Gospel Church musicians often need a versatile electric or acoustic guitar that can sound motivational, mellifluous, and can stir up the audience to their feet when the time is right. We’ve looked at some guitars that are commonly used for praise and shortlisted those that are capable of breathtaking sounds.
From Hillsong to Jesus Culture to Chris Tomlin, Christian music is a versatile and dynamic genre. It’s blessed with skillful musicians who possess a distinct ability to lead audiences from prayer to divinity. That makes it that much harder to put together a stellar list of potential candidates in a market flooded with options.
This article covers a wide range of guitars to ensure that you find something useful regardless of your budget. We’ve included models under $500, $1000, and $2000 to make it easy for you to find the right instrument. Furthermore, we’ve also added solid-body, semi-hollow body, and acoustic guitars to cover all needs.
You can use the structure to navigate the list based on your budget, style, and expertise. To end with, we’ve added a recommendation for a 12-string acoustic-electric guitar to round out our list. In each review, we’ve outlined the key features of each guitar along with some pros and cons.
So, without further ado, let’s check out the ten best guitars for church musicians and gospel or worship music in 2020.
Table of Contents
Best Solid Body Electric Guitars for Worship
#1 Fender Lincoln Brewster Stratocaster
Brewster may fly under the radar for many musicians outside this category, but his passionate licks, exemplary chops, and sheer passion for worship make his brilliance undeniable. Fender has honored his contribution and popularity with a forward-thinking signature Stratocaster.
The Brewster Strat has an ash body with classic contours and a vintage neck. The eggshell pickguard beautifully complements the Aztec Gold finish. The thin and comfortable soft-V maple neck houses a maple fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets. Ergonomically, this is a remarkable design for those who seek pizazz, comfort, and speed.
The electronics feature zero-hum single coils pickups with a push/pull feature and a top shelf active onboard preamp. The Brewster strat has Dimarzio Area 59 p’ups in the middle and neck position and an Area 61 pickup at the bridge. As for versatility, the SSS config, 5-way pickup selector, tremolo bridge, and active mid boost means you have tones galore, and then some.
Other noteworthy components include a synchronized 2-point tremolo with bent-steel saddles and a pop-in locking arm, aged plastic knobs, and vintage-style tuners. It also ships with a hardshell case. However, this isn’t a run of the mill budget-buy. It is priced a hair under $200, but for those who want the perfect package of tone and style, this is money well spent.
- Iconic Fender Stratocaster Tone
- Aztec Gold Finish
- Vintage V-Shape neck design (Maple)
- Excellent electronics w/ Active Mid Boost
- Best worship guitar under $2000
#2 PRS S2 Standard 24, Walnut Finish
The PRS S2 is a testimony to the brand’s commitment to making high quality builds with an excellent combination of wood and electronics. Based on the design of the Core models, the Paul Reed Smith S2 Standard 24 a reasonably priced premium American-made guitar that is featured-packed for every stage and studio.
It sports a curvy mahogany body with a sleek and ergonomic design. The “wide fat” mahogany set neck is similar to Fender’s C-shape neck, but a touch wider at the nut. The body and neck design ensure optimal comfort through long sessions of play. Plus, the excellent access to the upper register thanks to the beveled lower cut is also worthy of a mention.
The electronics include a pair of PRS 85/15 “S” pickups and push-pull tone control, volume knob and 3-way pickup selector. Some noteworthy components include the Low Mass machine heads, the patented tremolo molded bridge, coil-tapping (both pickups), and nickel-plated hardware.
The styling is reminiscent of a Gibson SG, but in every other aspect, the S2 is distinct and unique. It has a rich and warm tonal palette and it is highly responsive to the touch. There is some room for a pickup upgrade based on personal preference, but overall the S2 Standard 24 is a stage-ready guitar that ticks all the boxes.
Overall, the modestly priced PRS S2 delivers top shelf construction, good electronics, and impeccable finish. This guitar will be ideal for church musicians who enjoy the rich tones of mahogany in a classy but understated vintage packaging.
- All-mahogany construction
- Classy looks and vintage-styling
- Rich, warm, and resonant tones
- Handles well and sounds great out of the box
- Best Guitar Under $1000
#3 Reverend Double Agent OG Electric Guitar
Reverend’s Double Agent OG is the OG when it comes to impeccable quality at a ridiculously modest price tag. Its unique looks and performance are backed by a single cutaway Korina, a roasted maple neck, 25 ½ scale, and proprietary electronics.
