#1
So I started taking my guitar playing more seriously lately. Im trying to become a better writer instrumentally. What things should I be practicing/learning to get better ?

The sound I'm going for is black metal meats death metal. My problem I keep running into is not repeating riffs. After about 15 bars I feel it gets repetitive and it's not progressing in a way I like. Any tips ?
#2
Well, that's just how it goes. You can't repeat the same thing over and over again and expect it to stay interesting. If you want to use the same riff for a longer time, you need to make some changes to it/what the other instruments are playing. For example you could change between double tempo and half tempo feel. Keep the riff the same but make the drums play in double tempo/half tempo. Another thing would be writing a variation of the same riff. Keep it basically the same but play it in a bit different way.

But at some point you want to introduce some new material and not just repeat the same riff over and over again all the time. So come up with another riff that sounds good after the first riff.

What will help is analyzing what your favorite bands/artists are doing in their songs. Analyze the structure of those songs and pay attention to any change that happens in the instrumentation, rhythmic feel, dynamics... Also, see whether the new section is a variation of something that has happened before or if it's a completely new section.
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
#3
Well that's what I've been doing. I've been building off of riffs I've made but I dislike doing it because it bores me. But it seems when i try writing new riffs that they don't go together and sound random.
Last edited by four20isthewaytogo at Jul 10, 2017,
#4
Quote by four20isthewaytogo
But it seems when i try writing new riffs that they don't go together and sound random.

That's a very common problem. It can be difficult to come up with riffs that would sound good after your original idea. What helps would be listening to how your favorite artists do it. Listen to a song that you like. How does the second riff differ from the first one? Do they have anything in common with each other? What makes them work together?

I would start with making sure that your ideas are in the same tempo and time signature (then again, sometimes making changes to tempo and time signature is what keeps the song interesting - but this is something you want to be aware of). Using a similar kind of "groove" helps too (what I mean by "groove" is the notes that you accent and stuff like that). Also, staying in the same key may make it sound more coherent, then again, staying too long in the same key (especially if it's the same harmonic function all the time) may sound boring.

Then again, usually you get the best ideas just by listening. So listen to the first riff on repeat, and when you have repeated it enough times, try hearing something in your head that would sound good after it. Another thing would be starting with the overall feeling of the new section. Do you have any idea of the sound that you are after? It can be just the description of the overall feeling (just come up with adjectives), or it could be something like do you want it to sound slow or fast, more melody or more rhythm oriented, loud or quiet, what would the roles of the different instruments be? Do you want it to have a lot of contrasts when compared to the first section? Maybe instead of writing a riff, play sustained chords.

You could also start with rhythm and not worry about notes. Try to come up with a rhythm that would sound good after the first riff.
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
#5
in my approach to improvisation I break down the riff and slow mo it ..

so if I have a riff in Eminor...play just the first three notes of the riff..lets say E G B...now extend it EGB F# C#..rest 1/2 beat then EGB then the entire riff

create a lead into the riff from three or four notes from a diminished scale lick Eb Gb A C then the EGB riff

build several licks that lead into your riff...like B D F.. A C E..C E G... then EGB...also try your riff in different keys and octaves..play it backwards too..

keep pushing yourself to get out of "rutts" as fast as you can
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Jul 11, 2017,
#7
four20isthewaytogo

ok..so you using A harmonic minor as a source ..play the arpeggios of the chords in that scale and see if you can make some melodic lines out of them...mix them with the A natural minor and it relative C major...that will give you a lot of material to work with as there are thousands of songs and solos based on those scales..find ways to "blend" two or more scales into something melodic...D dorian with E phrygian and F Lydian..push beyond your comfort zone
play well

wolf
#9
Quote by four20isthewaytogo
wolflenWhat i have done is try to base my writing on theory. So for example the riffs im trying to expand upon were all written using E phrygian dom.mode.

I wouldn't necessarily suggest starting with a scale when writing riffs. You should play notes that sound good to your ears. It doesn't matter whether they are in a certain scale or not. So start using your ears more. I'm not that familiar with death/black metal, but a lot of extreme metal riffs are pretty chromatic and it may not make sense if you just analyze it with scales.

Try hearing something in your head and play that. At first it may be easier to hear rhythms than notes, but you can start with rhythm and add the pitches later.
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
MaggaraMarineThats originally where i started but i wanted to understand why what i was playing sounded good. So i started looking into scales. Im not sure what theory i should be learning thogh so if anybody has suggestions on where to start please share.
#11
Quote by four20isthewaytogo
MaggaraMarineThats originally where i started but i wanted to understand why what i was playing sounded good. So i started looking into scales. Im not sure what theory i should be learning thogh so if anybody has suggestions on where to start please share.

Scales are fine, but you shouldn't treat them as any kind of "rules". A scale is just a set of notes that sound good together and give you a certain kind of color. But don't be afraid to play some notes outside of that scale. A scale is simply just a starting point and it gives you some kind of a point of reference.

I would suggest learning about intervals/scale degrees and I would suggest learning to recognize them by ear. Learn about keys and chord functions too (though, when it comes to extreme metal, it doesn't usually use much functional harmony).

The best way to learn theory is to apply it - figure out what's happening in your favorite songs.
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