I am having trouble thinking of things to play when making songs. I know the easy way to do it is just write some chord changes but, I like riffs I guess. How would you guys go about writing riffs for songs. Stuff Like the Root Of All Evil. What's he doing is he playing arpeggios? Also how can I improve my phrasing for solos. I am going to put some of my improve up as soon as I get a recorder. Thanks for the help guys
umm just sit in a cave and wait a few years then come back and you should be better.
Technically, every lick or riff is an arpeggio of some sort. But if you want some help, pick a key, and then just mess around with the notes in it, there's not "set method" to song writing, sometimes you can come up with cool stuff just by noodling around.

But just like skateboarding or riding a bike, the more you practice, the better you get.
Well, if you want to do those things, get some books on advanced guitar techniques or get a tutor (or both). The way I go bout writin riffs tho is I jus start playin somethin. If it sounds good, I keep it. If not, it goes in the garbage, so to speak. Jus start messin round. That's wat most people do I've found.
You're not going to start your songwriting career by crafting a prog-metal epic, so get that idea out of your head.

Scores of threads on this topic are created in the MT forum. Please run a search.
well i usually write new stuff from learning new stuff
like learning modes, new chord shapes, scales, etc.
also i take something simple and keep shaping it until its more complex
The best way to improve your own phrasing is to listen to other people's phrasing. And when I say this, I don't just mean two or three people... I mean every time you hear any form of solo instrument, be it piano, trumpet, sax, guitar, bass, whatever. You listen to how other people do it, and you learn how to play a lot of different styles. There is something to offer a guitarist in every style of music. Blues is a great place to start.

Riff composition, I think, is very heavily influenced by what you listen to. I didn't really write a lot of riff-based music before I started listening to Rush, but as soon as I did, I started copying Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson's phrasing quite a bit, just because they're who I was listening to. The best advice I can give on writing really riff-based music is to just learn a bunch of riff-based songs, and learn music theory. If you really wanna write riff-based music, being able to hear different intervals in your head is a HUGE help in expressing your ideas.

And like anything with the guitar, don't expect it to just happen over night. It takes work to develop your ear and your chops. But you'll eventually reach a point where you can just hear something in your head and just play it. That's my ultimate goal, because being able to express exactly what you hear in your head while improvising, or composing, is so much easier than sitting there and guessing at what you're trying to do.
Got Death Magnetic a day early!

The Low-Cardinal of Zeppelinism - If you're a diehard fan of Zeppelin, join Zeppelinism here

Winner of the "Biggest Led Zeppelin Fuck" award in the CR forum (2 years running!)
Thanks Page. I know it's not going to come over night but I was just trying to get tips on where to start. And you seem to have helped me there. When improvise now with riff when jamming with people its always power chords. Haha But thanks man

And Thanks to everyone else also. Sue I know I am not going to start off by writing Prog-metal Epics but thats the best riff I could think of when posting and I'd love to be able to get there someday. In which I am confident I will.

Thanks UG'ers