Fire Your Slacker Band. Part III

Howdy, soldiers! Are you ready to take the world by a storm with your solo act? Good!

logo
Ultimate Guitar
0

Howdy, soldiers! Are you ready to take the world by a storm with your solo act? Good!

Last week we talked a bit about the different frameworks for such acts, as well as the benefits of adding vocals to your shows. This installment furthers the cause of what I call the evolution of teaching. Mainly Zurg, don't fall in sinkhole! Hurts! Zurrrrg! Zurrrrrg! Yes, yes, that's right learning from my Neanderthal mistakes puts you further along the path of musical evolution and enlightenment. After singing, this next topic was my biggest obstacle as a musician!

And what cliff did I tumble off, only to emerge with some newfound skill cleverly disguised as a goose egg on my head?

Songwriting!

But first, a story...(As always!)

I had decided I wanted to try a solo gig. I had just wasted a few months in a basement rehearsing with a go-nowhere band, and I wasn't quite sure what to do. I thought Hey, I'll record a demo CD, and get some gigs playing jazzy stuff at restaurants!

A great idea in theory, but it didn't quite work out.

I dusted off a little digital recorder (I think it was a Boss BR-532), and started putting some tracks down. And then I hit that proverbial brick wall HARD! I was a halfway decent guitarist, making a living teaching guitar, and had played live professionally, but...I couldn't write any songs! Everything I did turned into a formless blues jam. As I write this on Stevie Ray Vaughan's birthday, let me be the first to say that blues jams rock - But not the ones I was putting down. The lack of any structure, and the absence of vocals made my first studio effort something I'd rather not discuss. Well, I got several neat ideas, but all in all, it was a very weak venture. Sure, sure, I could do covers, but to be the artist I wanted to be, I really needed some originals as well.

I shopped the CD around, and only got one or two gigs. Mannnn! After tumbling off that metaphorical cliff of ignorance, I was able to see something that I had missed during my years of practice:

Songwriting is a skill vital to a musician of any style.

Since I had been playing electric lead guitar, I was able to get away with not writing my own stuff. One of my teachers looked at me one day and said If you don't write your own stuff, you'll always be playing somebody else's songs. Well DUH, but it actually sank in that time. I had always thought guitarists who sang and wrote their own songs where...gasp!...Singer-Songwriters! I considered my arpeggios to set me far above those saps who played Ben Folds covers and stole all my girls. (OK, sorry, but I'm STILL burned about that!) It slowly dawned on me that a lot of the heavy songs I liked were actually very well written, too. Another DUH, but hey, I guess I needed to learn this stuff the hard way. Another thing that had always made me think twice about songwriting was that when people said the song was very well written, it usually didn't rock. It wasn't a logical train of thought, but it still seemed to be the case. My dad would put on some lame song, and I'd promptly state that the band's guitarist was lousy. Yeah, but they're such good songwriters! he'd say. Hence my trepidation with setting foot into the arena of songwriters. Would I lose my magical rock powers? Once again, Ozzy Osbourne has a lesson for us.

Listen to any of his tunes, and notice how they're structured, coherent, and interesting without losing any of the power of rock. Indeed, the structure only adds to the ferocity! Bark at the Moon is a great example of what I'm talking about. Not only are the songs well written, but they're arranged snazzily too. For those scratching their heads in puzzlement, arrangement refers to what instrument plays which part, and when. Listen to Green Day's Wake Me Up When September Ends for an idea of how arrangement plays an important role in a song. They take two or three themes, and repeat them on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, and even bells! It keeps things interesting and fresh.

Good songwriting equals good songs, and we have no excuse not to learn this unique skill. And a skill it is, just like alternate picking or string skipping. The more we practice it, the better we get. But Josh! you say, I should just be inspired to write a great tune! Sure! But practicing the skills make it easier to express the inspiration, and can sometimes show you where to go when you're at a loss for notes. But Josh! you pipe up again, My wicked awesome sequence of diminished arpeggios will blow the crowd away with the sheer skill required to play it! It probably will! But here's something I noticed, and maybe it will help you:

There seem to be three camps of musicians:

Camp 1 includes great writers who might not be top flight musicians, or if they are, don't usually show it. A lot of country, pop, and alternative rock artists fall in with this crowd. Even if they can play their butts off, they usually don't for the sake of the song.

