Writing a song is a delicate, intellectual process that is both unique and personal, individual to every guitarist without an exception. Some people like to make patterns that they begin with during each song-making session, others like to paint before they play. We’re here to offer five tips that will considerably boost your song-writing capabilities on the guitar, so let’s get right to it.
1. Invent a particular “trigger” and latch it onto your creativity
You can’t “urge” the flow of your creativity, but you can “invoke” it, in a sense. Most people get the wildest and the most exquisite ideas at the wrong moments, so what if you could call up on these moments at your whim?
These “triggers” should be there to create an atmosphere that will make you feel like creating songs. This atmosphere is all but uniformly – there are people who don’t feel comfortable and creative if everything is 100% tidy, whereas there are people who can’t bear to see the mess.
Anyhow, these “extremes” are vital for your creative process. Experiment with them, and you’ll find the one you feel the most peaceful at.
On the other hand, simple things like brewing a cup of coffee, or visiting a certain place before you grab your guitar might trigger your inspiration. As you’re the only person that knows “you” the best, you’ll know what these “triggers” are as well. Pile them up, and you’ll be more creative than ever.
2. Take a break every now and then
Paradoxically, not playing guitar for a certain period of time (a week, for example) will spice up your creativity substantially. Imagine it this way – if there’s a bar which measures your ideas and creative thinking, it’s supposed to fill up as you “relax” and drain itself as you create music on your guitar.
Each song you play (that’s not originally yours) will, without any doubt, influence the next song you’re about to invent on a subconscious level.
A great substitute for practicing certain songs or forcing your creativity could be casual jamming sessions. Play whatever you feel like – practice scales, pull up some random notes. By all means, practice your guitar if you’re in a band or if you’re taking private lessons, but know that your “bar of creativity” will fill up for as long as you’re not inventing anything new.
On the other hand, everything that happens spontaneously might lead to greatness, even masterpieces of art. The punchline is – you can’t and shouldn’t force your creativity.
3. Think outside of the box
The fact of the matter is, most songs are already “invented.” There’s only a handful of note combinations that are unused, and that’s only a speculation. Everything about music is pure math – there’s a definite number of notes which you can play in any number of tempos, and there’s a definite number of keys you can experiment in.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t invent anything new. It’s quite the opposite. The key to writing a song on your guitar is in thinking outside of the box. Imagine that the music theory doesn’t exist. Imagine that the notes you’ve played so far aren’t in any way related to a scale or a key. Imagine as if you don’t have to stop once you’ve played the eighth out of eight, or fourth out of four notes.
Some of the greatest and most exquisite guitarists have learned this before they made it big. This is also how some of the most unconventional scales were invented (for instance, the “chromatic” scale is composed of notes which are right next to each other).
Go wild with the tempo – change it at your whim as you slow down the pace and heat it up. Try out the high notes you’ve played so reluctantly. For as long as you have boundaries pre-built within your mind, you will go to a certain point and stay there. Experiment all the way, and don’t feel as if you’re rooted to some laws, for there are none concerning your inventiveness and creativity.
4. Consider trying out a different instrument
You would be amazed at how proficient you are with other instruments if you’re handling the guitar well. Everything is tightly conjoined – the guitar is played in a fashion much similar to bass, the saxophone is much like the trumpet, and so on.
Playing a different instrument will leave you with a much wider spectrum, opening your sense of hearing to different notes, and different vibrations. The notes you play can go deeper, as they can go even higher.
For instance, the bass guitar has only four strings (standard bass), but the sound each one makes is always deeper. The change of an instrument would also bring a change in the atmosphere in which you’re writing your songs.
Scientifically, playing an instrument is an intellectual process that not only heavily affects our mental health, but our intelligence as well. Therefore, playing several instruments is like “exercising more” in the world of fitness. Flex your thinking muscles by widening the range of instruments you play, and the results are sure to come your way.
5. Clear out any obstructions before you begin writing a song
One of the trickiest things concerning the creative process is not that it doesn’t last long, but that it disappears and vanishes in mere seconds. A ring of your cellphone, your mom calling you for dinner, TV noise – all of these things are more than enough to shorten your song list by one.
Simply put, try writing a song after you’ve eaten, try turning off your cellphone and TV, or simply try following the aforementioned tips when you’re alone.
As we’ve already pointed out, the creative process is personal, so let’s not cross out the idea of writing songs while in a group. If loneliness makes you feel depressed and blue, try writing with a friend, or in front of anyone. A positive feedback might make one hell of a difference.
I’m Alex Frank who has worked in the sound technology industry for 10 years now. Today, I am an affiliate blogger who likes to educate my audience more about sound technology. Visit musicinstrumentscenter.com to find all information about music that you need.
Cover photo: Pixabay