#1
Hey Guys,  

I have been in recording for some time now and I wanted to re-record some of my instrumentals to upload them in Spotify.

But these songs don't feel right to me. It feels like a bunch of riffs put together (some people said that here as well)  

I want to improve and be better in songwriting. Does anybody have any tips for that? Should I learn music theory or something specific?

If you could provide some video tutorials it would be awesome. 

Right now I am talking about these two songs that I want to re-record.



(this pedal sounds terrible or maybe I made it sound that bad  



(This has also problem with timing)

It is nearly impossible to be objective to yourself so I need your help with it.
#2
listen to more music

learn more music (by ear)

that pedal is basically well-known as sounding absolutely terrible. your technique isn't great either in some spots, but it's hard to tell how much of that is affected by the pedal. practicing clean might help a bit
modes are a social construct
Last edited by Hail at Jul 26, 2017,
#3
But these songs don't feel right to me. It feels like a bunch of riffs put together (some people said that here as well)


That's because that's kind of what they are...

Nobody really wants to listen to "solo rhythm guitar" for 4 minutes. There is nothing wrong with the ideas themselves, but you need to add something to it (vocals/melody). The first song was pretty boring until the guitar solo. The section after the guitar solo added some contrast to the song which was a good thing. But then it came back to the previous ideas. I think it could have progressed a bit more after the solo because the new idea that you introduced sounded interesting and added contrast. But there is nothing wrong with the ideas, you just need to add vocals to it, or if you want it to be an instrumental, add a melody over it. Playing riffs alone is going to sound pretty boring.

The second song has more melody to it. But the problem here is the structure. I don't think the transitions between the different riffs sound that smooth. Until 1:20 I think the song works just fine. But I think the next riff sounds a bit out of place. It's not a horrible transition, but it could definitely be smoother. Same with the transition back to the main riff. Also, it's not only the transitions - I just don't think that riff adds anything to the song, and it kind of lacks direction. You may want to write something that would have a bit more tension that would resolve to the main riff - something that keeps the song going forward.

3:36 sounds contrasting and I like it, but again, I think it should progress more than that and not just go back to the previous ideas so quickly. You could try a different kind of groove behind that riff or something. I really don't like it when the drums come in at 3:40. It would be a good idea for the outro, but I think what you do with that idea sounds too similar to what has already happened. So add more contrasts.


So, I would suggest adding vocals or at least some kind of a melody to the first song. I think the second song works as an instrumental, but you need to do something about the structure and probably change a couple of your 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
#4
MaggaraMarine 

Thank you for detailed info man. I was trying to do something with first song yesterday and decided just to keep one or two riffs from there and change everything else because it is really boring for me as well and the ideas are bad. I take vocal classes more than a year now but I still suck that is why I don't have vocals yet and I dont want that somebody else sing over it. I want to do it my self one day so I think I will add some melodies for now.

How can one tell what works together and what not? When I try to write something I can't really tell. Is it because the key of the riffs are not same or what?
What about transition in 1:48 and back? I don't know if it sounds right there. It doesn't feel right that much to me anymore. How can one achieve smoothness? 
#5
Quote by EY8CC

How can one tell what works together and what not? When I try to write something I can't really tell. Is it because the key of the riffs are not same or what?
What about transition in 1:48 and back? I don't know if it sounds right there. It doesn't feel right that much to me anymore. How can one achieve smoothness? 

It's just a feeling. You don't need to stay in one key all the time. I just don't think the riff that starts at around 1:20 achieves much. The next section should always have some kind of a reason to exist. Where is it going? What is it trying to achieve? What is the purpose of that riff? When compared to the ideas before 1:20, this riff just doesn't really go anywhere. It kind of doesn't meet the expectations that you get from the riffs before it. I think it should progress a bit more - it feels like the transition back to the main riff comes from out of nowhere.

The first riffs are energetic. I guess you were after a slower and heavier sound at 1:20. But maybe you should take that further and stay in that "mood" for a longer time. This would make the build up back to the main riff a lot more powerful.

It may have to do with keys too. Key relationships are important when it comes to creating tension and resolving it and it's something you should pay attention to.

