#1
I'm the defacto band leader in my current band and I've been getting frustrated with lack of progress. We've been playing for over a year and still don't have our act together. I play guitar and I can't sing at the same time, but I have to write the lyrics. And the basslines. And the leads, for a violin, which I don't play. At least the drummer comes up with his own beats... Anyway, it seems like me and the drummer are the only ones who put effort into anything outside of when we get together to practise. Every person I've played with, EVERY single one (we've been through multiple singers and rhythm guitarists), seems to think that they can learn their parts at practise and not beforehand. I feel like if I didn't do everything, everyone would just sit there noodling on their instruments not knowing what to do. And when I give them tabs, mp3s, and written out lyrics, they still noodle without any real direction because they're not prepared.

I don't really mean to complain. I guess what I'm curious about is how do YOUR bands work? Does one person write everything or does each member write their own parts? Is it expected that everyone shows up knowing the songs, or do they like to learn them on the spot? Just how do you make progress? I'm wondering how the whole band thing works for bands that actually, well, do stuff.
#2
Is the problem that you write everything and don't give any else a chance for creative input, other than lyrics? Or is it really that they can't/won't write their own parts? If they want to and are able than you need to let them, they won't take it seriously if they have no creative stake in the music, it will just be another cover, but even less interesting because you get to parade around that its your song.

As for me I always wrote my basslines on the spot, tho I don't recommend that.
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#3
Quote by cutslikedrugsx
And the leads, for a violin, which I don't play.


Soooo you have a violin player, but he can't write his own leads?
I'm confused.
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#4
We're a 3-piece, still looking for a singer. We have a kickass drummer, every beat he makes goes perfectly with the riff/song. Usually, one of us guitarists makes a riff, we'll play it a few times and decide what section of the song it feels like (intro, chorus, verse, etc.). Then we usually just work around that riff. It REALLY helps when everyone knows their theory. The song in my profile is a rough demo of a song we made during our SECOND practice.
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#5
Quote by cutslikedrugsx
And the leads, for a violin, which I don't play.

Wait, I'm confused? Why do you need a violin player?
#6
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Wait, I'm confused? Why do you need a violin player?

Melo death? Iunno.
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#7
we all pretty much write our own stuff, jam on it, we each come up with parts, or help/tell another instrument what we have in mind for their part and let them tool with it. we all like each others writing styles, and trust each others ideas. works very well. we're ok with ideas contrary to our own if the band likes it better etc. its alot abotu working with people ive found.
#8
I'm a member and somewhat leader of a 6 piece death, fusion, math, hardcore, jazz...(prog) band.

We usually have 2 types of practice, loud and quiet practices. At the quiet practices the keyboardist, drummer, occasionally the other guitarist, bassist and myself will meet up at one of the above mentioned places and we will actually write the music. Usually I write all the riffs on my own or one of the other members might suggest something by humming it out or giving guitar a shot, as all 6 of us can play guitar well and we decide how to lay out the song. For keyboard writing we all decide how we want it to sound as we don't want it overpowering yet, it should fill the gap and add depth to the music. The keyboard is written about the same as guitar (as far as the band input is concerned), it's either following the guitar exactly or sustaining out a new chord progression. Bass is usually improvised until spot on, and the rhythm guitar is about halfway written by myself and our rhythm guitarist.

Lyrics are different. Our vocalist is an English major, also speaks about 4 other languages, and overall knows what he's doing when it comes to lyrical writing. The band input is usually the emotion or idea we want put into words and he does most of the writing and polishing while we give input.

