Tips to writing songs on guitar.
Guitarists are one of the most effective songwriters. Because they already know how to play the instrument, chances are, they will be able to write the lyrics while incorporating the melody of the song with the use of the guitar. And since guitarists can produce a riff as they please, it only feels natural to want to complete it with some lyrics. Songwriting is a skill that anybody can learn, even those who are not-so into playing an instrument.
If you’ve been playing the guitar all your life, or you’ve just learned to play, why not try to compose a song with the use of the instrument. The guitar is considered one of the most flexible instruments. It is also easier to learn compared to other instruments like the piano, drums and even the violin. If you want to venture into songwriting but you have no idea how to play the guitar, it may be beneficial to take some practical sessions to learn.
For those who already know how to play, here are 6 tips on how to write songs on guitar.
- Gauge your guitar skills.
Everything starts with assessment. Determine your current skill in guitar playing. If you are still on the basic level, like you only know five chords and you’re not very skilled in playing a solo, the best thing for you is to stick to the basic tunes, no rock or jazz rhythms just yet. There’s always room for improvement and all you have to do is to keep practicing on your chops. Since you’re still a beginner, it’s fine to stay with the basic chords. However, try to push yourself more and learn new guitar skills so that you can expand and create more dynamic tunes. Don’t be discouraged if you can only plat simple stuff. If you examine one of the most successful rock bands of the 90’s: Nirvana – you will see how incredibly simple Kurt Cobain’s melodies are.
- Choose which one you want to do first, creating the music or writing the lyrics.
Whichever you want to do first, make sure that your song is well-connected from start to finish. There’s no rule as to which one you should do first, however, it is better to do this at the same time. Working on the music and writing the lyrics at the same time will definitely have good results.
- Begin writing your songs on guitar and record it.
While trying out different riffs for your song, keep a recorder so that you will be able to track the music you’re creating. In this way, you don’t forget the tune of the song. Also, writing your songs on guitar, will require a great deal of jotting down, so keep a pen and a notebook beside you.
- Strum on different random chords until you are able to decide which one you like
Sometimes, it can be challenging to structure the tune of a song using the guitar. If you are at this stage of confusion, the best thing that you can do is to create different chords and see which one you like and which one best fits your song. Try mixing different tunes you have sampled from other artists until you have something that is uniquely your own.
- Play the chords of the song and let other people hear it.
Knowing how to play the guitar will definitely give you a plus when writing songs because you don’t have to go to a music studio or collaborate with other people to give you the tune that you want. As a result, you can finish the song quicker. Once done, you need to play the entire song to someone who will give you some feedback. It is important to have somebody to critique your work so somebody with a set of fresh ears can help you see things from a different perspective.
- Repeatedly play the music and sing the song several times.
After completing the entire song, you have to evaluate whether it is good or not. Play the song on your guitar while singing it out loud. Don’t just do this once or twice, repeat this several times. You’ll soon realise that there are certain lyrics and chords that don’t match well together. It will also be good if you record the song in a professional music studio so that you’ll be able to assess if it has the right good verse/chorus/verse progression. Create different versions of the same song… and let your peers tell you which is best.
Learning how to write songs on guitar does not require you to become an expert guitar player. As mentioned, the guitar is one of the easiest instruments to play. You can have basic knowledge of guitar playing now, but you can always improve while practicing your writing.