I'm in a newly formed three-piece hip hop band, which consists of myself (bassist), drummer, and MC (who is the band leader).

Since I am the only melodic/harmonic instrument, what I play will vary from being very "in the pocket" basslines, to more melodic playing.

When we get together we mostly just jam. Lately I have been recording our sessions, then splitting up the good parts into songs and sending them to everyone, in hopes that someone will pick something out to work on. It's okay, but seems to be a pretty slow approach - it doesn't seem like the others dedicate time to sitting down and listening to all of the tracks and choosing their favourite(s) - granted, out of a 3-4 hour rehearsal, there will be at least an hours worth of good stuff to listen to.

In a situation like this, how would you approach starting to work on new material:

- Work on your own melodies in your own time and then when you get together perform the different ideas you've had?

- Record your own melodies in your own time to a metronome (or drum machine, etc) and then send them to everyone to listen to and reach conclusions outside of rehearsals?

- Completely allot a certain amount of time of each rehearsal to just coming up with new material with nothing planned, very much improvised but with the whole band partaking and building the song collectively at once?

- Any other ideas/methods that work for you?


Last edited by MatthewJH at Aug 23, 2014,
In my band, we don't write in the rehearsal room. Usually the guitarists and myself (the bassist) will come up with ideas on our own time and tab them out in Guitar Pro before sharing the tab files on Dropbox. Often we write each other's parts and each member generally writes his entire song unless they need help and ask the others to add riffs or melodies. This way all the practicing is done on our own time and then when we rehearse together we can generally play a pretty tight rendition of each song, even if we're playing it for the very first time. It's really nice to have everything planned out beforehand, and everybody knows what everybody else is doing.

Edit: Of course sometimes the arrangements aren't perfect or agreed upon before the song is finalized. Sometimes we arrange in the rehearsal room but that's about it. Most of the material is composed separately. It's the same for lyrics, the main songwriter can write all the lyrics (our vocalist doesn't mind), or he can let the vocalist have free reign, or we can all collaborate on them.

In your band's situation, I would recommend either recording or tabbing out your basslines, sharing them with your bandmates, and PRACTICE them separately. You will save loads of time at rehearsal by cutting out all the unnecessary jamming. Of course you can still jam, but I think you will like coming to rehearsal knowing that everyone knows what they're doing (assuming they practice).
Last edited by Toadsmacker at Aug 23, 2014,
All of the above, man. Usually the guitarist will bring in a riff he's been working on and we'll just build it from there, very naturally. Just jam it out. Then go home and work on it yourself.
Every group writes differently and every group has a different amount of people writing and contributing.

I've just started a new band. We've finalized 3 songs and we have 3 other in the works. I'm mostly working with the other guitar player. We put together the melodic and rhythmic structures. The bassist and the drummer then add their own parts in open jam/rehearsal.

We've only had 3 practices with the drummer and 2 with the bassist, but the guitarist and I have gotten together 3 times a week for the past month.

It's just what works in this group and setting.

My last band, all the material was come up with in group jams and then the lyrics were penned by the singer after we had a decent recording and a melody loosely mapped out.

The band before that, the other guitar player and I came up with songs on our own time (separately), finished down to the drum hit, and then we'd work with the bassist and drummer to make sure they were happy with their parts.

You do whatever is effective and works, and sometimes music isn't so regimented. Things can be a little free floating until it comes time to lay down an official EP (and even then... look at any blues/jazz/early rock band. It was still free floating).

You guys should definitely, consciously, while jamming, try to say: "Ok, what we just did was cool as hell, let's try to turn that into a tune"

It's worth a shot. If not, maybe you need to work with the drummer should get together and work on some go-to grooves. I don't know. You've got the blessing of having things be more free floating since you're the only melodic instrument.

Also, get that MC to start writing out some rhymes or lyrics or melodies or whatever the hell. That's gonna be the easiest way to start getting solid tunes together.