Camp 2 consists of the super shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen who are phenomenal guitarists, and absolutely own the top of the technical mountain. Their songs almost always feature their dazzling fret work, but usually aren't as catchy as Camp 1, and hence not as popular (ever wonder why it's called pop music?)

Camp 3 consists of folks who recognize the following: Camp 1 has it's brilliance in the set up and the writing. (Think Smells Like Teen Spirit: Simple, and devastating. A bullet doesn't have to be complex to kill you, and neither does a hit song.) Camp 2 is jam-packed with the best guitarists ever, and they can play absolutely anything. Their skill is in the execution, but not in the planning stages.

So the folks in Camp 3, like Ozzy Osbourne, Rammstein, Van Halen, etc, are well versed in both planning (writing), and execution (playing.)

Here it is, again:

(As I see it, as a highly opinionated random person):

Pop music is great at writing, but sometimes lacks the substance of playing. It slays 'em and sells millions of records by setting up impressive riffs before they're even recorded. Unfortunately, sometimes people lose sight of the spirit of the music.

Shred music is killer at playing, but oftentimes can't reach a wider audience because of it's lack of digestible riffs. It rocks, but do people dance?

The mega rockstars combine both great writing and great playing. Catchy, and deadly!

Disclaimer: There's a place for everything in the music world! I'm not advocating everyone everywhere always play three-minute bubblegum pop. As a matter of fact, I'd never advocate for anyone to play three-minute bubblegum pop. I'm just talking about how structure and brevity can be nice to use. That being said, the world would be much sadder without Dream Theater's epic treks through the sonic hyperspace!

Starting off

I was a bit puzzled at how to start songwriting, but here's a few things that helped me:

1. Realize songwriting is a skill, just like sweep picking. 2. Realize that (most) songs have a clear, identifiable structure verses, choruses, a bridge, and so on. Listening to your favorite tunes, and picking out which parts are which can go a long way toward understanding composition. 3. Don't try to write an epic tune on your first try. Pressure kills creativity! 4. Just like other guitar skills, daily practice is very helpful. 5. Education is important! I bought a few books, and attended a local songwriter's group. I got inspired to give it a good shot. Maybe these ways will help you, too.

Getting down to business

As a singing guitarist, I actually have two parts to write: the music, and the lyrics. The question of the hour is: Which one should one write first? Take note: For once, I have no opinion on the matter. Shocking!

I typically write things in parallel. I'll invent some cool riffs, and then work on writing lyrics. I'll then find one that fits the other, and try it out. It's just how I do it, but see if you can come up with your own way, too.

The best thing I've invested in for my music writing is a portable voice recorder. (But then I got an iPhone, which rendered the first obsolete.) My mind can only hold one song at a time. I either play one idea repeatedly, or I throw it out, and lose it forever. A recorder, no matter what shape or form, is a great way to document ideas, and free up the mind to invent new ones without the pressure of remembering the first. The program called Audacity is a great free way to get into recording. Google it, download it, and use It!

I'll sit down with my guitar, and doodle around until I come up with a nifty riff. I record it, and go on to the next one. At the end of the session, I review the pieces and see if I like any.

I've also heard that it's a great idea to write on other instruments, too, especially if you don't know how to play them well. Talk about some fresh sounds! Alternate tunings can also be helpful in this regard. I don't worry too much about refining the riffs, I just get 'em out there and recorded.

When I find one I really like, which may take a few days, I'll start polishing it. This is when I'll start to add structure to the song. The most common parts to a song are the Verse and Chorus. If I find a riff that I think sounds good for the Verse, I'll try to write a Chorus for it, and vice versa. Now, it can certainly have more parts, like a Bridge (part that connects the song, usually occurs only once, and is different), a Pre-Chorus, Intro, Outro, etc.

