Guitarists: How'd you start writing out of comfort zone?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by schwiz, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I feel like I'm at a point with my playing and writing where a lot of my material has many of the same licks, flares, and feel. I feel comfortable to playing certain runs or chord progressions, and its really hard for me to get outside of that box when writing new material. Even if I try to stray, I always end up veering back towards what I'm comfortable with. Now, granted, I'm just a glorified studio bum. I don't play in a band at the moment. But, I still play guitar virtually every day and want to continue to become a better guitarist.

    With that said, as guitarists, what did you do when you hit a plateau in your writing/playing? How did you get over that hurdle, and what tools/techniques did you use to start thinking outside the box? What did you do to re-inspire your playing? :shred:
     
  2. haieb

    haieb SS.org Regular

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    Just start to learn stuff you've never played before ;) New licks and riffs that are different from what you usually play will give you a new inspiration and you loose the routine. This was the thing that helped me and I hope it will help you too :)
     
  3. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    i learn a new song or two in a different style then i usually play
     
  4. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I still find myself reverting back to old ways even after learning a new song. It's one thing to have all the music in front of me to duplicate how someone plays a song, as opposed to coming up with something all on my own.

    Are there any books or publications that have really helped you as a guitarist?
     
  5. NicePants

    NicePants ok

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    Switch to a different style or start learning a new style. I have the same sort of plateau issues, but I'm starting to break out of it now that I'm giving blues more than a passing glance.
     
  6. EcoliUVA

    EcoliUVA Not Gifted

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    • Do you write by yourself, or with others? The latter can help, for sure. I've had idea proposals from my co-guitarist that I've really enjoyed and have incorporated into later material that I never would have chanced out on my own. I've also had queues like "Write a solo like a jazz saxophone here" that started out as "WTF bro" and ended up helping create new ideas.

    • Imagine a melody or chain of notes before ever touching your guitar. Listen to the backing music and doodley-doo something in your head, or with your mouth. Then, try to match it.

    • Using tablature software such as GuitarPro and the like can help you come up with stuff you wouldn't normally blast out during improv sessions. You can compose stuff that you don't have immediately under your fingers, then learn it

    • Dig around for cool guitarists you weren't previously aware of, buy their material. Rick Graham is a player who recently expanded my horizons. Before him, Per Nilsson. Before him, James Malone. Before him...yeah. I suppose most guitarists do this, hence it being the last bullet point. But seriously, do it. Shoulders of giants and all.


    Good luck, work hard, keep at it!

    Edit: Just checked out your YouTube channel. You're kicking ass dude, don't get bummed!
     
  7. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    Stoned and drunk :lol:













    Jamming with a band can open the creative door like you wouldn't believe. I have written 5 while songs in 2 bands practices. (Not just parts)... Usually takes me WAY longer by myself.
     
  8. Lokasenna

    Lokasenna SS.org Regular

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    My standard recipe for "I'm bored, can't come up with anything, but I feel like writing music":

    - Pick any song you like.
    - Pick another song you like.
    - Pick a band you like that didn't write either of those songs.
    - Attempt to rewrite the riffs from your first song in the style of the band you picked, using the second song's structure for a template.
    - Poke and prod until it doesn't sound like a ripoff anymore.
     
  9. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    From what you said, OP, it sounds like you're learning things from others but not applying it. This implies to me that you're kinda playing passively and not necessarily taking conscious control of what you're playing.

    Think about what mood, feeling, style, character, situation you want to express and try to play that. If it sounds wrong, work out what sounds wrong about it. If it sounds too happy, work through it note by note to change the offending notes. If it's too linear, put in some leaps. If the rhythm is boring or too simple, change some note values.

    Focus on playing phrases which have a distinct start and end point. Vary the length of them. It'll be more interesting but also more accessible than playing constantly. Rhythm contributes a lot to character and that will help. People often forget to focus on rhythm as it kinda happens naturally, but then they fall into the trap of naturally playing the same rhythm they played for 5 years.

    If you're still stuck, consciously apply what you've learned from others. Pick 5 contrasting songs by others which fit the mood you're trying to portray, learn the bits which exemplify that and work out what makes them feel that way. If you're not sure, change it bit by bit and see what can change while still maintaining that feel. Maybe keep the same rhythm and the same notes which are on beats 1&3 as they're usually important notes and fill the gaps yourself. Or fill different gaps from what they did but use similar rhythms and note choice.

    Try to do all of this consciously and apply what you've learned when you next try to write. It's okay if it sounds too much like whomever you were learning from at first. Just try to link it into what you're writing and expand on it and it should eventually assimilate, like cadaver tissue being replaced with your own.

    Adam
     
  10. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Pick a spot on the fretboard, preferably a spot where you don't play a whole lot. Keep your hand in that position. Only use notes in that position and write three sections of music. It might not be your final product, but it will get you out of your comfort zone and give you some interesting challenges to overcome. Later on, you can do whatever you need in order to make the composition work.

    Another option: grab some lyrics to a song you don't know, write music to the lyrics, then throw the lyrics away and base the rest of your song on that.
     
  11. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    Try using some random generation methods. As an ex-tabletop RPG player, I find that dice are a really handy thing to use. A 12-sided die can designate chromatic notes. Make a table of possible chord types and assign numbers to them. Generate a random chord progression of 4-8 chords using those tools - roll for the root note of each chord, and then for the chord type built on that root. Find the chords on the fretboard, using good voice leading to make the transitions as smooth as possible. Record/loop your progression. Write a melody or riff to go with it. Profit.

    Another approach is to roll a set of 8-10 12-sided dice and remove any duplicate numbers. Translate these numbers into notes. (If you get fewer than 5 unique pitches, roll again.) That's your pitch set. Write a riff using only those pitches. Write a couple of variations. Develop. (Remember that any of those pitches can be the root; try a couple of different "modes" of your pitch set to achieve different results.)
     
  12. JeremyRodriguez5544998

    JeremyRodriguez5544998 Well-Known Member

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    All advice here is great!

    The only other thing I can add is for you to start creating variations of what you already know. Sometimes it becomes too difficult to come up with completely new stuff, but you can get the ball rolling by innovating upon something that's already under your fingers! Let me know if this helpls!
     
  13. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    I started next year.
     

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