UG Newbie
Join date: Dec 2006
2,455 IQ
Continuing on from my relentless song writing nightmare, i can't even write an Acoustic riff, or a decent electric one. It pisses me so off. I mean im an alt rock player, i just don't know s*h*i*t about writing riffs. I suck at it. My band, again, plays a mix of Ludo/Nirvana. Thanks

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Registered User
Join date: Oct 2006
371 IQ
This is how you do it...
Learn lots of songs by other bands and eventually you'll be playing your own riffs inspired by the songs you have learned
Join date: Aug 2005
146 IQ
Quote by Matsols
This is how you do it...
Learn lots of songs by other bands and eventually you'll be playing your own riffs inspired by the songs you have learned


You'll find out palm mute and notes repeated 3 or 4 times are widely used in riffs.. I think..
hands down.
Anthony Green Fanboy <3
Join date: Jul 2007
1,501 IQ
just play what you hear in your head.

there's no set way to know how to write riffs. It comes to you.
...Nothing you've ever...
...Planned on ever turned out...
...The way you planned...

...You're still disappointing them...
Join date: Aug 2008
391 IQ
Learn a few new scale shapes and positions and play around a bit, however it is true that the riffs will come to you in time.

If you're stuck try alternative tunings and maybe some completely different amp settings.

I've always tend to keep my guitars in standard tuning, however, I recently tuned everything down a step and a half for a few days while i was off work and found that I had riffs rolling off my finger tips Just experiment a bit
Registered User
Join date: May 2007
524 IQ
The best answer was already given, learn other songs , I can only repeat that ad nauseam. You can't create in a vacuum, and it unsurprising that you find most great composers/musicians have played and studied the hell out of other music. Just to give you an example from a pop/rock perspective, the Beatles first payed their dues as a bar band in the clubs of europe, playing other people's songs night for night, hourlong gigs. Thus they internalized that sound, learned what makes a song click, how to arrange things, etc. Writing their own material then became easy. Or take Nirvana, they also covered the **** out of other songs and in the process developed their own songwriting. It's hard work, and that puts people off, but the really big or good musicians must have paid their dues.

A very important facet to that fact is that when you learn other songs, try not to depend on notation but figure them out by ear. That may be by far the best ability you can have as a musician/composer (other than being technically able to play what you want, of course). It's simple as that: If you can't even figure out the music of a recording (that you can repeat, slow down, etc.), how do you think you will be able to figure out the music that's in your own head (= composing) ? The skills involved in both are the same and training this skill in one area will help you apply it in the other.