#1
Well, im trying to find out how you guys make up riffs and such for a song. Make up a chord progresion and then try to put riffs over that? Just make them up from scratch? Or just play what comes from the top of your head? The reason im asking is, i cant for the love of god make a song that doesnt sound punk-rocky when its finished. The only thing i manage to do is a simple power chord progression and thats it. So, i figured, maybe seeing how other people do it, i can become better at it.
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#2
This happened to me once. Everything I did was punk-type stuff. What I did was learn new techniques, chords and observe non-punk guitarists; mainly John Frusciante from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. After one-week of studying him, my improvisations were noticabley more funky and more melodic, here is an improvisation I put on YouTube if you are interested; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AsXB_tNHWE

I forgot to mention I write riffs but improvising and messing about with progressions or singular notes.
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Last edited by GangsterLi at Feb 16, 2009,
#3
Generally (not being harsh and probably wrong by assuming your age) but most young/relatively new guitarists tend to find 'punk-rocky' stuff easiest to play and write so that's most likely why. When you start learning other stuff in the genres you want to write in it might help you see what sort of progressions and/or scales are common in those genres, and in turn that should help you get a feel for that genre and how to write in it (but try not to follow all the clichés associated with them!).

When I write, I usually hear something in my head (without wanting/trying to write... usually it's at the worst possible time, i.e when trying to sleep or when busy at uni or a night out!) and then I try to work that idea out on the guitar as soon as possible and then record it on to the voice recorder on my phone right away to help remember it.

Then when I have the time to properly spend, I will record a (very rough) demo of it on my Mac, complete with drums and bass etc. (and lately, vocals). This can then be given to the rest of the band for them to get a feel for it and write their own parts more accomplished but while getting an idea of what I originally intend as the direction for the song. It can also be given to a studio engineer to show the rough 'feel' we're after.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Feb 16, 2009,
#4
Think about different timings to mix up your tempo. Think of a beat or a drum part that would go with your riff and start from their. After u think about all of this for a minute play some different rhythm riff, fills, and chorus in no particular order. I usually play mini mock riffs and if I like something from the riff I will combine it with another riff until I come up with something.
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#5
Listen to ALOT of music from the genre you want to write, and I mean alot. Look for thier methods in thier tunes, and then try to recreate them (in a different riff). At first it doesn't matter what the riff sounds like, just practise writting. Eventually writing riffs will be alot easier and you'll be set.
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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#6
Do this dramatic change in your life.

Stop listening to everything you've listened to as far as now.
Start listening to Opeth, Megadeth, Slayer and other metal for a week.
Study their music and learn some riffs off of their songs.
You won't be turned into a metalhead, but this will dramatically change the way you look at music and you'll get new ideas in your head.

Just go on, listen and practise music you've never even liked. Go classic, metal, jazz, expand your knowledge and open up your mind.

Then you'll hopefully form your own style and get good ideas about songs.

Just go crazy, really. Lose control.
#7
A good idea is to imagine the rhythm to a riff in your head and then use that rhythm as your base. It doesn't have to use the same notes you imagined in your head, just get the base rhythm that way.
And then eventually you'll get to where you're not having to pre plan your rhythm and it'll just start coming naturally.
Last edited by -Collapse- at Feb 16, 2009,
#8
I have a boss digital recording studio. I usually get a drum beat going on there that I like and start playing. I like to just mess around, jam, or try something I've never tried before. I also experiment with the different tones on the device and try something that sounds different. A lot of the time my songs will come out as some jazz/ prog rock fusion thing which is really weird considering I've been listening to metal religiously lately and have never really learned a jazz song. It usually turns out really cool and I can just flow. Many times I will learn a new chord that I didn't really know. Don't be afraid to play something out of the ordinary or play somewhere on the fretboard you usually wouldn't think of or be comfortable playing at.I find my improvising and overall song writing gets much better when I sit around and jam like this to a drum track anywhere from 30 mins to a few hours. Also, like the guy who said listen to nothing but metal, you could listen to nothing but brad paisley(great guitar player) or maybe some flamenco or jazz playing. Introduce your mind and fingers to something they've never encountered before and your song writing skilþls and the way you view music will drastically change. I'd advise getting something you can record your guitar on or make up drum beats. It is much easier to write to an endless drum beat than nothing at all I believe. Whew! Long post. Have fun! Hope I made some sense and helped out!
#10
Quote by ingames
Do this dramatic change in your life.

Stop listening to everything you've listened to as far as now.
Start listening to Opeth, Megadeth, Slayer and other metal for a week.
Study their music and learn some riffs off of their songs.
You won't be turned into a metalhead, but this will dramatically change the way you look at music and you'll get new ideas in your head.

Just go on, listen and practise music you've never even liked. Go classic, metal, jazz, expand your knowledge and open up your mind.

Then you'll hopefully form your own style and get good ideas about songs.

Just go crazy, really. Lose control.


This is a great suggestion, but it doesn't have to be metal. If you are dedicated enough, spend awhile everyday studying the methods people outside of your genre use.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#11
I just play and record on my comp and when i hit on a riff i like i try to repeat it over a number of times.

I also have a word processor open and will make notes on what i was doing, what I liked, amp settings, guitar settings, effects if any and any notes on technique. I'll usually tab out the ideas too and any lyrical ideas that come out while playing.

If I have a mic running I can just record my notes on the same or a different track which can make things easier but I will still write them down - it's good to have it written down so you can see exactly what you're looking for on the page and find it instantly without having to search through audio.

I will then take the idea and play on it for a week or two adding parts taking parts away combining parts from other riffs changing the tempo and way I phrase the notes, and play around with the same riff in different keys etc.

I usually try out a number of ideas for different parts that go with or extend the original idea and hit on about three or four different ideas that work well. Then I can start developing it into a full song. I keep working on ways of transitioning between the parts too. Then I go through it all a few more times to see if there is anything else to tweak.

I can end up with about a hundred different variations on the same riff and sometimes they're just powerchords. You may not like the modern pop punk rock scene but what's the old saying "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater?" Pop Punk Rock uses a lot of powerchords and you may object to that genre but don't blame powerchords for their lame sound powerchords sound awesome and can make the basis of some really great songs.

Anyway that's usually the way I work. When I'm working on a song that's based on a melody I have already or if I'm starting out with a chord progression then the process varies a little. But when it comes to writing riff based songs that's about how it goes for me.
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#12
Quote by The_Sophist
This is a great suggestion, but it doesn't have to be metal. If you are dedicated enough, spend awhile everyday studying the methods people outside of your genre use.

yeah, really you can do this with anything. i got really into reproducing techno type stuff, classical, blues and even some jazzy kinda stuff.
#13
I spent a hour a day for a week studying Coltrane and Davis just to get guitar phrasing standards out of my head.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.