Category Archives: Blog

Make Guitar Practice Fun

Practice makes perfect.

That’s true, but how do you when frankly, practising isn’t the most interesting thing to do?

While a certain aspect of playing require brute force & harsh practice, the fun aspect of playing the guitar doesn’t. So as you work hard sometimes, there’s room for fun practice as well.

What if you dedicate your next practice session to creative ways of making practice fun? Wouldn’t that add value to your playing and make  you want to spend more time with your guitar?

Here are 5 ways you can make playing fun.

1. Make A Few Notes & Make It About Rhythm

The next time you play, maybe choose a few chords (the I, IV, V) or notes (eg the 1,3,5,7) to play and practice playing different rhythm type

Rhythm 1: Do a chuck chuck chuck chuck on each of 4 beat in a measure.
Rhythm 2: Then a chucka chucka chucka chucka to play 2 to each beat.
Rhythm 3: Then to a chuckaci chuckaci chuckaci chuckaci in triplets.

Varies your rhythm from one rhythm type to another. Make the whole practice session about rhythm with just one or two notes changes.

2. Play In The Tempo Of Another Song

Play anything but play in the tempo of a well-known song. For example, play your solo in the rhythm of your favourite nursery rhyme like ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ or ‘London Bridge’ Is Falling Down. You will find a fun way of playing and develop very unusual tune from your guitar.

3. Compose A Riff & Play That Riff 90% Of The Time

Compose a Riff (or people call it motives). Make the riff as melodic or memorable as possible. Once you find it play it according to a certain time and keep playing it 90% of the time. The rest of the 10% develop small variation. Chances are you will attract more people to listen to you, this way of playing, than playing many more notes without a direction.

4. Rearrange A Song You Already Know How To Play

If you know how to play a song well, don’t play it the same way. Rearrange it maybe to sound a bit more jazzy (using the 7th) or make it more bluesy (using the blue note) or make it slower or faster or replace certain notes with others. Whatever it is, rearrange the song such that people still know what you are playing but the difference is that it adds your personality to the playing. You’ll have more fun playing songs this way and at the same time, maybe turn some heads.

5. Put Down Your Guitar, Close Your Eyes & Practice With Your Mind

What? Yes, I’m talking about day-dreaming. Do you know that when you envision yourself playing well in a certain way, you are practising? Athletics do that all the time. They rehearse how they are going to perform on performance day and very likely they will. When you day-dream, you tell your subconscious mind you already believe you can play and your brain does all it can to get you there. The next time you are bored of playing, imagine yourself playing. Not just in your boring corner. Imagine yourself playing on stage, in your favourite club or why not in a stadium filled with screaming fans. If you are doing to do it, why not have fun doing it.

Some say it’s as good as having played.

Well even if it’s not, at least you made guitar practice fun and will most likely do it again soon.


Consider
What should you do with music with 7 months to spare


 

The Feel versus The Mechanics of Music

Today I want to explore this topic call the feel and the mechanics of music. It is two elements that go hand in hand but they are very different components. One makes the sound, the other one makes the feeling.

When a note is being played in music, there’s the sound. The sound can be of different pitch, frequency or quality. It is heard but it’s not felt. The sound is only felt after the sound is being made.

The feeling of music is more important because it’s the part of the music that moves us. We cannot have the feel of music without the mechanics of music. And you cannot have the mechanics of music without it generating a feel of it.

Why is it better to have BBKing play one note than a teenage shredder play many notes? Because BBKing’s one note generate more feel than the latter’s many notes. The difference between both their playing is one is confident and not in a hurried, the other is nervous trying to prove him/herself.

The quality of the sound is how the note sounds, the quality of music is the feeling it translates to the listener after it is played.

That’s why it is important to observe the spaces between the notes and study how it impacts us than the note itself. The note is important to invoke different feeling by how’s it played, but it is the space in between that gives room for the feeling.

