I want to share my process for how I come up with music for my lyrics. I'm not very experienced guitar player and I want to get some feedback about how I'm going about it and see if doing it right, and if anybody has a better way. I want to add some music to a song I just wrote lyrics for and I'm struggling trying to find the right chords as nothing sounds right with them.

So here's what I do. First I play notes on the top two strings. The same way you would pick out a song like happy birthday, I try to pick out my lyrics - one note for each word. Some times I end up messing around with the same notes and coming up with a lick or something that I might be able to use somewhere in my song like at the bridge. But, the real purpose of putting my lyrics into notes was so that I could figure out which key I'm playing in using this Nashville Numbering System Key Chord Chart:


I just try to guess as to which note would be the root or tonic of the scale, and I pick either the major scale if it's an upbeat song or the minor scale if it's a sad song. I figure if I can find the key I'm playing in then I will know what chords I can use that sound alright together and whether they're major or minor.

I'm not sure if using one note for each word in my lyrics is the best way to figure out what key I'm playing in because I suppose you could always transpose a song into another key and it could still sound good. Or would it? I'm not sure. How do you figure out which key is right for your lyrics? And how do you figure out which chords to use with your lyrics, do you use the Nashville Numbering System or what?

Then next thing I do is mute my strings and start strumming different strum patterns while singing in an attempt to find a pattern that sounds good with my lyrics. When I find one I start strumming on some of the chords in the key I've chosen while singing in an attempt to come up with a chord progression that will go well with my lyrics.

When I first put my lyrics into notes, one word for each note, I had to think about the intervals between the note. And now that I'm trying to put my song into chords I try to pay attention to the intervals between the chords. Although it's a little harder with chords because you don't switch chords for each word in the song. So is there like a solution for that?

I put my questions in bold so they'll be easy to find. Thanks guys.
I don't know any sort of "method" for that. Whatever works is fine, there is no "right" way.

But, if you want to be easier and faster, then you should learn about what the key is, and about the modes, and about harmony. Learn the roman numerals.

A song in one key can be transposed to another key, and it will sound the same. As long as you change say, C major, to A major.

However, C major, and A minor sound differently, and when you write your song, figuring out whether it is in a minor key or major will matter.

For me, I just look at it as "the pattern" on guitar. I don't care whether it is major or minor or this mode or that really, I just care where the pattern is, because that is what helps me find the chords i want. Most of all the notes you would want are part of the key. So, if you know where that pattern is, and you know the melody notes you want, you have narrowed down a lot of possibilities right there. You would be most likely looking for a chord which contains that melody note, and is all inside the key.

After a while, you just get to know where the sounds you want are. What I do sometimes to help me, is just sing out the chord I hear in my head that sounds right, and find those notes. So, you could try over the single notes you play, to sing the other notes you want to hear on top of it. Or other ones that sound good to you, and you can make a chord with that.

But again, guitar is not real simple that way, because you might easily find those notes, but 2 are on the same string, so, you will want to be familiar with the guitar chord shapes.

There are a lot of ways to do it, to do it really fast and really easily, you need to do a lot of work and have a lot of experience with the guitar and music, so it comes very easily. Otherwise, it's always gonna be a little tough, with some trial and error involved.