#1
Hey everyone, first id like to apologize if this is a topic brought up way too often.

But, i'm currently in a local metal band (influences - metallica, machine head, trivium, as i lay dying, children of bodom, even goes as light as old linkin park, three days grace, etc.) - A big point of this is to say no, im not looking to write breakdowns every 10 seconds.

Anyway, I can't seem to write material anymore. I've developed a music ear, to the point where i can usually play a scale starting with any note/any string (i have never learned real scales though), so i know some notes to use.

Everytime i pick up the guitar, i try just jamming around for ideas, but i end up just playing a song from a band because im tired to hearing random/boring sounding jams.

Any songwriting tips? With the latest wave of metal it seems technicality is becoming popular. Should i just dive deep into music theory? (chris broderick is a huge inspiration of this)

Thanks everyone!
#2
Quote by Saruko27

Any songwriting tips? With the latest wave of metal it seems technicality is becoming popular. Should i just dive deep into music theory? (chris broderick is a huge inspiration of this)


Can you hear something in a metal song and quickly and easily find it on your guitar without a lot of hunting and pecking?
#3
yep, probly the only exception being shred solos, seeing how i'd have to slow down the song or take a really long time on it
#5
Sort of. I see quite often that im not as excited when a riff isnt technical enough. But at the same time i really love a nice heavy/thrash riff.

Even when i try to spend time writing a heavy middle to a song, i just find myself saying "I can only think of borrowing/stealing X band's middle/heavy breakdown."

(Note: i 97% of the time trash a riff if it reminds me too much of another band's)
#6
Don't worry too much about a riff sounding a lot like other band's riffs, 'cause that will be inevitable. I would advise you to really soak in the music of the bands that you love, and if you find yourself getting tired of it then branch out in either some other form of Metal or a different genre all together.
#7
i think it takes time to mature and reconcile being a songwriter while wanting to play technical stuff. spend more time listening to music and analyzing songs as a whole, even if it's just on a basic level like "hey, they start out really really heavy but the second half of the song is pretty chill, i like it".
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#8
Songwriting to me is just unique to everyone. Which is good because we have such diversity in songs, but can be hard to learn. I just recommend finding your own style not worry too much on sounding like anyone else because you never will. Also what helped me get out of a rut before is to put down the guitar (or just play enough to keep your chops up) and experience life. A lot of songwriters draw off of life, and it can be hard to get good material if all you do is play guitar lol.
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#10
Try writing with two different guitar parts, most of the time rock/metal just uses one single riff played by both guitars, with the bass doubling on the root an octave lower, and there's only so much you can do with that.
#11
I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this, as I think it's the first mistake many songwriters make. Basically, I think your problem lies in the fact that you write on guitar, that can lead to a lot of 'Yep, that'll do', in a practice room, and can lead to many of your riffs sounding the same, as you're playing what you can already play, and most likely playing things you've played before. I write almost exclusively with notation software nowadays, Guitar Pro, Sibelius, etc, and that's really helped my songwriting and has helped me in band situations as I can hand around wav files and notation when I've wrote a new song, and, more importantly, I'm writing riffs and melodies I'd have never thought of with a guitar in my hand, and the to this date, I've never given my band a song I've wrote with a guitar in my hand.

If this isn't possible (and if not, really look into buying Guitar Pro), then spend the day thinking of riffs in your head, little ideas and then play them on Guitar. You'll come up with some much more inspired stuff. I will say though, don't worry about riffs sounding similar, it'll happen at times, as long as you aren't nicking an ungodly famous riff, you'll be fine, though don't purposely rip off riffs.
#12
You say that you've developed a musical ear to some degree. May i ask how you learn tunes? Do you transcribe a lot of metal riffs and solos just by ear?

In my own experience, writing and improvisation in a particular style gets easier and better if you transcribe a lot of it. That is, learn it only by ear. I would say something in a similar fashion to something Victor Wooten have said. "Music is a language". When you learned to speak growing up you didn't start by taking up books of how to speak or how to talk properly, right? You learned by imitation, trying to mimic already fluent speakers. After you had done this for a couple of years, you could talk fluently. You do not have to think about what your going to say next everytime you talk now, do you? You just do it.

In my opinion this is the key to learning any style of music. Try to mimic it by ear, and lots of it. If you start doing it a lot it will have the same effect as when you learned how to talk. You will be able to play anything you want, and not think about it. You'll know how to get the sounds you want. And the more you learn by ear, the more ideas you'll get.

I hope that was helpful in any way. I am aware that it's only a concept, but i strongly believe in it. I advice you to start figuring out a lot of your favorite bands stuff only by ear. It will be tough at first, but in the long run it will be benefit you more than tabs/notation/videos etc.
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#13
A lot of awesome, abstract answers. Thanks guys! I have found life, and writing on something besides a guitar to be inspiring also! I just never spent the time to utilize them unfortunately! In all honesty, bands with a piano/keyboard player are one of my top inspiring bands. Metal and piano just works so nicely.

Quote by Sickz
You say that you've developed a musical ear to some degree. May i ask how you learn tunes? Do you transcribe a lot of metal riffs and solos just by ear?


I've mostly learned through tabs. I usually just play the tab alongside the track and listen for any abnormal or incorrect notes. Usually does the trick

Over the years, i have noticed the ability to transcribe on my own though. I've just never given a full song a try.

But again, thanks everyone. Some threads get really trolly answers, but really, really happy to hear feedback on this one!
#14
Technicality and theory are not the same thing. You can do wonderful things with theory that are not necessarily technical, whether it be an unusual chord progression or just a really outstanding harmony that you never would have thought of without learning theory.

Also, pay less attention to your guitar parts and more to the orchestration of the entire band. You could have the greatest guitar parts ever but if they are not in the right context then they are worthless wankings. Prog-ish bands like Ihsahn or Ne Obliviscaris are great examples of good orchestration where the guitar parts are not extremely complicated but the entire ensemble creates something truly special.

Thirdly, you desperately need to listen to different stuff. The bands you listed, to be brutally honest, are all painfully generic and uninspiring.. Learn from the masters, not the disasters.
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