Page 1 of 2
#1
Bah!! Everything I play is boring.

All I do is play major or minor scales, pentatonic, and use helpin or minor chords.

I know modes but they are not helping.

I don't know what to do. Fingerstyle?? Tapping?? I can't get musically creative with either of those.

This is so frustrating I have been playing for 8 years and can't write $hit! Should I just do some meth??
#2
maybe take a week break from guitar. That is what I do when I feel truly frustrated with things. I usually come back feeling refreshed and having more creative ideas.
#4
Some thing I found to make my playing more creative is to try to hum out a part(since its easier to manipulate humming opposed to guitar) and write it out. then add little flourishes here and there for spice. also there are countless scales so if you're are writing a song in say C major but your lead part has accidentals, dont worry about it as long as it sounds fine (or isnt too far out there, try to write it in the right key still!)
#5
8 years? I'm sure you're just being overly critical of yourself.

Learning vibrato and incorporating vibrato into bends was something that made my playing sound more "advanced."

Schecter C-1 Hellraiser FR
ESP LTD MH-1000NT
Marshall AVT100
Boss ME-70

Quote by stratdud39
Thank you for your words of wisdom.
#6
Agree with the above take a break. Another thing that can help is not to get in the mode of trying to write something, usually when I write a song or a riff idea or whatever im just messing around and then I find something I really like and just expand upon it until its a finished song. The trick is to just let your mind wander and dont worry so much about getting something thats a song.

EDIT: Also remember that creativity can strike at random. You can feel creative multiple times a day or not at all. Alot of times I will just all of a sudden have an idea for something in my head for no reason then I just go and figure out how to make the sound in my head reality. I know how you feel hell just the other day I was trying to record a song I wrote but I kept messing up the bridge of it so I just put the guitar down and took a break. I went and did something else for a while then came back and did it perfect.
Ibanez RG7321
Jackson Randy Rhoads V with Floyd Rose
Peavey Valveking 112
Digitech RP70 Guitar Processor
Last edited by Lethal Dosage at Sep 2, 2011,
#7
Quote by s-o-u-l-f-l-y
8 years? I'm sure you're just being overly critical of yourself.

Learning vibrato and incorporating vibrato into bends was something that made my playing sound more "advanced."


Yeah little things like changing a hammer on to a bend or just adding a little bit of vibrato can make huge changes.
#9
Quote by s-o-u-l-f-l-y
8 years? I'm sure you're just being overly critical of yourself.

Learning vibrato and incorporating vibrato into bends was something that made my playing sound more "advanced."


Vibrato can not be given enough credit as being one of the most important guitar skills to have. I thought I was really horrible for a long time and started recording myself and realized it was my vibrato was uneven and clumsy, after some focused practicing it has been very expressive and makes my playing sound WAY better.
#10
Quote by Keth
Instead of thinking monophonic (a single musical line), think polyphonic (multiple parts).

This
#11
A- you're doing fine, but you're being too much of a perfectionist

OR

B- you suck at writing music

Which do you prefer?? Those are you're two options :P

The solution for A is obvious, but B requires changing your view of creativity and refining your tastes (or perhaps identifying them if you haven't yet).
What do you guys listen to when playing video games?
Quote by DemonicSamurai

Quote by T3hdude

Men fapping.


Sorry, didn't realize I was that loud.

I'll be leaving your closet now.
#12
Quote by fupashredder
Bah!! Everything I play is boring.

All I do is play major or minor scales, pentatonic, and use helpin or minor chords.

I know modes but they are not helping.

I don't know what to do. Fingerstyle?? Tapping?? I can't get musically creative with either of those.

This is so frustrating I have been playing for 8 years and can't write $hit! Should I just do some meth??


Instead of focusing on random techniques and random "theory" that you've learned online, why not focus on the one thing that your missing...... playing music on that thing. Or you could always just do some meth.
shred is gaudy music
#13
If we're talking about writing, you can't force a good song. All the song's that I've written that I think are even decent have come from just ****ing around for a few minutes. Maybe it's me.

