Hey UG guys, im in a small band (no name yet) and ive written a couple songs with just lyrics, but im havin trouble gettin a basic guitar part for em, since i wanna have a defined rythm before i show my favorite one to the band guys to fully orchestrate. ive been playin guitar for round 4 years, and have some basic-moderate theory under my belt, but ill admit im not too good at improv. any tips, website suggestions or whatever will be appreciated, thanks!
Do you have a defined key?

Do you know diatonic harmony and can you analyze simple songs and say, "Ah there's a I bVII ii V I"?

Do you know cadences?

Are you familiar with Modal Interchange, voice leading and modulation?

Are you comfortable with slash chords and inversions (not always the same thing)?


jaime? dude if you just want just show us the lyrics and hum the melody and well figure out the chord

in the likely case that you arent my band member jaime if you have a melody try humming it and figuring out what key its in and what chords would fit over it
play the I IV V progression.
C, F, G.

google up some and see what you can come up with, key is just as important as progression though. The E.g i use was in the key of C major, which is pretty happy sounding.
If you want something sadder go for I iii IV, or Dm, F, Am.
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to answer everyones q's, i have the key in my head but i cant figure out for the life of my what it is, the stuff ur sayin is above my theory knowlege so far, im still takin classes since my school has a 4 year AP program for theory, and im certainly not jaime. matching pitch is the big thing im bad at, im good at most other things for guitar but finding and getting in pitch is hard for me. thanks for the comments, everything helps.
Quote by Shaggycarpet
nope, kinda an idea of what i want but nothing solid

well try to work on a melody or just play chords and sing it how it would sound we cant really write the meldy for you...
Quote by Shaggycarpet
nope, kinda an idea of what i want but nothing solid

If you cannot communicate something tangible, you might want to flesh out your own ideas a bit more before recruiting others.

Definitely consider learning theory, and especially applying it so that you understand how it works in practice. Also when you start writing, start simply, don't take on some major, epic progressive thing if you cannot pull off the basics.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Jan 9, 2012,
Quote by Shaggycarpet
nope, kinda an idea of what i want but nothing solid

Then trying to come up with a guitar part is a waste of time.

Or, rather, there are really two ways that seem to work for me to write songs:

1) Start with lyrics+melody, find chords that work with it.

2) Start with interesting idea on guitar, find melody+lyrics that work with it.

But the thing is that there's a connection between the melody and the chords.

At the simplest, the idea is that you find chords that contain the melody notes. There can be more to it than that, but for example, if I had a melody that went C-G-D-A I could do, as one of many possibilities, C major over the C and the G, then D minor over the D and A. That would work, but might not be the strongest possibility.

But without a melody you can't do that, and most of the time the chords themselves aren't that interesting without a melody on top of them. (Obviously sometimes this isn't the case - but a lot of great songs have very simple chords which exist entirely to support the melody).

Somebody else has suggested learning theory, but I think it's more important to develop your ear. Developing your ear will make it so that vague idea in your head about what you want becomes specific, and you have the skills to translate that into music. It will help you come up with worthwhile melodies.

Worrying about what key you should be in is silly at this point. As is suggesting a specific chord progression. Develop your ear. Write a melody. Then worry about creating a guitar part for it.
you know what, im just gonna write a guitar part that sounds good and worry about the lyrics after, i can change the rythms n whatever of the lyrics i have and i think thats gonna be alot easier since making good sounding progressions is easy for me. the guy in r band who writes all our songs so far can help me out too. i just hope the other guys like this stuff. thanks for the suggestions.