#1
[not sure if right thread, but whatever here we go]

So for the past few months I've been writing an instrumental percussive acoustic piece similar to that of Andy Mckee's "Hunter's Moon". I've got a really cool verse/main section that has a good base line and melody on top, but I'm having trouble with almost every other part of the song.

I need a pre-chorus and a chorus before I can start piecing everything together and finishing it, but I just can't seem to make anything that I'm satisfied with. I also have a neat strumming section I want to add in, but with all the previous versions of the song there didn't seem to be room for it, so I've been getting rid of parts left and right just to find something that works. My brain tends to work more rhythmically than melodically, so I've been experimenting with baselines trying to find one that works.

My question is what do you guys do when you're stuck in the writing process? If you have a rockin' riff but don't know where to go from there, what do you do? I've tried taking a break from the song as well as showing it to others, but to no success. I really don't want to put this one down, so internets for anyone with some good tips.
#3
I also have a neat strumming section I want to add in, but with all the previous versions of the song there didn't seem to be room for it, so I've been getting rid of parts left and right just to find something that works.


Did that part of the song that you kept scrapping sound good or was it bad, and that was why you wanted to keep replacing them? If those parts were already good and fit the song, then there is no real point in throwing them away just because you imagined something else to come into the song. Better use the strumming section in another song and add something that does work into this one.

You can also try writing the song from beginning to end, as in write the intro first, and then it leads you naturally towards the next part of the song - you get a basic idea of what will follow the intro well. The 2nd part leads you into the 3rd part, and so on. But you must have a very good idea of what mood you want the song to be in, or you'll quickly stray somewhere else because one musical part will lead to several different parts that follow, you must know which one to pick.
#4
The parts that I've been scrapping aren't exactly bad, they just weren't that good. Either they didn't fit the song or it changed the mood of the song too much, which I want to avoid. I have been writing it in order for the most part, coming up with the intro, then the verse, I then wrote a half assed pre chorus and an alright chorus to fill the space, then wrote the strumming part, then the end. So basically everything is pretty fine and dandy except that I want to replace the current pre chorus and chorus to better fit the song. I've tried just playing up until that point and seeing what comes naturally, but nothing really came out.

I also found that these parts tended to make the song too long and make it drag on. I picture the song to be a short 3-4 minute piece that keeps the same feel and groove throughout with a nice strumming section near the end for variety. If you've heard Hunters Moon or Common Ground (both Andy Mckee tunes) you'll know pretty much what I'm going for.

As I rarely write in this style, it's difficult for me to take parts I've written in other pieces to use here unfortunately, over the neck playing is very niche and I'm not too used to writing in the style. Not to mention, I almost never write in the same tuning twice (at least for acoustic guitar stuff), so using stuff from other tunes is tricky.

Do you guys know any other songs that use this style of playing maybe? I find a lot of the time from listening to new things my musical ideas expand, so maybe listening to more songs in this style could help. I should mention that though I know Preston Reed is known for the over the neck style, I'm not really a fan of his work.
#6
TS how many full songs of other people can you play?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
@Mattgreen2205 I'm a big fan of Jon Gomm, (I was literally listening to Passionflower as I was reading your post) and he has definitely inspired my writing a lot. Busy looking for guys like him to help inspire me more.

@AlanHB To be honest, not many. I can play Drifting and Hunters Moon by Andy Mckee, Spiritual Groove by Antoine Dufour (though have trouble using thumb picks), and Dust in the Wind. I'm not very good at fingerstyle guitar as I've only started playing it within the past year. Even on electric guitar that I've been playing for 4 years, if you were to ask me to play a song, the only one I could play off the top of my head would be Day at the Beach by Joe Satriani (pretty pathetic right?) I should probably try learning more songs from other people to improve my own composition.
#8
Don't worry mate, being able to play a lot of full songs doesn't automatically make you a better composer. Maybe you're just forcing the idea that you need a pre-chorus and a chorus, have a look at your material again and then try to think from a new perspective where it could go. When you've written something that you like, it may lead you into an idea for the Pre-Chorus and the Chorus. But it's good that you know what you want.

...look at your music how Hachiman would.
#9
Quote by Jimjambanx
I should probably try learning more songs from other people to improve my own composition.


Yes, at least to learn how to finish a song. You're wondering why you can't finish your own song and you've very little experience in learning how others finish theirs. Instead you probably just learn a verse or a riff here and there and that's all you can write.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#10
...look at your music how Hachiman would.


I don't recall Hachiman ever writing music but I see what you mean.

I've been looking around for some more acoustic talent such as Andy Mckee, Jon Gomm, Antoine Dufour etc. to learn how they write. I've also been tinkering away on my guitar playing anything to try and find something, I'm waiting for that moment where after you play something, you stop and think to yourself "YES!" I'm sure I'm not the only one who's experienced this. I think learning new songs and discovering new talent may help me a lot. After learning new material I may be able to come back to the song with a fresh perspective. The only problem is parents are always asking me to play it for them, even though I've scrapped most of the parts I've shown them :/

I think I just need to remember, that an idea is like a fart, if you have to force it, it's probably shit.
#11
^^^ Forcing yourself to write is just fine. It's a skill like anything else. The more you write, the better you yet. If you sit around waiting for inspiration to strike then you're actually just doing nothing.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
The problem for me is in the arranging/instrumentation. I love playing around with notes , intervals and chords, but I absolutely hate arranging them into a full track. I usually just end up making short 1 minute half-assed pieces.
#13
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Forcing yourself to write is just fine. It's a skill like anything else. The more you write, the better you yet. If you sit around waiting for inspiration to strike then you're actually just doing nothing.


Effort and determination is the most important thing of course, I'm not saying inspiration will come from thin air. I'm saying that perhaps I'm burnt out on the song, and need some time away from it. After learning new pieces I may be able to come back to the song with an enhanced musical vocabulary. Every time I write, it feels like I'm playing the same thing over and over again, and things can tend to feel "over thought". The best kind of music is what comes naturally, the main verse for example, after the initial inspiration, came almost instantly. If the parts I like have come naturally but it's taking me months to write the other parts, maybe it's a sign that I need some space.