As for technique, everyone is right. Bends, vibrato, adding dynamics, all that good stuff will make you sound ten times better. Learn songs by ear, take cool licks you like and try to apply them to your playing, BE CREATIVE. Don't just copy and paste what you hear, do something different with it. Easier said than done but it's well worth the effort.
Last edited by jburde at Sep 2, 2011,
#14
Experiment with different things. I remember sitting around trying to pick a vibrato I liked. Eventually I just stopped doing that and my vibrato is what it is. Pretty wide usually, but not Zakk Wylde wide. If you go too wide I think it tends to slow you down for the next lick, because vibrato takes a bit of muscular strength, which a lot of you guys would call tension. But I went off a little. Yeah, vibrato will go a long way. Vibrato is a LOT of what gives a player their own style. You find a vibrato that sounds good (not weak) and your technique and everything will improve as well.
"To this day I don't have a guitar idol. I have people who are my favorites." - Randy Rhoads
#15
study phrasing.

do you know theory? because if not, you don't really know your scales, and you certainly don't know modes. in which case, it's time to study theory, as well.

you should also get in the habit of studying music. listening attentively and trying to identify what's going on using your ear. and if your ear isn't trained, that's another thing.

i took only one look at your post and i already saw four major lapses -- phrasing, theory, listening, and ear training. if i think of any more i'll post them.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#17
Quote by jburde
If we're talking about writing, you can't force a good song. All the song's that I've written that I think are even decent have come from just ****ing around for a few minutes. Maybe it's me.

As for technique, everyone is right. Bends, vibrato, adding dynamics, all that good stuff will make you sound ten times better. Learn songs by ear, take cool licks you like and try to apply them to your playing, BE CREATIVE. Don't just copy and paste what you hear, do something different with it. Easier said than done but it's well worth the effort.


Agreed completley thats exactly how I do it. The problem is most people get into the mindset of being forced or obligated to write something "good" which is a huge negative on the process of being creative because you are trying to force it rather than letting it flow naturally. Creativity cant be forced it comes and goes whenever it feels like it which is why I always try to keep some sort of recording device handy. Nothing will piss you off more than having a great idea in your head and not being able to remember it later.

And yes the biggest sign that youve learned something completley is applying it to your own playing and adding your own style to it. I take lessons but usually what I do with each weeks lesson is to figure out the pattern to what my teacher showed me then apply it to my own songs or playing. It shows understanding if you can apply it instead of just playing it exactly as its written.
Ibanez RG7321
Jackson Randy Rhoads V with Floyd Rose
Peavey Valveking 112
Digitech RP70 Guitar Processor
#18
Dude, I always tell my parents I'm going to start doing meth so I get better at guitar. I'm not seriously going to do that, it's just funny that you said that.
#19
Quote by jburde
If we're talking about writing, you can't force a good song. All the song's that I've written that I think are even decent have come from just ****ing around for a few minutes. Maybe it's me.

As for technique, everyone is right. Bends, vibrato, adding dynamics, all that good stuff will make you sound ten times better. Learn songs by ear, take cool licks you like and try to apply them to your playing, BE CREATIVE. Don't just copy and paste what you hear, do something different with it. Easier said than done but it's well worth the effort.


I think this is a good answer and I also agree with the reply about taking a break. Although I risk sounding cheesy I often take some time out and just find new music that inspires me (or dig out old stuff that inspires me) and just spend some time listening to it. Less playing and more listening is sometimes good....it kinda reminds you why you decided to play the guitar in the first place.
#20
a lot of good tips on here. one thing that helps me a lot is to learn melody lines to songs. take "get back" by the beatles as an example. learn the vocal melody. learn the phrasing and the theory behind it. You'll really get to see how theory is working. modes/scales are just numbers until you turn them into music. try to get all the phrasing right too not just the notes. take a small section at a time and really digest it.
#21
I think a lot of people get bored by their playing, try to add a new mode or scale, and remain bored -

- because they're still thinking in terms of shapes on a fretboard rather than notes of music.

Work on your ear until you get to the place where you can think in music. Then work on your understanding of theory - not as rules in a book but as relationships between different sounds. You may well need to connect your imagination to your ability to play, but you need to do that through musical ideas, rather than technical or physical ones. Adding a new technical skill won't build that connection. Stuff like ear training and theory are considerd core concepts for a reason!
#22
You're thinking in terms of scales... you are not creating a melody. Thinking of technique... not melody. You need to make music... bottom line i guess. If you get bored, a technique isn't going to magically help you out of a rut... and nor will a "new" scale. But your ear will. As will thinking outside the box. Here's a challenge for you. Create a piece at 50bpm... nothing faster than a triplet 8th is allowed. This will in turn force you to have a strong melody line, or at least help you create one. If it doesn't, then do some meth and play at 42bpm and use nothing faster than a 1/4 note.
#23
Quote by fupashredder
Bah!! Everything I play is boring.

All I do is play major or minor scales, pentatonic, and use helpin or minor chords.

I know modes but they are not helping.

