I was thinking of doing this...but I would like to know what inspires you all to write these great riffs?

How do you start to come up with it...do you just start playing till it feels right?

Any input helps!


Personally I just mess around and if something strikes me as interesting I play with the idea until I make it into a song (or at least foundation for one). Seldom do I ever just sit down and say "I'm writing a song today." Although I have said "I'm finishing this song now" after I already have an idea. Most of the time I just mix ideas and then after I have enough material I try to fill in the gaps and make it flow.
if you've got a chord progression, record it, and then start soloing over it , then you can pick which licks you like, stack them together the way you want etc. Also if you learn some scales it will be a whole lot easier. Scales give you a basic idea of which notes you can play and will sound good, instead of trying to guess note by note.
Last edited by rodrigomierh at Feb 19, 2008,
For me, when I get an intresting riff in my head, I try to play that riff on my guitar, then I come up with other parts that fit the song. Then I structure it, adding solo parts, breadowns, song structures, or whatever I need to add. Its never a good idea to try too hard to write a song.
i do alot of my writing actually in guitar pro
once youve developed a relative sence in your head of what notes are what you can think something up and then transcibe it straight into there, but you also want tons of theory knowledge for makign it work right and not be a mess of notes
but it does help to just sit around and improv on guitar
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Usually, I randomly have a solo come into my head - unfortunately thats usually while i have no guitar anywhere near me... - and so I try my best not to listen to any music, or think of any music, until I get to a guitar - I then work out how to play what's in my head note for note, and finally adjust it to make it that little more interesting - add grace notes, hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides etc.

If I just sit down and say 'right, i'm going to write a gong', I usually get pissed off, depressed, and stop writting for ages.. so I try to avoid that.
Theres Always some kinda melody in your head. But what i tend to do is mess around with powertab and come up with some new riffs that are impossible then i take them down a few steps to the real world so i can play them. I later try to fit each riff in like a puzzle or mend the to together so it flows. Also sometimes u get random inspiration from just fooling around. But you gotta feel it i mean try to get those notes coming from your head into the software or recording and practice it over and over till either mistakes happen or you want to just improvise. Its not easy to explain but have fun with trying to find that unique style of music your looking for. Thats what i try to do. I try to do what people have done but better or try to mimic or imitate them to mybest knowledge. O wellz i guess thats all i got good luck.
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the way i made my first song the other day, was i came up with possibly the worls simplest riff, and then in Guitar pro, i opened up the fretboard thing then went to scales, then flicked through all the scales in all the positions, until i came across one that my riff fitted into.
then i used the scale diagram to make more riffs, and then a kind of solo thing.
u can just muck around with different chords until you find one that fits, or just use the scale diagram and look for chords.
this could be the worlds stupidest way of making a song, but it worked for me.

take a look:
then go: view>fretboard
then click scales, and open the pentatonic major in A, and watch the song in the different guitar tracks, it will make sense
sorry if this is all complete rubbish, but it worked for me once...
for me.. writing a good solo consists of..

A) Roll joint

B) Prepare backing riff\drum track in guitar pro for the solo, set it to repeat infinitely, prepare microphone, monitors, tone, tuning, etc.

C) Clear head, Smoke joint, pick up guitar, try and clear head of ANY AND ALL THOUGHTS , relax my technique until there is nothing left but my mind and the guitar, and then play..

I am NOT condoning drug use of anyone else. it's your choice. i'm comfortable with it so i do it.

here's some hints that i've noticed over the last while

- think about phrasing before everything else.

- play totally relaxed. your face should never look like this the more relaxed you are, the more naturally a phrase is going to come to you, and the classier it's going to sound when you play it with complete inner stillness and confidence! the pick should be held lightly enough that someone could pull it out of your hand easily.

- don't play fast until your heart says "play fast here".. people know when it's forced! (glares at the heaps of awful "youtube guitarists")

- don't make your runs too big unless you can envision the whole thing before playing it. what i mean is try and hear the melodies you play before you play them, even if the run is a blazing harmonic minor run all the way up the neck, you should know what it's gonna sound like before playing it, or it'll sound forced.

- use your ears. i only ever really learned the scales in their base positions but once you learn them really good, and i mean practicing them with your ears, you should be able to figure them out on the rest of the neck without having to practice all the positions. it's fun

- if a note sounds good, stay on it.. explore its possibilities

- if a melody sounds good repeat it and expand on it. don't go crazy and abstract just because you can

now i'm not the best guitarist ever in fact i've only been playing for about 3 and a half years. but that's my 2 cents, hopefully you can use them
Last edited by trashbeast at Feb 20, 2008,
I don't write unless I actually have something to write. Don't just write to write, and don't look for motivation. Let it hit you. When you're just messing around on a guitar, and you come across a chord progression or riff or lick you like, write it. Then work with it.

