Reinventing Yourself From Album To Album

Afraid your next album's going to sound just like your first? Here are a few tips on how to reinvent your guitar sound from album to album.

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After recording a second album, you listen to it, and you realize it's indistinguishable from your first. The songs sound too similar for comfort. This can be a frustrating spot to be in for any songwriter as well as for the rest of the band.

Having a unique sound is important. Your sound is what defines you as a musician. But let's face it! Your sound can get boring after an album or two. That's why it's a good idea to reinvent your sound from time to time.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

01. Change your tone. Tone is a large part of your sound. It's almost as important as your technique. A good guitar tone can really improve a song. If you find that your songs sound too similar, try a different tone. Change the settings on the amp both for your clean tones and for your overdrive tones. Customize your guitar. Change the pickups. Or if you have some money to burn, why not buy new gear altogether? It could be a very worthwile investment.

02. Add to your pedalboard. If you are the kind of a guitarist who likes to mess around with effects, then this is a must! Getting new stompboxes can add more new dimensions to your sound. If you don't have the cash, then experiment with the pedals you have. Adjust the settings on them. Chances are you'll discover new, ingenious ways to use those little boxes.

03. Work on your musical approach. Was your last album driven on distortion? Then maybe you should try working on clean riffs for the second album. If you didn't have put any solo's in your old songs, then add some in your newer material. Learn new techniques and integrate them into your playing. As a matter of fact, taking up lessons before writing a new album is not a bad idea! Just make sure you're learning new things and not just reviewing what you already know.

04. Shift to a different genre. Now you shouldn't force yourself to do this. If you hear a new band on the radio and you're really into it, inside you might be longing to shift to a certain genre. There's a really big band in my country who shifted to emo once they got really into Glassjaw. Their new album is a far cry from their first two, but it's just as successful.

Work on these dimensions of your music, and you're sure to come up with a spanking new sound and a whole bunch of songs to show for it! Good luck!

