#1
Alright, I am starting to get really frustrated. I am trying to write like the Tool guitarist Adam Jones. Not completely copying him, but I like his style. He builds up a song and then has the enormous explosions, and his solos arent blistering but they are still great. But this is where my problem comes in.

I don't exactly know the rules to songwriting. I am familiar with most of the standard scales that are learned by most guitarists. But I just dont know how to use them to write riffs like his. If anyone knows what exact scales he uses that would be great.

I also can't tell what is the right chords to use in writing a song. He uses these barre type chords that are just the E A D on 1 particular fret, but can you just choose any fret that sounds good or are there boundaries? That is what I am mostly stuck with. Once you have a key are there other certain chords that you can use in that key? I am most likely going to get this cleared up by my teacher, but I want some help from you guys for now.


Thanks to anyone that replies...for helping a frustrated musician.
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#2
eh...only rule is that: there's no rules. do whatever you want. if sounds good then it's good.
Originally Posted by evening_crow
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#3
Yeah but your a Nirvana fan, no offense.
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#4
Quote by evening_crow
eh...only rule is that: there's no rules. do whatever you want. if sounds good then it's good.


I think the same thing
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#5
Quote by Useful_Idiot16

I also can't tell what is the right chords to use in writing a song. He uses these barre type chords that are just the E A D on 1 particular fret, but can you just choose any fret that sounds good or are there boundaries?

Well, to my knowledge, he plays in drop d tuning, so if youre not tuned to that then youre going to have problems using that chord formation
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#6
Quote by IsThereLoveInSp
Well, to my knowledge, he plays in drop d tuning, so if youre not tuned to that then youre going to have problems using that chord formation


Yeah. I use drop D frequently.
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#7
Quote by Useful_Idiot16
Yeah. I use drop D frequently.

you want to write like Tool?
take your favourite songs and dissect them, guitar riffs, bass lines, drumbeats.
notice the recurring elements and analyse them.

then listen to the bands that have influence tool and do the same.


if you want to take those influences and find your own style you can, and this will also give you the tools (pun totally not intended) to mimic jones.
*
#8
yes there are no rules to songwriting, that is true, but when u are begining to write it is important to use theory and follow guidelines, then as you grow as a writer you can start to go out of the box.

for a few guidelines i suggest u learn chord scales. u said u know ur scales. chord scales are a series of chords based off of a given scale. learning chord scales gives u a series of chords that u can use to to create good sounding progressions. to create a chord scale u take a scale, (for example: C maj- C,D,E,F,G,A,B) and put together notes in groups of three, skipping each note ( for example in C maj : C-E-G, D-F-A, E-G-B, F-A-C, G-B-D, A-C-E, B-D-F) so u take those notes and put them together to construct chords. now u have a group of chords that are all in the key of C maj because u used the C maj scale. here are a list of the chords that u just found

C maj
C maj- C-E-G
D Min- D-F-A
E min- E-G-B
F maj- F-A-C
G 7- G-B-D-F
A min- A-C-E
B dim- B-D-F

so now u have those chords. to apply this to songwriting you expiriment by going from one chord in this list to another to another, etc... for example u could do D min to G 7, to C maj. then u will create a chord progression, and then construct the song from there.


hopefully this will be of some help to u. i had troubble writing songs too and when i learned how the chord scale worked songwriting made much more sense to me. so just mess around with that or tell me if u have any problems.
#9
Quote by nOtReGiStErEd
you want to write like Tool?
take your favourite songs and dissect them, guitar riffs, bass lines, drumbeats.
notice the recurring elements and analyse them.

then listen to the bands that have influence tool and do the same.


if you want to take those influences and find your own style you can, and this will also give you the tools (pun totally not intended) to mimic jones.


Agreed. Maybe, as a musical exercise, take a Tool song you really like, and rewrite it, just tweaking the different parts. Be like, ok here's a pedal point riff, so I'll put a pedal point riff here, here's a big explosion of sound, I'll have that...

Will this be a good individual composition? No. But you'll be getting practice, and getting as close to their thinking as you can. I doubt you'll want to stop at Tool; you can analyze songs from all your favorite artists, and eventually build up a mental library of writing techniques to draw from, which will help you as you build your own style.
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#10
I think I'm going to try the dissecting thing, thats what a freind of mine is doing as well since we are starting an ambient prog metal band like Tool. I hopefully can learn from him, I am mostly there for vocals but I pick up things on guitar fast.
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#11
Not to start a war here, or criticize, or hate, but why copy someones style? when you are dead and gone, chances are, people arent going to remember you, the real you. You will be remembered by the music you wrote, and what you did. Correct me here if I'm wrong, but you don't want to be remembered as "A cheap rip-off of that dude from Tool," do you? It's good to learn from other guitarists, don't get me wrong, but please, don't aspire to play like him, unless you are talking about quality. Develop yourself, your own style, to be remembered for. Not some cheap rip-off.

#12
He uses Drop D exclusively, this makes it easier to slide, hammer-on and pull-of powerchords (which he does extensively). He also uses a 5-string powerchord shape that is

e
B 6
G 5
D 3
A 3
D 3

As for scales, It's mostly D minor or sometimes other modes like dorian, phrygian and locrian, with D as the root. He does this so he can 'chug' a palm-muted D5 and then burst up into the higher frets with a hammer-on. For the heavier, darker sounding riffs he will use the intervals with a semitone (one fret) between them, eg E5-F5, interspersed with left-hand muting to sound like the riff is 'choking' sort-of.

As for songwriting, it is hard to pin down because almost every Tool song is different, and I have a feeling that usually they will find a drum-beat and bassline, and Adam will work out a guitar-part after that, and Maynard will work out lyrics and vocals afterwards in order to sound like the vocals are just another instrument.

But I agree very strongly with Zeus2716, find your own style. Be inspired by Adam for sure - he is a very talented musician - but make your own music, that you truly feel. You are not Adam Jones so you wont have the same thougts, feelings and ideas as him. He makes music from whats inside of him, you should make music from whats inside you.
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