Not sure if this is in the right section...

I've had a good thought lately. I'm a bedroom player and I've been playing and learning for almost three years now. For three years I've been learning some theory, practicing technique and learning how to play songs. I learn one, play it for a while, then move on to the next song, learn it, play it, etc... Sometimes I dedicate a day in a week just to play songs I've learned and I'll mix in some improv over backing tracks (althought I don't do this very often as I'm awful at improv and I always go for the cliche licks and riffs).

Then it hit me, I have nothing to show for all this practice. To put it metaphorically I've got tools but I've never used them! I've never attempted to write music. So I want to start writing music for my own songs but I don't know where to start in terms of genre as I like a lot of different things. For example, if I revisit a genre I haven't listened to in some time like a band like The Stone Roses and I'll think "I really like this, this is a breath of fresh air, I think I want to play this style of guitar". But then I'll begin to listen to something else such as Deftones and I'll think the same thing! Obviously there was the time when I first started playing and I enjoyed listening to bands like Megadeth then I quickly realised that it wasn't much fun playing those songs.

Anyway to sum up the wall of text, as a fan of many different genres of music, how long did it take you to think "Yes, this is the style I'm going to go for, this is the path of playing I'm going to take" and how did you make that decision?
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hmmm. tough question. I would say in some ways I STILL haven't found my sound after 7 years of playing.

Sure, I can take any song you give me (within certain genre boundaries) and make it sound like 'me' and I have numerous cover versions of songs (as well as originals) where I play things my own 'way' (I even go as far as to modify melodies, chord choices, and add/change phrasing), but as far as the sound itself goes, I feel like there's still a part of it that needs to be shaped.

Don't get me wrong, I'm more than proficient at my instrument, but there's certain aspects of tone that need to be fleshed out as well as the way I play things. It comes out damn near where I want it to be every time, but it's like I'm still one step behind where I want to be (and it's funny. I've felt this way since after a year of playing).

As far as how long it took me to get to where I'm almost happy with where I am? I'd say that every year after 4, but looking back, I feel like I sucked compared to where I was even last year, so it's a sort of progressive thing.

EDIT: Thom Yorke put it pretty well once when describing Radiohead's King of Limbs (and I'm paraphrasing): The album was only a snapshot of where they all were in their musical journey at the time.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Jul 19, 2013,
Quote by macashmack
Within a minute.

This. My band didn't have to search for a sound, we just did our thing and there it was. Personally, I think that if you have to actively search for your sound then... well, you're kind of doing it wrong. Do what comes naturally.
Why do you feel like you have to restrict yourself to a single genre after you "choose" it? Play the music you want. When you write music, draw on your experiences from all of the different genres you enjoy playing to create your own personal style that is unique to you. Playing the guitar isn't as strict as you make it sound.
tl;dr? just skim the bold print and you'll get the gist. Dont wanna read at all? Check the very last sentence

Well I first heard rock music at 14 with Guitar Hero and I couldn't help myself. I caught a bug and wrote songs to fit the bands I liked (ie, only bands I've heard). I swear, Lenny Kravitz, Aerosmith, Linkin Park, and Shinedown coulda made a fortune offa me heh.

A year and a half later, I picked up the guitar hoping to be the next Angus Young, Jimi Hendrix, or whatever...I picked it up and did what you did. learn other people's songs. First it was just simple blues rock like that which I was going for then I gotta hold of vh1 Classic then the games Guitar Hero. Needless to say, I hold Sam Dunn in very high regards along the bands themselves (and at times, beyond).

I went through the classic metalhead life cycle. At first the only modern metal song I knew was Our Truth by Lacuna Coil. Everything else was Black Sabbath worship, Lemmy love, and Iron Maiden's lapdog. After a few years of the "young metalhead" stage, my lady and I became born again and went though that naive stage of searching for Christian versions of the bands we already like. I somehow was then introduced to Nightwish and I learned that I was a goth soon after once realizing that everything goth was about, I was myself. I started listening to more and more gothic stuff finding out why I liked that song from LC so much.

Soon after (still just playing covers of everyone else's music) I was still in that young metalhead stage, including hatred of nu metal and glam metal, I looked up more Sam Dunn stuff and religiously watched Metal Evolution. Eye Opener indeed. I grew a new respect for all things musically and stopped caring about what ppl like. I also learned that Nightwish was considered a subgenre of Power Metal thus, power metal became my favorite subgenre (until I found out it's full of Sturgeon's 2nd Law). Anyway I found Brutal Legend soon after and Tim Schafer received the same love from me as Sam Dunn received.

From this I learned of so much more than I would never hear otherwise. I looked up more n more all the while playing everyone's songs. After a few more months, I started writing again but this time I stripped the sounds away from the songs I typically wrote that I hated, and added more of what I thought good music was. I added in female vocals since my girl an I talked about a band someday and each song brought about new instruments in my mind. Then I even began writing songs that'd fit into a concept album with the main character being named Lydia which is how I found the Lydian mode (which turned out to be perfect for what I wanted). Eventually I finally decided on which instruments would universally fit every song. My dream of being a rockstar was slowly easing away from the heaviest of metals to the realms of making good music.

I stopped writing in where I wanted a solo (usually was the intro or after the second chorus *cough*) and focused more on making my songs more enjoyable. I then focused on non-celebrated guitarists such as Emppu V. of Nightwish and Ben Moody of WATF and early Evanescence. I tried to play their stuff but the progressions were different. "Where's the power chords, Brah?" I didn't know how to play em heh.