Another thing I noticed is that the riff at 1:30 is only three bars long which is not an even number, and it just feels like the third bar (that takes us back to the main riff) comes from out of nowhere. Maybe adding one bar before that bar would fix it? The expectation is that things are played an even number of times (and this is just something you should be aware of - that doesn't mean everything needs to be played an even number of times, but it's just what people usually expect). But I guess it would still sound kind of weak because of the relationship between the keys. Modulating a whole step down sounds a bit weak, especially after a build up.


At 1:48 I think the problem is that the harmony stays the same, and again, when you come back to the main riff, it doesn't sound like it's going anywhere. So maybe there could be a change in harmony?
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 Jul 26, 2017,
#6
MaggaraMarine 

I completely forgot about harmonics. That is the problem on 1 48.....I think 
Can one use few harmonics of one key in one song?

Where did you learn all this things mate? I want to learn it as well.  
#7
Quote by EY8CC
MaggaraMarine 

I completely forgot about harmonics. That is the problem on 1 48.....I think 
Can one use few harmonics of one key in one song?

By "harmonies" I meant chords and keys and stuff like that. I'm not sure what exactly you are asking. But if you feel like the transition at 1:48 doesn't work, the problem is most likely caused by the harmony that has stayed the same for a long time (simply put, from 1:37 to around 2 minutes it's basically just a long "G chord"), and this is why it doesn't feel like it goes anywhere when you repeat the main riff. But remember that harmony is more than just chords and when I'm saying it needs change in harmony, it doesn't mean you need to start playing chords or anything like that. You can have harmony without playing any chords - even a single note melody implies harmony. You may notice how the riff is centered around G all the time (you always play G notes between the notes in the melody which means G will be heard as the harmony here).

Change in harmony is one way of creating a sense of movement (by creating tension and releasing it) and tension and release are a big part of making transitions work. You can create tension and release in other ways too (for example rhythm, dynamics, arrangement/instrumentation), but harmony is the most obvious way.

Where did you learn all this things mate? I want to learn it as well.  

You learn stuff by analyzing what's happening in music. I have also taken some composition classes. But yeah, the main point is finding the parts in your song that don't work in your opinion and then trying to figure out why they don't work (and sure, listening to other people's advice makes sense too, but the thing is, if you like something, then you like it and that's the most important thing - other people's opinion doesn't really matter in that case). Usually it helps if you know what you want to achieve. But remember that we are still talking about feelings and if some part that bothers me doesn't bother you, then it doesn't need to be changed. People have different opinions. I can only tell my opinion on what I think doesn't work in a song. I can use my ears and theory knowledge to analyze what's happening in the song and find out what makes me feel the way I feel.
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 Jul 26, 2017,
#8
MaggaraMarine 

Your information is really helpful! I thank you very much. I will try to get some composition classes as well to make better songs. 
#9
Quote by Hail
listen to more music

learn more music (by ear)

that pedal is basically well-known as sounding absolutely terrible. your technique isn't great either in some spots, but it's hard to tell how much of that is affected by the pedal. practicing clean might help a bit


Listening and learning are certainly important, but you did forget one thing: write more music. Writing music is a skill in itself and in order to improve, you need to practice writing songs.

Also I've only ever played legit DOD Death Metals, but put that through a bass amp and EQ it right and you get some very usable late 80s/early 90s death and thrash tones.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#10
Quote by theogonia777
Listening and learning are certainly important, but you did forget one thing: write more music. Writing music is a skill in itself and in order to improve, you need to practice writing songs.


this is valid, but i know a lot of guys who fell into a trap of finding 1 trick in a new song and jumping right into doing it to death with another minor riff in drop C

Also I've only ever played legit DOD Death Metals, but put that through a bass amp and EQ it right and you get some very usable late 80s/early 90s death and thrash tones.


just because they're historically accurate doesn't mean they're not terrible

ok kidding, i could see where that pedal could work in a trace elliot or something. most distorted guitar tones go well with trace elliots in general in my experience

speaking of, i got a call from sweetwater today and their new bass DI should be shipping out in a few weeks. unfortunately i won't be able to shell out $300 for something i don't need at all (compared to all the rig maintenance i've been overlooking) till like september
modes are a social construct