A very common structure is: Verse Chorus Verse - Chorus

Adding a bridge:

Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge - Chorus

Some songs are all verses (Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue.)

Some tunes have a hook or strong intro riff that is sometimes repeated later in the song. Think Smoke on the Water and Eye of the Tiger.

If these terms are new to you, think of it like this:

The Verse usually tells the story.

The Chorus usually doesn't change (but it can), and is repeated. It's the part that casual listeners know the words to, and oftentimes where the song gets it's name.

Thinking in sections like this can make the song more coherent. But remember, there's no formula. Each song is a little different. Listen to your favorites, and see how they're built.

Lyrics

Take off your Slash guitar top hat, and put on your writer's cap, good people! Pretend you're a poet out to observe and interpret the world, and get ready to have fun! It's like being a photographer with words. The pretending should be easy, because it's actually true!

One of the best books I've read on lyric writing is Andrea Stolpe's Popular Lyric Writing. Buy it, it's great.

I don't want to present the information I learned from it, because that's called plagiarism, so I'll say it again: BUY THE BOOK!

Here's something I came up with on my own, though. Many people say that writing words to songs is difficult for them. Lyric writing specifically, and the creative process in general. can be viewed as oil production. Yep, it's another one of my crazy examples! Here it is:

1. The well is drilled, and oil (ideas) start pouring out. Hopefully they don't coat all the pelicans in the Gulf of Mexico. (Sorry, BP joke.) Most people start to refine their ideas here, but that is a mistake. Let 'em flow, and don't worry about if they're quality or not.

2. The oil (ideas) is transported (via our technique.) If we're writing music, this is where our chops come in. If we're writing lyrics, this is where we use our vocabulary and metaphorical sense.

3. The oil is then refined. We throw out the trash, decide hey, that would make a good country song, so we'll file that for later, oh that's exactly what I'm looking for in a blues tune etc We polish it up, make everything rhyme, and get the right number of syllables in each word.

4. What if we don't have any oil? Turn to the American way invade a country! Ha ha! (I'm American, so I can make fun of myself, right?) In all seriousness, what I mean is that we can seek out new ideas and inspiration by listening to different genres of music, going to new cities, listening to old people tell their stories, you name it! As a matter of fact, I got ideas for two songs from my new CD on a train trip I took to New York City.

We're likely fairly familiar with step 3, and also probably make the mistake of starting there. But it's hard to write a song starting here the creativity just ain't flowin' if we're trying to count syllables! Back it up a bit, people, and start at step 1. Get yourself a little notebook, and take a walk. Write down anything that you think would be a good song title. Some of the top writers say they can write a song from just a title, so it's mighty important! Your first excursion might be terrible.. Rusty fences and overpriced cars might be the only things you come up with. But keep trying! Hey, maybe you've got a song burning in your head, and it just writes itself. GREAT! But try this if you don't know what to do.

Step 2. Once you've got some neat ideas to work with, start writing the words. (This is an art in itself, and really deserves more of your time than this article can give. So check out the books listed at the end of this article.)

Don't worry too much about rhyming. You can repeat words as place holders just to keep the flow going.

We would add the structures we discussed in the music section (verse, chorus, etc), but still keep it fairly loose. Often the sections will show themselves.

Step 3. Refine that song, bro! Make the lines rhyme if that's your thing, and get it just so. See if you can get everything to blend nicely with the sections of the song. Remember, not every tune you write will be epic, so this is where the garbage can comes into play. Don't be afraid to discard, and start again. Note that we waited till step 3 to make things rhyme. You don't want to have your nose in a rhyming dictionary while you're trying to be creative!

Go back to your music, or if you haven't written any, try to come up with some. Wrestle with it, make 'em fit, and then record that sucker! Again, it doesn't have to be perfect to record it. Think of all of this as practice.

