are incredible.
The G&L Tribute Legacy pictured here in Gloss Black is an affordable S-Style electric guitar that features a trio of Alnico V single-coil pickups which are widely known for their added punch and power.
These pickups offer a jangly, glass-like clean, and a clearer delivery when played through a distorted amp.
One of the key features and a key reason we think this is one of the best worship guitars is its Leo Fender-designed Dual-Fulcrum vibrato bridge. This incredible feat of engineering allows you to bend your strings without fear of tuning going out, but also offers incredible sustain at all times. The smooth vibrato bends alone make it a joy to play.
This is an incredible value guitar that keeps up with guitars at least twice the price. Easily one of the best electric guitars for worship for those with a modest budget.
7. Fender Vintera 60s Jazzmaster Ice Blue Metallic
The legendary Aodhan King from Hillsong champions his Fender Jazzmaster guitar and with good reason. These powerful instruments are probably the most versatile guitars ever made thanks to the sheer amount of switching and phasing options built-in.
Without getting too far into how the switching works on a Jazzmaster, you can change your sound and play your pickups out of phase, offering up a really cool "choked" effect to your guitars lines. This is especially useful if you want to just hang back in the mix rather than stand out. However, should you want to bust out a great solo, the two 60s voiced Jazzmaster pickups are more than capable of punching through.
Beautifully voiced clean tones and clear, yet biting growls can be achieved. You also have the option of isolating or blending the pickups - there are so many different tonal options!
We especially love the Fender Vintera 60s Jazzmaster in Ice Blue Metallic with contrasting tortoiseshell pickguard. The matching blue headstock looks incredible and the vintage style hardware such as floating tremolo bridge and six vintage-style tuning machines all contribute to a reliable, resonant sound.
8. Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody, Cherry
The Epiphone dot and it's bigger brother the Gibson ES 335 is synonymous with Blues and Country music, both genres which sample heavily from gospel and Christian music. So you're in good hands with one of these.
We're slightly bucking the trend here with the Epiphone Dot ES-335 Semi-Hollowbody, Cherry as it features two humbuckers. However, these are not the in-your-face style as they provide a far more creamy, smooth sound than those you might find in a Les Paul, for example.
The Alnico Classic Humbuckers in combination with the semi-hollow body design produce a full-fat sound that offers a good mid-way between an acoustic and electric guitar. It's ideal for singer-songwriters and performers who need a fuller sound should they be the only guitarist on stage.
The centre block that runs through the middle of the guitar heavily reduces unwanted feedback and adds resonance to your notes. You also have the option of isolating the pickups or blending them and complete control over your tone via 2 x Volume and 2 x Tone pots.
A stopbar tailpiece and Grover tuners keep your guitar in tune and the SlimTaper "D" neck provides a comfortable playing experience.
The resonance on offer here is incredible and the low price makes it very affordable for players of all levels.
9. Gibson SG Special Faded Pelham Blue
Before it was adopted by Angus Young and Tony Iommi, the Gibson SG was championed one of the most important Gospel singers the world had ever seen: Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first great recording star of Gospel music and effectively bridged the gap between gospel and rhythm-and-blues music.
Although she played many different guitars she was widely known for playing a white Gibson Les Paul custom, now known as an SG Custom. And if the SG is good enough for her, it's good enough for us!
So why have we chosen a Pelham Blue option?
Well, Brittany Howard, Alabama Shakes singer and guitarist helped induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Brittany plays a Gibson SG in a now out of print Inverness Green, but the closest colour option is Pelham Blue. So we think the Gibson SG Special Faded Pelham Blue is a fitting tribute to both artists and qualifies as a great guitar for worship.
Gibson SG's are incredibly powerful, but the Gibson SG Special tames that raucous sound with the use of P-90 pickups.
This limited edition guitar provides a fat, high output tone that sits somewhere between the sound of a single-coil and Humbucker pickup. This allows you to get a very similar sound to the early blues and gospel sound, especially when played clean with a little reverb.
The Slim Taper neck profile, solid Mahogany body and Rosewood fingerboard are all professional-level features and the modest price tag makes it affordable for all.
Should you want a cheaper option, the Epiphone SG Special P-90 Faded Pelham Blue is a third of the price.
10. Gretsch G5420TG Electromatic Hollow Body Ltd Edition White
Last but not least we have the Gretsch G5420TG Electromatic Hollow Body in Ltd Edition White. This is ideal if you love the look and style of a Gretsch White Falcon but can't stretch your budget that far.
This is a commanding look thanks to the striking white finish with gold hardware and the perfect option for those who want their chords and solos to ring out with gusto.
This makes our best guitars for worship list due to the fact you get a beautifully pronounced clean tone with plenty of character thanks to the Black Top Filter'Tron humbuckers which deliver a raw, vintage Gretsch sound. If you want a touch more presence with your sound, this is the guitar for you.
The Bigsby B60 vibrato bridge helps add a different dynamic to your playing and the resonant, 5-ply maple, single-cutaway, and the hollow-body design provides a fuller, more open sound.
This is an incredible guitar for praise and worship guitarists and easily one of the best worship guitars.
Final thought: What is a worship guitar?
In summary, a worship guitar, and the best worship guitar tone should be able to cut through the mix - it can't be muddy and it needs to be able to sit nicely with other instruments when you dial it back.
View a full range of guitars over at PMT Online or call into your local PMT store to try out a full selection for yourself. Looking for a complete Church sounds system? We also stock a full range of PA systems for Church sound systems and can advise on all aspects of Church PA!
Further reading: Read our blog on what we think are the best worship guitar amps.
Read our blog on the best worship guitar pedals