Loud practices are to get the drums to match up with the rest of the stuff. Sometimes we write out the patterns (not notes because it's math metal with 8 string goodness) with up or down connotating whether or not the notes are going to be low palmmuted percussive sounds or the ringing out sounds like Meshuggah. We also use the loud practices to record with a mic in the middle of the room for future references of the songs.
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#9
Im the drummer in a screamo/Hardcore/Thrash metal band. Me and the singer write lyrics together, you know bounce them off each other. I'm about the same level as my guitarists on guitar so ill usually write a nice riff and theyll fit it with the song. They stick with the solo's and main riffs. Well usually walk into practice the guitarsts will keep repeating a certain riff until i come up with a nice drum part, the singer will fit our lyrics in and the bassist will watch the guitarists and attempt to fit bass in.
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#10
I'm the singer and bassist for my band. I write all of the parts for guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals, and my drummer comes up with the drum parts. I've written all of our songs thus far, but one of my guitarists and the drummer have been writing a song for the past six months. It's only taken so long because they really don't know what they're doing and have never written a song before.
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#11
I write lyrics, guitar riffs, guitar leads, basslines, drums, and one time i wrote a keyboard part.
Im not a dictator or anything my band just kind of looks at me and says "so... what are we doing?" they cant write or hardly even play for that matter because they are all begginers. I have experience and can play guitar, bass, and drums. I tolerate them because their my only friends in high school and i dont know any other musicians.
#12
Quote by slaptasticdave
Is the problem that you write everything and don't give any else a chance for creative input, other than lyrics? Or is it really that they can't/won't write their own parts?


I ask for their input and I get a lot of standing around and apathy. If they say anything, it's usually along the lines of 'whatever'. So I wind up making a lot of decisions just to facilitate things.

Quote by Sleaze Disease
Soooo you have a violin player, but he can't write his own leads?
I'm confused.


He's only been playing for a year or so, and he doesn't practice on his own. He will learn how the songs go (the structure), but he won't pick up his instrument. The end result is that I have to write his parts for him and he learns them at practise. To his credit, that's more than the bassist or singer do, and I invited him into the band knowing that I would probably have to come up with stuff for him.

It sounds like you guys have a lot of collaboration going on. That's how I'm always hoping things will go, but if I don't do everything, nothing gets done. And the one thing I can't do is magically put the other members parts into their heads. Our singer and bassist haven't even listened to one of the songs we cover, even when I've linked them to the YouTube video. At least our bassist picks up on what he's supposed to be doing quickly. But our singer hasn't learned any lyrics. He waits till practise to learn the rhythm guitar parts, and somehow expects that lyrics will be provided for him. And they are, but they were provided beforehand, he's not going to learn them at practise, and he doesn't even try. He's the newest member and maybe he just needs more time, but I'm not seeing him putting in any effort at all. If this keeps up, I'm going to address it directly, but the one problem I can't seem to fix is the passive, not even lazy, attitude that all of them seem to have.
#13
For our first album, we (the other guitarist and I.... I'm the lead singer/guitarist) had the songs all demoed before we even completed the band lineup. The drummer and bass player simply learned the songs, each with the knowledge that they could feel free to make it their own. My philosophy has always been, "you're a bass player (or drummer), and I'm not.... I'm hiring you because you bring something to the table that is not really my element." In that light, I feel it would be arrogant of me to pretend that I can come up with a better drum part than an actual drummer. It's one thing to have a working knowledge of an instrument... it's another thing to actually *think* like a person who plays that instrument, and to approach a song as a person who actually plays that instrument.

For our second album - the one we're writing now, we present the core elements to the guys - essentially, the chords and lyrics/melody. We all arrange it and add our own parts as we see fit.

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#14
well, we mainly play covers, and everyone learns them before they show up, and if the keyboardist doesn't have a prewritten thing we tell him the progression and he makes it up.
oh and some of us play multiple instruments and can switch around between songs... very fun(we do have our favorites though...
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#15
I'd say I'm the leader of my band. We play covers and originals.

Generally, for covers, we all learn the song before practice. Then, when we actually rehearse the songs, we work out all the kinks, make changes to it, etc.

Originals is a little different. I'm the primary songwriter of my band. Basically, my bassist and drummer leave me to my work, and suggest changes when they see opportunity for improvement. I write the lyrics, guitar, basic bass line, and melody. My bassist then takes the bass line, improves upon it, and me and her work on the melody to make it absolutely perfect. Then we focus on the drums at the end.

We don't do much noodling around. We stay pretty focused, mainly because we noodle at the end of each rehearsal with a little jam session.
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#16
I'm the lead guitarist, and one of the singer/songwriters for our band. We play originals and covers. Additionally singing/songwriting is done by the bass player, and singing is also done by the rhythm guitarist. We all sing differently, so take lead vocals depending on what sounds best with the song.