John Cage wrote a piece music called 4’33” filled with complete 4’33” worth of silence. For the listener, if that silence is lead to a feeling of peace then that’s music to them. Or if the listener is lead to irritation because no notes are heard, then its music in itself by what it caused the listener to feel.

Of course, I’m speaking in extreme terms because that piece is a controversial piece and discussion on it and arguments can be made of it for days. But it’s to prove the point that the feel of music when nothing is heard is a key component to music.

Let’s explore further this concept using different effects we can make to the notes we play. These are common effects we can make either naturally or through using guitar pedals.

1) Vibrato

Play a note and play with a strong vibrato. How does it impact the note and the after effect?

2) Tremolo

A tremolo is similar to a vibrato but yet different. If you could play it in your instrument, try it and what do you think is different from a vibrato? One deals with intensity, the other with frequency. It’s different and how different does it make you feel.

3) Distortion

When a note is distorted, it will sound harsh and intense. What is the feeling after hearing it? How does that compare to a normal undistorted note?

4) Compression

Now play a normal note but apply compression so that it sustains longer. How does that impact you? Are the silence and the space delayed? How does that delay impact how you feel?

5) Major chords

After the major chord is played, the after effect is the feeling of nice, yes that’s music. Fundamental and as simple as it can be.

6) Minor chords

After the minor chord is played, the after effect is the feeling of melancholy. That’s because of the quality of the flatted 3rd give us that effect.

7) Jazz 7th chords

Flatted 7th note in a jazz chord is what causes that pleasant “jazzy” feel after it’s heard.

8) Delay

Now let’s explore delay. The delay effect is when a note is being played and the effect echoes that note and in subsequent lower intensity as it’s repeated. That intense feeling after the note is repeatedly felt and in lesser and lesser intensity is what makes the effect so pleasant.

Now later, we are going to explore your signature sound. The question is will you choose this to be your signature sound? But before that, let’s ask us how everything we hear makes us feel.

People don’t enjoy music anymore because people don’t let the music move them.

Sometimes because of our hurried contemporary life, we hardened ourselves. We keep feelings in so that we don’t appear weak by being impacted by something that is seemingly trivial as sound. But the sound is not trivial, it is a gift from God and it should affect us. Now the question is how it affects us. The mechanics of music tells us how it played and how it sounds but it’s the feeling of music that makes it enjoyable and a pleasure to be a part of.

From today on, value the feeling of music as you value the mechanics of music when you play it.

It makes a big difference to the quality of life in the world that God has given to us. One that is filled with beautiful sounds and beautiful feelings it invokes.

I hope you enjoy this article and find it insightful to how you hear music from here on. Thanks and I would love to hear your comments about this topic. Please share how sounds affect how you feel?

Great Sites To Learn To Play Good Music

OK, I started a guitar site but I’m for not just playing the guitar but be musical and play music. Here are some great sites to learn to play good music, picked from sites that impressed me a lot.


Justin Guitar

Want to learn to play guitar. Justin Guitar is the one stop shop. One of the most popular guitar sites run by a great guy with a very approachable happy attitude. Love sites that are free and only if you’ve been served and found it helpful to make a donation.


Zebra Keys

Many free lessons for learning piano. I like the way the introductory class is about learning the black keys. Having known how the black and white keys on the keyboard is organised, you get a foundation of how every key in the keyboard works. Simple and effective.


Teoría

Hundreds of classes, exercises and articles available for learning theory. I learned it from a book, you can now do the same online.


Scott Bass Lessons

The bass version of Justin Guitar, Scott runs an amazing site for bass guitarist from beginners to advance. Great place to start to groove at the lower registers.


The Ukulele Site

It’s a ukulele store but they have a great section on resources you can learn to play it. Well organised and very attractive video lessons.

That’s it. All the sites that has all the good stuff.

I will be updating this page regularly when I discover others that are better than this list I have.

So let me know which sites work for you and how it has served you?

Am I Too Old To Learn How To Play The Guitar?

You are here because you ask the question

“Am I Too Old To Learn How To Play The Guitar?”.

