All Posts by Charl Coetzee

About the Author

Hi, my name is Charl Coetzee and playing guitar was never second nature for me. I’ve had to work hard to get to where I’m at today and I’ve learned some incredible things along the way that I’d love to share with you. I’ve never had a proper job and I’ve been playing guitar for a living since I’ve left school. I have a Bmus Hons Degree in music, and I’ve interviewed and learned from the world’s greatest guitar players like Joe Satriani, Buddy Whittington, Joe Bonamassa and loads more.

Melodic Movement in E

In this lesson we’ll be learning how to create melodic movement using some cool modern sounding open string shapes.

We checked out the chord voicings in a previous post and now we’re adding some melodic movement.

We’re still using a 4 1 5 6 progression in the key of E.

Here are some of the chords you’ll be learning: Amaj9, Amaj7#11, E5, Emaj7, Badd4, Bsus4, C#m7, and C#m9.

If you’d like to get a PDF version of this lesson, PLUS a backing track to practice with, just click the button below:

Alright so our 4 1 5 6 progression in E will be A E B C#m. Those chords are cool but what if you want to spice them up a bit?

Let’s check out a few options...

Variations for A are three different versions of Aadd9:

Variations for E are E5, Emaj7 and Eadd9, respectively:

Variations for B are B11/A and B7sus4/A, respectively:

Variations for C#m are C#m7, C#m9 and C#m11, respectively:

So now with these new chord shapes and a basic strumming pattern, here’s our riff:

That’s pretty awesome ’cause now you have interesting chord shapes along with some cool melodic movement.

So the next time you’re playing in the key of E using the 1456 chord shapes, try adding these shapes and melodic movement in your playing for some fun new sounds!

If you’d like to get a PDF version of this lesson, PLUS a backing track to jam to, just click the button below:

Spiced Up Voicings in E

In today’s lesson we’ll be learning how to spice up basic open chords.

We’re going to use a 4156 progression in the key of E.

In addition to learning chords like: Aadd9, Eadd9, Bsus4, C#m7, Amaj9, E5, Badd4, and another version of C#m7.

These chords are perfect if you want to spice up your acoustic guitar playing.

Be sure to check out the follow up lesson to discover how you can use these new voicings to create some melodic movement in your playing!

If you’d like to get a PDF version of this lesson, PLUS a backing track to jam to, just click the button below:

Alright so our 4156 progression in the key of E will be A E B C#m. Those chords are cool but what if you want to spice them up a bit?

Let’s check out a few options!

Instead of A we can play Aadd9:

Instead of E we can play Eadd9:

Instead of B we can play Bsus4:

Instead of C#m we can play C#m7:

So now with these new chord shapes and a basic strumming pattern, here’s our riff:

The two open ringing strings add a really cool vibe to these chord shapes because those notes remain the same while we change chord shapes.

Here are another 4 voicings for the same 4156 progression in the key of E...

Instead of A we can play Amaj9:

Instead of E we can play E5:

Instead of B we can play Badd4:

Instead of C#m we can play another variation of C#m7:

Let’s add a strumming pattern to these chords and here’s our riff:

The next time you’re playing in the key of E using the 1645 chord shapes, try adding these shapes in your playing for some fun new sounds.

If you’d like to get a PDF version of this lesson, PLUS a backing track to jam to, just click the button below to sign up!

5 Things Every Worship Guitarist Needs To Prepare

We all know that in order to get the most out of the worship experience we need to be prepared.

However it’s not just your parts that you need to prepare which is why I’d like to share with you the 5 essential things that you need to prepare in order to take your worship guitar playing to the next level.

Check out the video or read the transcript below...

Now you’d think that this one is obvious, but over the years I’ve seen so many musicians rock up at rehearsal, not knowing their parts or the song structure.

In fact, I’ve been guilty of this myself many times before.

However I think it’s really important to have a professional attitude when it comes to this, by taking the time to learn both the song structure and your parts before you get to the rehearsal.

A rehearsal really shouldn’t be used to learn songs, so be respectful of your other worship team members by learning your songs ahead of time and always striving for excellence in that regard.

That way you can use the weekly rehearsal to practice other important things like flow and free worship because you’ve already learned your parts and the song structure ahead of time.

Now, in some instances the worship leader might only release the songs on the day or maybe change the set list at the rehearsal or they change the key of a song.

Whatever the case may be, I recommend doing two things:

1. Just roll with it and know that you’re there to serve so be flexible and adaptable if any last minute changes arise.

2. You can take some time and discuss this with your Worship Leader by letting them know, if it’s at all possible to get the songs ahead of time, you’d be able to prepare better which will have a positive effect on both your rehearsal time and the worship on Sunday.

Just pay attention to how you phrase this so that it comes from a place of wanting to help and serve.

As a guitarist you need to have your tone dialed in for a couple of reasons.

The better you sound, the better your playing will be. It’s that simple.

Now if your tone is uninspiring it can have a negative effect on your playing, because you’ll be fighting your tone instead of working with it.

