• Paul's Blog

    Guitars, guitars, guitars

    Posted on August 21, 2009 by Paul | 4 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    By Paul Baloche

    Many of us grew up with a fascination of the six string music maker. So desperate to be able to play the guitar at 6 years old , my friends and I used to tie a tennis racket around our necks with a shoe string and pretend we were strumming along to our favorite Beatle song.

    Most of us guitar players, at one time or another, were “bit” by the bug of seeing someone make such incredible sounds out of a simple six-stringed instrument.

    Growing up outside of Philadelphia, I used to sit in dark, crowded basements of many local bands to watch them practice. Night after night I would observe the more experienced guitar players as they played some of my favorite songs, carefully observing their left hand fingerings of different chords and their right hand picking and strumming techniques. Rushing home from those rehearsals, I would furiously put into practice what I had just learned, spending hours and hours trying to copy the styles of the local guitar heros.

    As years went by, I progressed in my own skills and began buying songbooks from some of my favorite artists such as James Taylor. I would do my best to listen to the recordings and play the fingerings as printed in the songbooks. I soon realized that the chords in the songbooks often did not sound like what the artist was actually playing. This proved to be a discouragement and a frustration. However, occasionally, I would see an artist like Paul Simon or James Taylor play live on television and observe some of the guitar voicings that they used in certain songs. “Alas! So THAT’s what he’s doing !”, I thought.

    As I’ve grown as a worship leader and had the opportunity to teach guitar clinics at various conferences, I’ve recognized that same frustration in other guitar players. They desire to play songs as they have heard them on a recording but are unable to find the right voicings.

    So a few years ago I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to create a more modern, up-to-date songbook with a “visual” approach where a guitarist could see the exact voicings that the artist was using.” I thought about how valuable that would have been in my formative years when I was painstakingly deciphering the chord voicings by listening to those early James Taylor records.

    After the recording of  ”Offering of Worship”, I decided to create a “DVD Guitar Songbook”, allowing listeners to see the exact guitar voicings used during the recording process. From the enthusiastic feedback I received, I know it helped many guitarists master their instrument to the glory of God.   Just to quote a few :

    ….I found myself committing the songs to memory far quicker than I normally do with written music….

    …. it really is like having you drop by to show me how you play this stuff! ….

    …. I’m able to learn the song faster than just trying to learn from a songbook on my own. Great idea! ….

    …. it makes the learning process much quicker. I think partially due to the fact that, like you, I feel most guitarists learn best by seeing and hearing. The explanation that you provided with the video really helped ….

    …. what a fantastic tool for learning ….

    …. this is without a doubt the best put together resource I have ever used and allowed me to play the songs quickly and correctly right from the git go. In addition it has moved me up a notch in my playing ability by allowing me to benefit from your experience….

    The Paul Baloche DVD Songbook Volume I and II and other video resources are available at

    Don 16/09/09

    In reference to your statement,

    “my friends and I used to tie a tennis racket around our necks with a shoe string and pretend we were strumming along to our favorite Beatle song.”

    Ralph Gates has been telling me this story since i met him @ 14. : )

    Patrick Randall 17/09/09

    I used to play rock years ago and thought I was an ok guitarist. I was asked to help at my wife’s church with some modern worship so dusted off my old guitars, listened to some MWS and started out. Hard! New, different style!

    Then I discovered (via Ben and your Electric DVD) what a great job you guys are doing to help to use music in worship. I have accumulated nearly all of your worskshop series and they are just SO useful. You are doing great work. Please keep doing it. I’m now running a 9 piece band and your topics and presentation are right on.

    As an aside, I was very cynical about God/Jesus until I got involved – now I’m not so sure of myself at all. I’ve had some unexplained experiences and am thirsty for more. You have really helped in my very short journey so far. I thank you.

    I’m looking forward to Tampa Oct 4/5th (my pastor has sent us). I will be taking notes!

    Rick Guilfoil 12/11/09


    What kind of guitar is your acoustic with the offset hole. Very cool and sounds great. I can’t seem to find the make and model. Is it custom?


    Paul 18/11/09

    It’s a Mcpherson guitar. Read more at:

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