Wrapping up

Write as much as you possibly can! If you're like me, you'll be horrible at first, and then you'll slowly get better. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Keep these points in mind:

- Songwriting is a skill that should be practiced. - A great way to practice is to keep a sonic journal, and record a song each day. - The creative process doesn't like restrictions. Don't worry about the rhyming at first. - Record ideas to free up mind space and document your riffs. - Lyrics and Music can be written in order (that you choose), parallel, or months apart. (The tune Handy Street off my new CD was written over the span of a few months, and contains the parts of two songs.) - Writing on new instruments or in alternate tunings can be a great source of inspiration. - Writing riffs to a drum machine can be fun and productive. - Educate yourself as much as possible about songwriting. This brings us to...

Resources

Some books that have helped me: - Popular Lyric Writing- Andrea Stolpe - The Craft and Business of Songwriting John Braheny (get the most recent edition.) - Six Steps To Songwriting Success Jason Blume

Find a local songwriter's group or association!

Make friends with a better songwriter than you.

Check out www.thesaurus.com

Here's a great rhyming dictionary: www.rhyme.poetry.com

And most of all, start writing.

See ya next time!

- Josh

Josh Urban is a solo guitarist and vocalist living near Washington, DC, USA. When he's not attempting to blow up stages with his iPhone backing tracks and brightly colored guitars, he's busy teaching guitar to over thirty students per week, adding zany videos to his youtube channel, or blogging about music. He just released his first real EP, Signalman, and is responsible for every single sound on it. Check out his website at www.joshurban.com, and say hello!