Well, the answer depends on why you want to play.

If you have rock star ambition or want to be a professional, then maybe it may be too late. But if all you want to do is to play for enjoyment and leisure, then there should be no age too old to start. Even better if you just want to develop the musical part of you in a socio-spiritual way, then you are more than ready to start the journey.

Having said that please note that Eric Clapton, the idol of many players started early but gave up only to start again at a later age.

Frank Zappa, the alternative rock legend started when he was 18.

Wes Montgomery, the legendary jazz guitarist started when he was 20.

So even if you want to try to make it big, it may not be too late to begin.

I’ve seen many old players in the local and overseas scene too. Age is never the issue when it comes to playing music. Just like swimming, cycling or learning to a new sport, it’s not the age more than your interest and how much you stick to it in practice. The important thing is the heart attitude of wanting to learn, correct guidance and the right way to practice.

My personal journey started 30 years ago when I was a teenager.

I’m now 44 but really it was only the last 5 years that I made real progress. The first 25 years or so, I feel that I’ve wasted time getting entangled with snippets of information and with a lack of strategy to learn. I’ve done so much here and there but never consolidated all I know into a framework.  So I do not think that the years’ matter if you have access to the right information and the right guidance, as long as you are still able to hold a guitar and you are able to move your fingers (and perhaps not deaf), it’s a good time to start.

So am I too old to learn how to play the guitar? I don’t think so.

Watch this.

Tell yourself it’s okay to start now regardless of what age you are and “I am never too old to learn to play the guitar”.

If there’s anyone who started playing late and now consider yourself having successfully learned to play, I like to hear from you by commenting below.

What Can I Do With Music In My 7 Months Spare Time

One of the unique services I provide with my social enterprise is to hand deliver my products to my customers. Today I a guy bought a looper from me. He enlisted in our National Service (NS) as an army personal. He’ll be coming out of the enlistment in a month’s time and then have 7 months before going to university. So the topic of our discussion in the brief time we are connected is, what can he do with music in his 7 months spare time.

Here are some of the points we discussed which I thought will make a good post. I added a few more after that, considering what if I would personally do if I had that 7 months.

Buy A Guitar Looper And Have Lots Of Looping Fun

This is what that customer did and he’s on the right track to spend the 7 months working on his groove. I written enough about why a guitar looper is the most important pedal and how it improves your rhythm like nothing else so check out the links for more details.

Invest in a Course and Learn From A Teacher You Admire

7 months is good time to not just improve but have a quantum leap in how you play. The best way to big improvement is to get a teacher. You may have a teacher you admire or a player you like very much. Go and act on asking them if they will teach you. Alternatively get into an online course that is effective. A lot of courses today allow you to submit your playing for critic and guidance by the teacher. Check out courses by Artistworks.com. My time with them learning from Martin Taylor’s FingerStyle Guitar and Keith Wyatt Blues Guitar has been most effective and memorable learning time in my playing history.


Try free samples of Keith Wyatt’s online Blues Guitar lessons or Martin Taylor’s Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks.com! below

Online fingerstyle guitar lessons martin taylor


Get Some Friends Together And Jam

If you are a bedroom or closet player, a long break maybe a good time to bring your playing to a new level playing with others. And if you have already been doing that to form a band and get serious with your music.

One of the joys of playing the guitar is playing with other people. Maybe your time practising and playing with yourself is coming to an end. It’s time for playing with others and becoming more serious about your music beginning.

I have been a bedroom musician most of my life and its only recently that I started to get together with a group of people to jam. Before you do so, maybe you should read the account of how I survive my first jam session.

Write Some Songs Enough To Make An Album

Give it a go to write songs. If you are new to it, it’s a good time to invest in learning how to do it. It doesn’t have to be difficult if you allow yourself to flow with the music that is already in you. If you already have enough songs that can make an album, instead of writing, get it recorded.

7 months to get into recording, producing and maybe even selling your album is worth the time. And today’s music technology to setup a home studio and your own music and selling it is more than adequate and available.