The exquisite Korina tone wood renders a lively and responsive tone that is rich in harmonics. The maple neck has a Pau Ferro fingerboard that houses 22 frets. The boutique-like finish of the roasted maple neck makes it look gorgeous while providing the requisite stability.
As for the electronics, the OG is feature-rich with a bass contour knob, treble bleed circuit, well-designed pots, and polycaps. It has a unique blend of an incredibly sweet sounding HA5 bridge humbucker and an A5 neck pickup. This is perhaps the “secret sauce” of the excellent depth-meets-twang tones it produces.
Other noteworthy hardware includes a stop tail bridge, pin-lock tuners, custom jack plate with a pure tone jack, and a synthetic boneite nut. It ships with 10-46 strings and a two-toned teardrop case (to be purchased separately).
Overall, this is a well-crafted instrument that delivers a fantastic tone with a lot of conviction. The looks and sound grab your attention from the get go. For under $1000, the Reverend Double Agent OG is nothing short of a dream guitar for worship musicians and leaders on a budget.
- Looks cool. Sounds Powerful
- Humbucker meets P-90 Pickup Combo
- High playability with low price
- Ideal for Worship and Praise
- Excellent value for money
#4 Fender Player Series Telecaster
We’ll end our solid-boy electric guitar segment with the quintessential Telecaster recommendation for musicians who are on a budget. The Tele is the first electric guitar to ever hit a stage and many decades later, it still rules the roost. The Player Series model uses all the essential components in a cheaper package to make it more accessible.
The Player Tele is a streamlined electric that will suit modern players. It has a single cutaway alder slab body, with a modern C maple neck. The fingerboard is available in two options: pau ferro and maple. We recommend the maple for twangy sounds and pau ferro for more warmth, although they are both good for all-round playing.
Other noteworthy hardware includes Fender die-cast tuners, a synthetic bone nut, string-through body design, and block-steel saddles. This model has a single-coil lipstick-style neck pickup and a slanted single-coil in the bridge position. You’ve heard the Tele tone a thousand times over, and this model is no great exception.
The electronics are versatile but simple and the tone boasts of a rich low end with the classic Fender twang. Fender has optimized the Player Series pickups for a modern tone that will serve the needs of worship and church musicians.
Under $1000, the Telecaster is a perfect marriage of performance and price. It has an iconic tone, classic looks, and great electronics. With the Player Series Tele, Fender has successfully managed to create a modestly priced guitar that sounds outstanding without breaking the bank.
- Iconic Telecaster Looks and tone
- Two single coil lipstick-style pickups
- Lots of twang with a rich low end
- Perfect for Country, Blues, and Worship
- Best Fender Tele under $1000
Best Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitars for Worship
#5 Epiphone DOT Deluxe Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
The Epiphone Dot is a “can’t-go-wrong’ choice if you’re out for a classic semi-hollow body electric guitar. It’s vintage voicing and resonant tones are ideal for resonant and somewhat acoustic-sounding tones. It is widely used in blues, jazz, rock, and other genres that are comparable to Worship music.
This budget version of the Gibson ES-335 is built with an all-laminate maple body with a mahogany neck. The solid center block helps eliminate feedback and adds a touch of grit to overdriven tones. Overall, it is a timeless archtop design that pays homage to the flagship ES-335.
Performance-wise, it will satisfy all your needs for praise with its versatile tonality and classy looks. It is inclined to sound better in the cleaner range of ballads, and inspirational songs, yet it is fully capable of the boost of energy when you want to stir your congregation.
The guitar has two humbuckers: an Alnico Classic in the neck and the Alnico Classic Plus in the bridge. The control panel comprises of two volume knobs, a tone knob, and a 3-way pickup selector. For the price, the DOT delivers versatile tones with great clarity, punch, and power.
The Gibson ES-355 is nearly seven times the price. Keeping that in mind, Epiphone DOT is for those who aren’t quite willing to drop some serious cash. However, the DOT can hold its ground and should be judged on its own merits. In doing so, you’ll find that it is a stellar choice among the sub-1000 models if you enjoy its looks and bright jangle.
