#1
Hey guys,

I've been playing in an Alternative/Emo band for the past year and we're starting to write some new material.
I've mostly written the rhythm aspect of our songs, but having our lead guitarist leave, I've been having to write most of the leads as well.

What are some good techniques and advice to writing leads? I wanna create something unique and catchy, but I've been encountering a lot of bumps in the road when it comes to writing in different keys and what not. I'm really trying to expand my diversity when it comes to this.

Thanks in advance!

Here's an example of the leads in one of our songs.

Alleyways - December
#3
When it comes to anything songwriting related, it is always good to use your ears. Listen to the song and try hearing melodies in your head that would fit it. Best melodies are in your head. Don't just move your fingers and hope for good melodies to come out (because they most likely won't). Use your ears.

It is of course good to listen to other bands of the same style (and of course other styles) to get some ideas. Figure out what other bands are doing, and maybe try something similar and then modify it a bit to make it sound more original.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#4
Quote by MaggaraMarine
When it comes to anything songwriting related, it is always good to use your ears. Listen to the song and try hearing melodies in your head that would fit it. Best melodies are in your head. Don't just move your fingers and hope for good melodies to come out (because they most likely won't). Use your ears.

It is of course good to listen to other bands of the same style (and of course other styles) to get some ideas. Figure out what other bands are doing, and maybe try something similar and then modify it a bit to make it sound more original.



Ya that's a good idea. I usually do that, but I'm still trying to figure
things out lol.
#5
Your sound reminded me of Funeral for a Friend. It's been a while since I listened to them (or any band of the genre for that matter), but they use a lot of octaves in their leads, as well as some tapping (not in a Van Halen way, they incorporate that into the melodies, usually for a big interval leap).
As for writing the melodies themselves, just use your ears, like Maggara said. You could try looping the section you would be writing the leads for and (for example) play just the root note of whatever key )or chord) you're in, and just hold it (or play with a steady rhythm, like 8th notes), and try listening to what note could follow that. Then try it with the 3rd and the 5th, and work from there.

EDIT: Also, arpeggios. They're really nice! Throw some extensions here and there as well and it really open things up.
Last edited by Lersch at Feb 27, 2015,
#6
Quote by JakeWest187
Ya that's a good idea. I usually do that, but I'm still trying to figure
things out lol.


Probably because your ears aren't very good yet.

The better your ears are, the more you'll hear things in your head when you're trying to write.
#7
The lead guitar should 'follow' the rhythm in some way. A lot of times the lead will play single notes at the same rhythm as the other guitar, with some slight variations. The lead guitar can also hint at the vocal melody. Someone mentioned using octaves, which is pretty common for lead guitar licks.
You can also try to use target notes. Basically, outline your lead guitar with notes that match up to the chord progression. For example, if your chord progression was C major to A minor to F major to G major, you could use the root notes of the chords, which are c, a, f and g. Each phrase of lead guitar should create a sequence of notes that leads up to the next target note. So, while playing the c chord, the lead guitar starts on c, then plays a phrase that leads into the a note and so forth.
#8
I don't play Emo music but I've got some advice for writing unique melodies (the MT forums know I have a very unconventional remix style). If you want to write unique melodies, the first thing you should know is that key signatures shouldn't matter. Let the melody say what it wants to without restraints and breathe. I like to base my melodies and basslines off of my surreal remixes and move from there. Write your melodies however you feel comfortable. Once you're got some good melodies that flow, the lead should just come to you.

As for basslines, either use a countermelody or just play roots and outline the triads. Outlining triads is a good way to write leads but may sound a little cliché.

Also here's a guide on Emo.
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1644659
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#9
Quote by JakeWest187
Hey guys,

I've been playing in an Alternative/Emo band for the past year and we're starting to write some new material.
I've mostly written the rhythm aspect of our songs, but having our lead guitarist leave, I've been having to write most of the leads as well.

What are some good techniques and advice to writing leads? I wanna create something unique and catchy, but I've been encountering a lot of bumps in the road when it comes to writing in different keys and what not. I'm really trying to expand my diversity when it comes to this.

Thanks in advance!

Here's an example of the leads in one of our songs.

Alleyways - December



learn some leads

learn some scales

learn some theory…. keys, chord progressions things like that.


it takes time. You can't just follow some "lead writing technique" you find on the internet…. more than anything else, you need experience.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 3, 2015,
#10
Sometimes it's better to try first to figure out a simple melody by singing it. Then work out how to play what you sang and embellish.