Copyright 2010 Josh Urban, all rights reserved.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    guitarsolo_17
    So basically we should all write the same music? And nirvana combines great playing with great songwriting? Eh... Or do you mean we should strive to make sure no player gets the technical ability to do whatever they want (DT, Yngwie, Satch, Gilbert). I don't know about this. And their skill is not in the planning stages? You don't think it takes an incredible amount of planning to write those impossible solos? I think a lot more planning probably went into "Stream of Consciousness" than "Ice Cream Man". I don't think anyone has the right to say John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert or someone puts a huge effort into writing these incredibly complex songs. Ozzy, Rammstein, and Van Halen... Not so sure they do. Do guitar players a favor: Don't treat the ones who really put a ton of effort into their music like they are wasting their time. Camp 3 is not BETTER than camp 2 or camp 1. It's different. Zakk and Edward Van Halen are not superior to Vinnie Moore or Tony MacAlpine simply because they didn't practice as much. Okay, my venting is done.
    zach in black
    I considered my arpeggios to set me far above those saps who played Ben Folds covers and stole all my girls.
    That's pretty funny. Too bad all the girls I know are only impressed by arpeggios, so my Ben Folds covers don't get me anywhere. But the new Ben Folds album was really good.
    Lord_Vhailor
    guitarsolo_17 wrote: For those who think I missed the point. I am criticizing ONE part of the article, not the article as a whole. I think you missed the point of my statement. In the article, he states that Camp 3 musicians lack in songwriting planning. The point is, that is a pretty outlandish statement. DT, PG, all those that we 'elitist fanboys' listen to put in much more planning than most. And metallica.. Close minded way of looking at music? Is blanket statement saying that great musicians don't plan.
    I think you have missed the point. Look: Camp 1 makes catchy songs, which sell really well, but aren't really "technical" by means of instrumentation. Camp 2 makes technically (and theoretically) complex songs, that lack catchiness. They are somehow reserved for "elite" listeners - not many "not-guitarists" really listen to Michael Angelo Batio, Paul Gilbert, even some of DT stuff. Yes, it does require planning - but their songs don't always turn me on (even though I'm a guitarist). Camp 3 tries to combine these two. Josh mentioned Ozzy, Rammstein and EVH - these are aware of how to compose a really succesful song, without overloading it with tons of shreds and complex time signatures. EVH, Zakk - both are real Goddamn shredders, but made songs rather for people than "elite". That was the point of this part of this article.
    guitarsolo_17
    For those who think I missed the point. I am criticizing ONE part of the article, not the article as a whole. I think you missed the point of my statement. In the article, he states that Camp 3 musicians lack in songwriting planning. The point is, that is a pretty outlandish statement. DT, PG, all those that we 'elitist fanboys' listen to put in much more planning than most. And metallica.. Close minded way of looking at music? Is blanket statement saying that great musicians don't plan.
    Bananafish003
    If guitarists listened to pop (and I mean real pop-not just mainstream, but the Stone Roses, The Kinks, stuff like that), it would most certainly help them with songwriting. That, and punk rock. Pop for the basic idea of how to write a song and punk and alternative rock to make that idea more interesting. Have you heard the things Sonic Youth and Animal Collective have done with ordinary chord progressions? On a last note, I don't really like this article's approach to songwriting. It's not really a skill, not in the sense of something that you learn on guitar. You just have to think hard enough to form your own ideas. You can't really practice something like that. If the ideas don't come, they don't come. The worst songwriting comes when forced. As a famous jazz player who I forget the name of said: "I don't write my songs, I remember them."
    metallica-#1
    guitarsolo_17 wrote: So basically we should all write the same music? And nirvana combines great playing with great songwriting? Eh... Or do you mean we should strive to make sure no player gets the technical ability to do whatever they want (DT, Yngwie, Satch, Gilbert). I don't know about this. And their skill is not in the planning stages? You don't think it takes an incredible amount of planning to write those impossible solos? I think a lot more planning probably went into "Stream of Consciousness" than "Ice Cream Man". I don't think anyone has the right to say John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert or someone puts a huge effort into writing these incredibly complex songs. Ozzy, Rammstein, and Van Halen... Not so sure they do. Do guitar players a favor: Don't treat the ones who really put a ton of effort into their music like they are wasting their time. Camp 3 is not BETTER than camp 2 or camp 1. It's different. Zakk and Edward Van Halen are not superior to Vinnie Moore or Tony MacAlpine simply because they didn't practice as much. Okay, my venting is done.
    you missed the entire point of this article because of your close-minded was of looking at music.. shame
    lithium battery
    Some of this article belongs in the songwriting and lyrics section of the lesson columns. Great article.
    guusw
    krypticguitar87 wrote: [b] CoreysMonster m : I'm a guitarist and classical pianist of over 15 years and I friggin love pop. It has nothing to do with you being a musician, it has to do with you being closed minded. If you ask me, most shred guitar is the most boring and pointless music on the planet. THAT really all sounds the same, much moreso than even the blandest of pop. agreed.
