#1
I play mostly blues and rock, i have skill and i can play pretty difficult stuff, i just cant write my own. Recently i've listened to John Mayer's album Continuum. Some may insult him for his pop side, but this album contains a lot of really good guitar. If you want to see some of his skill watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qla13aWrNP4. The point of this thread is, i need help being able to write my own songs.
#2
as a whole, i really don't care for john mayer. he's creative, though, and he does have a few good songs.

let's start with the basics. how much theory do you know?
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#3
How much theory do you know? You can't break a rule without being able to follow it.
#4
The only way to learn it is to do it.

An easier way is by looking at your favourite peeps and look at their song formats. If you want to learn how to compose then take a I IV V progression to start off with... After that expand. You could also try your hand at an old thread of mine called "The evolved avo", details in a blog on my profile.

Otherwise, check this site out: http://secretsofsongwriting.com/

Plenty of decent info there... and his book (secrets of songwriting) is also very very good. Not punting it for the sake of it... but because it really is a damn good book. Takes you thru forms and stuff too... and about energy within a song and climaxes. Pretty detailed.

Hope this helps you.
#5
i dont know any music theory, i just listened to songs and figured out how to play them

edit: well i can read sheet music, just not for guitar, for trumpet
Last edited by Soul Power1111 at Jun 28, 2010,
#7
i can pick, and hammer on and pull off as fast as john mayer, i just cant make it sound good.. i dont know where to play it except blues pentatonic scales
#8
Quote by Soul Power1111
i dont know any music theory, i just listened to songs and figured out how to play them


there's your problem. however, theory alone won't do you any good. but it does make it immensely easier for your next step:

Quote by evolucian
The only way to learn it is to do it.


there really is no other way.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#9
All great answers.

TS, how often do you (if you have at all, that is) just jam (either with a band, with a few friends, with a jam track, or simply alone)?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#10
i put on a jam track in a certain key, like say...A...which i dont even know what that means, basically i look up the pentatonic scale that corresponds to the backing track, if its A then ill get the tabs for an A pentatonic, but i dont know what being in the key of A means other then it surrounds the A note
#11
Another thing is... Mayers licks are inspired by Hendrix... Good luck on that.
#12
you got to learn theory. It's so many ways to write songs. You can just take the root notes of the progression and go with that and build on it. You can start off with a melody, harmony, rhythm.. you can write the chorus first and then go from there. IF you don't learn theory all I can say is good luck.
#13
Quote by Soul Power1111
i put on a jam track in a certain key, like say...A...which i dont even know what that means, basically i look up the pentatonic scale that corresponds to the backing track, if its A then ill get the tabs for an A pentatonic, but i dont know what being in the key of A means other then it surrounds the A note
So the extent of your jamming is playing around on a pentatonic shape?

This is good, but I think you should learn some theory. The first thing you need to learn is the notes of your fretboard.

Another question: Can you read a chord sheet and play it or do you not know chord names?

(I am getting somewhere with this, just bear with me for a bit)
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Theory is quite a big word to be throwing around... how bout breaking it down into sections or the guy is gonna wait till he hits neapolitan majors(?) or something before he writes something.

How bout, the circle of keys... basic chord construction... the major scale... progressions... and I'm missing something now... song construction (which you could learn from that site I suggested as well as the other basic stuff required).
#15
Quote by evolucian
Theory is quite a big word to be throwing around... how bout breaking it down into sections or the guy is gonna wait till he hits neapolitan majors(?) or something before he writes something.

How bout, the circle of keys... basic chord construction... the major scale... progressions... and I'm missing something now... song construction (which you could learn from that site I suggested as well as the other basic stuff required).
I'm getting there, I just want to see where he's at right now.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#17
Quote by Soul Power1111
well i dont know what a chord sheet is...
Here on UG in the tab section, there are a few different types of files, including guitar tab, bass tab, power tab, guitar pro, and chords. I'm talking about "chords." It's basically just the lyrics written out with the chords written where they fall in relation to the lyrics.

Quote by Soul Power1111
i know chords i think
You think? If I told you to play a C#m7 chord could you do it?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jun 28, 2010,
#18
yes i know what that is, but i dont know where on the fret board they are talking about, i know C and D and G and all those other chords played on the first 3 frets...but past that i dont know what an a minor 7 is
#19
Quote by evolucian
Theory is quite a big word to be throwing around... how bout breaking it down into sections or the guy is gonna wait till he hits neapolitan majors(?) or something before he writes something.

http://www.musictheory.net/lessons

The first 4 sections are a must for writing in major keys, add the next two for minor keys.
#20
Quote by Soul Power1111
yes i know what that is, but i dont know where on the fret board they are talking about, i know C and D and G and all those other chords played on the first 3 frets...but past that i dont know what an a minor 7 is
I suggest you learn more songs using these chord sheets on UG. It will greatly help your knowledge of the fretboard.

