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Hydrogenbond's avatar

Are there any tricks to writing a song on guitar (without lyrics)?

Asked by Hydrogenbond (365 points ) February 3rd, 2010

I’ll throw a couple chords together to see if anything goes well, but it usually never does. What are some ways that musicians will compose a song on guitar?

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7 Answers

DrMC's avatar

What mood or feeling are you thinking of?

rovdog's avatar

I usually just start playing chords and noodling around with random ideas. Usually I pick up a vocal melody or something after figuring out a progression. I usually don’t have a chorus before I get a verse and sometimes I never get one. I think maybe a good way is to actually not try??? to write a song and just screw around until one comes up. That’s what works for me. relaxing helps I think

p8prclip's avatar

Instead of chords…start with a melody. Concentrate on 3rds for your melody, and the chords will fall into place:)

Steve_A's avatar

I highly recommend some kind of backing track ,mainly a drum/metronome or something to get you in tempo/beat.Staying in time is VERY important

You could take it a step further and get something in a key but you don’t have to

Once you have a nice chord progression down, you can think of it as “part” verse or whatever.

I hate the whole ideal of verse chorus bridge and all, I mean it helps to organize the song, but its not necessary at all in my opinion.Write how you want to!

But just strumming chords tends to lack something , the vocals tend to be on the top as a melody line (vocals are an instrument)So you could even go back and add lead bits(guitar or other instruments) to certain parts of your chords.Again you don’t need vocals or anything else but I think it will help in the long run.

If your main focus is just strumming chords I would focus on learning more chords or better yet how to construct chords R 3RD 5TH etc….

I would also focus on getting the chord progression itself into a “groove” or ideal like once you have something you really like write down just like you would play it up stroke/down strokes how many times, chords etc…..

I am not sure what musical genre/style you like this is a nice song to learn I think specially for chords.

http://www.guitaretab.com/c/chapin-harry/3232.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH46SmVv8SU ( He uses a capo in the song but the tab will work fine its just transposing the chords)

Notice how he has certain chord progression in the beginning, then switches to another group like he might go A C D, A C D , THEN A G G/F# (chords)

but its still all around the same ideal, and he even has some parts with a melody type thing

e|—0–0—-|20———|————|——|————|————|————|————|————|
B|————|0–3—-|0——0|—0—|————|————|———0—|————|————|
G|2———-|—-2——|—-2——|0—-|2———-|20———|——0—-|2———-|————|
D|————|————|————|——|——2—-|—2–0—-|————|————|————|
A|————|————|————|——|————|—-3—3—|0———-|————|————|
E|————|————|————|——|————|————|————|————|————|

Well its not showing up that well but you can have a little intro, bridge or “lick” “riff” to help give more to the song.

An ending note, on what DrMC what kind of mood,feeling,ideal,etc… do you want people to hear?

Will you make it happy,sad,rock,jazzy,bluesy,hip-hopishpossibly?! it can be anything! Who knows and thats up to you my friend.

loser's avatar

I go with the classic set up: “A B A C A B” as a guideline. “A” being the main melody, “B” being the chorus, and “C” being the bridge.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Hey – there are some tricks to this on guitar… I’m gonna copy and past from one of @Steve_A ‘s questions where I mentioned this yesterday:

This is generally how pros will do it, and often how musicians that have never played together will quickly convey the chords of a song. For a Major key song take the roman numerals I ii iii IV V vi vii(dim7) – then apply them across the notes in the key… where the capital numerals are are major chords, and the others are minor (with the exception of the 7th chord which is a diminished 7…) For a minor key you just start at the 6th note and shift everything (with a few changes) so the minor chords are i ii(dim7) III iv V(7) VI VII – maybe kinda confusing so I’ll give you an easy to look at example – key of C – nothing fancy: the chords that will sound “right” together are C Dm Em F G Am Bdim7 – not to say nothing else will work, because others definitely will, but these are the basic chords. For the same key signature, if this is a minor song it we’ll look at Am – the chords would be Am Bdim7 C Dm E7 F G. I hope that all makes sense.

Like Steve mentioned – learn some variants off the basic chords, because a lot of the time those will change your sound in dynamic ways. Good luck and have fun!

evandad's avatar

They throw a couple of chords together and see how they go.

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