10 More Ideas to Inject Into Your Song Tonight

Ideas you can use to spice up your song and move it along. Especially if you are stuck at some point of the song with a lack of ideas on what you can do next.

Ultimate Guitar
"What am I gonna do next?" or "What else can I do with what I've got?" or "How do I make my song kick some a-s?" For the first 10 ideas check out Part 1 of this article with the same title. Here are the next 10:

1. Add or harmonize the same chords in a HIGHER octave.

A little obvious but many of my songs don't have this and just adding some harmony makes a huge difference sometimes. Experimenting with this can be eye opening and very fun to do as well. For example, write a simple progression and record it on your phone or in your DAW and then play the same chords in the octave above, or below if your chords are already in a higher register.

2. Add diatonic chords (chords in the same key) at the same time.

For example, you can play C and Em at the same time or Dm and F. This usually sounds better with one chord in a higher octave than the other one. So if you play C starting on the 3th fret, 5th string, try the Em on the 7th fret or higher. Same with any other combination of chords.

3. Add a second or third solo to your song.

You can start or finish with one or you can simply add it in between your sections. They don't have to be epic, although epic would be nice.

4. Use an open string lick.

You can really add some cool stuff to your song as well as really taking the tempo up on this one. Instead of using the same string's key such as the Bm on the second string, try Bm on another string. Such as the D since the D is the 3rd of Bm.

5. Use a strict legato section, or mixed, or both.

Restrict yourself to only playing legato in a part of the song. This can bring the dynamics down and add a cool contrast if you do it right before a big part. Maybe its just the guitar during this part or a chill bass line without drums. Or it can be over a mind blowing riff at high speed. Either way, you can really take up the speed.

6. Change Meters.

You can add a measure to make your riff fit into a 5/4 measure or longer. You can also go from 4/4 to 6/8. There are many meters to choose from. Here is an example: 7/4 to 5/4. Another one can be 5/4 to 4/4. And another one... 7/4 to 5/8. Keep in mind these are odd meters so they will add an uncommon sound to your song. I really like using this stuff because it adds an unexpected dimension that can sound really cool and out of the norm. See what you can come up with.

7. Change Tempo.

There are many songs that change tempo without us even knowing it was happening. It gives the song a totally different feel and sense of unexpectedness. You can really add some dimension and some unexpected excitement just by changing the speed at which you play a certain part or parts.

8. Write a section where you only use the Pentatonic scale.

For example, restrict yourself to using only that scale for a certain amount of time and then break loose into the other shapes or scales you want to use. This can add CONTRAST to your leads. You can do this with any scale you want.

9. Add some chromatic passing tones into your riff or solo.

This can really sound cool and add a sense of freshness to your music. Some like it and some don't. I think it's a matter of how much you use it. For example: I believe "Flight Of The Bumblebee" is all chromatics and I think it sounds great. There are many great players who also use this tool to add extra COLOR to their music. It can also make your riffs sound pretty sick.

10. Get your band mate to rewrite your section or vice versa.

This can give you a whole other dimension to your idea and can really churn out something cool. Ask him or her what they would do instead of what you did and maybe you can combine it or come up with something much better than if you try to do everything yourself. Working together can really produce some great stuff. I hope I have given you at least one idea to move your song along. Just show up and don't neglect your songs. The ideas will flow once you are in beast mode. Get tons of ideas for your songs or chord progressions with this free ebook. Instantly write songs and maximize your songwriting potential by having several options at your disposal, in every single key. Mix and match, or use 2 or more progressions at once for a strong, powerful section. The possibilities are endless. Get it here. About The Author: Mike Socarras is a guitarist, songwriter, lyricist and guitar teacher. He teaches guitar in the Westchester area of Miami, Fl. If you would like to know more about playing guitar you can visit his website for more songwriting information.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    As I was reading this all I could think about was how Boston songs fit almost all of these advice points.
    Also Bare Naked Ladies (used to). It's Only Me has a 4/4 to 5/4 shift in the bridge because that shit's classy.
    "6. Change Meters. [...]" This is an excellent suggestion. (Not that the other points aren't equally as good.) I actually do this in a few songs of mine. It makes the riffs interesting.
    Using different meters surely can lead to cool riffs, but I stuck in 4/4 and can't write anything different
    listen to a whole bunch of frank zappa or brain drill and youll get a feel for it
    Listen to Zappa and you'll forget 4/4 ever existed.
    A good example: Oceansize I think most of you haven't heard of them. They were amazing, some kind of new prog. I really recommend this band to everyone who is into prog, they give variety to that genre! from time to time they sound a bit like pop but i'm ok with that. and i think its amazing to hear, what they do with 3(!) guitars.
    Or get a drum computer or software to micmic drums, set them in a different time signature and jam. Make sure the rest of your band knows how to deal with changing time signatures. I once wrote a song in 3/4 and 4/4, which isn't that amazing, but my drummer asked me to change it..
    With all due respect, a lot of these articles boil down to 'use music theory to spice up your song', 'listen to the bands you like and dislike and see what they do', 'use variations' and 'ask your peers to help'. This is no exception.
    I have friends who say that theory is useless. And when they write music together, they struggle while trying to explain to the other about a progression/scale change or a 4/4 to a 3/4 measure change. Idiots.
    link no1
    They are right in the sense of theory isn't necessary at all to write good music. A surprising amount of well known and renowned musicians know next to no theory. It is really irritating though when you're the only guy in a room that knows theory. It takes 10 times longer to explain even the most simple thing like "play this for 4 bars" or "this changes to 3/4 here" when you have to think of a way to explain it to a group of people who don't know anything...
    but at the same time, the best guitarist out there now are all technical geniuses lol. Well, I'd say that good music is the balance of both tecnical skill and expressive playing.
    A trick I like is using some simple polyrythms, even the most straight ahead 4/4 riff will usually sound good with a tasteful 3/4 riff behind it (especially if you keep a couple octaves between them), you just gotta be aware of how it eventually resolves and if there's any notes that clash to much.(just remember the occasional bit of dissonance can really add to a song regardless of genre) And thanks for the articles, these will come in real handy for some beginners and I always appreciate useful reminders of what tools I got to work with.
    Very good ideas! People look for a magic pill when it comes to these articles but they really serve to make us as musicians think further and come up with our own variations and ideas. Good article!
    What about adding soul to the song?
    "You can start or finish with one or you can simply add it in between your sections. They don't have to be epic, although ((((epic would be nice))))" I don't even know what to say to this.