Its really easy to come up with good riffs if you start with chords, then break down the notes in the chord and work with it from there.

I do NOT recommend writing directly into guitar pro or powertab or whatnot. Write what you know you can play, what you know sounds good on your guitar played by your fingers. It'll make a finished product seem so much more real and personal. Once you have something written on your actual guitar, THEN put it into GP or PT.

Furthermore, keep in mind the phrase 'theft and revision.' Check out your favorite songs, see how they structure it, think about how those riffs came about, basically just analyze the song. Then take what you've learned about it and apply your creative vision to it. And a good song does take a sense of creativity, its not all theory and numbers.

For soloing, scales are a good place to start. The Harmonic Minor and Minor pentatonic scales are my favorite, but thats just me.

And I suddenly notice that you're asking just about solos and recordings, so this is probably all irrelevant but theres no harm in saying it.
While I don't think I'm one of the people that write great riffs, I may drop in my opinion on this.

-"what inspires you all to write these great riffs?"
If you'd ask 10 people, you probably get 20 different answers. And that's good, because the different approaches people have will keep music fresh and interesting. But I know that it can sometimes get frustrating because there is no clearcut path to creativity. You can't force it. The good ideas either come or they don't. Maybe, if you know the "rules" and "genre convenctions" of the particular style you're writing in, you can "fake" something through standart filler material and cliches, and you may even fool some listeners, but that doesn't mean that its satisfying to you.

If you're speaking strictly musical inspiration, the thing that helps is a good knowledge of the particular style you want to write in. That doesn't mean you have to have encyclopedic theory-skills, most people don't, but they have at least developed a subconscious understanding of what works and what doesn't.

A saying that you should keep in mind is: "First, learn to walk, before you attempt to run". Most people don't compose a 20min Symphony right at the beginning. They master the basics first by writing some easier, simpler songs.

This is also great advice if you consider writing more streamlined rock and pop songs. Go through your riffs, isolate what works, and take out what doesn't work - Especially when composing alone at home on a computer its easy to fall into a "noodling" trap, and you end up with songs that meander meaninglessly and don't go anywhere.

The thing you need is what I call "melodic control": The ability to PLAY what you HEAR in your head. For this, you need a) technical skill (a no-brainer: obviously you cannot play the great sweeping lick you have in your head if you don't have the chops to execute it) and b) more importantly, a developed ear. In that respect, the thing that has helped me the most to develop melodic control in improvising and songwriting is to stop relying on tabs and start figuring out songs by ear. This trains a lot of skills at once: obviously you train your technique that's needed to play the song, but more importantly by forcing to use your ear, your own writing skills improve. Think about it: There is NO real difference between figuring out an "external song" by ear and figuring out your "inner songs", and the skill you developed in the former will help you better bring out your own ideas in the latter. Also, as many others already said, looking at other people's work teaches you a buckload of composition. It doesn't have to be theoretical, but at least it's subconsciously there. I mean, Paul McCartney didn't probably made the same theoretical thoughts when writing "Yesterday" that would come out when you analyze the song afterwards. But at least subconsciously he knew very well what he was doing (because he developed his inner ear rigourously on days as a working club band).
Quote by envoykrawkwar7
i do alot of my writing actually in guitar pro
once youve developed a relative sence in your head of what notes are what you can think something up and then transcibe it straight into there, but you also want tons of theory knowledge for makign it work right and not be a mess of notes
but it does help to just sit around and improv on guitar

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When I get a solo I'm usually at school and then a nice little melody will come into my head so I will start humming it then get a pencil or something to get a good drum beat going. If you get something but it sounds weird try to change it up a bit instead of just giving up. You could slow it down or mix it or add more notes or take out useless notes. If you have easy riffs that have a lot of space between the notes than try to use octaves or hammerons or hit the note more than once like a quick double tap or a triplet or just bend the note or even a slide. You'd be suprised at how some of the simplest techniques really help you out. But the most important thing is don`t give up on something just because you feel it isn't going anywere, wrrite it down or something because you never know when you might think of something good to add on to it. I know that's happened to me when I just forgot about a small riff and then gotten some great ideas but couldn't apply them because I forgot how the riff went. Well I hope this helped you out a little