I don't know what to do. Fingerstyle?? Tapping?? I can't get musically creative with either of those.

This is so frustrating I have been playing for 8 years and can't write $hit! Should I just do some meth??

well there is a lot you can do with just the diatonic and pentatonic scales. try learning different scale sequences or try doing some interval jumps.
#24
What you really need is a new amp.

I think you should take a break and analyze songs.

Edit, and what evolution said.
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#25
Just play with confidence.

You've been playing for 8 years! That's a long fckin time. You probably know/can play more/better than 80% of guitar players. Just play whatever your playing with your full passion, no hesitation and self doubt.

Having a better amp, or guitar or effects is not going to make you sound good. Because the problem is not with the equipment but with yourself. You are to worried about whether or not what you're playing sounds good.

The casual listener doesn't know if what you're playing is difficult or good. They take their clues by how you perform it. If you're playing and are worried about what they're thinking about it - it will show on your face and in your playing. If you play confidently, you can play anything and it will appear good - just watch some Jack White videos (i keed[but seriously]).

Just play.
Last edited by Nitnatsnok at Sep 6, 2011,
#26
Try to play without any of your standard-riffs/licks whatever... and listen close to what you are playing, sometimes it are the slower "easy" parts that sound right and good and not the technical monuments...
i am lefthanded and after playing 4 years a friend of mine gave me his right-handed strat and i wanted to play some stuff on it. so i had the same musical knowledge and i knew how to play a guitar and the patterns and so on, but had no skill in playing this way. so i had to think exact about what i wanted to play and had the time to listen close to my playing... of course i sound better when playing lefthandend but it made me think about what i wanted to play and what i wanted to sound... some kind of inspiration...
#27
Quote by fupashredder
Bah!! Everything I play is boring.

All I do is play major or minor scales, pentatonic, and use helpin or minor chords.

I know modes but they are not helping.

I don't know what to do. Fingerstyle?? Tapping?? I can't get musically creative with either of those.

This is so frustrating I have been playing for 8 years and can't write $hit! Should I just do some meth??



You wanna know how to write better music? First off, stop thinking about writing music. The completely wrong approach to go about writing is to force yourself to write. For me I just sit there jamming in the key I plan on writing until I come up with a perfect intro riff. After that it all comes naturally. You can't sit there planning on whats gonna be next. You gotta let if flow out of you.
#28
Quote by arsenic27
You wanna know how to write better music? First off, stop thinking about writing music. The completely wrong approach to go about writing is to force yourself to write. For me I just sit there jamming in the key I plan on writing until I come up with a perfect intro riff. After that it all comes naturally. You can't sit there planning on whats gonna be next. You gotta let if flow out of you.

i gotta disagree with pretty much everything you said. wanna know how to write better music? practice writing music.
#29
Figure out why you like the music you listen to. I'm going to guess it's something to do with "melody" rather than scales or other random things you've youtubed.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#30
Quote by z4twenny
i gotta disagree with pretty much everything you said. wanna know how to write better music? practice writing music.



I've written up to about 3 albums of progressive metal songs and I'm telling you, if you sit there and focus yourself and force yourself to write material you are gonna be unsatisfied in the end. I can't sit there and force myself to write a song or it will turn out not to my liking. I usually forget about writing a song, jam in the key I want, and eventually I'll find a lick that can unfold itself and take up a majority of the time in a song.

It only takes one amazing riff to set a mood for a song and encourage other similar riffs to be written off of.
#31
Quote by arsenic27
I've written up to about 3 albums of progressive metal songs and I'm telling you, if you sit there and focus yourself and force yourself to write material you are gonna be unsatisfied in the end. I can't sit there and force myself to write a song or it will turn out not to my liking. I usually forget about writing a song, jam in the key I want, and eventually I'll find a lick that can unfold itself and take up a majority of the time in a song.

It only takes one amazing riff to set a mood for a song and encourage other similar riffs to be written off of.


i've written countless pieces for orchestra, choir, chambers, bands, and many more settings, and i'm telling you -- if i just sat around and didn't concentrate on writing music, 95% of those works wouldn't be complete.

writing music is a skill. it is something that can (and is to be) learned. there's a lot more to music than riffs. if you give me a melody, i can write a three-minute piece based around it -- for any instrumentation you might need. not to mention that, as a professional composer, you need to be able to meet deadlines. unless, of course, you manage to hit it big with a band.

