#1
I'm a beginner guitarist and I find it hard to come up with riffs and stuff, and when I do they sound pretty weak. So my question is, when you get better at playing guitar do you get better at coming up with riffs and songs, or am I just not good at it?

-Alm
#2
No, if you can't instantly come up with an awesome riff you fail at guitar, and you might as well give it up now.

/sarcasm
#4
You do get better the more you try, most of my first attempts were just terrible.

If you're a beginner, the first thing I would say is that you will probably be limited in songwriting by your playing abilities, you will come up with ideas in your head that you will not be able to play.

Also, how much theory do you know? I found that my songwriting ability increased tenfold once I learned just a bit of theory. Just start with basic scales, minor pentatonic, major and minor, if you haven't already.

The only other thing I would say is to just keep trying
Last edited by SilentHeaven109 at Sep 13, 2009,
#5
Also, its never your ability to come up with ideas that gets better- its only your ability to develop those ideas that becomes better.

...and thats a skill you will learn over time
#6
SilentHeaven, your sig has me disgusted, horrified, and cracking up.

Anyway, when you start doing something, you typically suck. After you do it a lot, you get better. There is an excellent chance that you will dramatically improve your songwriting ability over the next few years (yes, it's going to take years, but that's okay).
#7
Yeah, I'm always coming up with riffs and stuff in my head, but I can't play them. Umm, I don't know a ton of theory, I find it rather confusing. But I like learning scales, it's fun to see how fast and accurate I can play them. But I only know 2
#8
Don't smile about that. Learn your theory. The lesson in my sig is a good start. Do NOT try to go through it in one sitting. It's many lectures of an intro college music theory class (MUSIC 101). You don't do that in an hour.
#9
I wanna learn it, but it's confusing to me. Do I just try and do it anyway?
#10
Quote by Alm3ga
Yeah, I'm always coming up with riffs and stuff in my head, but I can't play them. Umm, I don't know a ton of theory, I find it rather confusing. But I like learning scales, it's fun to see how fast and accurate I can play them. But I only know 2


This is a start at least. Now you just need to apply them to songwriting. My drummer is having the exact same problem as you at the moment, I know, drummers trying to write songs, what has happened to the world?

Seeing as how you're a beginner, I'll simplify this. Let's take the minor scale for instance, let's say you want to write a song in the key of A Minor. To do this, look at all of the notes that make up the A Minor scale, there are no sharps of flats, so it's A B C D E F G. These are the notes you can use in this key, from these you can create chord progressions and lead lines, and it will sound "right" to you, as at the moment you're probably just guessing frets, as most beginners do. However, knowing what notes are in your key takes away the guessing element and you'll know where you can go on the fretboard that will sound right. This idea can be used in any key, and you can just use the major scale for major keys.

This is a very basic summation, this is how I was taught to think of it when I first started, there's obviously much more than this, but it's something that a suprising number of players don't get, including 2 of my band members
Last edited by SilentHeaven109 at Sep 13, 2009,
#11
Quote by Alm3ga
Yeah, I'm always coming up with riffs and stuff in my head, but I can't play them. Umm, I don't know a ton of theory, I find it rather confusing. But I like learning scales, it's fun to see how fast and accurate I can play them. But I only know 2

That's pretty much a waste of your time - concentrate on learning how scales work musically and how you can use them. Learn the notes on the fretboard and just work on the major scale for the time being, learn it's intervals, how it sounds, how to harmonise it and create chords...and how, when, where and why it can be used

If you can't immediately play the stuff in your head you need to get it recorded so you can work on it over a longer period of time - just sing the stuff into a tape recorder or record it on your PC with a mic so you won't forget it.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Sep 13, 2009,
#12
Quote by Alm3ga
I wanna learn it, but it's confusing to me. Do I just try and do it anyway?
Theory is HARD!!!! It's okay to struggle, but it's not impossible to learn the material. Work through it slowly; read like you're reading a calculus book.
#13
The best I can do is give my experience!

When I first started... knew basically major, minor, 7, m7 of A thru G# chords and the blues, Mpent, mPent scales... I wanted SOO much to just sit down and write some beautiful song, or a 'knarly' riff etc. But, for the life of me I couldn't write any compelling stuff... sure I could 'write'... but they were bland. What helped ME personally, was learning as many songs as possible... why, I don't know! But it did... Even over the last summer I learned a bunch of songs... and my writing got better!

Anyways, I can't explain why it helped me... but it did! It could've been the inspiration... or just the new techniques explored in songs... but it helped! But the worst thing you can do is rush it!