#1
I've been writing music with my band for years now and I used to bust out riffs and songs all the time that would wind up being songs or something that had a lot of potential, but it seems now; after all these years, that I'm having a hard time creating anything that has any... "substance" to me. It just feels uninteresting and just more of the same. So I've been thinking about what I could do to freshen things up and I realized that a lot of my favorite bands (and favorite songs) tend to have cool effects and shit. I haven't really been in the position to get any new pedals, seeing as I'm going to school and do not currently have a job, so I wanted to get some opinions from people who have had more experiences with different types of pedals.

Here's a list of bands so you could understand the types of sounds that I'm into:
Foo Fighters, glassJAw, Reuben, Blakfish, Fugazi, Jawbox, Filter, NIN, Russian Circles, Incubus, Interpol, Kaki King, QOSTA, Native, Poison the Well, The White Stripes, Refused, Blindside, Silversun Pickups, Soundgarden, Spinnerette, Stone Temple Pilots, Sucioperro, Third Eye Blind, Tool, TV on the Radio, Yourcodenameis:Milo, and +44.

If anybody can give me any ideas that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
#2
That's not really the way to go about it.
It's clear that the stlye you're playing is outgrowing you and has become tedious, take the time to learn new stlyes, fingerpicking, slide, etc. Trust me, you'll find yourself going back to the stuff you originally played.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#3
^ This is a good point, however when I'm feeling musically stuck, sometimes I'll pick a pedal and experiment with it for ages, tweak every setting until I come up with something that sounds cool.

This might sound odd, but perhaps a Line 6 MM4? Tons of different effects to try out, might give you some new inspiration.
#4
i would get a delay pedal. you can use it in any genre of music, and it lets you create all kinds of new textures
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.


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#5
Again, that's just a short and costly fix to a problem that's just going to rise again.
You can colour any sound with new pedals but it's going to be same sound and same thing you've been doing.
Just play something different for a while, a good musician doesn't just stick to one thing.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#6
What gear do you have now (Amp, pedals etc.)?
And I know that when I got my first fuzz I wrote a whole bunch of stuff suited for it, so I see where you're coming from, but maybe you need some more variety in what you listen to? You could try listening to who influenced your favorite artists, that's always fun.
#7
Put the guitar down - for a week or two.

Listen to the radio (non commercial if possible) and ask to listen to random CDs in your nearest record store - if you have a few spare bucks buy something that intrigues you. Especially if it isn't guitar based (a good starting point could be the bands that influenced the bands you like but have never heard[of]).

Do you have access to any other instruments? A piano or keyboard? Bass? Flute? Viola? Try playing it if you do.

At the end of the second week, before playing again, pick five songs from your new discs, friend's collections (legal) downloads or your parents collection - they don't have to be guitar based either - and learn them. Maybe a saxophone solo, or a piano part. Improvise to jazz.

I did this years ago and am thinking of doing so again. We all hit a brick wall at some point (I have found myself on stage thinking about what pizza I'm going to order on the way home when playing to around 100 paying punters - not ideal) but it's good to find inspriation from other sources.
It's an opinion. It's subjective. And I'm right, anyway.
#8
Quote by Slap-happy
Put the guitar down - for a week or two.

Listen to the radio (non commercial if possible) and ask to listen to random CDs in your nearest record store - if you have a few spare bucks buy something that intrigues you. Especially if it isn't guitar based (a good starting point could be the bands that influenced the bands you like but have never heard[of]).

Do you have access to any other instruments? A piano or keyboard? Bass? Flute? Viola? Try playing it if you do.

At the end of the second week, before playing again, pick five songs from your new discs, friend's collections (legal) downloads or your parents collection - they don't have to be guitar based either - and learn them. Maybe a saxophone solo, or a piano part. Improvise to jazz.

I did this years ago and am thinking of doing so again. We all hit a brick wall at some point (I have found myself on stage thinking about what pizza I'm going to order on the way home when playing to around 100 paying punters - not ideal) but it's good to find inspriation from other sources.



This right here x100

Best thing to do is to listen to different kinds of music. Classical is good.
But what might intrigue you, is to take that list or artists you have there,
and listen to WHO THEY LISTENED TO.
AND THE WHO THEY LISTENED TO etc.
#9
Thanks for all the input so far guys. Much appreciated.

I've dabbled in a multitude of genres and playing styles. I never really excelled at them, but I took from them what I found interesting about them. Which I have benefited from to a great degree. I've tried the whole not playing for a while, but that just makes me less interested in playing once I pick it back up. I listen to so many different kinds of bands on a daily basis that it's ridiculous. In all my spare time, I'm just looking for new sounds. I just want to bring those new sounds to my music. I love the sounds of all the pedals and effects. It just adds so much atmosphere. Which is what I feel that my writing is currently lacking. A good depth. A deepness that just lets you sink in. This is why I wanted to get into some interesting pedals. I'm not talking about going all out and getting just a whole barrel of pedals, but just finding some that really take your ears for a ride.

Currently I have a Boss Overdrive/Distortion pedal. It's a great pedal, but it doesn't do something that's different. It's just more crunchy rock stuff. I'm into all types of art and music and I always search for something new, something that will just spark a new idea. Pedals are one of the only techniques I haven't really gotten into until now. I'm just looking for something that will really shake up my mind and get things going.
#11
Gear is never the answer haha!

The only thing that might help you is geting a looping pedal to help you write. That's infinitely useful.

