OK guys this might be in the wrong thread, but it seems the songwriting thread is only used for lyrics. My request is for songwriting on guitar. I've been for playing for two years and I think that technically I have some ability. I can play plenty of songs, but I can't write anything on electric guitar. Acoustic is easy to me, just make a strum pattern and play with chords, but on electric I find my self feeling lost when trying to write a song. I don't know where to start. Any advise?
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Most rock songs start with a cool hook or riff. Just dick around on the lower strings, something reasonably cool should come to you after a little while. In my experience, trying to force it makes things worse, as well. Most of the good songs I've written have come from riffs that I played accidentally or without thinking.
I play rock. Everything in that genre from Metallica to Red Hot Chili Peppers. I know some basic scales (pentatonic, chromatic, and blues). I'm just not sure what to do with them.
Jackson Soloist SL-3
Squire Strat
Crate XT120R
Marshall JH-1 Jackhammer
Dunlop Crybaby
Come up with an interesting riff. Figure out the key and (if applicable) a chord progression.

I had a diagram printed up for a student of mine, but it basically showed chords connecting by thirds (C-E-G-B-D-F...) and there was a row of fourths above and fifths below (something like that) and basically you could move around inside this diagram without having a "bad" chord, and it was pretty easy to find a cadence. You could also write progressions that went on and on forever...

Like I wrote one that just goes "G Am7 Bm C D" and then back to G and it starts again. That's just scalewise motion - another trick.

Anyway once you have a riff, you just need to formulate some connecting parts. At first you might have a pretty ordinary "D-G-A" pattern or something, but then you invert it, alter one of the chords...

Say make the G a Gaug....

stuff like that. Keep experimenting until you get something that sounds good.

Fingerpick, too. That makes your chords more sparse so you have more freedom. Sticking a diminished in there isn't so odd sounding because it's just a single passing tone or something.

And record. Also write up some tab paper and write your ideas down. Keep a journal of ideas. Get a 3-hole punch and a good binder.

...etc. That's what I do.
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I haven't focused on writing music because I've focused my practice on becoming proficient with the instrument before I start writing things that I can't play. But in the past week just by noodling around I've created two licks that, when I start to write, will be the foundation for two songs.
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Apply the same thinking you do on acoustic to electric. Yes, those open position chords(that I'm assuming you're using on acoustic) won't work with things like distortion. So, start easy, start with power chords and barre chords, and start coming up with changes and strum patterns just like you do on acoustic.

VERY IMPORTANT: steal, steal, steal. The best composers, writers, painters, ALWAYS have admitted to stealing ideas. It's a part of artistic inspiration. So take parts of songs you know from here and there and put something together. After messing around with it for a while, you'll start to realize you have departed from the original song...enough so that now...it's your song! Hope some of this helps.
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