How To Write A Song For Beginners

Start An Online Business Marketing Musical Products You Love.

Maybe playing is not the way you choose, if you are entrepreneural and just want to get into the business side of music, consider starting an online business using a website to do affiliate marketting. Affiliate marketting basically is about getting a commission to promote products that you like without needing to own the stocks. You point your buyers to affiliate partners like Amazon, Guitar Centre and Musican Friend and when they make a sell, you get the commision.

One of the challenges of online business is time it takes to build a traffic and if you have 7 months dedicated to do it, it will be excellent as not many people have that. You can start one easily with programs that teaches you how to do it. I have a website called Easyonlinebusiness Club to help you with this with all the research I put into finding the right products you need to get started.


Start a music website just like this one. Click below to find out how I did it.


Well above are 5 things I recommend that you do with your 7 months spare time. Of course these recommendation will be different if the duration is shorter or longer for 7 months, you can make meaningful musical journey.

So what will you do if you have 7 months of break? Let us know by giving me your comments below. I love to hear your adventures.

Should You Buy The Vintage Guitar Buyer’s Guide 2017?

Vintage Guitar Buyers Guide 2017
KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR GUITAR,
GET YOUR COPY HERE (Affiliate Link)

At PlayGoodGuitar.com we want to advocate you to know what you love. Discover your instrument. If the guitar is going to be your (musical) instrument, value it, cherish it and know how much its worth not just to you but to others in financial terms.

No, your O’thing is NOT going to be defined by how much it’s worth to other people, it is by how much it is to you. BUT it is always good to know the price tag and desirability of the one you love.

The Vintage Guitar Buyer’s Guide is a invaluable tool for this reason. It has been for many years that its been published a directory of how much guitars are worth. The 2017 version has just come out and we are all very excited.

You may not be in the industry of buying or selling guitars but its good knowledge to know how much these guitars are worth to its owners.

Maybe its just figures but maybe it’ll be what inspire you to value yours then look out for other good guitar that you can love for a long time. I have had a guitar that was with me since 1988 and its almost 30 years now. I would want to know how much its worth today. Even if its not worth much, I know what I pay attention to increases in value in my own eyes. That’s worth the price of a copy.

Do you know the value of your guitar? And how much will you project it will be worth in 5,10, 20 years time?

GET YOUR COPY CHEAPEST HERE (Affiliate Link)

Are There Any Good Guitar Forums To Join?

In the advent of the internet that is video based, are old fashioned forums dead? I would say not. I lived through the days of forums and now social media groups and the huddle around video based platforms, but I still frequent forums.  Why do I do that?

I think nothing creates a community,  like a good forum. The good old posting with your unique Avatar where members of the forum can relate and get to know better is not out of fashion. The next question will be is there any good guitar forums to join?

These are the few that I’m a member of that I list below. You can check it out to see if it’s for you.

GUITARNOISE

This is an active forum where players of all levels hangout. There’s a community of basic. The forum is not intimidating and the most accessible one of all. I love to frequent that place to learn and also offer advice. Great place for starters to hang out definitely.

TDPRI (Telecaster Discussion Page Reissue)

People in this community talk about strange things like Tele Ashtrays and the bite of the Tele bridge pickup. Confused? Well, if you are not into the Telecaster, you should be. It is a brand specific forum. They talk about the Telecasters but the many wonderful people there also talk about other things other than the telecasters. They are forums for pedals, amps and jamming. I will recommend this forum for telecaster lovers first and foremost of course. Also, those who have been playing for a while and wants to learn more about guitars and playing especially with a telecaster. And it’s never a bad time to jump into exploring the Tele, the first electric guitar in the history of the world and amazingly one that Leo Fender built right from the start. There is also a equivalent Strat Forum

JAZZGUITAR.BE

This is a genre specific forum. Jazz! but it a very beginner friendly forum. What I like about Jazzguitar.be is it has lots of lessons for starters and they are all very good quality lessons arranged in topics that interest you. If you are a guitar player, you have to explore jazz at one point or another. With this forum, why not now?

