#1
Hey gents,

I've been playing guitar for roughly 7 years, and in that time, writing has always been my favorite part of it. I've always loved it, never had difficulty writing...until the past year or so. I sat down this morning for FIVE HOURS trying to add one measly measure to a riff, and just couldn't do it. Nothing I tried sounded good. Whenever I try writing anymore, I just get pissed off at myself that I can't write anything that sounds 'good' to me like I used to. The last song I wrote that I thoroughly enjoyed was over 2 years ago. Can creativity in a person just die, or can musicians really just experience blocks that last, well, years?
#2
I think you just need a push. Some kind of emotion, or just an opinion about something. I mean, if you want to write something to that riff, ask yourself a question, why you want to add anything. If you don't know why and the only reason is "to add something", you have the answer.

If I were you, I'd try to play that song for about a half an hour at least, and improvise a lot around the melodies you wrote untill now.

Maybe try learning some music theory on composition?

Try
Try
Try

EDIT: http://www.musicradar.com/news/acoustic/40-ways-to-write-better-songs-581048 It can be quite useful
#3
another possibility is that your standards are getting higher
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#4
Quote by daniel.kPL
I think you just need a push. Some kind of emotion, or just an opinion about something. I mean, if you want to write something to that riff, ask yourself a question, why you want to add anything. If you don't know why and the only reason is "to add something", you have the answer.

If I were you, I'd try to play that song for about a half an hour at least, and improvise a lot around the melodies you wrote untill now.

Maybe try learning some music theory on composition?

Try
Try
Try

EDIT: http://www.musicradar.com/news/acoustic/40-ways-to-write-better-songs-581048 It can be quite useful


Thanks! Lots of useful information in the link.

And also, yes, my standards have definitely gone up with what I write. I'm picky by nature, and I think I've set a bar for myself that I just never seem to pass.
#5
^^^ Sounds like you're a "perfectionist". Pretty crappy trait that one.

How about you drop that attitude and just settle for "that sounds good".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#6
I always find my best riffs are the ones I put the least effort into writing. What I mean by that is I'm always happier when a melody "just comes to me" and I grab my guitar to try to play it, as opposed to sitting down and trying to force myself to come up with a great riff. I can always sit down and make myself write a song around something later, but it works best when it starts with something that just comes to me.

To remedy the problem, I'd say just put down the guitar for a little bit, relax and listen to some music. When you don't have music on or your guitar around hum some melodies till you get a neat riff. You could always change up the way you write, like think of a cool title and try to imagine how the music would sound. Just some ideas. Also, if you get frustrated trying to write, take a break, play something different, and maybe return to your writing later. It can help.
Last edited by ironmanben at Nov 13, 2013,
#8
This is a common problem that you have. It actually has nothing to do with music or music composition, or even creativity. You just don't know what you want. Try this and see if it works. In you head form a conceptual idea of where you want to take your idea before continuing your riff. And then write musical material from there.
Too many people just noodle around and try to connect ideas and while it isn't a bad approach, it takes too long to get anywhere to be useful unless you're rich and can spend a lot of time writing music.
#9
Maybe try writing for different instruments. Start with a bassline or a drumbeat or something with a strong rhythm. Or maybe start with lyrics/vocals or keyboards or whatever. It doesn't always have to be a guitar riff. Also analyze your ideas. Analyze their rhythm and what notes/chords you use. You could try using similar rhythm or similar chords - not necessarily the same chords and rhythms all the time but chords that have a similar feeling and rhythms that have a similar groove. That makes your songs flow. Also, if you haven't done it yet, add all instruments. Guitar riffs on their own are hard to make sound good. But once you add other instruments, it starts to sound a lot better.

Also maybe just think what you would like the song to sound like. What does the song need? I'm not necessarily talking about chords, notes or rhythms but more like feelings. Once you know the feeling of the song, it may be easier to come up with stuff that fits that feeling.
Quote by AlanHB
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#10
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Sounds like you're a "perfectionist". Pretty crappy trait that one.


I dunno, it's kind of a double-edged sword, really, like most things. It definitely has its downsides, but it has advantages, too. And while plenty of perfectionist types could likely tone that trait down a little, plenty of non-perfectionists could do with a little more perfectionism. I know in my experience very few people are a happy medium, they're either too perfectionist or not perfectionist enough. Neither of which is ideal, really.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#11
^^^ Well it works off the assumption that you, personally, are the measure of perfect. In reality it just means that you tend to overthink things abnd create extra work.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#12
that might be true when you're talking about creativity- with more objective things, not so much. a perfectionist probably won't be happy with a less than perfect score in a test, say, which is (normally) more objective.

also there are plenty of things that can make you create extra work, and plenty of those aren't necessarily related to perfectionism. I mean I'd say I have perfectionist tendencies and I utterly loathe "busywork". I'm pretty lazy too and always want to do the least work for the maximum return. plenty of people who like work for work's sake i'd say aren't perfectionists (because if they were they'd realise it was pointless and wasn't achieving anything).

and as i implied above, you can also underthink things
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#13
^^^ Yeah doing minimum work for maximum return isn't usually linked to a "perfectionist" trait. The personality I'm referring to couldn't write one measure of a song because it wasn't "perfect".