The bass player and I write original songs, but not together. We'll generally write the framework for a song - the chords/rhythm/lyrics. This is then recorded at home and we email to others with the chord sheets. Each player then learns at home and comes to practice to try it out. Discussion and adustments are made here and there.

The advantage of recording it at home previously is that it gives the other members an idea of what you want, and also something to practice/play along with at home. The most challenging part of this for me is writing songs that fit within the band's sound (we're a folk/pop band, and sometimes I'll write a rock song, but it won't fit within the band so it's either re-written or kept to the side for another band) or writing songs that are within the rhthym guitarist's skill range.

For covers it's similar. At band practice or over email someone will say a song and give a youtube link/send an mp3 of the song. We learn at home, see what it sounds like together at practice. Then discussion/modifications.
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#17
I'm guitarist in an 8 (yes, 8) piece ska band lol

Usually I'll think of some chord progression that sounds about right, write it down, find out what key its in so that horns can write theirs parts, and bass player can write a nice bass line (although I can write that too, if necessary). Then we'll write lyrics about whatever we want, usually turns out funny as hell.

But then again it isn't very difficult to write ska...
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#18
Quote by PencilBox
I'm guitarist in an 8 (yes, 8) piece ska band lol

Usually I'll think of some chord progression that sounds about right, write it down, find out what key its in so that horns can write theirs parts, and bass player can write a nice bass line (although I can write that too, if necessary). Then we'll write lyrics about whatever we want, usually turns out funny as hell.

But then again it isn't very difficult to write ska...

I'm in a 7 piece ska/reggae/alternative crazy band, so i know how that all goes.

I generally write the main chunk of the music. Chord progressions, riffs, etc. I'm a rock guitarist, so it's kind of a guitar-oriented sound. Melody is generally handled by either me or our main singer, depending on which of us wrote the lyrics. Our bassist occasionally gives us usable lyrics, but most aren't really very good. Our horn section is all in the school jazz band, and very competent on their instruments so we generally have them do their own thing, though on one of our songs i wrote the horn part. Our bassist does his thing most of the time, since he's pretty dang good. Those of us that are more musically gifted than him will offer suggestions sometimes. Our drummer is the best in our whole school, so that's that. Keyboards are used as necessary, but most of the time the 2 tromboners and sax cover the depth. Keyboard are more of a rock organ use if they are used.

But like PencilBox said, writing ska isn't very difficult, but we've been trying for a more complex sounds since ska has gotten a bit stale.
#19
As of right now, it's just me (guitar) and my drummer, and we both write our own parts. If we had a bassist, singer, or 2nd guitarist, we'd expect them to write their own parts.
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#20
me and the other guitarist write (together and separately) then bring the material to the band. Sometimes things just happen during practice.
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#21
Quote by JakdOnCrack
I'm in a 7 piece ska/reggae/alternative crazy band, so i know how that all goes.

I generally write the main chunk of the music. Chord progressions, riffs, etc. I'm a rock guitarist, so it's kind of a guitar-oriented sound. Melody is generally handled by either me or our main singer, depending on which of us wrote the lyrics. Our bassist occasionally gives us usable lyrics, but most aren't really very good. Our horn section is all in the school jazz band, and very competent on their instruments so we generally have them do their own thing, though on one of our songs i wrote the horn part. Our bassist does his thing most of the time, since he's pretty dang good. Those of us that are more musically gifted than him will offer suggestions sometimes. Our drummer is the best in our whole school, so that's that. Keyboards are used as necessary, but most of the time the 2 tromboners and sax cover the depth. Keyboard are more of a rock organ use if they are used.

But like PencilBox said, writing ska isn't very difficult, but we've been trying for a more complex sounds since ska has gotten a bit stale.



