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Vynes's picture
Jun 2004
12 years ago

Well with the 10 chords i know i can make something but it sounds liek other stuff. Its really hard makin songs out of just power chords cuz thats lame i dont get how people mkae like single note rffs its insane

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mnemonicspark's picture
Charleston, SC
Jun 2004
12 years ago

Try doing stuff completly different, like dropped tunings. And if all else fails, Suspended chords.

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squire_1987's picture
Sep 2003
10 years ago

If all else fails use traditional progressions,i.e I - IV - V, or I - VI - II -V. then when you have one you like, try changing some chords in the progression, like major or minor or augmented or suspended, or you could try some jazz and put a 13th chord in lol. But if you tried everything just improvise and jam and you end up with something that sounds good.

Greyskull's picture
Oct 2002
11 months ago

Originally posted by Vynes
Well with the 10 chords i know i can make something but it sounds liek other stuff. Its really hard makin songs out of just power chords cuz thats lame i dont get how people mkae like single note rffs its insane

Time. It takes time. You need to develope your ear, your hands, and your mind.

I used to be just like you - how do I rock ? How do I create single note riffs ???

Here's what you do....

How's your favorite "riffer" ? Get some tablature (the more accurate, the better, of course), put on the CD, go to the track, and start listening while reading the tab. The just start learnig the song(s) in sections. And play along wth the CD. And listen. And play. And turn it up !!!!

That is pretty much what worked for me....

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JPK_2's picture
Sep 2003
7 years ago

^that's good for chords as well. Get tabs from artists you like, and try some of the chords in a totally different context. Then try slightly modifying them, like move 1 finger up or down 1 or 2 (or as you wish) frets, or remove one finger or something. I created really cool chords just ****ing around and putting my fingers where it felt right (it's hard to describe, I guess it takes time)

Take my advice for whatever it is, I wouldn't say I'm a very good guitarist and I only know minimal theory, but I think some of my songs kick ass, so :)

string_slinger's picture
Newcastle, UK
Aug 2003
12 years ago

i think im pretty much at the same place as you are now but im just starting to move out of it. what ive been doing is listening to music and picking out sections that sound different to what i can already play then looking for a tab of that song and learning the chords.

doing this has really helped my chord selection alot and has helped to give my songs more mood and feeling

some bands to get you started:

smashing pumpkins
A perfect circle
Hundred reasons

a chord book or chord computer might be useful maybe just learn a chord a day... whatever feels best for you i guess

good luck :)

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olgluefoot's picture
Valdosta, Georgia
Jul 2004
9 years ago

go indie on it! we play in dropped D in my indie\rock band.. we all know our theory, but we dont really bother.. just pick a starting note.. and pick out cool sounding notes along the way.. and if your stuck in a runt with sounding the same as everyting else.. the progressions are just as important as what chords you use.. playing 4 chord progressions all the time is gonna sound sterile no matter what chords you use.

Amsterdarn's picture
Apr 2003
5 years ago

Dear god, yes learning chords helps. I picked up a big-arse chord book, and the inspiration can be huge. You just flip through, find a chord you've never heard of (like, say, C#+7(#9)) and play it. A lot of those wierd chords give you a great starting place, especially if you want to play something moody.

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brassdolphin's picture
May 2004
7 years ago

i own one of the huge mel bay books. it sounds kinda weird but sometimes when i first get home from work and pick up the guitar
i'll open the book up and pick out some very random chord and just strum it. sometimes a whole bunch of ideas will pop up from just one chord..

maxx_2's picture
Apr 2004
11 years ago

I'm going to have to say that the best way I get a song started is by picking a key, making a progression, and then playing it a couple times seeing what ideas I can get to build on the progression, be it changing chords to move into a chorus, or when the drum beat will come in, or how loud the first note of the melody will be, anything, other than first starting with the chord progression I have no order to song writing, and I think I've made some pretty decent instrumental songs so far.

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Ghosts_On_TV's picture
Ormond Beach, FL
Sep 2004
11 years ago

The way i learned chords beyond the basic major-minor chords is by learning to play Radiohead songs. They have very few songs thatuse just the basics, and they rarely use powerchords. Learn songs like bulletproof from the bends or exit music from Ok Computer. That song has something like 12 dif chords, so youre bound to learn something.
Also try making up your own by just shifting your fingers from the basic pattern into something that doesnt sound bad. It wont actually be your own, but, you know. Be original, use your ear, and pretty soon you will be laughing at those 3-chord goonies.

And any fool can easy pick a hole. I only wish i could fall in.

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