Quote by Soul Power1111
i dont know where on the fret board they are talking about
Yes you do, you just don't know that you do.

You know how to read music so I'm assuming you know the musical alphabet, therefore based on your knowledge of the tuning of a guitar, you should be able to find out where C# is on your neck.

Hint: Start on the open A string and find your way up
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#21
okay well i don't see how it helps me pwrmax, i can read music, i just cant transpose it to guitar
#22
You know how to read music so I'm assuming you know the musical alphabet, therefore based on your knowledge of the tuning of a guitar, you should be able to find out where C# is on your neck.

Hint: Start on the open A string and find your way up


no i dont know that, i mean i used to know that if you were reading sheet music and there was a C, you press the first and third valves down and blow a certain way to make the note, i dont know half steps and whole steps
#23
Quote by Soul Power1111
okay well i don't see how it helps me pwrmax, i can read music, i just cant transpose it to guitar

Use a fingering chart until you memorize the fretboard
http://www.davegrossman.net/guitar-and-bass/guitar/images/charts/basics/basics-letternames-chromatic-flats.jpg
http://www.davegrossman.net/guitar-and-bass/guitar/images/charts/basics/basics-letternames-chromatic-sharps.jpg
#24
Quote by Soul Power1111
You know how to read music so I'm assuming you know the musical alphabet, therefore based on your knowledge of the tuning of a guitar, you should be able to find out where C# is on your neck.

Hint: Start on the open A string and find your way up



no i dont know that, i mean i used to know that if you were reading sheet music and there was a C, you press the first and third valves down and blow a certain way to make the note, i dont know half steps and whole stepsCould you write out the musical alphabet though?

Like this: A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab

The distance between each of these is a half-step, or a fret.

You even know where a C is, so you should just be able to move up one fret from that to find C#.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#26
Quote by Soul Power1111
well there are many different places a C could be...
True. Can you find any of them?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#27
Quote by Soul Power1111
well there are many different places a C could be...


...so find them?
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#28
okay, i know the musical alphabet, i just dont know how to piece different things together and make them sound right.. for example, i know that the notes used for a C chord, but why does E,C,E,G,C,and E sound good together?
#29
I would say to take that musictheory.net site everyone was telling you, and just start from the very begining. Make sure you understand what you are reading before you move on, and if you need anything clarified, go ahead and ask it here. Learning music theory will help you a ton in writing music, you'll be able to find a scale anywhere you want on the fretboard, and it will help you understand why all the notes in the C Chord sound good together (your last question).
Quote by leg end

"Roses are red,
Violets are bitchin'
Goddammit woman,
get back in the kitchen"
#30
how about you just put on a song you like. know what key it is in. then just start jamming over it. maybe play single note melodies over it until you hear something you like. then you could build from it.
#31
Quote by Soul Power1111
but why does E,C,E,G,C,and E sound good together?

Because E and G both fit within the overtones of C. When you play a note there's more than just that one note that you hear, there other notes that sound out with it and those are called overtones. Here's the overtones of C, notice how E and G are in there.
#32
Quote by pwrmax
Because E and G both fit within the overtones of C. When you play a note there's more than just that one note that you hear, there other notes that sound out with it and those are called overtones. Here's the overtones of C, notice how E and G are in there.
Hm, I've never really looked at it in terms of harmonic overtones.

Speaking of triads/tertian harmony, this is how I see it: If you look at pitch ratios, you can see how triads (and tertian harmony in general) sound so strong. You have your fundamental pitch, then it moves up from there by thirds (either a 6:5 or a 5:4 ratio, both pretty low ratios). A major triad will look a bit like this:
1     3     5
 \[U]5:4[/U]/ \[U]6:5[/U]/
  \[U]  3:2  [/U]/
Compare this to secundal harmony in a similar fashion:
1     2     3
 \[U]9:8[/U]/ \[U]9:8[/U]/
  \[U]  5:4  [/U]/
See how that starts to get a bit more muddy there? Still not outlandishly dissonant or anything, secundal trichords can sound very consonant and pleasant. In fact, tetrachords, which look a bit like shown below can sound very nice:
1     2     3       4
 \[U]9:8[/U]/ \[U]9:8[/U]/ \[U]16:15[/U]/
  \[U]  5:4  [/U]/       /
   \     \[U]  6:5  [/U]/
    \[U]    4:3    [/U]/
In choir this year, we did an arrangement of "Seven Bridges Road" which used a tetrachord during a spacy/dissonant harmonic section and it was really cool sounding.

I was going to get into some seventh chords and extensions, but I don't feel like putting forth the effort any more.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jun 28, 2010,
#33
^
That's pretty much why major chords sound happy, it's in human nature to be happy when things agree ... even overtones. Minor chords clash up the overtones, diminished chords clash even more.