#1
I'm a fairly component guitar player, can play advanced techniques like arpeggios, multiple finger tapping, etc.

However when it comes to putting together basic songs I struggle. I can play stuff like between the buried and me fine but when someone asks me to play at parties or events I often shy away.

I guess it's down to the fact I can play electric guitar but not acoustic. I've tried going to various sites like justinguitar, but all I ever seem to find is really basic basic theory that I already know.

I've even bought a couple of books but they just list out hundreds of chords rather then teaching me know to put them together.

I'd love to be able to come up with my own songs along the lines of City and Color, Jack Johnson, etc.


Can someone help point me in the right direction?

Thanks
#2
Train your ear and write a melody first.

You don't write a song by looking up theoretical concepts in a book. You write a song by hearing it in your head and translating that music to your voice and your instrument. Therefore, you must must must have a trained ear. (Download the functional ear trainer from Miles.Be and get a good book on ear training; I recommend Wyatt et al.'s "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician.")

The other thing to do is write a melody first. I see a lot of guitarists get stuck writing a guitar part first, and then having a hard time connecting it to a melody. So spend some time paying attention to melodies to get a sense of how they work - your ear training will help with this - and try to work that way.

Eventually you'll want to learn more theory, but I haven't read a good book on the specifics of songwriting yet, so I'd advise that you don't approach theory from a songwriting perspective but get a good workbook on it and just develop your basic knowledge. As you understand it, it will filter into your music.
#3
Get onto amazon and look up the Little Black Book series. They have heaps of songs with just the chords in them. If you're at a party, people want to hear Top 40 / pop music. Even look at the top 100 tabs on this site, they're mostly popular songs that people like to hear.

Go from there.