THE ACOUSTIC GUITAR FORUM

If you are into the acoustic guitar, this is the place to be. It’s acoustic, acoustics, acoustics (and sometimes also the kind of pickups it uses). It has great people in there and it is a great place for a beginner to be a part of. As usually a beginner do generally start with an acoustic guitar, it is also a big plus that its not a techie kind of forum. People are down to earth and the advice given is not intimidating. I love it here when I first started playing the guitar.

Having listed out the forums, I am also an active member of many other music forums that is more brand specific (like Fender Forum and the Gibson Forum). You may want to join them based on your O’guitar’s make and model.

I also frequent forums that not guitar specific. Why do I do that? Because guitar playing should be more about music playing. And music playing should be about life. So if we get ourselves interested in things to get us connected to how ‘humans’ work, we get into life that helps us to play music. Why do we feel what we feel? What touches us? What makes a real connection? These are good questions to get ourselves in communities.

Really being more human makes us more musical. So, it is a great habit to develop when we participate in forums get ourselves into communities.

Enjoy the benefit that comes with that.

How about you? Do you still use forums? Which forums do you frequent and why? What do you use these forums for?

How Do I Improve My Guitar Playing?

The simplest answer to the question of how do I improve my guitar playing is practice. Yes, we heard these 3 words enough “Practice, practice, practice”. We know and are all guilty of not doing enough. But when we do play or practice, how do we ensure we’ll improve? Is there a strategy how to practice such that it’ll improve our guitar playing?

Of course, there are so many ways to do it. But most of the time, it’s very technical. I believe highlighting those technical requirements stresses more than help. My last post is about setting the right goals to improve our guitar playing and maybe that didn’t help.

So today I want to give you my take how I improve my guitar playing in a very not technical way. You’ll be surprised, a lot of these tips don’t even involve playing. I believe the song, knowing and listening to it is a big key to unlock this. So here are my recommended ways how to improve our guitar playing.

1. Establish Liking Your Basics

Modern western music essentially consists of only 7 notes (or 12 at most). Master these 7 notes., eg. A to G.

Know intimately what is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 note of a song?

What is Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti?

Learn to like those notes as every scale and chords are built on those few notes.

Also learn your major scale and chords. Enjoy playing them. If you enjoy the basics and use it for the most basic of songs (for example”Ba Ba Black Sheep” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. You’ll most definitely improve your guitar playing.


Discover the joy of playing your first song


2. Get Your Confidence To Play Way Up

You have to be sure that there is a music or song, you want to play. A lot of players develop a fantasy of wanting to be a guitar player but do not have a song or music they want to play. It’s not sustainable. It is like for example to want to be a teacher but not passionate about imparting anything specific to the students.

The song and music you want to play is key.

Not only that, but that song has to be ‘you’. You have to own the music before you can get your confidence right.

So many times we play other people’s songs and we imagine we can play it like them. But in all honesty, we can’t and shouldn’t be able to.  Our confidence gets affected.

Get your confidence right in that you have picked a song that is personal to you and that you can call your own. And then believe you can bring it out … your own way. And that’s the basis of the confidence you need.

You are not doing to do it any other way other than your way.

3. Invest In Feeling the Music First Before You Play It

Feel the song by studying it. By studying it, I don’t mean with your intellect or your mind. I mean just listening to it and feeling it.

If you know how the song affects you, you will know how to play it to affect other people. Knowing what is the impact you want to bring across is crucial to playing. So invest in feeling the song first.

One of the strategy of learning to play is to listen to as many versions of the song as possible. I’ve listened to at least a dozen version of Autumn Leaves before I learned to play it. And my guitar playing improve as I feel the music I play (with the guitar) with.

So yes, If the song moves me, I’m ready to invest to play it.

