#1
Hey I'm trying to write some riffs for my band but they all come out like substandard versions of other songs.


So how do you get ideas? Or how do famous bands get theirs (if you know)?


I'd really like to be able to write songs in the same vein of people like Alexisonfire, Thursday and glassJAw, but also maybe with elements of Protest The Hero or SiKth? Like kinda post-hardcore or metal.


So yeah, any things that help you write better music?
Last edited by Heavens_To_Hell at Oct 21, 2007,
#2
I've found that things get better the more music theory I know, which I'm still learning, so if you don't know that stuff get into it.
I've come up with some good stuff simply by picking up the guitar whilst in a certain mood.
Just try picking up your guitar with your mind blank and play something original, if it sounds good, hurrah, if not, keep playing, you'll come up with something eventually.
Music theory just helps in that you'll know what sounds good with what and how to break the rules etc.
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#3
I asked Daron Malakian from SOAD where he gets his ideas from.

He replied:
"Lots of crack, lots of playing, and not asking the pit."

Actually, it was just the first two...


...whuzzah?
Oh, right...personally, I draw inspiration.
But I can write anything like that.
{clicks fingers}
{realises its less dramatic over UG}

You are 1 of 3 people:

Ville Valo:
You take a year to write a song because you're 'drawing inspiration'.

Serj Tankian:
You write songs so often, you could wipe your ass with music sheets.

50 Cent:
Just your name earns you fans. Who cares if nobody can name one of your songs?

Oh, and then there's people who just suck...
#4
I have aspectst I draw from so many geners that my songs tend to not sound like somone elses. by that I mean I'll add lets say a metal style rifft but then I would combind it with an acoustic chord progretion. theres so much you could do its just a matter of being creative and open to all types of music to draw insperation from. play with wierd noices that your guitar gives off or somthing and I'm sure you'll come up with something new sounding.
A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
#6
Is there any theory I should really learn for that kind of music? I've got a basic to moderate grasp of theory but is there anything I MUST know? Same with techniques?


Is there any songs that would be good to analyse and learn for ideas either?
#7
modes help and harmonising, pitch axis theory is a good one to know as well as how to build chords correctly
#8
I usually get an idea from completely random stuff. i mean, too random to bother telling. something random sparks my mind into deep thought, usually i end up hearing this piece of music that would suit what just happened or what i just witnessed, and then i take the situation way out of proportion to write the lyrics - knowing i've got the vocal melody in my head. i usually sit with an acoustic guitar or at a piano, working out how to play what i "hear" in my head, and writing down the chords and tabs for lead parts (not the names, often i don't know the names of the chords, so i just tab out how i played them), when thats done i work on the sketchy lyrics. Its kind of like working out how to play a cover, except its a song that doesn't exist outside of my head.

consciously theres no musical theory involved although i think i've picked up a lot of it without knowing that i have.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#9
Whenever I can't think of something, I get my backup guitar and screw around with different tunings that bands don't really use(outside of open tunings, I'm talking about stuff that doesn't even have a "name"). Chances are Sonic Youth used it already though. That or getting on Guitar Pro and changing the time signature(usually to 7/8 or 5/4).
#10
I lisen to bands that i like then i look at the tabs for there songs. I see what notes they play to give me some ideas. Ive also been learning more on theory. I know alot alreayd but ive learned some neat little things.
#11
some people where born to write songs.

some people were born to play other people's songs.

i think i was born to play other peoples, which kinda sucks but i cant complain because listening to other peoples songs was the reason i picked up bass.
#12
I've seemed to come up with more riffs, etc from learning scales. I took GCSE Music this year (Me = year 10), and after learning the formula to construct Major Scales and a little bit on natural Minor, harmonic and melodic minor, it has seemed to help me. Just play about with scales, and try different variations of riffs you've made in the past.
#13
Quote by AdamDK
I've seemed to come up with more riffs, etc from learning scales. I took GCSE Music this year (Me = year 10), and after learning the formula to construct Major Scales and a little bit on natural Minor, harmonic and melodic minor, it has seemed to help me. Just play about with scales, and try different variations of riffs you've made in the past.


I know my scales pretty well but that also seems to be part of the problem that if I try to think too much in scales it comes out sounding like an exercise and not a song.


I mean I can use it after I've got a riff say to write lead guitar parts once I've worked out the key etc etc, but it doesn't really help me with actually writing the starting riff.

Is there any like techniques that a lot of the bands use? Or any like keys/tunings that are popular?


Most of the post-hardcore bands seem to work somewhere between drop D and drop Db
#14
I see where you're coming from then about the scales. You could try different tunings. I find it fun to sometimes make riffs in Drop D/Drop C. Mind you, a lot of the time when I make riffs from Drop D/Drop C, they're just power chord riffs. Perhaps try listening to different music than you normally do. That might give you some cool ideas to put into riffs.
#15
Quote by AdamDK
I see where you're coming from then about the scales. You could try different tunings. I find it fun to sometimes make riffs in Drop D/Drop C. Mind you, a lot of the time when I make riffs from Drop D/Drop C, they're just power chord riffs. Perhaps try listening to different music than you normally do. That might give you some cool ideas to put into riffs.


I listen to like loads of music, but that sometimes seems a problem in itself cause I'll try to write something like metal and it'll come out sounding like Fall Out Boy :S


And vice versa too.


I'll keep trying, but it just seems like for every good riff I write there's 20 awful ones.
#16
IMO knowing how to play multiple instruments is really useful, I come up with some nice sounding progressions and melodies on the piano (which I'm not even very good at playing). It really opens your mind up when you can look at things from the point of view of another instrument and presents some new takes on older ideas.