    qft... Think this was the best of your 3 articles. Some good points there.
    BigHeadClan
    I enjoy all types of music Rock,pop, Jazz, Country, and anime(I know I'm odd)the broader music people enjoy the better. When it comes to writing music or lyrics I believe we take what we know we play with it and make it our own and eventually we end up with something new and interesting so I wouldn't agree with the article in regards with what type of music musicians like. Overall not a bad article.
    krypticguitar87
    [b] CoreysMonster m : I'm a guitarist and classical pianist of over 15 years and I friggin love pop. It has nothing to do with you being a musician, it has to do with you being closed minded. If you ask me, most shred guitar is the most boring and pointless music on the planet. THAT really all sounds the same, much moreso than even the blandest of pop.
    agreed.
    Deified
    Great article, the only thing I feel like bringing up is the link to the thesaurus and rhyming dictionary... While I know that everyone has a different creative process, and I'm sure for some people those are invaluable tools for their writing style, but what I've found always works best for me is what works for Stephen King. To paraphrase, "Any word found in the thesaurus is the wrong word. No exceptions." It makes the writing sound a lot more natural and makes you think about different ways to get the point across when you can't think of a word.
    CoreysMonster
    Darkmessiahnz wrote: Even if it's well written I still think most pop music is the same stuff. There's a reason why most of us guitarists don't listen to pop music. That's because we play music all the time, we have heard things that are good over and over. When you hear some repetitive crap it gets boring really quick.
    I'm a guitarist and classical pianist of over 15 years and I friggin love pop. It has nothing to do with you being a musician, it has to do with you being closed minded. If you ask me, most shred guitar is the most boring and pointless music on the planet. THAT really all sounds the same, much moreso than even the blandest of pop.
    Partyboy2k05
    I think the majority of this is pretty sound advice as I do quite bit of my own singing/songwriting(7 complete originals and countless unfinished). I think one thing you should have mentioned was over criticism of what should be a simple song. As guitarist turned songwriters, we want more. A song can't be good if it doesn't have all that technique in it. Sure it's good for some songs, but you have to know when you're over producing a song. Some of the greatest songs are simple. That's actually why I do listen to pop music just to see what makes it tick. I think I can speak for most people and say it's tough to write a catchy song. Remember, simple doesn't mean easy or boring. By all means if a song deserves to be more complicated, write it that way. If it needs more depth, add it. But don't ruin a perfectly good song by pretty much over producing it and analyzing it. And I'd also like to say that don't take something out automatically just because it's cliche. If it adds to the overall value of the song, by all means, keep it. As far as the camps comments are concerned, I think that's all about finding your niche and what kind of audience you're trying to reach. Mix that with you're actual abilities to write that kind of song and the fans will follow. You don't have to convert fans of other genres if you're not willing to compromise. And my hat off to you if that's you're direction. But if you do want that, sometimes there's the middle ground and compromise. And compromise isn't always selling out. Damn, I guess I kind of ranted there.
    Snowman388
    I'm in Camp 4, the one full of people trying to get into to any of the other 3 camps
    col50
    Campbell22 wrote: the song you wrote are pretty bad JoshUrban =S
    I strongly agree with you. Josh Urban's articles are alright but his music is really awful.
    jof1029
    Darkmessiahnz wrote: Even if it's well written I still think most pop music is the same stuff. There's a reason why most of us guitarists don't listen to pop music. That's because we play music all the time, we have heard things that are good over and over. When you hear some repetitive crap it gets boring really quick.
    Actually, most guitarists dont listen to pop music because they are too close minded. I fall victem to the same plauge myself. Sure, a lot of pop music is overly repetative and bland, but so is a lot of the music guitarists play and listen to. A lot of pop music has interesting melodies and well crafted layering, but it gets buried under other things (like lame lyrics). But yeah, I think most guitarists could learn a lot from pop music if they could get over the whole, "but pop music is boring!" thing.
    steveman_guitar
    I think you're being overly critical(and maybe a tad bit elitist, I love guys like JP and Gilbert too, but there's no need to potshot EVH and Wylde)... This is more of a "Hey, this is what I do, take what you want from it" article, not a "You can't make a living if you don't do it my way" article.
    I think you hit the nail on the head here. I liked the article, and I think some of the points presented could be very helpful.
    KlinikaNekros
    To the dipshit debate going on about the first post: We,here,can appreciate Satch and Petrucci for what they do.Most people can't and when you're into the music BUSINESS and not just putting out records for non-mainstream use you kind of need to make your music more accessible to the public.Sad but true.
    wicked_hobbit
