Gibson Electric Guitar Shredding: Church Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “godmother of rock ‘n Roll Inducted in Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

Opening some time capsules can bring to the present treasures that until now were buried in our past. Unveiling these treasures at a time when we are ready reminds us that -as a world, -as a nation we are maturing. Then comes the sweet realization that we are more enriched from the new recognition.

Let’s start with the Gibson guitar, starring Rosetta Tharpe who owned many Gibsons and who in 2018 was named to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Then we’ll look at two types of versatile guitars needed to rock or honor a prayerful church worship.

Who Was Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

Tharpe was considered a prodigy due to her early start and success as a child singing in the church. Guitar playing came soon after.


Tharpe had major influence on young fans and admirers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Isaac Hayes, Erik Clapton and Etta James.

Her guitar skills were never bounded by one musical style. She played acoustic blues, jazz, ballads, rock’n’roll and shredding guitar was like a muse for this god-mother of rock ‘n roll.

In addition, Tharpe was one of the firsts performers to alter the amplified electric guitar sound to create distortion. She performed in the USA and also in the UK. Although noted as an excellent pianist, Tharpe is largely recognized for her guitar performances.

What Guitars did Tharpe Play?

Tharpe played Gibson guitars. These guitars are made with top quality wood, a myraid of shapes conceived by the Gisbon company, and designs that stepped away from the basics for enhanced performance. These and other qualities culminated in a brand highly in demand for its rich tones.

Since most worship services are under one hour of live singing and performances with some degree of impromptu activities, having a guitar that delivers what many consider the best sounds, may add to the level of worship attained in these one-take activities.

Best Church Guitars?

With guitar companies ensuring quality production, distributors price-matching, and prices fitting every budget, one more thing is still important when when buying a guitar? You want to consider a style or even color that fits your personality or mood. The best guitar to play in the church is the one you are comfortable with.


Acoustic or Electric Guitar for Worship Service?

You have much versatility here depending on your church worship style. Some churches have two types of worship services – one is contemporary music worship and the other is a traditional worship service. As you may have already guessed, the full sound of the electric is a good match for the younger crowd whose idols generally play the electric guitar.

Still, for a large traditional worship service, the beefy sound of an electric guitar throws a large reach so that a person in the rear pew isn’t hearing just their own voice. They can feel the guitar and sing out without sounding like a solo act.

How about those soft prayerful songs? The acoustic guitar can tone down to a gentle sound while not so easy for the electric guitar. If you don’t want to have one of each, then an acoustic-electric guitar will allow you to plug into a speaker system as needed.

If you absolutely want to play just one guitar and it has to be electric, try going for one with a single coil pickup for a crystal clear sound. You can always add an overdrive petal for those more aggressive sounding songs.

Gibson Acoustic-Electric, and Electric Guitars


Gibson 2018 Les Paul Tribute Electric Guitar Review


Gibson 2018 Les Paul Tribute Electric Guitar

The Gibson 2018 Les Paul Tribute is a solid body guitar with a maple top and a mahogany body. The solid body contributes to the longevity of the Les Paul guitars and and the Gibson innovations make them versatile which accounts for their popularity and  explain their ability to hold their resale value.

For anyone wanting to dive into the details of the construction, here are Gibson Les Paul features.

  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile – Slim Taper
  • Scale Length – 24.75″
  • Fingerboard Material – Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius – 12″
  • Number of Frets – 22
  • Frets Medium – Cryogenically Treated
  • Nut Material – Tektoid
  • Nut Width – 1.695″
  • End of Board Width – 2.26″
  • Inlays Acrylic Trapezoids
  • Price: Under $1,000

Here are the Gibson Les Paul Hardware Features:

  • Finish – Nickel
  • Bridge – Aluminum Tune-O-Matic
  • Tailpiece – Aluminum Stop Bar
  • Tuning Machines – Vintage Style Keystones
  • Pick Guard – Cream
  • Control Knobs – Gold top hats with silver inserts and pointers
  • Switch Washer – Cream (not mounted)
  • Switch Tip – Cream
  • Jack Plate Cover – Cream

Electronics on the Gibson Les Paul Guitar

The Les Paul 490R Neck pickup has a slightly more contemporary sound than its ’57 Classic predecessor.

Les Paul 498T Bridge pickup will boost the guitar power with a full-bodied output. Meanwhile, its shielded wiring annihilate any possibility of microphonic feedback.

The Gibson Les Paul is the guitar for versatility. It’s tried and true history does tend to keep the price a bit higher than low end guitars that cannot hold their tuning for long. A buyer’s perspective will determine if price is a plus or negative but most see it as a worthy investment for long or short term.

Gibson Les Paul Hummingbird Review

Gibson’s Les Paul Hummingbird is an electric-acoustic guitar with cutaway allowing your fingers to easier reach more of the frets.

The top is built with Sitka Spruce and Walnut back and sides, wood that have proven to deliver sound quality. Here we have the Les Paul Hummingbird Neck details:

  • Material – 2-piece Maple
  • Neck Profile – Advanced Response
  • Scale Length – 25.5”
  • Fingerboard Material – Richlite
  • Fingerboard Radiu – 16
  • Number of Frets – 20 
  • Frets – Standard
  • Nut Material – Tusq
  • Nut Width – 1.725”
  • Inlays – Mother-of-pearl dots
  • Truss Rod – B/W
  • Price – under $2,000

Here we have the Les Paul Hummingbird hardware:

  • Finish – Nickel
  • Bridge – Modern belly down
  • Tuning Machines – Mini Grover
  • Pick Guard – Avant Garde


Les Paul Hummingbird Electronics

Les Paul LR Baggs pickup advanced element mirrors the slightest motion in the soundboard for a more natural tone, not broadening into mediocre.

A Sound That Brings out Your Best

Continuous improvement in the Gibson guitar brand makes it compelling to choose. For that same reason we may find the price point a downside. Through the years and today many guitarists chose Gibson guitars. 

They may have practiced a bit longer to see what more they can do with the enticing guitar sound. They might have been a bit more confident knowing they were on stage playing a proven quality guitar. They chose a Gibson guitar and stood out.

CLICK HERE to check out the Gibson guitars


References:

Marijnissen, Glen. “Sister Rosetta Tharpe Guitar Solos (in Motion Picture).” YouTube, YouTube, 2 Nov. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gELe5Rj_tXU.

“Gibson Guitar Greats: Sister Rosetta Tharpe.” Gibson Guitar, www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/Gibson-Guitar-Greats-Sister-Rosetta-Tharpe.aspx.

Drozdowski, Ted. “Good Tone Hunting: The Gibson Pickup Guide (Now with Audio Clips!).” Gibson Guitar, 2011, www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/tone-hunting-0309-2011.aspx.

““Les Paul Tribute 2018.” Gibson Guitar, www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2018/USA/Les-Paul-Tribute-2018.aspx.

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