Songwriter's Corner

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by jomama2, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    That’s great! Congratulations.

    I feel like I I passed up chances to play when I was younger because I aspired to a certain level that I never felt “ready” for. I wish now I would have just played even if I wasn’t good enough.

    Now I find myself in a similar situation. I’ve been taking voice lessons for about eight months. I was a very bad singer previously, who had had no intentions of singing. Now I feel I’m much better but still not a very good singer. But I’m struggling with when to say I’m good enough to just put myself out there. Coincidentally, I’m going to do a sort of audition with my voice teacher today with some of the songs I’d perform solo acoustic. She’s going to give me some unvarnished feedback.
     
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  2. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I've benefitted a ton from doing exactly what you're describing with my coach. It's a great idea. It feels super awkward trying to give your best performance in a room with one other person really studying you. But they're there to help you, they care about you, and they can prevent you from taking something to the stage before it's ready.

    Everyone is different, but I find my comfort level in over-preparing. Sometimes I even set up a little PA at home and perform through it, to get a better feel for how my guitar reacts when it's plugged up and how to work the vocal mic more effectively. That stuff matters, and needs to be practiced too.
     
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  3. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    Yeah I’ve got my setup in my music room and I’ve been practicing amplified and video recording myself. I cringe every time I hear it, but I’m not sure if that’s justified or just that reaction we have to hearing our own voice.

    I had sung backup for years but my technique was terrible. I had gotten adept at controlling the pitch however. Now my technique is improving but when it slips I get pitchy. So, even as I’m improving as a singer, I’m less reliably on key.

    It’s a humbling process, but I try to keep reminding myself that I was a pretty terrible guitar player after only eight months at it as well. And I didn’t have a bunch of bad habits to unlearn on guitar.
     
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  4. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Lots of truth there.

    You will eventually reach a point where your old bad habits start to feel instantly *uncomfortable* instead of familiar. That's a big relief. The only time I really backslide now is when I'm working on a new song and I haven't found the melody yet. Then my old goofy restricted singing voice comes back, so I reset and try to find the melody on my guitar or somewhere else.
     
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  5. jkendrick

    jkendrick Member

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    I had my voice lesson and worked on a song at the end. The song is not my own, but Hummingbird by Wilco.



    I’m firmly a baritone and she said I did fine for the first verse but she feels part of it—namely the second chorus—are out of my current (but expanding) range. I’ve never been comfortable transposing for cover tunes since the originals seem to be so firmly entrenched in my brain. But she’s going to work with me next lesson to transpose so it falls more comfortablely in my range.
     
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  6. crumjack

    crumjack Member

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    I need to stop mentally posting to this thread and get to typing.

    I’ll echo Crowder about getting out to open mics. This has helped me immensely and not just with performance but also with vocals, playing and writing.

    Covers have become very helpful for me because they make me explore vocal ranges and phrasing I wouldn’t naturally write for myself. The same with chord progressions. Guitar is my second instrument and I have too much classical theory in my head at times. Hearing and seeing how the “rules” can be broken is helpful. I believe all of this has had a positive influence on my writing.

    I do believe in practicing to nail a song before you play it out. It’s that classical influence showing thru. There will be another chance to play a tune next week if it’s not ready!
     
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  7. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome!
     
  8. shumster55

    shumster55 Member

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    Hi guys, great thread and really connects to my recent collaboration.

    For the last few years I've been writing and recording original guitar instrumentals which I post on TGP and other forums. I posted a few of my songs on another forum and ended up starting a conversation with one of the forum members over there. After a few months of commenting on each others music, we decided to collaborate. I wrote and recorded the music and he did the lyrics and vocals. It was several weeks of listening to tracks, emailing comments and tweaking parts. Then he started the mix and we'd continue to make tweak suggestions via email and phone conversations. I'm in SoCal and he is in Kentucky. What an awesome time we had working on this song and we're really happy with the way it came out. Already getting ready to work on collaboration #2. I love the technology we have available to us which allowed a couple guys on either side of the country to create music together.

    Here's the result.

     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  9. TeleTubby

    TeleTubby Supporting Member

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    Very nice, can't wait to hear more- kudos to you both!

    I'm just getting back into it, having spent a lot of the '80s onstage in various originals bands. Usually wrote ~50% of the music and lyrics and strangely, no shyness whatsoever onstage as long as I had a guitar strapped on. Not a singer then but that's the new barrier I'm ascending and the fright of it is holding me back. Every one of the postings here is kicking me up the backside to get out and do it- thank you all!!!
     
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  10. shumster55

    shumster55 Member

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    You and I have the same background. I was in bands all through the 80s and early 90s. Then came to the realization that it wasn't going to end the way I'd hoped and I quit music. Then, many years later I discovered Garageband and starting writing again. What a great outlet and now I've have added a new dimension to my life which is really satisfying. I hope you have the same experience.
     
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  11. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I tell people all the time...if GarageBand etc. had been around when I was in high school, I'd probably still be in high school now. :D
     
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  12. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    After a long layoff from serious recording, I'm back on the job. Got a whole new batch of songs since my last project and I'm working hard to get my recording chains as strong as possible (without leaving the house, at least!).