Having your tone dialed in also makes it easier for the sound guy to raise your levels in the mix because they know what to expect from you sonically.

Make sure your amp and pedals are dialed in right to work with your specific guitar and pickups.

Know what your different pickups sound like and use them accordingly.

Spend some time dialing in the right EQ on your amp and make sure your pedals are dialed in right for your specific guitar and amp.

And if you’re using different patches make sure that your volume levels are consistent across the different patches and pedals.

These are the basics when it comes to dialing in your tone but it makes a huge difference in your playing.

Remember that it’s not about having the latest and greatest gear, it’s about knowing how to use what you’ve already got. That’s just good stewardship.

Now this one is huge.

It doesn’t matter how good your playing is, if you don’t understand the true heart of worship then you’re missing the whole point.

If your heart is in alignment with what God is doing and wanting to do in your local church then your playing will have a much greater impact because it’s not about the music but about the heart of worship.

Be intentional when you’re preparing and playing, by spending some time digging into what it really means to have an intimate understanding of the heart of worship.

One of the best ways to do this, is to regularly spend time worshipping on your own throughout the week.

Remember that we can’t take the congregation to a place of worship that we haven’t been to ourselves.

It’s important to know and follow the song structure, but even more important than that in my opinion, is having the ability to flow during worship.

Now of course, this comes with practice and experience but a couple of things you can do to prepare and develop your ability to flow, is to find the balance between being responsive to what God wants to do during the worship set and working on your skill level so you can facilitate the flow as it happens.

This is done by listening to what the rest of the band is doing and supporting a delicate moment or specific direction as it happens.

Now if you feel the spirit prompting you, you need to be able to respond accordingly.

That can be done through a simple repeated melodic phrase you play that a vocalist can catch on to and then use that melody for some prophetic declaration or maybe you’re playing a rhythmic thing that the rhythm section can latch onto and then develop that into something that inspires the whole band.

I’ve used both of those approaches by either leading with an idea that the rest of the band picked up on, or I supported a specific melodic or rhythmic idea that was already happening.

Make sure that you practice flow and that is best done with other musicians as you engage in a time of free worship.

The important thing is to be ready from a skill level so you can facilitate the flow as and when it happens.

Playing in a worship team is not always easy because you’ll be working with a range of different people with different personalities and varying levels of skill and experience.

Just remember, that even though the music and the performance side is important, even more important than that is the attitude you have when it comes to serving in your worship team.

Having the right attitude will promote unity in the team and as we know, God commands a blessing where there is unity.

This all needs to come from a place of love because as 1 Cor 13:1 says, without love we’re only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, just an annoying distraction. So make sure you’re approaching everything you do from a position of love.

Also, be present when you’re on stage, smile and connect with people in the congregation.

That means not having your head stuck into your charts or continually fiddling with your amp and pedals.


So there you have 5 things you can prepare in order to take your worship guitar playing and the worship experience as a whole to the next level:

If you’d like to get this desktop picture for your computer, tablet or smart phone to remind you of these 5 essential things when it comes to preparation, just click the button below:

Worship Electric Guitar Chords: Dual Guitar Parts

Coming up with dual guitar parts

In today’s lesson I’m going to show you something that’s loads of fun if you’re playing with another electric guitarist.

It’s all about using octaves in a very specific way to add harmonic interest to the chords you’re playing.

As you can see in the video above, you would need two electric guitars for this to work.

Most modern worship teams typically have two electric guitarists, which means you can create a really big sound if you know how to create dual guitar parts.

A common mistake guitarists make is to play similar parts that take up the same frequential space in the mix.

When that happens, it’s hard for the sound engineer to properly place each guitar in the mix and they tend to mute one of the guitarists instead to clean up the mix.

What should you do instead?

Well there are many different approaches we could discuss, but one of my favourites is to use octaves to play either 3rds or 5ths while the other guitar player focuses on low end power chords.

So before we carry on, what exactly is an octave?

Octave /ˈɒktɪv/ - “a series of eight notes occupying the interval between (and including) two notes, one having twice or half the frequency of vibration of the other.”

As the name suggests, it’s an interval that’s 8 notes apart.

C to C would be an Octave.

This is what it looks like on a piano:

Here it is on the A string of the guitar:

I find it helps to view an interval on one string so you can see the physical distance between the two notes.

Of course, we can’t play two notes simultaneously on the same string, which is why we break it up like this instead:

So that’s the octave shape that I used in this example.

Now that you know what the octave shape looks like, let’s look at how you can use them with basic triad chords.

All basic major or minor chords are triads. It simply means that the chord consists of three notes.

The Root, the 3rd and the 5th.

Those three notes played together will make up a triad and are known as chord tones.

We’ll cover chord construction in a future lesson, but for now I’ll just spell the chord tones out for you:

Now that we know what the chord tones are, the second guitar can play either the 3rds or the 5ths while guitar one plays basic single notes or power chords.