maybe jamming around does it for you, and that's fine -- but others hear the music they want to write before we even play it. we know what we want it to sound like, and we write it down. trial-and-error doesn't cut it for us, because we already know what our final product needs to be.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#32
Quote by AeolianWolf
i've written countless pieces for orchestra, choir, chambers, bands, and many more settings, and i'm telling you -- if i just sat around and didn't concentrate on writing music, 95% of those works wouldn't be complete.

writing music is a skill. it is something that can (and is to be) learned. there's a lot more to music than riffs. if you give me a melody, i can write a three-minute piece based around it -- for any instrumentation you might need. not to mention that, as a professional composer, you need to be able to meet deadlines. unless, of course, you manage to hit it big with a band.

maybe jamming around does it for you, and that's fine -- but others hear the music they want to write before we even play it. we know what we want it to sound like, and we write it down. trial-and-error doesn't cut it for us, because we already know what our final product needs to be.


Teacher: AeolianWolf! Why haven't you handed in your sonata!
AoelianWolf: Sorry sir, inspiration just hasn't hit me yet.
Teacher: Fair enough. Get it to me when it does.

It actually seems to me that the ability to meet deadlines is the essential difference between an amateur and a professional artist. If I pay you to do a drawing of a dog, I want it next week. I don't want your perfect version of a dog when you get around to it.

Likewise, if I tell someone in my band to learn or write their part for a song, I expect it to be done next week. Not when they get in the inspirational mood.

If you want to take music, art or anything seriously on any level, you have to possess the ability to work with time frames and producing results. When you order food you expect it to come immediately. You don't expect the cook to go "well, I don't feel like cooking today".

So the question is then "how do I write when I'm not in the mood for writing?". Well I'll give you a little tip. Nobody wants to do their job 9 - 5, 5 days a week. But they do it. Just start forcing yourself to write, and you'll get better not only and producing works on request within timeframes, but also at producing quality songs in that amount of time.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#33
Quote by jburde
If we're talking about writing, you can't force a good song. All the song's that I've written that I think are even decent have come from just ****ing around for a few minutes. Maybe it's me.

As for technique, everyone is right. Bends, vibrato, adding dynamics, all that good stuff will make you sound ten times better. Learn songs by ear, take cool licks you like and try to apply them to your playing, BE CREATIVE. Don't just copy and paste what you hear, do something different with it. Easier said than done but it's well worth the effort.


Yes, finally someone gets it. This is ultimate-guitar.com not the songwriters workshop, no offense to those orchestral writers. I know that some people are saying that they are professional composers and I respect that cause I plan on becoming one soon, but writing songs for orchestra and writing songs for guitar are completely different and use a different part of the brain to do so.

I know with orchestra you know how you want it to sound and all and there is always multiple harmonies stacked in, but with guitar there is only room for 2-4 harmonies or else it just starts sounding like too much.

This guy has it right, if you force yourself, on guitar, to write music I guarantee you won't like it, or you will be dissatisfied with at least one aspect of it. Forget about it, relax and jam until you start finding good leads on a song. Once you do so, you should write the song down first before you work on dynamics, then you can add your vibratos, bends, slides, volume swells, pickslides, ect...

I know this goes against how music is taught and how most people expect music to be composed, but utilize guitar pro. If your playing guitar, it's really hard to write music in note format. Idk exactly why, but notes/key/scales confuses the **** outta me by reading them in note version. I prefer using tab. If you don't have guitar pro, then get it. I've been using guitar pro for about 6 years and it's taken me about 3 years on this program to start writing amazing stuff. It takes awhile to get the hang of it, but don't lose hope for confidence in yourself. Even if you don't like a riff, put it on guitar pro and see if you can do something or take an aspect of it to change and have it sound good.

There is many riffs I've made back in the day that I can't stand the sound of, but eventually I'd come and change the key and take certain aspects of each song that had a riff that I liked and I built a whole new song out of one riff. Sure, maybe you don't like that whole song you wrote, but there is definitely one riff that motivated you to write it that you still think is a good riff. Take out that one riff and work with it to create a whole new song. Change the key, add dynamics, work on transitions.

The key to writing good music is transitions. Focus on getting all your transitions flowing. A song should sound like one giant transition and if it doesn't then it isn't musically genius. Transitions is what gets me stuck on writing music. Think of it this way though... Lets say you have a bad-ass riff you can't think of a transition to. Alright, now look at the very ending of your bad-ass riff: The starting of your transition should be really similar to the ending of your riff. Start off maybe with a similar pattern or variation of notes, but then as the second riff goes on is when you change it. So the ending of the first riff should sound similar to the starting of the second riff. That is one way to come up with a transition if you can't think of one. And if that doesn't work for you, try having the transition be a really small riff that the ending of the transition leads into the third riff.

