Hello, I've been playing guitar for about 3 years now, and I've gotten myself up to a pretty decent level. I can play most of the songs of the bands I'm into (Muse, Rage Against The Machine, Radiohead etc.) from tabs, and I'd say my playing is pretty good.

I was wondering where I can go with my playing. What to learn to take it to a higher level. It feels like I've hit some kind of brick wall, that I'm just playing for the sake of it at the moment and not actually learning anything that's really helping. I'm pretty interested in songwriting with a view to creating a band at uni, but can't seem to get into it, everything I create sounds bland and uninspired compared to the likes of Muse.

Do any of you have any recommendations, tips or lessons you can point me too?
I'd be very grateful
dabble in music therory. You dont have to major in it, but learning the basics helps.
"It turns out you can just buy phycological validation"-Nathan Explosion

"everything I create sounds bland and uninspired compared to the likes of Muse."

Dude..........No one can.

But seriously it takes time and lots of effort to write good songs.
Just listen to the Newton Abbot Demo by Muse, some of those tracks just arn't that good but because they worked bloody hard at their art thay have gotten to a point where they write immense songs.

I will say, learn chord theory, understand how chords go together and just write songs.

All of those bands you listed are very talented and have been playing for many years before they got noticed, so don't get down because you can't write stuff like that in your 3 years of playing.

Another thing you can do is experiment with other genres, learn different licks, messing around with your tone or just listening to different bands.

Hope that was somewhat helpfull.
-Try to listen to some other music, you might enjoy some of it
-Learn some theory
-Keep Write songs (they get better if you keep writing trust me )
-If you find music you enjoy learn it

Quote by Gunpowder
Thrashturbating? Most metal of all ways to pleasure oneself.
A. muse is one of the best bands of our time, so maybe you shouldn't measure yourself up to them? their main songwriter knows a good deal of theory, and has been playing music since 1984.
B. if you want to sound like them, brushing up on some theory (particulalarly romantic-era chord progressions, though you need to get the basics down first) would definatly be to your benefit.
C. learn songs you like, figure out what you like about them and integrate that into your creative work (broad things---don't steel licks of chord progresions, but if you see a band doing something you like a lot--figure out what there doing, and then figure out every possible way of doing that).
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Quote by The Gore Child
I'm pretty interested in songwriting with a view to creating a band at uni, but can't seem to get into it, everything I create sounds bland and uninspired compared to the likes of Muse.
Theory is very useful but even more important is simply practice.

No one picks up a guitar for the first time and expects to be tearing up solos but for some reason people think that you should be able to write a great song on your first attempt. Songwriting is a skill and takes time and patience to develop. Just keep writing, keep letting your ears guide you and you will get better.

So it boils down to the same thing as anything else on guitar: practice.
All the best musicians find brick walls occasionally in their development, in view
of the fact you are looking at songwriting you should be studying Basic Harmony and
consider carefully what you listen to as one can never actually play better than what
aspires them in the first place !
Look at the Cadences, intervals, and Triads and follow them through the whole
guitar, and the inversions that are produced , Music is actually quite magical, when
you get down to some of the nitty gritty basics , and just sit with your guitar regularly
"coding" chord progressions in relation to the Roman Numeral System helps open up
those little creative voices in our heads, and the songwriting process made more
conducive, some of this might sound boring but there is a whole universe on that
fingerboard, and Harmonic Exploration can help you relate the guitar with your vocal
enormously in the quest to write great tunes.
Also think about your balance of TECHNIQUE V STYLE.
Work on one, then work on the other, etc
One more thing, try and find new stuff to listen to that grabs yer nadges, ouch !
You say you can play songs by reading tab. What about by ear? I would spend time trying to learn songs by listening to them. One of the biggest skills you could ever acquire. Tabs won't help you in most musical situations. If you can hear a chord and recognize it, hear a riff and recognize the notes it will help in major ways. Makes it easier to write music, play with other musicians and truly understand what theory does. Without great ear training you're just painting by numbers.

You all have such fantastic suggestions! I'm gonna try broaden my musical horizons, learn some in-depth theory and keep trying to write songs!

I'll use this thread as a checklist to work through, you've really helped point me in the right direction!
Again, thank you very much!