But as stated before - work on your playing and singing, or learn finger picking. This stuff will only improve your overall skill level and open up new songwriting doors.
#12
change your approach to song writing. one of the things i do is piece together a drum track and then write a song over it. you'd be suprised with what you come up with when you have a drum track and no clue as to what to play over it. (aqll the songs in my profile were done this way)

new toys are fun but i don't think they should be a source of inspiration per se. i like to think about what effects will benefit my song but never use one as the basis for a song. exploring different playing styles can help if you try to adapt them to your own musical vision.
#13
Pedals tend not to spark creativity, in my experience. You usually spend a lot of time tweaking them and making cool noises, but very little music is actually created. Wait until you actually have ideas and sounds in your head before you go diving into the world of effects. You'll save a lot of time and money by knowing what you want.

A theory teacher I had in college had a great exercise for breaking through creative plateaus. He would give us an abstract word and we would have to interpret it musically. For example, he would say "play purple" and we would have to try and create the color purple in music. Since purple is the combination of red and blue, I played something that evoked anger and sorrow. The most random one he gave us was "play asparagus". I'm still not sure how to approach that one.

Also:
learn theory (especially chord theory)
learn one genre of music really well (instead of half-assing a bunch of them)
play live
play often
noodle
#14
I have been hearing sounds and stuff in my head that I can't get without effects pedals. It's just that I really don't know what kind of effects I'm hearing though. I never really wanted to get effects pedals. I took a lot of pride in not having to use pedals as some sort of crutch, but now I'm hearing things in my head and I can't get those sounds with the equipment I have. I've been trying to just maneuver around it, but it's getting to a point where I'm building up this ideas in my head and everything I play just seems unexciting.

And I have accelerated at Rock, Metal, Blues and Jazz/Funk. The other stuff I researched and looked into and studied, but didn't master the playing of them. I understand theory. I play everyday. I've just got ideas beyond my means. So I was just looking for advice on how to achieve the sounds I get stuck in my head.

I've tried different approaches to writing. I write to drum loops and stuff all the time. It's just gotten a little dull to me. I would come up with things, try playing them backwards, inverting the chords, playing to a metronome. Writing with my band is fun and kind of effective, but we can't do that often and that doesn't get the sounds out of my head. Seriously, I've been playing for over 12 years. I've gotten to the point where I want to advanced with sounds. Pedals aren't some sort of crutch that I'm looking to use, it's really just a way to achieve this interesting tones and sounds that I've been building up in my head for a long time. I like the atmosphere they can add. The attitude they bring. It's not like all the bands I love use them because they can't come up with anything without them, it's like a different kind of paint for the canvas. I just want to add some different colour to my sound and it's nothing short of creative.
#16
Quote by Slap-happy
Put the guitar down - for a week or two.

Listen to the radio (non commercial if possible) and ask to listen to random CDs in your nearest record store - if you have a few spare bucks buy something that intrigues you. Especially if it isn't guitar based (a good starting point could be the bands that influenced the bands you like but have never heard[of]).

Do you have access to any other instruments? A piano or keyboard? Bass? Flute? Viola? Try playing it if you do.

At the end of the second week, before playing again, pick five songs from your new discs, friend's collections (legal) downloads or your parents collection - they don't have to be guitar based either - and learn them. Maybe a saxophone solo, or a piano part. Improvise to jazz.

I did this years ago and am thinking of doing so again. We all hit a brick wall at some point (I have found myself on stage thinking about what pizza I'm going to order on the way home when playing to around 100 paying punters - not ideal) but it's good to find inspriation from other sources.



This is great advice. I do this too.

I also do random stuff like try to play over movies that I'm watching, kind of soundtrack stuff but in weird styles. Wife will be watching a chick flick or whatever and try to put that feeling into a song but in metal style or whatever. Watch a sci-fi movie and try to put a jazz influenced tune to it. Or play a lead or accompanying part to the existing soundtrack. Music is emotional communication, the better you get at letting those emotions flow out the better your music will be. Its kind of hard to explain, ya just got to feel it.
#17
Quote by BluddyBoy123
Thanks for all the input so far guys. Much appreciated.

I've dabbled in a multitude of genres and playing styles. I never really excelled at them, but I took from them what I found interesting about them. Which I have benefited from to a great degree. I've tried the whole not playing for a while, but that just makes me less interested in playing once I pick it back up. I listen to so many different kinds of bands on a daily basis that it's ridiculous. In all my spare time, I'm just looking for new sounds. I just want to bring those new sounds to my music. I love the sounds of all the pedals and effects. It just adds so much atmosphere. Which is what I feel that my writing is currently lacking. A good depth. A deepness that just lets you sink in. This is why I wanted to get into some interesting pedals. I'm not talking about going all out and getting just a whole barrel of pedals, but just finding some that really take your ears for a ride.

Currently I have a Boss Overdrive/Distortion pedal. It's a great pedal, but it doesn't do something that's different. It's just more crunchy rock stuff. I'm into all types of art and music and I always search for something new, something that will just spark a new idea. Pedals are one of the only techniques I haven't really gotten into until now. I'm just looking for something that will really shake up my mind and get things going.


Rather than throw a bunch of money at pedals you might look into getting an old used Digitech 2112 or something similar... all the tones and weird crap you could want. But, I agree with the guy above... all those knobs and options just leads to hours of fiddling and not much music making. I'd be lying if I said flipping through weird effect patches didn't give me any song ideas, but not as much as some other things that were suggested.
#18
I just want to try something different and I've never really had a chance to use any pedals. I don't plan on sitting around and messing with the pedal all the time and trying to manage to get a bunch of precise effects for my own amusement. I know with my experience with everything else that if I had some effects to mess with it could bring some awesome new sounds to my music. If pedals were such a problem, I don't think as many bands would use them. I play all the time. I've taken months of from playing to try and make it fresh. I've played over shows and movies. I've played along with songs. I'm not some cheap beginner who thinks effects would make me cool and make my band cool. I do all different kinds of art and I love to experiment with different things. Pedals are just another one of those things that I would like to experiment with.