- Semi-hollow body with a center block
- Versatile: Warm to jangle tones
- Iconic looks and vintage styling
- Best Worship Guitar under $500
- Excellent value for money
#6 Fender Deluxe Telecaster Thinline Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
How can we get past a list of guitars for praise and church musicians without featuring a semi-hollow Telecaster? From a massive array of modern Teles, we’ve picked the Dexlue Thinline semi-hollow model for worship music based on its price, performance and incredible tonality.
Now, the Thinline may be light in weight but it is no pushover when it comes to the authentic Fender tone. It is an elegant alder semi-hollow body with a single f-hole and single-cutaway design. The maple/pau ferro neck matches the sleek and ergonomic design. The ready-to-gig Deluxe Telecaster Thinline Series includes a Deluxe Fender Gig Bag.
Church musicians will thoroughly enjoy this guitar for both lead and rhythm playing. Compared to the solid body version, the Thinline series has a distinctive tone and feel. It retains the coveted Tele twang and high-end, but also boats of a rich and sustained low-end with the right pickup position. It sings with luscious open chords that are crisp and modern sounding.
The Vintage tele pickups are noise-free and balanced. The control panel and four position pickup selector makes it highly versatile within the realms of a modern Fender tone. Other noteworthy features include a six-saddle string-through-body bridge, contoured neck heel, short-post tuning pegs, and 4-bolt asymmetrical neck plate.
Overall, the Fender Thinline Deluxe Telecaster offers a rich, full, and resonant tone with excellent craftsmanship. The F-hole design is simple but handsome and the noiseless-but-hot pickups make it a steal for under $1000. What you’re left with, is classic guitar shape, an iconic tone, and a very reasonable price tag.
- C-Shape Neck and flat 12-inch fretboard
- Classic design with a single F-hole
- Iconic and Trademark Telecaster Tone
- Versatile, noise-free pickups
- Best Worship Guitar under $1000
#7 Gretsch White Falcon Players Edition (6136T)
You can’t populate a list of excellent semi-hollows without the mention of Gretsch. This American giant has been a dominant brand in the guitar market since many decades, and for good reason. We’ve picked the White Falcon 6136T as a high-flyer for church musicians based on its dynamic design and top shelf electronics.
It features an all-maple body in white with a gloss urethane finish. The chunky U-shape maple neck has an ebony fingerboard with a 12” fretboard radius. The neck sports 22 medium jumbo frets with offset neo-classic thumbnail inlays. It also includes Grover Imperial tuners and a Tusq XL nut.
The electronics are undoubtedly the best part of this guitar. It features two ultra-sensitive Filer’Tron humbuckers that are nothing short of pristine. It sounds rich, balanced, and can dish out some “money tones” on stage or in the studio. Combine this with the Bigsby, ML Bracing, and no-load pots and you’ve got some serious bark and bite.
From tone to touch response to components, the guitar is exquisite and awe-inspiring. The fit, finish, and construction are unrivalled, as are the electronics. However, this thinline semi-hollow is an ultra-premium guitar sold at a premium price. You’ll have to part with a few thousand dollars to own it, but can easily be a family heirloom that lasts for generations.
- Ultra-Premium Thin Semi-Hollow
- Excellent performance, weight-balance, and construction
- Filter’Tron humbuckers are incredible
- Versatile tone and great sustain
- Expensive, but good value for money
#8 Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
Though not distinctly gospel, the Sheraton-II PRO has always been a go-to guitar for rock, blues, and jazz – the genres that profoundly bring to mind gospel songs. From The Edge to Noel Gallagher to John Lee hook, the widely popular Sheraton-II Pro is a complete package of looks, affordability, and tone.
It features a double-cutaway layered maple body with a red-wine finish to match the gold tinted hardware. The Slim Taper C neck is made from 5-piece maple/walnut and topped with a pau ferro fingerboard. It houses 22 medium jumbo frets with black/triangle inlays made from abalone and pearloid. The neck feels gratifying to hold and is extremely comfortable to play.
The construction, fit and finish are fantastic and reminiscent of a boutique build that is highly playable right out of the box. The bridge and tuners are efficient in keeping the tuning stable and accurate. The other noteworthy features of this archtop include a vintage headstock, NuBone nut, LockTone Stop Bar bridge and Grover Rotomatic tuners.