I hear ya, horn players in my band all come from school band too lol

But yeah, it does get a bit repetitive after awhile, oh well...
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#22
I write all of my guitar parts and the bass parts and do most of the 2nd guitar and lyrics.
I'm pretty much the musical brain of the band and set up all the band practices. our singer is lazy though and doesn't really show up.
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#23
All of our music is written over email through guitar pro except vocals. When we get together every sunday we just sit down and play the songs how we wrote them and play our already made songs. We goof off a lot but we play really tight, it's awesome.
#24
Quote by axemanchris
For our first album, we (the other guitarist and I.... I'm the lead singer/guitarist) had the songs all demoed before we even completed the band lineup. The drummer and bass player simply learned the songs, each with the knowledge that they could feel free to make it their own. My philosophy has always been, "you're a bass player (or drummer), and I'm not.... I'm hiring you because you bring something to the table that is not really my element." In that light, I feel it would be arrogant of me to pretend that I can come up with a better drum part than an actual drummer. It's one thing to have a working knowledge of an instrument... it's another thing to actually *think* like a person who plays that instrument, and to approach a song as a person who actually plays that instrument.

For our second album - the one we're writing now, we present the core elements to the guys - essentially, the chords and lyrics/melody. We all arrange it and add our own parts as we see fit.

CT


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#25
Its always valuable to have writing sessions with just the singer and guitarist (if not the same person, in which case bassist) - its more relaxed not having to try figure things out with a whole band behind you. Or maybe i just hate our drummer. anyway have a go at having a slower and usually more productive meeting with individuals.
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#26
Quote by Banana Man
It doesn't hurt to help them out with their instruments and let them choose whether they want to stick with what you had or put in something else.


Oh, sure I'll give suggestions and contribute ideas. But, to use an analogy, I wouldn't be telling a doctor how to perform a surgery - regardless of how many rats I've dissected, how many videos I've watched, and how many articles I've read. Quite simply, I'm not a doctor.

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#27
In mine, it's pretty much me and my friend Dan (we're the two guitarists) who do everything. We make the songs, which my friend Ian makes the basslines to (which I'm thinkin' of starting to write myself to save some time), our drummer Bart goes along with that. Our singer Kenny basically helps with everything, he plays guitar as well, but we've already got two guitarists so.

Generally when we practice, it goes like this:

1. Me and Dan show everyone the riffs we've made up, and ask for input for how to blend/change them.
2. I complain about why in the name of God I decided to sit next to the bass drum, but don't do anything about it :P.
3. We generally just mess around from there.

We haven't really accomplished much, lol.
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#28
The band I'm starting hasn't had a LEGIT practice yet, but we've written some material. What we do when writing music, each of us is assigned a part to write.
Like, the drummer would write the intro part, the guitarist (me) would write the verses, the bassist will write the chorus. And the vocalist will write the outro.
When I say write I mean, not lyrics but instrumental stuff. So all the parts sound different.
In lyrics, I listen to all the parts and write the lyrics to go with everyone's parts.
When we do eventually practice, I'll post some jamming sessions. It'll sound really un-organized at first. But I think our final products will be pretty original sounding.
And a tip for the peson who started the thread, who needed some pointers. Treat the band as a democracy, NOT a dictatorship.
#29
My band that I just started (well found the musicains) we are a rock/hard rock band and we have only practiced like 4 or 5 times now. But we have sime songs written.

Either me or the singer will come up with riffs. Then we will semi piece it together with the drums. Like ok this will be the intro, then we go into verse 1 then we rip the chorus then we do this before next verse...etc.

Then the singer will come up with some lyrics... then we fit the song length to the lyrics. like if the verse needs lengthening/shortening to mesh with the lyrics we will fix that.

Solo come last (thats what I am working on now.. in between UG posts)

ITs pretty easy in our situation as all 3 of us can play guitar, or Bass... and the Singer and the Drummer are both wicked on the drums. (Actually when I first recruited the drummer he was playing bass... and we booted the original drummer and he jsut took over)

ITs a democracy but we all are on the same page, and compliment each other pretty well, so its just so damn easy to get along. Once we kicked the original drummer out and had the bass player get on the drums we wrote a song the first practice.

However we arent exactly what you would call tight yet, but its only been a couple practices


EDIT: Forgot to add... we all own Guitar Pro.. so we write crap down and send it to each other... I find that can really inspire me.. cause the singer will send me wicked riff, and as soon as I hear it I can just carry one with it....
Last edited by stangconv at Mar 1, 2009,