#1
Im in a punk band and I do alot of songwriting, but lately I've had trouble developing really catchy chord progressions. We play ska punk so Ive been working on songs in major keys, particularly Bb. I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to make catchy punk power chords and also the hippest way to switch to ska
#2
Chord progressions alone don't tend to be really catchy or memorable at all, especially punk power-chord progressions. After all, there are like five that EVERYBODY uses for everything. The secret to a "catchy" progression is the riffs you lay over it. Look at 99.9999% of Blink 182 songs (pop punk, I know, but whatever), the vast majority of them just use the I V vi IV progression, with different lead bits going over the top. If all else fails, rip off a progression from a song you dig and make a new melody over it. This ain't illegal, you know.

How to switch to ska: Bring in a horn section (trumpet, trombone, sax) and have them play licks during your tunes. Do the off-beat up strum thing, and have a decent sense of humor. Buy "Our live album is better than your live album" by Reel big fish if you haven't yet, and literally just copy everything you hear.
#3
Chord progressions aren't catchy, vocal melodies are catchy. When you listen to a song, are you more likely to get the vocals stuck in your head or the guitar chord progression stuck in your head?
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#4
Quote by KenjiBeast
Chord progressions alone don't tend to be really catchy or memorable at all, especially punk power-chord progressions. After all, there are like five that EVERYBODY uses for everything. The secret to a "catchy" progression is the riffs you lay over it. Look at 99.9999% of Blink 182 songs (pop punk, I know, but whatever), the vast majority of them just use the I V vi IV progression, with different lead bits going over the top. If all else fails, rip off a progression from a song you dig and make a new melody over it. This ain't illegal, you know.

How to switch to ska: Bring in a horn section (trumpet, trombone, sax) and have them play licks during your tunes. Do the off-beat up strum thing, and have a decent sense of humor. Buy "Our live album is better than your live album" by Reel big fish if you haven't yet, and literally just copy everything you hear.

Thanks. I know how to play ska and I listen to RBF, but I meant more specifically what is a good way to transition from punk to ska mid song.
#5
A good punk song to start out with is Blink 182's damnit. It's got alot of power chord progression. I also don't listen to punk that much, but some pretty close songs are Nirvana's About A Girl. Which is some pretty simple chords, but these are major. Also Stone Temple Piolits, Creep is a song I rcentley jut learned it's really beginner with chord progession, and can help introduct 7th chords as well as Minor chords. The last thing if your have trouble with chord prgression is turn on the T.V mute all the stings and try doing it subconsicously. It's basic psycoligy. Once your body is used to functioning subconciously, it will introduce many new thing you can do while sucessfully proforming chord progression as well as singing or other things. Again I'm not a big punk fan but, these riffs should make you better try playing while your watching T.V.
#6
For PunkRock check out some : Blink 182 ,Sum 41, Bowling for Soup , good charlote and maybe boys like girls and for Ska , Ska/punkRock i sugest Less than Jack and Goldfinger
#7
Quote by demonofthenight
Chord progressions aren't catchy, vocal melodies are catchy. When you listen to a song, are you more likely to get the vocals stuck in your head or the guitar chord progression stuck in your head?

Precisely.
It's the vocal melody that will be memorable most of the time.
#8
Quote by toyboxmonster
Precisely.
It's the vocal melody that will be memorable most of the time.


That's not necessarily true, I would have to say. Perhaps it's because I speak from a guitarists' point of view, but in non-mainstream genres, the instrumental riffs can be one of the most important parts. Heck, even in radio-friendly pop music, catchy guitar licks are still widely appreciated. If you go to karaoke places with your friends, for example, you might find that people may not recognize songs just by their titles, but as soon as 5 or so seconds of the piece starts to play, they'll be able to identify it almost straight away.

Anyway, I don't mean to attack you personally or anything. I see what you're saying, and of course it's completely true that the vocals are one of the catchiest, most central components of most modern music. However, I just wanted to point that out, lest the importance of the catchy instrumental hook became undermined.

I think that KenjiBeast raised a very good point in saying that it's not necessarily the chord progression that's the "catchy" part. As for the switching-to-ska-midway-through-a-song part, is that really necessary? I would think that the whole song would be classified as ska, not just part of it. Anyway, wouldn't it sound more balanced if the trumpets or whatever were apparent throughout the song (not necessarily all the time, but maybe in the intro and filler breaks) than suddenly appearing at the end? Of course, that could work too.

If you really have no ideas about this, one could argue that it's the trumpet player's duty to fit in their part, so maybe you should consult the rest of your band. After all, it is a team effort! Another thing you could do is let the trumpet player (or is it trumpeter? Trumpeteer? o_0) come up with a catchy hook instead of making the guitars do it every time. That could introduce some variety into your music.
#9
Quote by zephyrclaw
That's not necessarily true, I would have to say. Perhaps it's because I speak from a guitarists' point of view, but in non-mainstream genres, the instrumental riffs can be one of the most important parts. Heck, even in radio-friendly pop music, catchy guitar licks are still widely appreciated. If you go to karaoke places with your friends, for example, you might find that people may not recognize songs just by their titles, but as soon as 5 or so seconds of the piece starts to play, they'll be able to identify it almost straight away.


...I'm pretty sure we were talking about power-chord rhythms, not riffs and licks...