The unique ProBucker pickups make it stand out from the competition. These proprietary pickups are made with 18% nickel silver unit bases to approximate the tone of the flagship Gibson model. The Nickel silver gives it a distinctly clean tone with a hint of vintage color. The ProBucker 2 & 3 p’ups also include coil tapping via the volume knob.
When you combine this with the panel and pickup selector, you’ve got a comprehensive profile of tones to choose from. It’s no surprise that the S2 Pro is one of Epiphone’s bestselling semi-hollow body guitars. For the price it sells at, it is a very formidable option for church musicians who need a reliable and versatile semi-hollow body electric guitar.
- Classic looks and design
- Great sustain and tuning stability
- Coil-tap options for both humbuckers
- Clean tones and highly versatile
- Great value for money
Best Acoustic-Electric for Worship and Church Musicians
#9 Yamaha LL6M Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
You might find it odd that Yamaha beats better-known brands like Martin, Taylor, and Guild – all of which are also excellent choices. However, the Yamaha LL6M acoustic guitar is a beautiful marriage of price and performance.
If you have experience with Yamaha guitars, you know they have a great reputation for solid construction, highly playable necks, and great overall performance. The LL6M sports an Engelmann spruce top with a mahogany body. The 5-ply mahogany and rosewood neck is easy to grip and play comfortably for long hours.
Other noteworthy components include a rosewood bridge, tortoise pick guard, die-cast gold tuners, and mahogany headstock. The jumbo LL body construction features Yamaha’s proprietary A.R.E. construction (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement). It is a process that improves the tone wood to approximate the sound of a naturally aged instrument.
This combines with the non-scalloped bracing to give it a rich, resonant tone, which is ideal for strumming. The guitar also sounds warm because of its rich and deep low-end response. If you want to plug it in, the SRT Zero Impact pickup does a great job at retaining the natural tone.
For under $500, it will be hard to beat the quality the Yamaha LL6M offers. It has excellent dynamic range and tone balance for strumming. The acoustic, mic’d, and plugged in sound are refined and transparent. It is a highly viable option for any church musician looking for a workhorse.
- Solid Engelmann Spruce Top
- Top notch construction
- Rich, warm tone and loud projection
- Perfect for strumming and Gospel Acoustic Music
- Excellent cost to value ratio
#10 Guild Westerly F-2512E Maple Jumbo 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar
We’ve decided to round up this post with something to appease the 12-string enthusiasts. From the various options available, we loved the Guild Westerly 2512E Maple Jumbo. However, this may not be for those with small hands or short stature. It is, after all, a full-sized jumbo body with arched maple sides.
It has a solid Sitka Spruce top with maple back and sides. The mahogany C-shape neck has 25.5” scale length with a Pau Ferro fretboard. The fretboard houses 20 medium jumbo frets with classic dot inlays. Other noteworthy features include a Pau Ferro bridge, bone nut and saddle, nickel-plated hardware a pearl rosette, and period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard.
Tonally, you can expect resonance via the loud projection, rich sustain and a thick full-bodied sound. It is crisp, bright, and well suited for jangly strumming that no 6-string can achieve. The Guild/Fishman Sonicore AP-1 electronics include a piezo pickup and preamp. The control panel includes volume and tonal controls that allow you to sculpt the sound to your preference.
Speaking of sound, the F-2512E sounds incredulous for the price. The spruce is fantastically bright and the response is focused and tight. Plugging it into an amp or PA doesn’t change much – it still maintains a warm and powerful sonic profile.
Guild is nothing short of a specialist when it comes to 12-string guitars and jumbo bodies. The F-2512E Maple allows you to own one without breaking the bank. It is durable, reliable, and well balanced – everything you could dream of in a 12-string acoustic-electric guitar.
- Vintage and period-correct design
- Jumbo body and powerful tone-projection
- Best 12-string for Worship under $500
- Solid wood top & excellent construction
- Excellent value for money
Church musicians know that good worship music seeks is much more than praise. In fact, it can stir the souls of people and inspire reflection on God and the truth. A lot of it is pure passion rather than obsession over gear.
However, a good rig can make it easier for you to focus on your playing instead of dealing with the hassles of a substandard guitar with poor action or intonation. We hope our list of electric and acoustic guitars will help you find the right instrument – something that is clean, versatile, durable, and well within your budget.