Why You Have Trouble Writing Songs...

In this video I want to explain some of the most common problems that guitar players will face when they're trying to either write songs or play solos. The funny thing is, that for the most part, they're the same problem.


Whether you're writing a song, or playing a guitar solo, many of the same problems will affect both of these creative areas. The root cause of a lot of the frustration (for why guitarists experience problems with applying their creativity), has to do with a lack of exposure to source material.

What I mean by source material is, "where are you getting your creative ideas from." In this discussion, I'm going to explain two important lines of thought to help you move toward solving this issue, gain more source material and eventually help you begin writing better music.

Learn Every Idea You Think Sounds Cool:
Every guitar player who wants to rip out an nice melody line, or write a good /catchy riff, or play some smooth lead needs some reference points. Every guitar player who wants to do anything creative will need to start by building some back-ground awareness for how phrases they enjoy listening to (from other musicians), work on the guitar.

If you hear something cool, learn it... For example, let's say for instance that you hear a guitar part and you say to yourself, "that sounds really cool." Maybe it's a fast Pentatonic lick - like this...

Lick Example:

Whatever the interesting musical idea is, what you'll want to do next, is LEARN it. And, even better yet, learn it using your ear. Don't run to Google and look for somebody's TAB chart.

Learn it yourself by ear. Because, not only does this add another phrase to your repertoire, doing the transcription yourself also improves the overall skill of your ear.

Break Down the Structure of Popular Songs:
When I was attending the Musicians Institute, Paul Gilbert was in and out of the school teaching some classes when he wasn't on tour at the time, with his band, "Mr. Big." And, during one of his classes, he mentioned how he was learning some chord changes of a pop song by Amy Grant - called, "Baby, Baby."

 Baby, Baby: Amy Grant (#1 Billboard Hit in 1991)

Now, hearing that Paul Gilbert was learning a radio hit pop song surprised me because he was one of the greatest shredders around LA, and there he was learning an adult contemporary pop song. It just didn't make any sense to me at the time. I thought instead he'd be learning Steve Vai licks, or Yngwie Malmsteen runs, not chord changes from a Billboard pop tune. I just did not understand the point of learning music like that.

I mean, sure, I knew that Amy Grant song (Baby, Baby) was a #1 song on the Billboard charts. And, I knew it was catchy, but I still asked Paul why was he learning it. And, I'll never forget his answer, he said, "I just wanted to know what the chord changes were." 

That's it... I thought wow, what have I been missing all of these years by not learning the chord changes used in all of the #1 chart topping songs! And, what could I learn from studying them?

What was there to discover, and most of all what could I take in and use from all of these huge #1 chart-topping songs and then - apply into my own music...

The bottom line, is that those chart topping hits, became #1 for some reason. And, as I got older and met many more famous musicians, I learned that all of them did what Paul Gilbert did. Why? Because learning chords and melodies from the #1 hits, will pass along effective ideas that could be re-vamped and then re-applied differently in my own music.

Establishing Reference Points:
In order to be able to create cool ideas of your own, you're going to need to spend time learning what other musicians have done to; create licks, chord progressions and phrases, that you feel are effective musically.

You don't have to learn every song that hits #1 on the Billboard charts. But, if you hear something cool in a song, figure it out. That idea probably caught your attention for a reason. And, if you learn it, the next time that you sit down to try writing a melody, or to try composing a group of chords, or to make up a new guitar solo, you'll have reference points.

The more reference points you have, (the more song-writing ideas that are stored in the back of your mind), will help you jump forward with ideas that you can use quickly and easily to compose music. And, the music you compose will be both interesting and unique.

Reference points build creativity because even though some parts of what you'll do are based on another song or solo, you're still unique, and you'll do those ideas differently. 

Well, hey, thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at CreativeGuitarStudio.com.

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense. So, I look forward to helping you further at CreativeGuitarStudio.com ...Until next time - take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!



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