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Songwriting

jo2012

Member
Messages
2,315
Do any of you guys just run out of riffs? Ever feel like all the good riffs have already been taken and turned into famous songs? I've written a few songs with cool riffs but I cant make any new ones currently. What do you guys do when (or if) you face this problem?
 

hp29

Member
Messages
194
No but I often have the problem that I add a riff that I later find out is already "taken". So when I record a demo I always have a select few listen through to tell me if I have stolen something without being aware of it.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
Well, I don't think of riffs as songwriting. I pretty much never build a song around a guitar riff. I might build one around a melody, and often those come to me not when I'm at the piano or holding a guitar but when I'm just walking or driving around humming to myself. Those melodies always seem to occur. I might build one around a central lyrical troupe, the way Smokey Robinson built "I second that emotion" when he misheard something his companion said while ordering at a resturant and wrote a song around in -- those ideas come in fits and starts; and those songs can be variously easy or hard to finish.

In terms of what to do when I'm struggling with new musical ideas on the guitar, a couple of ideas -- change tunings, play around in open G or DADGAD or some other tuning; make yourself write a different kind of song than you normally write, if you're a metal player, write a country song or a pop ballad, if you're a blues player, write a pop song; also if you play another instrument, even crudely, try writing on it -- basically get outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do something outside your personal box.
 

paulvcarter

Member
Messages
2,683
I always change guitars for writing if I get stale, I prefer writing on my acoustic but if that's not working find a new tone on your electric. Another little thing is use a capo for a key change.
 

RSRD

Member
Messages
4,972
It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes the waves are nice long curls and sometimes the waves are dirty and frothy.

Try picking up your guitar when you've had a really bad day and just release your frustrations on your guitar. Dnot over think it. Just let it flow. Same goes for really sad times or happy times. Try to let your guitar and voice be your expression.


Good luck with it!
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
If I don't have any clear cut ideas I just record random jamming. There is usually something in there, if I decide to pursue it. Otherwise, inspiration can come from different sources. If something like a string progression from a movie strikes me, I'll examine the mechanics of it and figure out why it moved me. That may evolve into something else, but just the act of looking at something like that gets my creativity flowing.

But I need to be in the right frame of mind in the first place. I don't get anywhere by forcing it.
 

jekylmeister

Raconteur Extraordinaire
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,600
I think most great rock songs start out as riffs, turned into verses/choruses, with lyrics added. Keef proclaims himself a riff-master. I think the same could be said about Page or Slash or most rock artists. Production has an awful lot to do with the success of it, but it really is about cool riffs. I make good ones all the time. Sometimes I record them. Most times I forget them. Right place/right time/right production.
 

straightblues

Member
Messages
9,742
I approach song writing from a melody perspective. I then go back and try to force cool riffs into that melody structure.
 




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