View Full Version : Contemporary christian acoustic

Feb-19-2004, 6:11am
I am just wondering here, I am going to get a mandolin for some acoustic contemporary christian music. The sound that really builds this music is the chord usage I think. I want that emphasized, but mostly I chop on the mando. So if I want this chord sound emphasized, would it be a good idea to get an oval hole? perhaps an F-style oval hole?

Feb-19-2004, 6:14am
and also, if you dont mind, what are the chords used to achieve this sound.

Feb-19-2004, 4:04pm
hey, thats awesome that you wanna bring the mando into that kinda music. i play the mando in my youth praise band at church, and i really get a good response from them, they love it!! i just play an acoustic/electric oscar shmidt mando, through an acoustic amp. hope it goes good for ya!! let me know how it goes

Feb-19-2004, 4:48pm
I think you probably do want a rounder tone than the typical bluegrass mandolin. The "chop" chord doesn't really seem to fit into acoustic pop music, except as an occasional rhythmic effect. And having played in churches all over the country, I can tell you that it's very difficult to get a good mix if your band is half mic'd, half plugged and you're the one trying to play mandolin on a mic. You're probably going to want an acoustic/electric. Wanna buy a Rigel?

Feb-19-2004, 5:05pm
no, I found a good oval hole F I am gonna get..

I have been playin in church forever and they all like it, I love what happens when the anointing hits.....

Feb-20-2004, 1:26am
Ah, but have you been playing MANDOLIN in church forever?

Feb-20-2004, 2:30am
Ya, mandolin,

but not forever. I am 19, I have been playing in church for about 4 years.

Feb-20-2004, 11:43am
So what mandolin have you been playing, why do you think it inadequate, and what oval F did you find?

Feb-20-2004, 10:05pm
I have always focused on Gospel Bluegrass and traditional stuff.Probably 80% of the stuff I have played and recorded is Gospel Grass.

During the past 6-7yrs the Contemporary thing has came to life I have ventured into playing the Praise style music.The feel is totally different as well as the approach to playing.First of all the "chop" will be the first thing to go....start focusing more on the open sound
of chords and simple bar chords to be more versatile.As you know that music is generally VERY repetitious in nature
even more so than bluegrass and offers usually very simple melodies.

I have never really taken a liking to it,but a properly applied mandolin really does good on especially slower songs...and use a mike if possible as it is much more suited for church and P&W music (just my .02 on that last comment).....If it doesnt work just kick off "Rank Stranger" and they'll all think thats a new song http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Good Luck

Feb-20-2004, 11:10pm
I was playing that Goldtone, Rigel knockoff.....

I want somthing for an acoustic setting.

I got a good trade on a martin guitar for this mandolin, so it is now gone and I am mandoless.

I found a local dealer, Morris, that makes a really nice Fstyle, thats what I am going with

Feb-20-2004, 11:24pm
I mostly play bass in church, but do sometimes play mando and tenor banjo. My most generic advice for more contemporary music would be to either play double- and triple-stops and mostly leave the root of the chord to the other instruments. That adds a nice extra layer to the sound whether you're playing with guitars, piano or both. Or you could play melody, especially if playing with guitars only, to make it a bit easier for the singers. Tremolo chords could work sometimes, but don't overdo them.

Chopping is probably not a good idea unless there's a bluegrass banjo or you're playing with people who pound out simple rhythms with really heavy accents (highly unlikely, in my experience).

Finally, watch out for guitarists (I haven't run into any people who play other instruments and do this) who seek to avoid all harmonic tension by playing lots of pedal tones and/or playing the second instead of the third on IV chords and the fourth instead of the third on V chords. If that's too much theory for you, never mind... at worst, you'll play slightly different things and add up to some jazzy chords.

Feb-21-2004, 9:36am
I play an oval hole f in church every week. I do a little chopping, but mostly tremolo, double stops and crosspicking. The one thing I have learned about mandolin is unlike a guiitar, you don't need to play everything in every song. Sometimes just the accents and dynamic points in the song bring out the best of your group.

Feb-23-2004, 2:02am
id reccomend listening to "uncommon ritual" which is mike marshall on mando along with bela fleck on banjo and edgar meyer on bass. they do some classical type pieces on it, and you could get a good feel for how to play the rythm and stuff by listening to the way mike keeps the rythm on some songs. it sounds real slick.

John Zimm
Feb-23-2004, 10:08am
Randy Travis does a couple of worship songs on Worship and Faith and I think some of them have mandolin in them. I wonder if some of those new praise songs could use some good mando chops to give them some variety. I am no fan of the praise music, and whatever you can do to bluegrass-ify it would be great. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif


Feb-23-2004, 11:55am
Does anyone play mandolin for guitar/folk Mass music? What is your technique? What type mandolin do you use?

Feb-23-2004, 12:44pm
what is Mass music?

Feb-23-2004, 1:33pm
Roman Catholic Church Mass music.

