#1
It was always hard for me coming up with a decent riff. Lately i've only been practicing my technique, running scales with a metronome. I can shred and sweep now to some point, but i feel ''empty' and frustrated' as a guitarist. It's a long time since i came up with a riff/melody/composition.
Whatever i do, I always end up playing the same damned notes and progressions, feels like stuck in a rut, absolutely no inspiration. Yesterday i played the guitar all day, just figured it's actually a pattern i kept replaying, sucks. All i come up with is mediocre shit.
Have you ever been like that? How did you get out of the situation?
Last edited by lebawss at Apr 28, 2016,
#2
Coming up with something amazing is not that common. Go easy on yourself. A big part of it is putting too much pressure on yourself to come up with something amazing.

Also remember that those riffs you learned from your favourite artists were worked out over time. Those guitarists weren't born playing those riffs and they played a whole lot of shit riffs before they ever played any good ones. Further the first time you heard those riffs was probably in a song that was played by a professional, recorded professionally, mixed, mastered, and in the context of a killer song. The context is important.

Your riffs might be bland...or maybe you're being too hard on yourself. Not everything you come up with has to be amazing. You have to make mistakes to learn what to do better.

Post a link to a couple of riffs if you want and some outside perspective could help you see their potential or provide some suggestions on how to spice them up a bit.
Si
#3
Try this, see if it helps - come up with a rhythm you haven't heard anyone do before, or at the very least, a rhythm you haven't tried before. Melody can be anything, but the rhythm is important.

I usually do this when I lose the ability to write because of writer's block. What it does is it helps me find out what my boundaries are and learn to expand them. If your scales are similar, but your rhythm is different? Then it'll make a world of difference in the long run.

I started writing exclusively in 4/4. Then I got bored so I did 3/4, 6/4, and 5/4. Then I got bored of that so I started doing 5/8ths, 11/8ths, 13/8ths, etc. Eventually, I was writing riffs that were nothing like what I was doing before. I had expanded my boundaries mostly by changing what rhythms I used, even if the scale stayed the exact same (which it sometimes did, sometimes didn't).

I'm just saying, rhythm is an underrated aspect of music that contributes to a lot of the greatest songs we have. There's a reason why the second half of Metallica's "One" stuck in *everyone's* minds, and it's because it was a rhythm nobody had really heard before.

So if you're stuck, I say try experimenting with your approach to the rhythm of a riff.
If there is a God, it's me.
#4
I got into alternate timings. It changed everything. I keep a guitar tuned a whole step down, one in DADGAD, and one in Drop D. No more standard. You'll be surprised what you come up with.
#5
Do you ever play songs? If all you do is practice your technique, how are you going to expect to come up with anything else than something that sounds like a technical exercise? Start playing some music.

What you need is ear training. You are relying on your muscle memory and playing with your fingers too much. Start thinking in sounds, not in fingerings.

Here's a good video where Paul Gilbert talks about how he used to rely too much on technique but now has learned to use his ears and has learned to play more melodically:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVO1pv5Vf5w
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 29, 2016,
#6
Do like Vai did and record unusual sounds like conversations and animals, then try to play notes that sound like it. Eventually you may find sections that sound interesting
We're just a battery for hire with the guitar fire
Ready and aimed at you
Pick up your balls and load up your cannon
For a twenty one gun salute
For those about to rock, FIRE!
We salute you
#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Do you ever play songs? If all you do is practice your technique, how are you going to expect to come up with anything else than something that sounds like a technical exercise? Start playing some music.


I agree.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
My biggest advices for frustration would be the following :

1) Take risks by trying new sounds. As i'm getting familiar with jazz, i realize now that when it comes to creating new songs, its really about trying riffs and chords progressions that at first you would not necessary like. And after some time you find it pretty cool, it has personnality, it takes risks etc.

2) Don't wait for inspiration to write music. At first i was onyl doing that and as a consequence, only made a few songs in 3 years. Now when i want to write music, i just sit at my desk and think "Ok for the next two hours i will write music, explore, try things". The point is to try things. Out of 20 ideas, there will be one or two that you'll like. And this stimulates your creative process. Inspiration also comes with work ;-)

3) Consider that a standard riff can be an alazing one with other instruments surrounding the guitar ! Some songs are not great just because of the guitar, but because every instrument is creating an ambient. So when you make a riff, think also about other instruments that could create something special.

Hope this helps !
#9
^ Agree.

Yeah, remember that the guitar part isn't everything. If you heard the guitar track of many popular songs alone, it wouldn't sound that interesting.

Also, even the simplest idea can be a good idea. It's more about what you do with that idea and how you develop it. I don't think there are good or bad ideas.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#10
Try this maybe.. when you go about your day and get a cool song in your head use your phones voice recorder and hum the tune, then try to play it later. Bella fleck said he calls his home phone and hums riffs into his answering machine, that was back in the day. Also, play along with the radio and try to figure out the song before it is over. Thats good practice and most of the time you may figure out half the song and make up the rest just to stay in time. At least you will be forced to try and play something new and might come up with a riff through serendipity.
Recommended threads
PSA ( 1 2 )
StewieSwan
40
810
Last post:
by Victory2134
D# or Eb
Seek and annoy
8
8,283
Last post:
by Blash