My Songwriting Tips

Just a few tips on writing songs based on my experience, I hope it helps some one.

Ultimate Guitar
Hi, I've been playing writing songs ever since I started playing guitar but it was only recently they became decent and so I started thinking why: My guidelines are simple and I hope they help some one. 1: Write about what you know. If you like black mass and killing children don't try writing a song about cutsey sheep and Jesus (and vice versa) 1.5: Or not... Ignore step 1 if what you know is boring, ie if your only passion is music and stamp collecting don't write about stamps, no one will care! (no offense UG stamp collectors) 2: Don't over think. Don't sit there thinking about what the song must sound like and what load of theory bollocks it relates to. Just get your guitar find a good tone and play until you find something that makes you go "Wow!" then work out key and what else you can do with it. 3: Make notes. Get a note book (I'd advise a A4 one over A5 or smaller) and every time a bit of lyric or a bit of song come to you and write it down and when your feeling it come back to these skeletons of songs and try to finish. However, do not force your self it will only result in a low quality song. Try to get in your mindset from when you started the song to keep the song uniform through out. 4: Variety is the spice of life. Don't make all your songs the same, people will get bored (unless of course, you are; A: part of a legendary rock band of 20+ years or B: The Ramones (which I doubt)). By all means have your own sound but all your songs should stand on there own individual songs, if many sound the same alter some a little bit to make them individual. 5: Be your self. Many young song writers (like me until recently)write songs that are obvious steals of the last song they listened to. However it can be good for inspiration to base your songs on songs you like, but disguise it, as David Bowie said 'Talent borrows, genius steals" but he's never been done for plagiarism because he hides it. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I got worried when he said not to make all your songs sound the same. Luckily I am the Ramones, so it doesn't apply to me.
    I have one piece of advice: Don't care too much about if something you write sounds like something else. Just make sure you use it in a different context if you steal something. Placing a melody you heard in a pop song in a blues song is ok, as you mix it up and make it interesting.
    I like this, good tips if one really puts it to work. Any tips on how to compose music for a 3 piece acoustic band? Mostly song structure?
    There's an amazing article here in UG talking bout' Subjectivity... That's the secret to write about ANYTHING, even your "stamps collection", and turn it into a masterpiece... Try it out...
    I like the suggestions I seem to come up with things I like, but they are never complete and seem to lack any particular style.
    Michellmadeira is right, it doesn't matter if what you write about is "interesting", so long as you write about it in an interesting way. This means taking a fresh perspective on things, and writing about a stamp collection could actually be a great way of doing that. For instance, say you want to tell a story with your lyric in which the narrator is lamenting his lost father. One way to do it would be to spew a pagelong spiel about how he "feels so low" and he "misses him so". On the other hand, you could have the character own a collection of stamps started by his father, using the stamp collection as a symbol of their relationship and the continuity of his father's lineage: he started the collection, then passed on the responsibility in keeping it to his son. With a little imagination you can make anything interesting.