Feb-23-2004, 3:21pm
I do, GBG. I use a bowlback, which has a nice bright shimmering tone that goes well with piano or nylon-string guitar. Maybe a little less so with steel-string guitars, though - a lof of these guitarists go for a ridiculously bright tone and I'm not sure what sort of mando would go well with them... I mostly play melody or a vocal harmony part with a bit of ornamentation (if there is one written in the music I'm looking at - usually either guitar or piano music with one or two vocal parts), sometimes I'll play arpeggios or tremolo chords.

Feb-23-2004, 3:34pm
Hey GBG,

we have a mandolin player that plays during mass sunday morning (I play guitar there) He plays chords, cross picking, some single note tremelo's melody and harmony... whatever fits you know?

we also have usually 2 electric, 2 six string and 2 12 string and the mandolin and piano sunday morning.. lot's of sound but he fits it in great. Inspired me to pick up mandolin a while ago and now.

I now play for our youth mass. A lot of modern praise and worship. mostly chord-ing, cross picking, chop some when we have no drummer etc... If i had an oval hole it would sound great I think..


Feb-23-2004, 4:10pm
Peter and Jason, thanks for the response. Our folk mass group has a 6-string guitar (or 2), a 12-string, and a piano. I used to bang on a guitar in another folk mass group several years ago, but I don't know if I could make a mandolin work.I guess I should sit in on one of their practice sessions.

Feb-23-2004, 4:27pm
yea gbg.

it is pretty fun, I would say go sit in with them and play . http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Not to bragg or anything but I feel like I have the best of both worlds playing in both a traditional catholic mass setting and modern praise and worship with the youth choir...

fun fun


Feb-23-2004, 4:36pm
I play mando in Church about once a month, usually with a guitar player. #I'm sorry but I find most contemporary worship songs tasteless. I've made countless suggestions to the 2 folks who pick our selections but they only select from the same 15 or so "contemporary praise" songs. It's gotten me somewhat frustrated as I love gospel and bluegrass. A few weeks ago I snuck in "Amazing Grace" #as our opening after warning the guitar and fiddle player ahead of time. It sounded so wonderful that we closed with it too. I use a lot of tremolo, double stops and some cross picking on the praise stuff. I'd be interested in what songs you folks are playing.

Feb-23-2004, 5:40pm
Yeah, sit in on a practice and try playing something different on every verse (say, melody on one, arpeggios on the second, crosspicking on the third). That will give you an idea of what works well really quickly, especially if you ask everyone else what they like best. And Goldtopper made an excellent point - you don't need to play everything all the way through. Maybe lay out for the first verse, or only play on the refrains sometimes.

Your church might have music books with four-part choral arrangements; there might be good harmony parts in there that you can play. Sometimes there are very simple but effective high harmony parts that few singers are brave enough to attempt.

Feb-24-2004, 2:29pm
Roman Catholic Church Mass music.
Like Thomas Tallis? Well, he is more Anglican, but you know what I mean. I do. On the Guitar, though, not the Mandolin. Beautiful stuff, bro.

Mar-03-2004, 11:58am
I am the pastor of worship arts at a contemporary church just outside of Atlanta and I drop mando parts into a lot of songs.

There is a lot of contemporary praise and worship stuff with a Celtic type feel out right now that lends itself well to mandolin ("Come Now is the Time to Worship" being an example).

Anything by Caedmon's Call works well.

Martin Smith's "Shout to the North" just begs to have a mando join in the instrumentation (we even went so far as to add a bagpipe player to it last Easter, then had him close the service playing Amazing Grace)

Older hymns in an "unplugged" acoustic style naturally work well.

For us pretty much anything that works with acoustic guitars is fair game for adding a mandolin line to it, but I try not to overdo it. It seems to have more punch in our setting when I bring it in to set a song apart from others in the set.

Mar-08-2004, 3:47pm
I agree WMW. We use the same 15 praise songs over and over again.

We tried Amazing Grace and a few people actually cried.

I am trying to get our worship leader to do Ill Fly Away which he has never heard.

Mar-08-2004, 4:30pm
I am trying to get our worship leader to do Ill Fly Away which he has never heard.

Y'know, church music actually has hundreds of years of theory and tradition behind it? It is an academic discipline. You can get a degree in it. There's a little more to it than learning 15 songs and knowing how to operate an overhead projector.

Any worship leader who hasn't heard "I'll Fly Away" or "Amazing Grace" just plain needs to get out more, methinks.

I switch between mandolin & fiddle on the contemporary praise stuff, and I never play 'em the same way twice (keeps it interesting). But the gauntlet has been dropped: one of our bandleaders has admitted that he's tired of the songs and thinks it's time we started writing our own.

Mar-08-2004, 10:41pm
Any worship leader who hasn't heard "I'll Fly Away" or "Amazing Grace" just plain needs to get out more, methinks.

That is hard for me to even imagine...(shakes head in dismay)

Mar-09-2004, 8:15am
Quote (mrmando @ Mar. 08 2004, 15:30)
Any worship leader who hasn't heard "I'll Fly Away" or "Amazing Grace" just plain needs to get out more, methinks.