    Let me know how this sounds:
     
  13. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Well maybe I'll have better luck with this one, lol.

    I recently started using Softube Console 1 w/ Logic X and it is making my workflow much faster and easier. I could do all the same things with the plugins and control surfaces I had before, but this is so quick and simple.

     
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  14. Lone Bear

    Lone Bear Member

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    @Crowder I'm not up to snuff when it comes to providing constructive criticism beyond saying that I think you have a lot of talent for song writing. I like the way you used the idea of the company car. Sorry I don't have more to offer but I do appreciate your work.
     
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  15. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks man! Means a lot.
     
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  16. TrickinSid

    TrickinSid Member

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    I make up the words and song...as we record - just me and my best friend (bass).

    All of my songs are one take.

    I can't sing the best...but it's fun trying.

    The bass player died from a heart attack 9/23/18.

    Miss him so much.

    Link to our songs.

    https://www.reverbnation.com/trickinsid/songs
     
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  17. KCWM

    KCWM Supporting Member

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    In the time I've been a member here, I've seen such few discussions on songwriting and now I find a thread that's 8 pages (based on how many posts I have set to display per page) and not enough time to read through it or really sit down and put my thoughts together to jump into a conversation that started last year and I'm a million miles behind on.

    I write music that wouldn't be out of place in the '90s and write lead parts that other guitarists could swim circles around. I'll throw the EP I'm working on at the moment out there at where one song needs to be recorded, two songs have vocals recorded ("So Far" and "One and Three"), five of the songs are needing the instruments panned a bit differently, and all of them need a good once over with the new plugins I've purchased. I'm having my friends sing my lyrics and vocal parts because I got frustrated by my own attempts, and that's breathed new life into the songs.

    I did read a few posts about lyrics writing. I almost always write my lyrics first, but one of the things I often do is try to mishear lyrics on purpose when I'm listening to other songs. That often leads me down a rabbit hole of one liners that I will try to either combine or work other lyrics around.

    Happy to hear whatever feedback you have and look forward to going back through the pages and find other songs to listen to!

    Edit: Oh, and for the record, I've been using Cold the Winter since Pearl Jam's Riot Act album came out over 16 years ago and before Blank the Blank names were in and out of fashion. I heard "Thumbing My Way" and the line "no matter how cold the winter, there's a springtime ahead" and was sold.
     
  18. Bennihana

    Bennihana Member

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    @KCWM

    I hear you. Ive been writing and recording things that most people here would likely be able to record in their sleep and I am nowhere near where I should be at 20 years of playing. But damn if I don't love doing it.

    I plan to write any lyrics (if any at all) after I'm finished with the music recording process. Tons of high-fantasy type stuff.
     
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  19. KCWM

    KCWM Supporting Member

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    I was busy today and didn't get to read like I hoped I would...hopefully I can get to that tomorrow.

    You talk about writing and recording things that most people could do in their sleep. Here's the interesting thing. I have a couple of friends I work on music with. I write parts for their songs, record some of the parts they write if they ask, and they're singing on mine (both tracks with vocals feature them). I admire, and somewhat envy, the way they construct songs, write melodies, and have an ear for harmonies.

    They'd say I'm more technically accomplished and write stuff they can't, but they can take 4 cowboy chords and write a song that socks me right in the gut. I'm more interested in the art than how many weird variations of chords you can play, how many notes you can fit into an 8 bar solo, or how much music theory you apply. I just want a song that makes me feel like a listener instead of a musician trying to break it down.

    Truth be told, I've been playing for 25 years and only started trying to tackle leads in the last 8 or 9 years. Even then, I don't have the time to dedicate to training my brain and body to do new things, so it's slow going. Some of my songs don't even have solos, which is why I think it's funny that four of the six songs on this EP have them, one of them has TWO (although it's practically the same solo), and a fifth one has some harmonizing lead-type parts.

    As for lyrics, I saw people talk about autobiographical. I generally try to steer clear of those songs, as most of my songs don't originate from happy emotions or times in our lives that we look back fondly on. I do have a SMALL handful, maybe 2 or 3 songs that are directed at specific people. I do, however take experiences I've had and try to craft something that people can relate to.

    "ALTG" is about that point in our lives where we decide what we believe in with regards to a subject that's forbidden around here. I did my best to write it so that each line alternates between viewpoints. "One and Three" are about the end of a relationship with someone who's incredibly toxic to us...abusive even. They don't want to let us go because they are losing control over us and so they try to knock us down, but by finally scraping them off, we are more alive and stronger than we've ever been. While I did experience the former, I've never experienced the latter, but it all started with the line of "You and me are one and three of a two of a kind" and I built the song off of that.

    I've used music as a release valve for some pretty negative emotions. Sometimes a throwaway song I sing to cope becomes a keeper. Sometimes lyrics come to me spontaneously and sometimes I really have to wrestle with cutting away bits and pieces of word salad until I have something to present. Sometimes, I come back across a song and either throw it away or break it up into little pieces years after I wrote it because my tastes and/or ability has changed and I think it's garbage.

    I do love talking about writing songs, what someone else's process is, see how I can use their process to improve my own, and sometimes stealing part of that process that I find to be particular clever (but not actual parts of songs).
     
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  20. Bennihana

    Bennihana Member

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