    Really enjoyed the write-up. Can't agree more with looking at songwriting as a skill that needs practice. I used to be so depressed for always failing to finish a song. I'd record a nice riff with drums and everything but I got stuck finding vocal melodies that go along with it. That was really frustrating. Now I stop taking it all too seriously and have been writing consistently.
    Darkmessiahnz
    Even if it's well written I still think most pop music is the same stuff. There's a reason why most of us guitarists don't listen to pop music. That's because we play music all the time, we have heard things that are good over and over. When you hear some repetitive crap it gets boring really quick.
    Romper Stomper
    Good article although I don't agree with some of your opinions. I get your point though.....PRACTICE WRITING SONGS! I have always been afraid of the crap that I may come up with but, I have to start somewhere....
    krypticguitar87
    guitarsolo_17 wrote: So basically we should all write the same music? And nirvana combines great playing with great songwriting? Eh... Or do you mean we should strive to make sure no player gets the technical ability to do whatever they want (DT, Yngwie, Satch, Gilbert). I don't know about this. And their skill is not in the planning stages? You don't think it takes an incredible amount of planning to write those impossible solos? I think a lot more planning probably went into "Stream of Consciousness" than "Ice Cream Man". I don't think anyone has the right to say John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert or someone puts a huge effort into writing these incredibly complex songs. Ozzy, Rammstein, and Van Halen... Not so sure they do. Do guitar players a favor: Don't treat the ones who really put a ton of effort into their music like they are wasting their time. Camp 3 is not BETTER than camp 2 or camp 1. It's different. Zakk and Edward Van Halen are not superior to Vinnie Moore or Tony MacAlpine simply because they didn't practice as much. Okay, my venting is done.
    did you even read the article? he states that camp 1 is not the endall be all, he just points out that from a song writing view point, these are more successful than the camp 2 guys..... Seriously who do you think made more money lats year lady gaga or paul gilbert? I bet most people know the answer, since 90% of non-musicians are thinking "who the hell is paul gilbert?" noone is saying that these guitar prodigies are no good, but merely saying that it doesn't sell.... so if you want to be successful, but can't melt everyone's faces off with a blazingly fast solo, it's still possible to make a living. also trying to say that any technical song takes more planning than a popier song is ignorant... yes tachnical songs take planning, but so don't other songs.... composing still takes a ton of planning weather you shred like crazy or not..... next tmie before ranting like this maybe you should finish reading the article.....
    HarvesterofPain
    guitarsolo_17 wrote: So basically we should all write the same music? And nirvana combines great playing with great songwriting? Eh... Or do you mean we should strive to make sure no player gets the technical ability to do whatever they want (DT, Yngwie, Satch, Gilbert). I don't know about this. And their skill is not in the planning stages? You don't think it takes an incredible amount of planning to write those impossible solos? I think a lot more planning probably went into "Stream of Consciousness" than "Ice Cream Man". I don't think anyone has the right to say John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert or someone puts a huge effort into writing these incredibly complex songs. Ozzy, Rammstein, and Van Halen... Not so sure they do. Do guitar players a favor: Don't treat the ones who really put a ton of effort into their music like they are wasting their time. Camp 3 is not BETTER than camp 2 or camp 1. It's different. Zakk and Edward Van Halen are not superior to Vinnie Moore or Tony MacAlpine simply because they didn't practice as much. Okay, my venting is done.
    From the article...
    Disclaimer: There's a place for everything in the music world! I'm not advocating everyone everywhere always play three-minute bubblegum pop. As a matter of fact, I'd never advocate for anyone to play three-minute bubblegum pop. I'm just talking about how structure and brevity can be nice to use. That being said, the world would be much sadder without Dream Theater's epic treks through the sonic hyperspace!
    I think you're being overly critical(and maybe a tad bit elitist, I love guys like JP and Gilbert too, but there's no need to potshot EVH and Wylde)... This is more of a "Hey, this is what I do, take what you want from it" article, not a "You can't make a living if you don't do it my way" article. And from that kinda perspective, this was well-written and should be helpful to a good handful of people here.
    Myshadow46_2
    guitarsolo_17 Stuff
    Think you might be missing the point. By the way, the examples he gave are his opinions, if you can get around that you'll understand the article a bit more.
    malephik
    I don't want to present the information I learned from it, because that's called plagiarism
    if that's plagiarism then so are all the tabs on UG. that can't be the real reason you didn't go into detail, but meh... I liked the article overall
    tim.sprague.758
    writing a song is like hunting for dinosaur bones. one is sticking up outta the sand, and as you dig it up it's connected to another one. Pretty soon you find enough bones to put together that the song gets up and tells you what it is and what you better do with it! Sometimes you find half a dinosaur and the other half won't fit. Put them in a drawer back at the lab, because over the next hill, you'll probably find the other half.