I'll go another "Amen" from the other side of the church.Actually they should be taught it or fired.

On a very personal opinion, I think it is so sad how the traditional songs are being pushed out of churches.At least here in my area(Cincinnati) many of the churches dont even have hymnal books anymore,what happens when the Bible is too "old" for us?? I understand that not everyone likes BGrass and thats fine, but if we throw all of those songs with such "soul" away, arent we throwing our roots away. Alot of those songs were written out of trials and adversities which people were in....and that is what makes them so real. We dont need another "church" song written to the tune of a POP song...

Many of the church services in our area look and feel like a REM concert instead of church and thats sad.

If you are a songleader it is your duty to teach the children of your church the songs that the church was founded on.You can do that and still have the new stuff as well.

If a song was annointed 50 years ago, then its still annointed today.

Just venting my feelins...sorry to be so long winded

Mar-11-2004, 9:48am
I have been asked to play worship for pre-schoolers at our church. I have a f style f holes mando that sounds great but is not wired. Got any suggestions? I am of the mind that we shouldn't keep the "big peoples" songs from the kids but give them the meat and potatoes stuff. Their hearts seem to be more tuned to the spirit sometimes than ours.

Mar-11-2004, 10:43am
On a very personal opinion, I think it is so sad how the traditional songs are being pushed out of churches.At least here in my area(Cincinnati) many of the churches dont even have hymnal books anymore,what happens when the Bible is too "old" for us??

Many of the church services in our area look and feel like a REM concert instead of church and thats sad.

If you are a songleader it is your duty to teach the children of your church the songs that the church was founded on.You can do that and still have the new stuff as well.

If I may chime in,

While I'm not the songleader of our church, I've been serving in some capacity with our youth worship team for the last several years. #We occasionally will play a song for the offertory at our church, or have members play with the worship service team, but by and large, we usually lead music times during a Sunday school class and youth night on Wednesdays. #I'm proud to say that while we enjoy some of the contemporary songs, that we have an equal if not greater respect for the hymns as well. #The truths contained therein are timeless, and while we may change the chords or rhythms within the song, the same words are being sung now as have been sung years ago. #I have an excellent devotional book based entirely on hymns, which has several scriptures and a background story on the writer or circumstances they were facing at the time of writing. #We'll look at this during our rehearsals, and it really brings a new amount of respect for the song.

In fact, there is a lot of things about these "contemporary" songs that we feel don't stand up lyrically. #We wonder how singing "la la la la la la" could compare to surveying "The Wonderful Cross". #It isn't out of disrespect for the writers of these contemporary songs, but out of a desire to give God our best that we're a bit more selective when choosing songs.

Yes, our instrumentation is quite a bit different than your typical gospel, traditional, or bluegrass group. #Acoustic and electric guitars, a mandolin, a mandobird, bass guitar, and drums. #But the musicians really have a heart for Christ, and the utmost respect for these songs, and their role in communicating them.

I guess the most humbling thing to keep in mind, is that for all of our pride and arrogance, nothing is "new" to God. #He's given us these songs to sing back to Him, not for us to bask in our glory, but to reflect His. #Music is such a gift, and I'm thankful that He's given us (in our worship team, and the church as a whole) the desire to lift our songs to Him, and more importantly, our hearts and lives to Him.

Mar-15-2004, 3:54pm
I play an A-model in church on Sun nights. Depending on the flavor of the song, sometimes I chop, sometimes I strum chords, sometimes push out the melody as loud as I can, and sometimes just add a bit of "filler" tremolo (sp?) as suits me. I'm not so good, but the guitar player says I don't need to be mike'd 'cause I'm plenty loud.
Not sure how to take that one actually! LOL! Sometimes I plug in, sometimes I don't. It depends on the situation and the crowd.
For your original question, I would suggest you get a good mando that sounds nice to YOU, since you will probably need to remain flexible.
Not that they are not excellent mando's, but I would avoid names like...
Devil's Dream.

Kent Black
Apr-02-2004, 7:31am
Hello Everyone,

I am just starting and this is the type of music I am wanting to play. On the gospel or praise side of music which mandolin should I be looking for? Thanks for any help!


Apr-02-2004, 2:32pm
Hey all,
Great to see so many playing in church. It is a different style alltogether. Don't even think about the chop unless you get lucky. Our church did a month of remembering classics. We rotate between about four different leaders, and one week Todd did a medley of bluegrass songs. My wife had to hold me down. I had the mando in the car and was ready to run out, grab it, and run back in to join the group.

I currently have a Rigel A+ Standard, mostly for the pick-up and it's sweet tone, radius fingerboard. I'm about to trade up to a f hole FStyle. But am already thinking of trading that when I get it for a Fstyle Oval hole. Maybe old gibson f2 or something newer so I could install a pick up and not mess up the value. It's kind of like playing a small guitar sometimes, but then again it can really be fun. Some people think it's soooo cool when I do the simplest tremolo. Go figure. Let's all keep talking.