4. Ask How Do You Play The Music Without Using A Guitar

Not yet. Hang on to the guitar first. There is one more step that is still not about the guitar playing yet. It’s still about the song and how you play it without a guitar.

Ask yourself how do you play it if you don’t have a guitar? Maybe you can sing it just with a metronome or a beat. Maybe you can accapella it. Or swing to it with just your body.

It is always good to know the tune and able to hum it or sing it before you start to play it. If you have another way of playing it without the guitar, how will you do it.

I always have a cajon, or a rhythm machine or even a metronome ready to play the song without the guitar.

5. Now With The Guitar, How Should You Play It Better

Now, with a song that you know, feel and are able to play without a guitar, you can bring your guitar into the picture.

With the guitar, explore if I should strum it, pick it, or just tap on it to add to the song you already have in you.

This is a tough part as you will explore the chord progression or the notes to the song. You’ll spend time here but if you do the first few steps, you’ll going to improve how you play already by a mile.

6. Play It Like No Other People

With the guitar, just play it like yourself. Don’t try to imitate anybody. Just be yourself and let the guitar be the instrument you were never born with and never had.

Now that you have it, make it a worthy extension of you. Play with your style and don’t let anyone judge you for how you play it.

What do you think? Does the article help you? If so great, if not, how do you improve on your playing?

Setting The Right Goals And Improve Your Guitar Playing

Playing the guitar is itself a great goal. Not many people consider it in a practical world where survival seems to be the primary concern. But just wanting to play well is only the first step, it is important to be clear about what you are trying to achieve specifically. How to improve your guitar playing is as good as the goals you set for yourself.

Here are 6 ways you can improve by setting the right goals.

Set Your Goal Based On Enjoyment Not Ego

Having a goal to play to impress someone or to feel good easily fizzes out.

I remember the group of friends I have when I was younger. Half of them plays because it is a cool thing to do. Besides the guitar, they go for the look, the other half truly love music and play for enjoyment. The latter group is still playing today.

Beyond your ‘rock star’ intention, enjoy it.

Set a goal based on enjoyment. Get into the type of music you want to play. Listen to the music, buy the music, attend the concert and invest in it. A great tip is this phrase that I sue “Get into the rhythm and beat of what you want to play”.  In that phrase is the key to enjoyment because every piece of music has life and it is my humble opinion in the inner rhythm of the music.

Not Just What You Play But How Often You Do It

Your goal is not what you want to play but how often you do it. This comes with if you have a conducive place to play. Setting up your own practice space is the #1 reason I play often.

After finding a good space to play, then commit to a routine that helps you play often. It is better to play regularly for shorter time than irregularly for longer time.  

A good routine is as such “Every morning for 10 minutes”, “Every alternate day for 20 minutes”, Have a weekly schedule of when you’ll play and really get down to it. Having that settled, then look into what you play and have a note-book to journal and record what you play during the sessions you are playing.

Break Your Big Goals To Smaller Ones

This is one of the worst practising habit I developed when I was younger. I would come into practice with a great song I want to play. Then during the practice, I will get discouraged because I couldn’t play it in that one practice session and the next time I play, I come with a different song.

The remedy to this is to break that one big goal of playing that song to smaller ones. One way to work on songs is to listen to the song first and get into the rhythm of it. Then get the chord sequence right. Only after that should you sing or learn the melody (if you are playing fingerstyle). After that, there’ll be difficult parts you should handle at a latter time.

All the above happens in many sessions, not one. I don’t know why I have bought into the idea that you can master a song in one sitting and that has hurt me and I’m glad to share with you the mistake of not breaking my big goals into smaller ones.

Practice Technique But Also Practice Songs

Don’t we all fall into loving techniques and riff. Isn’t it more appealing to tap, pull off, bend and do all those sweeping and shredding. Yes, it maybe more fun to do so but I suggest getting into songs. Set the right goal of playing songs where these techniques and riffs are incorporated into the song than the techniques itself without the context of a song.

