Make Song Parts Better [THIS IS LAYERING]

Have you ever recorded your guitar thinking it played back too thin sounding? Did the recording that you made seem weak with far too little dynamics? This is an area of known of as "music production," and far too many players either never even consider it, or if they do they have no clear path to a step-by-system for making it happen with their songs...

A common complaint made by guitar players (generally those who are quite new to song production), will be that, regardless of where their song recordings were made - whether at home or in the studio, the song parts end up as sections that will come across performed like they're too thin and lacking in dynamics.

This is generally a concern that can cause a lot of frustration for players, (both when recording as well as, on stage). And, it's one that leaves a guitarist who's new to sound production, baffled as to how they can make their song parts sound fuller and richer.

So, whether you're new to recording, or if you're just trying to make your weekend jam band sound more impressive on stage, this episode of the Guitar Blog Insider is going to help you understand how to make your song parts sound better.


STEP #1).
This is the first idea that we end up having when we're creating music for a new song part. It can be thought of as our "primary" song section. This idea is generally the first composed segment of our song when we're writing our music.

The "Primary" song part could be a series of chords, or it might be a melody. Whichever category it falls into doesn't really matter, because all that we're worried about (at this point), is the very basics of what's going on musically. What is the harmony, the key signature and what style is it, (pop, rock, funk, jazz, blues, country, etc.).

To place things into context, let's say we had a pop-style chord progression composed within the key of "F Major." If this was our start - the first thing we composed - this would be our very first song section (primary Song Part)... Here's an example...

 click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

STEP #2).
Now that we have composed a primary song part, acting the start-point of our composition, our next step will be to form a secondary idea as a way to begin building up the impact of the primary part for the listener.

For our composition, we're going to think of this new secondary part as our first layer to build out the primary part, (keep in mind that, we don't want our final performance of the piece to come across as sounding too thin when we play it on stage or play it in the studio).

Below is an example of a bass-line melody than can act as a way to boost the effect of our primary part. Learn the bass-line and focus on how this melodic bass-line sounds (first on it's own), and then when played over the primary part. Keep in mind that this part can be performed on guitar, and is not meant as a replacement for the part played by a bassist in the band.

click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

STEP #3).
Now that we've developed a bass-line idea (to help beef-up the low-end), we're going to move on to the upper register and compose a secondary rhythm riff (to help add more depth to the higher register sound).

Upper register riffs can be really cool, because they tend to act as a great way to help the composition start filling itself out in a new register. This works by not only blending in some brighter chord effects, but it also helps with the feel if you compose the new part so that it operates with a slightly different rhythmic accent.

This can help add a sense of a 'counter rhythm' against the original groove, making for a nice effect when everything is blended together on-stage or in the studio. Below is a "secondary rhythm riff" that I composed for another layer to be played over the parts that we've established so far.

click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

STEP #4).
One area that we haven't targeted yet is the mid-register sound. This can be thought of as either single-note ideas or, two-note chord ideas played more within the central string sets of 4th to 2nd string groups.

Mid-register song parts will often sound pretty cool if they're performed with a slightly busier groove to their rhythmic feel. When added, these mid-register ideas (along with all the others we've discussed) can work to build out a song section and create a production of a piece that sounds more filled out with several layers of counter rhythm feel and varied melodic color (due to the multiple harmonies created from all the different guitar parts).

So, here's an example that I created for this lesson, to function as a mid-register boost part... 

click on the above image to enlarge full-screen

Let's do a quick re-cap of how this whole process functions to be able to add more life into song parts and to have them ultimately come across as sounding better to your audience.

First, there's the act of establishing your primary part. Then, once you have that, there's the creation of a bass-note melody line. And, then, there's the upper-register... /secondary riff idea. Then, finally there's the concept of adding that mid-register boost with a riff played upon the interior string sets.

Add it all together and you've got a much more sophisticated song production that'll really impress anyone listening to your music. With the new sections, the music will come across a lot more dynamic and they'll have a much fuller impression to the music's overall sound and structure.

Well, I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

when you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video on YouTube please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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