After a few months of nothingness (2 months ago), I kinda realized that after 2 and a half years I didn't know jack shxt about guitar OR music! I only used UG for tabs (before moving to www.songsterr.com/ That ish is awesome) and I only asked "how do I play like X". I met the revelation that to be any good with playing anything other than power chords, I have to learn theory.

Only a month or so in (now) I have seen MAJOR improvements to my playing and it has helped my songwriting. I'm so surprised at how I every thing that I learn fits so easily into the context of one of my songs. If it doesn't, I'll write a song as an example and though a good bit was crap, I've made leaps n bounds.

Moral of the story, don't be a snob, learn theory, be yourself.

...Oh, and to answer your question? 4 years...4 long roadblock years.
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

To be a good lead guitar you must be VERY GOOD AT RYTHM

Quote by MaggaraMarine
My motto: Play what the song needs you to play!
I don't count the time when I started playing guitar. I wasn't making music then.

So from the time I started to try to make music, to the time I found my 'sound'... maybe four years. Although I can write almost anything now, my own style that I naturally write in when left to my own devices developed over four or so years before it truly shone out.
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Last edited by Dayn at Jul 20, 2013,
I figured out what I really wanted to do before I even started playing. As for my sound? That took 7 years, and even then, I still haven't fully found it, I've just recently started noticing compositional and arranging patterns in my music, and I'm beginning to know when a song for my band sounds like my band.
It doesn't matter.

Play what you want to play.

As you write more music, your style will start to define itself for you. Don't shut down avenues because "that's not what I want to play" - just keep writing, keep exploring.

And then at some point you'll look at your collection of songs and say, "Oh, that's what this is. Cool."

But until then, really don't worry about it.
Quote by HotspurJr
It doesn't matter.

Play what you want to play.

As you write more music, your style will start to define itself for you. Don't shut down avenues because "that's not what I want to play" - just keep writing, keep exploring.

And then at some point you'll look at your collection of songs and say, "Oh, that's what this is. Cool."

But until then, really don't worry about it.

I keep seeing this a lot. I personally never hold myself to a certain sound/style when writing...but I do know that certain songs are better played by another artist. I have written pop type songs, blues, rap, but I save those for friends or artists who might buy my music someday.
Theory is just...wow. I'm getting a bit over my head by trying to learn so much w/o formal educators

To be a good lead guitar you must be VERY GOOD AT RYTHM

Quote by MaggaraMarine
My motto: Play what the song needs you to play!
Don't let a genre or artist alter your deep down sound too much. Keep playing and work on the writing thing to come up with your sound. Songs that you would love to listen to, but don't exist, would be a great project to aim towards.
Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all.
You start to find your own sound after composing for awhile. After a few years I had developed my own sound. It really only takes about 2 or 3 years and then most everything else is smooth sailing from there.
I don't really have one sound. I've got some more techno songs, metal song, punk songs, rock songs, classical songs. I just write what I hear.
*can't concentrate enough to read all those posts*

I have been playing for around 6 years now, and haven't found my sound yet. But, I am close, finding it as I learn theory and stuff for my violin.

Anyways, I realize now, that I love all genres of music, and can't choose just one. I found that I prefer finger picking rather than using a pick like my teacher taught me, and I like to slow down fast songs, and speed up slow songs Also like adding little things to attach chords I guess, like I will play an F chord, then hit open low E, then play a G chord. Also like to add a melody I guess to any chords I play, so I could play the melody rather than the chords, and still have it sound similar(can't wait until I can play the melody on the violin in a back track to keep the guitar on time and add singing above that along with the next instrument I learn).

Anyways, still looking for my sound
i think when i started really getting into bowie is when i started finding my true path. it inspired me to do my own thing, have more confidence in myself, the ability to be a character when i sing or perform or write which i find makes things easier, the style of music he played is very much what i want to do as well. more of the earlier stuff than in the 80's onward. or at least some of that vibe as well as my other influences like clapton and hendrix and old blues stuff and rock n roll classics and maybe some pink floyd and todd rundgren thrown in the mix and some eric johnson inspired guitar work. maybe some beatles like bouncy piano stuff, or some zeppelin like hard rock. i guess my style is not any one thing, it's based a lot on 50's 60's and 70's music so there is a certain sound i suppose. but i also have some bluegrass songs and jazzy things, i have a chet atkins style instrumental i wrote, really i just get bored and find something new to catch my ear and then try to write some songs in that style and then move on. lately i've been getting back into old motown stuff and want to write some stuff like that.

as far as guitar playing goes, i probably sound like joe bonamassa in the sense that i go for that 60's clapton type tone and i use a lot of clapton licks and do the eric johnson thing too. but i also do a lot of fluid rolling lines that are inspired by jazz and fusion guitarists and horn players and stevie wonder's harmonica playing. i don't usually write music for this kind of playing though. most of my songs have short solos or even none at all. i play all the instruments so i find i can focus on the song as a whole more than just an excuse to solo.
I've been playing for 10 years now, and I'm still "finding my sound".

I should clarify. It's not like I don't have a basic type of sound I favor. I basically write Prog Metal. But I have songs that have Doom Metal influences, other songs that I'd describe as Progressive Thrash Metal, some songs that are influenced by Led Zeppelin (a la "No Quarter"), and on and on. My influences are wide and varied; and they constantly expand as I find sounds/ideas I like from a wide variety of sources. But basically, I'd say there's a lot of Progressive experimentation in my music.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 25, 2013,