When you set the right goal of songs, you invest in your music. Nobody is going to be listening to you play your riffs just by itself. Everybody wants to hear how you play a particular song. So get clear to invest in songs.

To Be As Good As Your Hero (But Not Exactly Like Them)

Your goal isn’t to be an imitation but to be yourself. There is room to imitate but at the end of the day, you should develop your style and be yourself. So don’t be frustrated if you can’t sound exactly like your heroes. They are there to inspire you to be yourself. It is infact, the very reason why you like your hero. They are themselves and not a clone of someone else.

So develop a liking for yourself and who you are musically and what you can offer to the world. Set the right goal of being yourself and not a second-rate of someone else.

Incorporate Learning To Improvise As Part of Your Goal

As you learn songs of other people, you will figure out melody, harmony, chord sequences and song structures. That is important to eventually do play your own music ie. write your own songs. But before that can happen, you should invest in improvisation. By that I mean having the ability to come out with tunes without thinking. Improvisation depends on your hearing and your feel to get the music you have inside of you out.

Set a goal to improvise either through using a backing track or a looper. It will help you develop your musicality and that is a key component to your goal as a great guitar player.


Guitar Pedals To Loop Like B.B King


Enjoy. Do let me know how do you improve your guitar playing? What type of goals do you set for yourself?

How To Write A Song For Beginners

writing songs

Many of us start our learning journey by playing popular songs. These are songs that’s written by others. While it’s a great way to start, it’s not where our musical journey should end. We should in one way or another end with trying to bring the song we have within us out. Today I want to explore “How To Write A Song” for those who are beginning.

Understand the 3 Component of a Song

1. Get The Chord Sequence
2. Compose The Melody
3. Write The Lyrics

Step 1: Pick one way to start and the spend the whole day working on it.

The reason to pick one of the ways above is so that your song has a unique element. That element will gives its a unique flavour that people can remember. Some call it the stickability factor of the song.

Do you know songs with strong stickability factor? I remember my favourite songs either it’s strong melody or riff (Wham’s Careless Whisper), or some interesting or memorable lyrics (Sting’s Russian) or a swinging chord sequence (Muddy Water’s Hoochie Coochie Man).

It’s also a good way to start to get us out of the songwriting rut. I recall many times when I’m dry in my creativity juice, I realise I’m only dry in 1 or 2 of the 3 components and not in all 3 areas. So having to choose an alternative way to start writing a song keeps me fresh and ever ready to write one.

Spend a whole day so you give yourself time to come up with the best of many many you have come up with in that day. Once you have a good chord sequence or a melody or a great set of lyrics, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Spend an hour working on the second element

You don’t have to do this on the same day. Give your mind and soul a rest. Attempt this the next day. You’ll find yourself spending a shorter time with it. Your first element is there and has become a strong foundation to guide you. For example if you already have the melody, and your second step is to write the chord sequence, you just work out the chord sequence. It’s more mechanical and is a science than an art.

Or if you already have a strong melody and your next step is to write the lyrics, you fill in words that has the right number of syllable or those with the correct rhyme.

Just get it done.

And the last step is

Step 3: Work out the last element which connects the first two

Huh?

Ok, ok. By now you maybe wondering, have I tricked you into not teaching you anything because it all seems obvious.

Well, it is. But my response to you is to tell you that writing a song is a creative process. It has a structure but the structure only helps you to hold your creativity. The creative work itself depends on you. So at the end of the day, my 3 steps only will facilitate the creativity that is always in you.

What kind of chord sequence, melody or words that come out of you depends on you, not your teacher.

I hope after teaching you the above structure on how to write a song for beginners, that it will inspire you to attempt to write a song.

Many students (or even intermittent to professional) players never got into getting the song out of their heart. They could play many of other people’s songs but never got to write out their own. And that’s a pity because there’s so much joy for us as it is for our listeners when they get to hear it.

I hope this post will inspire you to want to not just play good guitar but to bring out your song.

Let me know what you think? How do you write your songs? What works and don’t work for you?