Secrets to Playing Worship on Guitar Quickly

Oleh: Tom
February 7, 2014

I’ve met quite a few people over the years that have shared with me that the entire reason they wanted to pick up the guitar was to learn to play worship songs. Whether it’s on stage, with a small group or just by themselves at home, they want to be able to lead their own worship.

The problem is time. Nobody wants to spend months or years trying to learn hundreds of chords just to be able to play a Chris Tomlin song.

Fortunately, secrets to learning worship songs on the guitar that will cut that time in half. I’d like to share two secrets here that I think are the most important.

#1 Learn the “Worship Chords”

Many people don’t know this: by learning 4 chords you can play almost 80% of all worship music. It’s true!

To be more specific, if you learn these exact 4 chords you will be playing worship songs by the end of the week.

Em D Cadd9 G

What’s so special about these chords? If you do the fingering correctly, your ring finger should never move from the B string, 3rd fret. Your pinky also barely moves from it’s position on the high E string, 3rd fret.

Instead of teaching your fingers to completely lift off the strings to form a new chord, your ring finger and pinky can act as anchors while the other two fingers move just slightly.

As icing on the cake, these odd forms of G, C and Em have a sweet sound to them, something that you’ll hear often with worship music.

#2 Learn to Use a Capo

Once you have these 4 chords memorized and practiced, the next step is to purchase a capo (if you need help, check out this helpful guide to buying a capo).

Why? By using a capo you can essentially expand your chord base by the number of frets on your guitar.

For instance, when you add a capo to the 2nd fret and play the chords referenced above, all of the sudden you’re playing a song in the key of A instead of G.

Move the capo up to the 5th fret and you’re playing in the key of C.

Your fingers only know 4 chords but now you’ve opened the possibilities of worship songs you can play using the capo.


It’s still going to take a bit of practice to be able to fluidly change between chords no matter how easy they are, but with plenty of practice this is a good foundation to start on.

Good luck to you as you practice these chords and may your learning be quick and your worship time sweet!

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