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Destari
    Okay, personally I find this helpful, but not overly so. I think four suggestions hardly qualifies as a definitive article. Plus I think this focuses on the guitarist, and not on the band as a bigger picture. Still, nice effort. 3 stars I say.
    Twilight
    Another thing you need to keep in mind is, you don't have to release a new album every 6-12 months. Look at Tool, they are not afraid to take 3-4 years between albums (yes Keenan's role in APC plays a part) but they are pretty much anti-new-album-every-year kinda thing. The point is, after your first album take a break and live your life! New experiences will bring new inspiration and when you sit down to record again, you'll have a whole new story to tell. Try to look at the world in a different way than you normally do. Make new friends and learn their perspectives and outlooks on life. The more people you know with that depth, the better you can write. This is me speaking as a lyricist/singer, but I do find my attitude on the guitar changes when the experiences and emotions behind the music do (I don't play very well though, I pull my weight and little else lol).
    Emenius Sleepus
    well, metallica tried different things, and look what kind of response they got!... that just about split their fans completely
    gary666
    Of course you experiment with new sounds. that's something that also creates fun in making music. Look at Slipknots new album, Acoustic... thats why its so great, it's different! This would help, but it's just common sense. Well to me it iz... ne1 else? I'm into metal... but i also do clean songs and even acoustic! I like variety! ne1 agree?
    Moto+_+
    this is mostly obvious....but the thing is that many bands dont do so...people or bands dont apply it...so....but yes...it is a nice advise
    Encore_God
    As a matter of fact, taking up lessons before writing a new album is not a bad idea!
    Shit, really?
    angusdc
    I DONT FUCKING CARE IF MY SECOND ALBUM IS GOING TO SOUNDS LIKE THE FIRST!!!!!THATS THE RIGHT WAY!!!!LIKE AC/DC AND RAMONES DID!!YOU BASTARDS!!!!
    Bob_The_Moose
    Too much emphasis on using effects, I mean, you should be spending time and effort on the actual playing and writing, not on relying on a bunch of pedals to make you sound good.
    shinkyo00
    easiest thing to do: 1]take lessons to get better because no one knows everything its always good to learn 2]put ur feeling into ur playing
    gooseholla
    All AC/DC albums sound alike, and they are huge. You don't see them going out and buying pedalboards do you?
    carpedium
    Yeah dude our existing songs on our cd started to kinda sound similar so halfway through we got a OCP Snare and we started screwing with tunings. Also you can try to highlight another band member more in the next one. Like lots of people have good guitarist and show it off in their first cd, but try putting in bass solos and other things like that. Cymbals make a big difference too, if you have your drummer switch it up to a bigger, and heavier crash you'll get more volume or you could go for more cutting sounds. Lessons on guitar is a good idea too.
    alvarols
    i agree with you in some things. But this article seems that was made for people without creativity, because you said that reinventing albums is only effects, tunes, etc... where is the creativity, you can invent some new things with the same distortion and effects. A would add the 5 point. 05. Listen a lot of music and try to improve your technique, and you will be able to make new things without changing the Amp's parameters or the distortion
    OLP1
    I guess its an alright article but I wonder to how many people this really applies too considering we're mostly not established musians making full albums
    bed_of_nails
    Man... My band has a bunch of guys (7), that all have differant musical influences... we just sit around and come up with a really poppy Ska-sounding song, or we will bust out with heavy metal riffs (That is far more common though). Really, being differant is just about letting other people in the band write cool sounding stuff... I play Bass, and I write mostly metal, then we write things that sound good with it.
    heynickhowyado
    This doesn't say anything about emotion, which i believe should be a humongous part of an album. One shouldn't release an album for the hell of it, one should release an album when they have more songs than could be put on a 7" or 10". One shouldn't write songs then totally change the sound and the emotion of it all because they are too worried that they aren't changing. And petals don't change as much as you say they do. Look at two very different albums,Revolver , andSgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Do you think all George did differently was get a larger petalboard to write, "within you without you?" No, this was not the case, there must be an influence, some emotion to change a sound.
    Chainsaw
    yeah, if like all ug'ers were going to post several albums :rolleyes:
    thm_05
    ok this is a new approach to music that is already inside us but the article i think is trying to say that music is only part of changing how we play...to me its something new and undiscovered...but a good way to discover new ground..i like the article and am pleased that someone had written about how bands are changing with their style of playing...we are human not machine, except if you are the six million dollar man...yea i like cookies too, oreo is good...and yea it should have been a really long boring article, not that it would be but the information needed evidence of structure like examples of bands who have changed...its just to give a picture of what your band would be like..yea and throw in a couple of those diagrams...
    GLethal85
    not to shabby of an article, destari, as far as ur comment goes.. keep in mind the name of the website your at
    Erich yeung
    it was ok. but mentioned already is that this article is biased on the guitar. you can't have another album wihtout the rest of the band. and you can't just sound different with new guitar tone. it should talk about the bass, drums, etc too. also sounding different is not always a good thing. you should only change your sound if it feels right to you and your band. I mean if you sounded great but you wanted to change just for the sake of sounding different then you aren't really being true to your music. its great to mix it up but if you're just doing that to get more buyers of your album then.....you should not be known as a musician if its only for money. but im sure everyone has heard this before so i'll just shut up now
    fender rocker16
    the chili peppers do a lot of this. look at how different their albums are. They reinvent their music every tims they make an album and it turns out pretty good. nice article
    ShaDoweR
    You should play what you want and not be worried about fukwit criticism
    ad_lib_oz
    -100 stars because this is bullshit. What kind of artist up to the standard of releasing ALBUMS is going to read this? Honestly? I'll be surprised if anyone on this forum has released an album on a label of any size.... MEH, I'm not saying it's untrue, but its very self centred and a bit contexual.
    papachubb
    I think as long you have a distinctive sound you should stay with it. When everyone else starts sounding (and looking) like you then you might consider a change. Not many "hair bands" left standing after hurricane Nirvana swept through for example. As of June, AC/DCs' "Back In Black" album has went Double Diamond in sales. Yep, 20 million copies. There's something to be said for not changing something that the fans can identify with.