There is multiple ways to do this, but if your struggling on writing, then don't give up. You'll figure something soon.
#34
What we have here is a musically educated vs. semi musically educated approaches. In my own experience educated beats semi educated hands down. I went from not even knowing the notes on the open strings to learning the major scale and immediately I went from coming up with pretty icky sounding riffs to actually writing great sounding melodies.

Stop making excuses about not being able to understand music theory. It's easier than middle school algebra class. Writing for guitar and writing for an orchestra use the same part of your brain, because you're doing the same thing. Unless you have no clue what you're doing on guitar, then its less analysis and more fine motor skills.

This is the music theory forum, not the 'playing random frets on a guitar until it sounds good, forum'
What do you guys listen to when playing video games?
Quote by DemonicSamurai

Quote by T3hdude

Men fapping.


Sorry, didn't realize I was that loud.

I'll be leaving your closet now.
#35
Quote by AlanHB
Figure out why you like the music you listen to. I'm going to guess it's something to do with "melody" rather than scales or other random things you've youtubed.


Nah, the "Secret Mode" will help him.
#36
These "debates" tend to be two people with perfectly valid points talking past each other, on different tangents.

Here's how I'd rephrase arsenic's view: some people need to have a relaxed mind in order to write music by themselves. If they over-intellectualize it, they bump into writer's block because they get lost in the details. In order to be pleased with the results, they can't see it as an artificial construction. They get a feeling that they are lost in technicalities when trying to create the next part, and in this sense "trying too hard" because it is not naturally flowing. They feel a need to be inspired, whether that be by other musicians or just in the right frame of mind. That's just how some people work and it's quite common for musicians to be frustrated this way.

The "opposing" view: in a "professional" (vocational) context, you have responsibilities that can't be waived, and there are very clear goals that are expected to be met. If you're an employee, you have to do stuff. If you're a student, you have to turn assignments in. There are no excuses. You have to produce a certain amount or kind of material.

We're talking about completely different contexts really. It's the difference between being a normal musician at home trying to write music and being Frank Zappa or a band with specific requests by those who hire them to produce certain material on a deadline. Presumably, the OP isn't trying to be Bach, or a film score composer, or a studio musician. They're concerned with their own creativity.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Sep 11, 2011,
#37
I'm far from a professional writer, but I certainly don't need to feel inspired to write a song. All I do is pick and chord and decide where I want to go from there.

I think those that feel that music theory stifles creativity, don't fully understand the basic concepts of harmony, and so can't use theory to create music. All they know is the notes in a key and how to make a chord, but they don't understand how to use this knowledge.

Because of this they start to feel that music theory is dumb and squashes emotion, so they abandon it and continue on in the darkness, whilst spreading their incorrect notions about music theory to everyone else they can.
What do you guys listen to when playing video games?
Quote by DemonicSamurai

Quote by T3hdude

Men fapping.


Sorry, didn't realize I was that loud.

I'll be leaving your closet now.
#38
I think those that feel that music theory stifles creativity, don't fully understand the basic concepts of harmony, and so can't use theory to create music. All they know is the notes in a key and how to make a chord, but they don't understand how to use this knowledge.


This I agree with. But it's not what I was thinking of. If people are making excuses for not knowing music theory, then that's a problem. What I see, though, is people feeling like they are in a creative rut in general, theory or not. And brushing up on music theory, by itself, will not "teach you how to be creative" (a contradiction in terms). It will give you tools to be creative with, but it's ultimately you that has to be creative with the tools.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Sep 11, 2011,
#39
Yup, creativity can only be learned from analysis. Something that for some reason doesn't get taught anywhere.
What do you guys listen to when playing video games?
Quote by DemonicSamurai

Quote by T3hdude

Men fapping.


Sorry, didn't realize I was that loud.

I'll be leaving your closet now.
#40
Try taking one of your favorite guitar players solo's and transcribe it, then let that phrasing sink in and steal some licks!! also work on your rythmic phrasing, try starting phrases on different parts of the beat.
Try to transcribe by ear, by using tabs you only sabotage yourself.
Maybe some interval excersizes to help you break up the scale and make it a little more interesting.
I think its already been said but sing what you play, it will give you a more "vocal" sound and help your phrasing.
your a wreck, an accident, forget the freak your just nature, keep the gun oiled and the temple clean, shit snort and blaspheme, let the heads cool and the engine run, because in the end everything we do is just everything we've done.
-corey taylor
Page 1 of 2