The SAT score thing, that's more working hard and smart. Overthinking isn't smart.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#14
Listen to some music you wouldn't normally listen to.

Don't overthink things. If you focus on perfection you'll never get out guitar riffs that people will love. (Seven Nation Army anyone?)

Get inspired by visiting a new place. Not talking a vacation but go check out somewhere in your city like a monument or art gallery.

Try learning a piece of music from a genre you wouldn't usually listen to, or try a new scale which could lead you down new roads.

Try doodling on a new instrument like piano or drums, you will find yourself thinking or riffs.

Something I do, and I may get some bad feedback on this, is to take some mind altering substances and sit down with your axe. Record everything you jam with your phone or other recorder. When you listen to it sober throw out the crap and keep the cool stuff.

Just a few ideas. Hope they help.
#15
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Yeah doing minimum work for maximum return isn't usually linked to a "perfectionist" trait. The personality I'm referring to couldn't write one measure of a song because it wasn't "perfect".

The SAT score thing, that's more working hard and smart. Overthinking isn't smart.


I dunno, I definitely do have some perfectionist traits But (like most things) I suspect everyone is a little different. And there are different things which might be considered perfectionist depending on how you look at it. Or things which might be considered perfectionism by some people which are actually subtly (but importantly) a little different- the *busywork* thing I mentioned, which tends to be more workaholism which isn't the same as perfectionism (far as i'm aware).

There are also different types of perfectionism, I think.

Plus I have the laziness thing which (somewhat) counteracts it as well (plus you could possibly make a case that doing minimum work for maximum return *is* perfectionism, too ).

I also overthink a lot of things, too

But yeah not being able to write one bar of a song is far worse than I am. Even I'd struggle to spin that as a positive trait.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Nov 14, 2013,
#16
My main remedy for this all too common issue is, as others have mentioned, to simply get yourself inspired. It's no good trying to come up with something if you're not inspired to do so or just trying to write something for the sake of it.

Recently I've been wanting to create some horror-themed music and some real creepy-sounding soundscapes. Quite a few times I've sat there trying to think this stuff up, but it just won't come to me without some outside sources driving me. Your inspiration doesn't even have to be music related - one night I spent a few hours on creepypasta.com and I'm suddenly FILLED with musical ideas. Once you're in that mindframe, almost anything you come up with will be usable.

Hope this helps
#17
I've gone through similar issues before as well and have found that you either need inspiration or just a nice break. Maybe a different approach to composition? Have you ever made an entire song in your head that sounded amazing but no instrument around? At those moments I suggest you record yourself humming the song and then work on it when you get the chance. Nothing worse than losing a cool song you can't remember later.
#18
The problem with perfectionism in music is creativity.

With music, there's no objective factor. For every fan of a piece of music, there's someone disliking it or even hating it.

In music you will write stuff, that a big/small portion of people will dislike or even hate, but this says nothing about the quality of your music.

There's not a single band/artist out there that everyone finds perfect quality of work, or at the least enjoys/accepts.

Thus you or anyone else will NEVER write a perfect piece or riff, because this does not exist.

As brilliant as people find Dream Theater's musicianship, so are a lot of people finding it boring.

And as popular Miley Cyrus is, just as many people hate her music, and even hate her as a person, when they do not even know here, how crazy is that even.

Wouldn't even know how to deal with millions of people hating me everywhere without knowing who they are. I can't even deal with 1 person threatening me "to die" lol.
I probably would take drugs and be "whatever" about life.

Oh wait.....that coincidentally is how she's acting now.

Bottom line is, your not going to please everyone, and even if you try, the human mind from observation of others seems to prefer to emphasize negativity more then positivity.

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#19
^ that's a good point

at the same time I don't think that means that you should just say, "eh, whatever...", either. the people who like your music will likely notice if you're just going through the motions. it's a similar thing with guitar tone, just because 90% of the punters at the gig might not notice (and even that's debatable) doesn't mean that you as the player should be ok with using crap or unsuitable gear.

though obviously there's a fine line between caring enough to make things good (which is a good thing, if you ask me) and being so perfectionist that you're worrying about minutiae which probably don't matter and which is probably holding you back (which is a bad thing). which is probably what this thread is about.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?