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LesPaulKing's picture
VA
Apr 2004
10 years ago

Me n my friend are both good musicians and we want to start a band. However when we come up with a coll idea/riff we try to write a song around it, but as we continue with writing the song seems to get progressively worse. You know what I mean? Or we have some really cool musical stuff goin but the melody/lyrics suck. How do you guys develop good song writing techniques, what are some tips/hints on writing better songs? Better lyrics and melody specifically. I really want to make original stuff that's fresh, but its really frustrating when everythings working but its just embarrasing to sing the lyrics youve pend down.

'92 Orville by Gibson Les Paul Standard Honey Burst-Dunlop 535Q wah-Beano Boost-boss ce3(stereo outs)-Orange AD30H w/ Avatar G212H Special cab n Music Man HD130

rocknroll321's picture
Australia
Mar 2003
5 years ago

Follow the three P's
Patience
Practice
and a Prolific heart throughout the whole music.

Patience - I dont really know anyone that can sit down and say I'm gonna write a really good song. The really good song tells you when your gonna write it and when it does you gotta be ready with a pen and paper.

Practice - this goes without saying. Practice everything you already know about guitar everyday eg. scale runs, chord progressions etc. Plus always learn something new every week.

Prolific heart - is when you be honest in your creative process. People will relate to your music this way. For example when I like a band I like them because I feel their message. Not because they are professional muso's or anything like that.

Also if your a guitarist writing music for a singer to write lyrics, its your duty to write music that suits the words. Like if its a song with sad verses use a minor chord as the root chord and if it gets happier in the chorus make sure your using the major chords.

Anyway this is pretty vague but I hope it helps.

Guitars
MIM Fender Telecaster (black)
Yamaha SA50 (1970's)

rocknroll321's picture
Australia
Mar 2003
5 years ago

I also forgot. My songs are rubbish but I can lookback see that they've definately improved from older ones.

Guitars
MIM Fender Telecaster (black)
Yamaha SA50 (1970's)

Amsterdarn's picture
Apr 2003
4 years ago

Editing is very very very helpful. Also, try to find "your" writing medium- some people only write with a fountain pen onto a legal pad, because that's what words for them. Me, I prefer using a computer. I would love to know someone who uses a quill and parchment, because that would be badass. But the pount is, try writing the lyrics in different environments, using different tools. Some really do work better than others.

Other than that, as far having meaning goes, write a song that's "true" to you. It doesn't have to hold up under oath by any stretch of the imagination, but the underlying idea of the song you have to feel. If you aren't dealing with a breakup, don't write a breakup song. If you are dealing with a breakup, don't write a breakup song*. But seriously, write something you feel. It doesn't have to be a reflection of you as a whole (many of my favorite songs explore that nasty little voice inside), but make it honest.

And the interaction between the music and lyrics is important. There's something to be said for the old "Happy=major key, sad=minor key" standby, but there's also something to be said for mixing it up, whether ironically or whatnot. Experiment and go with what feels best.

*Feel free to ignore this, I'm just sick of breakup songs.

Member of the Grammar Nazis.

Tele

French Toast > Milk Box > Bad Monkey > DD-20

Blues Junior

http://www.purevolume.com/alexbirdsall

screamingdaisy's picture
Off the deep end.
Sep 2003
1 month ago

I rarely listen to the actual words used in the lyrics, only the melody. Many of my favorite songs have an awesome riff, great melody, and crap and/or meaningless lyrics.

Personally, I feel that as long as a song has a good riff, and a good melodic hook, the song will work out, regardless of whether the lyrics are good or not.

R. Mutt

Guitar -> Wah -> Amp -> Cab

BlueOrb's picture
in a neon sign, scrolling up and down
May 2003
10 years ago

if you try too hard everything will come out contrived and crappy.
if you think too much everything will be contrived and crappy.
if you spend too long writing lyrics they will be contrived and crappy.

Also, doing drugs seems to help alot of people.

Your guitar has no magic or mojo in it. It is a piece of wood.

stratomaster_2's picture
L.A. (lower Alabama)
Jul 2004
9 years ago

What i do is when im writing, instead of doing it all at once just get down a rough copy, and record it on a tape player or something. Get it stuck in your head and once you start getting used to it you will be able to add things in and change stuff around to your likings. This is also helpful for figuring out the way you want to sing your melodies.Like just getting a base to work off of instead of trying to complete it at once.

It works good for me.

LesPaulKing's picture
VA
Apr 2004
10 years ago

This is all good advice, it takes dedication, but still theres a time and a place for everything. I think my approach is wrong for the most part, because I kinda am just like, OK, Im gonna write a song today, lets go. What I need to do is wait for something to stand out you know, or take more time with developing what I do have. You cant just sit done and say Im gonna write a song, can you?

'92 Orville by Gibson Les Paul Standard Honey Burst-Dunlop 535Q wah-Beano Boost-boss ce3(stereo outs)-Orange AD30H w/ Avatar G212H Special cab n Music Man HD130

jonnyload3's picture
Bridgewater, VA
Jan 2003
7 years ago

Originally posted by BlueOrb
Also, doing drugs seems to help alot of people.

Im going to try that approach with writing lyrics someday...

Amsterdarn's picture
Apr 2003
4 years ago

Originally posted by BlueOrb
if you try too hard everything will come out contrived and crappy.
if you think too much everything will be contrived and crappy.
if you spend too long writing lyrics they will be contrived and crappy.

This is a very dangerous line of thinking. Without thought and effort, good wordplay will only happen if you get lucky. Which is crap.

Many of my very favorite lyrics in the world would have been impossible to whip off while f*cked up. Here's an example, from "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" by The Decemberists:

"O what a rush of ripe elan!
Languor on divans
Dalliant and dainty!

But the smell of burnt cocaine,
The dolor and decay,
It only makes me cranky.

O great calamity,
Ditch of iniquity and tears.
How I abhor this place!
Its sweet and bitter taste
Has left me wretched, wretching on all fours-
Los Angeles, I'm yours"

Brilliant satire. Or, for an example which deals with the slightly more normal theme of moving on out of destructive relationships, here's a quote from "Synchronized Sinking" by The Lucksmiths:

"Why don't you let go of your boy and see,
You've lost none of your buoyancy"

I don't think the metaphor needs explanation.

The point is, far from sounding forced and contrived, lyrics with time, effort, and thought put into them can come out sounding brilliantly crafted, and pack rather more meaning than something you scribbled down after two bowls or chronic.

Member of the Grammar Nazis.

Tele

French Toast > Milk Box > Bad Monkey > DD-20

Blues Junior

http://www.purevolume.com/alexbirdsall