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Need Help With Song Writing


Robert_the_damned
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Hallo everyone!

Finnally got a chance to get a band together (found a drummer for a start!) and I'm trying to write up some songs (Black/Death metal styled not that that's particularly important) but I'm having some problems and was wondering if you lot had some tips for me.

Firstly I'm having problems linking my riffs together..the riffs themselves sound ok but I can't seem to get them to flow well enough into eachother...I've tried writing fills but I think I need some pointers.

Secondly I can't write solos! :D I can play pretty well and if I'm given a solo to play I can make it sound ok but I can't write solos for love nor money, ANY tips would be helpful!

:D Thanks in advance guys

Robert

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People come from different styles of putting together music, and I've seen many since I'm going to school to be a music producer. What it sounds like you're doing is writing a verse riff and then a chorus riff seperatly, finalizing it, and then trying to make it fit over a drum beat. Many times this is (and in my opinion) laziness. Just because you like what YOU wrote the first time doesn't mean it works with whatever else is being played. Kinda of like trying to put a square into a circle. You just have to simply change it, or change the drum rythem from 4/4 to 6/8 or whatever it might take. Most famous musicians 99.9% of the time end up using completely different rythems and sounds than they originally started with on a picticular song. Just because you started it one way doesn't mean that it cannot changed. I hope this helps and I hope I understood where you were coming from.

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B) thanks for the reasurance guys. We've not got together properly as a band yet (hopefully we can next friday) and I just wanted to have something writen already that we could all practice so we had at least one song we could play together.

:D I'll tell my drummer that Mickguard....he's pretty good (heard him play lots of times before but I've never played with him) so yeah I'm sure he can string together my mess that I call music :D

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For soloing - I just studied over specific techniques and different players to get a feel of what I should be accomplishing and attempt to learn or imitate it. That was how I got the idea of soloing. After I got down a decent feel for it, I just tabbed out some riffs in guitar pro and kept playing to it over and over. I have one neat song by Old Man's Child I wrote a 30ish bar bass solo to, I'd love to share it if I had a place to upload it to. It's by no means "insane" but I feel I'm accomplishing a better feel for soloing from this work in guitar pro.

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For soloing - I just studied over specific techniques and different players to get a feel of what I should be accomplishing and attempt to learn or imitate it. That was how I got the idea of soloing. After I got down a decent feel for it, I just tabbed out some riffs in guitar pro and kept playing to it over and over. I have one neat song by Old Man's Child I wrote a 30ish bar bass solo to, I'd love to share it if I had a place to upload it to. It's by no means "insane" but I feel I'm accomplishing a better feel for soloing from this work in guitar pro.

I have guitar pro so I might try that...thanks for the tip!

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I'd definitely recommend Power Tab Editor over guitar-pro any day. While the track layout for guitar pro may be better, power tab is less... twitchy? if that makes any sense? It's smoother when the tab is actually playing, and I find it much easier to follow. Besides that, that steenkin' red dot in guitar pro is so darn slow it can't keep up with the midi, but it's not a problem in Power Tab

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I'd definitely recommend Power Tab Editor over guitar-pro any day. While the track layout for guitar pro may be better, power tab is less... twitchy? if that makes any sense? It's smoother when the tab is actually playing, and I find it much easier to follow. Besides that, that steenkin' red dot in guitar pro is so darn slow it can't keep up with the midi, but it's not a problem in Power Tab

From what I used before - Power Tab didn't have standard notation, fingering on the fretboard, or the notes as if they were played on the keyboard. That was about 4 years ago? Maybe longer, so I don't know if they have changed things since then. If you can't read standard notation and never plan on using it, go for it. But from band experience, it's absolutley useless. Sorry, but tablature isn't going to help the drummer or keyboardist (most of the time).

I'm not sure what you mean by "twitchy". Windows 98 always had a problem running it, as I remember it only being able to handle one midi device / program at a time. I have absolutley no problems with it in XP pro and it's everything I'll ever need. Guitar Pro 3 and 4 are perfect. Guitar Pro 5 is the newer version with useless crap and "RSE" Realistic Sound Engine, which sounds horrible on a high end sound card, I purchased the soundcard strictly for home recording.

As for the red "dot" - it's a triangle. :D The guiding triangle that points to which note you're planning cannot keep up with speeds of 16th notes past 200ish+ tempo. I don't know why you're be starring at which note you should be playing at those speed.

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Secondly I can't write solos! blush.gif I can play pretty well and if I'm given a solo to play I can make it sound ok but I can't write solos for love nor money, ANY tips would be helpful!

Well, I guess I come from an improvisation background, though I did study music...

One way of dealing with solos and song construction is to think in terms of gestures...what is it that you are trying to convey. Then look at ways of expressing them...could be a particular interval (tri-tone for scary, 4ths for drifty stuff...)...Maybe you want the solo to suddenly take the tune somewhere else...

There are plenty of examples out there... EVH's solo in "jump" is a good example...he drops the whole key of the song back then works his way towards the in key keyboard extravaganza...he uses distinct phrases and builds upon them...

So...you could look at what you are trying to express and where you want the solo to take it...

Aim perhaps for an arc...check out your favorite solos, often the flash bit is 3/4 of the way through...then on to a big finish.... Don't throw everything you have technique wise straight off, but do make a strong opening statement...an arc could be something like this...

"this is the solo, listen to this, here it comes....wham...and now...take this...bang!"

...or...you could have a huge opening statement and work back...or...you could halve the time and work your way up to speed...or...you could restate the melody or riff, add to it, take it somewhere else, go off on a tangent, then return...or...take just one element of the riff or melody, build everything on that, work your way into a frenzy and reveal at the last moment how this relates to the riff when it returns....

You do need a support to make this occur...stripping back all other guitars, making a sudden change will make people pay attention at this point...maybe strip it down to just drums and change key...that can really throw things into the mix...

As far as riffs go, it is good to share them amoungst the band, trade them with the bass and drums...wall to wall guitars (even if it is a part of a style) just fills up the frequencies and gives listener's ears fatigue...no matter the style...

Often a song is purely written as a excuse for the riff of course... But perhaps there is some kind of theme in the music or lyric that could be expressed musically... Also, too many riffs all lined up dilutes the power of any one of them...perhaps save others for another song. The greatest riff songs of bands like Led Zep have really just one strong repeated or reoccuring riff...

Also, try to include dynamics, syncopation and changes in pitch range...low string riffs are cool, but leave some space for higher pitch sounds like cymbals or chuck in some harmonics or a bass riff to complete a phrase...skip a beat here and there...play soft and brig it up...mix it up...

----

I am not at all sure about starting with a tab program...learn to improvise a little and let a solo evolve with rehersal... Map out a plan, an opening gesture, a fast or high bit, and a big finish to bring back the song then just play around with ways of joining them up, involve the other musicians or at least keep them in mind so that the music supports where you are trying to go with a solo...

I can't think of any classic solos that were "composed" in the way you are looking at it, though there are many solos that eventually become so much a part of a song that they really do need to be played note for note... Off the top of my head, Hotel California has a fairly "composed" sounding solo...or is it really a kind of orchestration?

Anyway...there are a few tips from me...see if you can come up with a few solo "arcs" of your own, or copy them from your favorite solos... pete

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