In the example, I played fifths the first time which looks like this:

And the second time I played 3rds:

When you listen to the example, you’ll hear that 5ths have a very consonant, powerful sound.

Whereas 3rds have a sweet sound and add more colour.

This is the most basic way to introduce this concept to you, and in future lessons I’ll show you how you can combine different notes and even add non-chord tones for some harmonic and melodic interest.

For now go and see how you can play 3rds and 5ths with octaves.

While it’s ideal to play this with a second guitarist, you can definitely use it in a one-guitar band setup as well.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson, and that you’ll use it when composing dual guitar parts.

If you want to dive into more approaches when it comes to composing modern worship guitar parts, you should sign up for our free 7 day guitar challenge.

Worship Electric Guitar: Single Note Swells

Hey guys!

In this lesson we’re looking at single note swells and a cool phrasing technique to add some melodic variety and interest to your playing.

It’s a simple technique that will add another dimension to your playing so be sure to add this to your arsenal.

If you want to learn those heavenly ambient voicings click here to see last week’s lesson.

Click below to watch the video:

Click on the button below to sign up for a free membership and to receive the tabs:

One of my favorite things to do is to play powerful and “declarative” melodic phrases in worship.

When done correctly and at the right time, it can elevate the whole worship experience, which is why I show this essential technique to all my students.

Most of the time the intention behind the notes is way more important than the notes itself.

Don’t get me wrong, the note choices are important, but the big payoff is in “HOW” you play the notes.

So in Worship there’s two things you need to pay attention to:

  • Firstly you need to learn how to use proper phrasing techniques so you can get that lyrical quality in your lead playing.
  • Secondly, when you play, make sure you’re playing those lines with confidence and conviction. 

Imagine you’re singing powerful declarative words over the congregation but instead of singing them with your voice, you’re singing them on the guitar.

Using both phrasing techniques and powerful intention like that is a winning combination.


Worship Guitar Chords: Open Triads

Hey guys! In this lesson I’m going to be showing you the chord swells you just heard. I played them using open triads which are some of my favorite voicings on the guitar.

Watch this video for the full lesson:

If you want to improve your modern worship guitar playing, then you should sign up for our FREE 7 Day Challenge below!

Worship Electric Guitar Technique (Rhythm + Lead)

Hey guys! In this lesson I am going to share one of my favorite rhythmic devices.

This is based around a cool 16th note rhythmic pattern using a combination of palm muting and ghost notes.

When done correctly, this can add loads of melodic interest to your playing.

As an electric guitarist serving in the worship ministry, you’re called play many different roles and many different parts on a Sunday.

Now the part you are about to learn sits really well in a down section where you want to start building momentum.

Plus it builds really nicely, allowing you to gradually take the song to another level!

If you want to get hold of the tab from this lesson, click on the button below!

I’ll send it right over along with some other essential Worship Guitar resources.

Worship Electric Guitar

Ready for something a little different today? We are going to be doing the lesson in two parts!

Check out Part 1: Power Chords

And now for Part 2: Hook Lines

I hope you guys enjoyed this lesson! If you want the tabs, just click the button below:

Cool Chord Tone Trick – How To Play a Rhythm Solo

If you’re the only guitarist in your worship team then coming up with solo ideas can be tricky because you don’t have another electric guitar backing you up.

I found that using a rhythmic approach to soloing works pretty well.

It still has a lot of momentum and drive yet at the same time, you’re able to add in some melodic interest.

That’s what today’s lesson is all about.

How To Use Rhythmic Accents To Spice Up Your Playing

Are you new to playing electric guitar in a church setting?


Well then buckle up because I’ve got some tips on how to use rhythmic interest in your melodic playing!

Why rhythm, you ask?

That’s easy, one of the main jobs of the Electric guitarist is to add drive and forward-moving momentum! The way you do that is by using specific rhythmic techniques as well as adding to the harmonic context (that means individual notes played together to form chords).

So I’m going to show you how to play a basic eighth-note rhythm using only downstrokes and then I’m going to show you how to add accents to that in order to spice things up:

So that was a simple 4-chord progression:

D     A/C#     E     F#m

That’s just a simple power chord progression, except for the A/C#.

Then I took those an octave higher! I played the same shapes just in a different place on the fretboard - have a look:

This style of playing is very common in Worship music!


Well first of all, a tone like that is going to cut through the mix while adding some grit and texture to the sound.

Secondly, the rhythmic content of what I’m playing here drives the song, but it also has rhythmic interest because of the way I am playing accents!

And last, but definitely not least, I am paying close attention to the chords which means I am highlighting the harmony!

This is a winning combination!

The simplest form to play this is just by using eighth-notes and an all-downstroke rhythm as you can see in the video:

That sounds cool if you’re a brand new beginner! But it can get a little boring! The way to ramp it up is by playing very strategically-placed accents like this:

So, if you’re a beginner guitarist, watch this video a couple of times and practice what I showed you here. These are very useful rhythmic patterns that you will be able to use every week without a doubt, plus they sound great on an acoustic guitar as well.

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