#1
How do you come up with riffs. How can you make your own riffs? Is there any trick or thing I should know about making your own riffs or is it just experimenting and playing around with guitar?
#2
There's no trick to it. Just learn other music (and a healthy dose of theory) until the ability to come up with your own stuff just comes to you.
#3
This may sound stupid, but try coming up with riffs in your head, and just record yourself singing those riffs. Then try to transcribe that to guitar. Some of the coolest stuff i come up with whilst singing in the shower :p
I think it's a particularly effective strategy for less experienced guitarists who can't immediately express themselves on the instrument.
Last edited by vayne92 at Dec 30, 2013,
#4
Personally I always get a bass riff thought out first, keep it simple then work over it. That way I can re-address the bass later but it still gives me some basis for my guitar parts.

I also like to take snippets of other songs, take a little riff, then move it around and play around with it until it's not the same anymore.
#5
Loads of ways to write a riff. A few:

Try to express a thought or feeling in music. For example, happiness. See if you can translate that feeling into music.

Listen to what you're playing. Repeat it with variations. If you like it, keep it. If you don't, change some part of it. You'll feel the riff evolving. When this starts to flow it's a very effective technique.

Listen to random music (e.g. the radio) with the volume so low you can hardly hear it. Your brain will fill in the gaps where you can't hear the music properly. Make a riff out of what it conjures up. If you turn up the volume you'll probably hear something very different from what you were thinking of when it was quiet.
#6
There's many ways to come up with them or be inspired. Main ways for me is

-During practice or just while playing something random, trying to play/remember a song I don't know without listening to it - I'll usually come up with something completely different

-Sometimes a melody or idea just comes (I know this sounds lame but it's true) - while in the shower, making food or walking in the street, or even while dreaming. This is when you should pick up your guitar, try playing it out and write it down

-Transcribing songs or riffs from other songs is a great source of inspiration and learning music, you can try a similar idea and put your own twist on it.

-Playing some piano/keyboards. Even if you can't play it much, notes are really accessible and finding some diatonic melody that sounds alright is pretty easy - you can transfer it to guitar later. Many great guitar songs start out on keys

Those are some. I'm gonna mention that "OK. Now I'm gonna sit down and write an awesome song/riff" rarely works - at least for me the inspiration must come from elsewhere. Picking up your instrument when you're really emotional (anything from completely devastated, angry, jealous - whatever to ecstatically happy) can also give you some really interesting results.
#7
Try thinking of a melody or riff in your head before playing. It's a bit hard in the beginning but it gets easier and easier. A lot of the songs I've made were born from what I heard in my head. And that way, you can come up with ideas for other instruments, not guitar only. If you know how to sing (don't worry if you're not a great singer, if you can stay in tune it's good enough) try humming a riff or a melody.
#8
I'd say learn scales, pretty much most of the great guitar riffs are based in one particular scale when you analyse them, so become proficient with your scales and practice them different ways and also at different speeds, that may sound a bit daft, after all if you can play something quick then it stands to reason that you can play it slow. The thing is though quite a lot of riffs are way more impressive when played at slower speeds but a lot of players get sucked into the trap of thinking faster is better because it looks more impressive. Yes it may look more impressive but music is predominantly a listening rather than watching experience, sure we all like to watch really impressive guitar players going at it but when coming up with really memorable riffs often slower is better.

Another tip would be to study a lot of songs with really great riffs, you will be really surprised at how many of them are actually really simple and basic, that doesn't detract from how great they sound but it does reinforce that often it pays to keep things simple. The amount of times I have studied a classic riff and thought wow that's so simple I could have wrote that! But the point is I didn't write it, that's way I'm not rich or famous. I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that fast and complicated does not always make the most memorable riffs.
#9
Quote by vayne92
This may sound stupid, but try coming up with riffs in your head, and just record yourself singing those riffs. Then try to transcribe that to guitar. Some of the coolest stuff i come up with whilst singing in the shower :p
I think it's a particularly effective strategy for less experienced guitarists who can't immediately express themselves on the instrument.

I came up with a song outside humming rock you like a hurricane wrong (I had only heard the song like 2 times at that time) and I made a really cool song out of it.
#11
There are a lot of methods.

Hum, record it, then try to transcribe it. Take riffs you like and bastardize them. Learn theory and start putting together chord progressions you like, then play around them. Take a drum track and noodle around that. Pick cards out of a hat and use them to write a breakdown. Anything goes.

The secret to getting better is to do it every day. Write one or two riffs every day. Transcribe them into Guitar Pro or Tux Guitar. Record them. Do something. Most of them will suck, but they'll start to get better. Riff- and songwriting are skills that need to be practiced, just like any technique you want to learn.
#12
Quote by Geldin
Write one or two riffs every day.


This is very important. After 6 or 7 years of writing I hit a point where I was absolutely stumped for starting any new songs. I looked at a pile of like 20 barely started Guitar Pro files that had been sitting there for years and told myself I absolutely had to write down at least one new riff in one of those songs every day until they were all finished. A couple months later, I've now finished most of them, all with material that I love now even though I thought it was 'meh' when I forced myself to write it down, and I've started plenty of new songs.
#13
For me : smoke weed then try to improvise riffs using a specific scale with different patterns and maybe pedaling notes using open strings thats really about it
#14
It just naturally happened to me, but it took like 2 years of playing until I was making music confidently. Now I'm going through the same thing with piano. My technique really isn't good enough to make sophisticated sounding solo piano arrangements which is very frustrating