How To Song Write On An Acoustic With Just Chords

author: MattTravis date: 01/04/2010 category: songwriting
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The only two things that truely define a song are lyrics, which then shape rhythm and the speed of the guitar, and the emotianal feel of the song, which shape the amount of guitar and how loud you play, or how hard you strum. Rock musicians playing electric guitar often play a powerchord section as rhythm and then have someone else overlay what they play with a picking melody. If it's just you and an acoustic guitar, you can't really do this. For a start powerchords are a pain in the ass to play on a meduim gauge acoustic, and they just don't sound as good. Plus your rhythm won't seem distinct, or have that most important factor, personality. Acoustics are very easy to write songs with, and today I'm gonna show you how I would go about writting a song. First, let's take a topic. Er, for the sake of ease, I'll choose women. Now I'll choose a mood: Happy, Summerlike. Okay, now I'm going to list some basic happy sounding chords: G, D, Dsus, A, dm, So, looking at the chords I've thought up in like five seconds, let's see what the most logical switch pattern is: G, dm, D, A, Dsus so, now you have to judge how long you'll play each chord for. Do this by writing your chorus lyrics- I'll do an example for you off the top of my head: To do this, I think of what lyrics sound right against each chord; G: Hey miss summertime Dm: your a poolside angel D: And a bottle o' wine A: Your a devil in the sun Dsus: But the lovely kind This is just random so the fact that its not great is because I've come up with it off the top of my head. To get the strumming pattern, counting sylables of the words is in order- for instance:
Hey Miss Summertime
 1    1    1 1    1
To get the speed of the song just sing the chorus, that's a good indication. So you would have strummed five time on the G for this verse. I instantly stutter the third into the fourth, so don't worry if your playing this now and it sounds a bit off. Now you might of noticed that this chorus seems unfinished. Well sometimes you have to write an unfinished chorus to get it write. the little bit I added is simply a C chord, into a G chord, and the lyrics 'Your my (Slip into the G) Summertime' You use the chord pattern minus the extra bit for your intro outro and riff +chorus if your just a starting guitarist, if you've been playing longer like me you should play around and do maybe some finger picking or something. The verses usually can be written using an alternative chord pattern with the same chords. Here's what I came up with once again, just off the top of my head: G: The sun is beating down D: Your what I'm wanting Dsus: But your not around Dm: Come on baby A: be my summertime You write this exactly like the chorus, using sylibles, and then your set. If you wanna edit your strum pattern if your lyrics are off do it. No one can usually hear if your lyrics are good enough. DO exactly what I've done, even if you use the same chords and have literally just started playing, and I look forward to hearing your uploads on this site. If you do write a song using this method please send me a friends request once you've uploaded it. I might record this one and stick it up so you can hear that this method works, whenever I get chance. Enjoy, Matt Travis
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