I have a really hard time taking ideas that I come up with somewhere. I can usually come up with a riff or idea with no problem but I have difficulty taking somewhere else/adding more parts. How do you guys approach trying to expand on your ideas? There are clips on my soundcloud in my sig of a few riffs/ideas that don't really go anywhere if anyone is interested in checking them out.
Getting with other musicians is the key to writing IMO ESPECIALLY if your trying to write off of a bass line. You may hear the would-be song a certain way, but you never know what it can turn into once another musician adds his or her flavor to it... That's actually what I enjoy most about the 2 original projects I am affiliated with right now.
I play with a drummer twice a week but no other instruments. It's difficult bouncing ideas back and forth with a drummer. I'm trying to do this as duo but someone else in the mix would definitely add more ideas. I'm a little leary of finding people off of Craigslist. I've never had any luck with that just flakey BS and people who suck in one way or another. Thanks for the response.
1. Work fast, go with first idea and add another couple "first ideas" for more parts (this should stop you from getting bogged down in trying to perfect one part endlessly)
2. Work on the arrangement of the part, put down the bass and pick up another instrument, start layering sounds. Extra credit for purposefully making the new layer different than the others (but not necessary for the exercise).
3. Just keep writing. The more you do this the easier it is to complete. That's no guarantee you'll be writing great songs but I do guarantee you'll get better the more you do it.
4. Always be listening to other music. Go out of your comfort zone. Listen to some Broadway for example if you are a metal head. Analyze what you like and don't like about what you hear. Try to find something about everything you hear that you like then ask yourself why.
you can try websites like Bandmix to find other musicians... I use them over CL
I keep notebooks and write down every cool riff / lick / lyric / recipe / poem / invention / book & movie idea I come up with in them.
When it's time to write I review my notes and see what I can come up with. Bear in mind that out of every 100 ideas I have written down, 10 are worth giving a 2nd look and maybe 1 will see the light of day.
So, yeah, it takes a tremendous amount of quantity to get a bit of quality.
I find it hard to write melody on bass.
Sure, I can easily write cool rhythms and grooves, but to write tunes, I need to write on a guitar on keyboard.
I will often find a move to a different chord (not necessarily a key change), and when I find a move that I like, my brain immediately begins spitting out ideas for "what else happens" after the chord changes.
Here's a composition of mine. https://soundcloud.com/uneven-steven...se-for-comfort
The song starts in Gm. A brief bass intro hints at the groove to come, and then the A section comes in proper at 0:29. This is the first section I wrote; the rest were developed from there.
At 0:57, the groove stays in Gm, but the feel changes slightly, to emphasize the melodic change, which also features a move into the melodic minor scale in the guitar melody. At 1:10 the regular Gm part is reintroduced. These two parts are put together in AABA fashion.
At 1:25, the chords, still in the key Gm, move to Bb, Cm, and Dm, in ascending fashion. The guitar switches from melody to power chords, and the feel gets a little more "rock".
At 1:39, the AABA thing is repeated, but the guitar solos over the first two A's. Then we repeat the ascending idea. (Bb, Cm, Dm).
At 2:47, we use a lick that's been heard before in the song, but it usually goes back to Gm. This time (still in the key of Gm) we throw a little curve ball and go to Cm. This inspires a feel change for the mellower. There is a chord progression here, still in Gm, but much different than the rest of the tune (Cm, Gm, Cm, Gm, Am7b5, Daug). The progression repeats a few times while the guitar solos. With each repeat of the progression, the feel in the rhythm section builds, and at 4:13, we use a short drum break to get back to the top and restate the "head".
And finally at 5:27, we repeat that lick again, but this time expand on it a bit, using it as an outro.
Hopefully this gives you some idea of some of the ways you can take an initial idea into various different sections. :)
Great advice guys. Like I mentioned above I jam with a drummer twice a week and we record everything. Mostly I just turn on some pedals and noodle something out without having any clue about what to do until the sounds I'm getting tell me. :) There are a few jams that we keep going back to every time and I'd like to take them somewhere and eventually have them evolve into songs. I've been listening to the recordings to try and cobble some of the jams together without much luck so all this advice is very helpful. It's nice to try and approach things from different perspectives.
As for adding more musicians, I'm not sure if that's what we want to do or not. I use quite a few effects and take up a lot of space and I'm not sure if I want to be worrying about stepping on someones toes. If we were to add someone I think it would be keys or some sort of drone/noisemaker guy. I have nothing against the guitar really but I have never played in a band that didn't have a guitarist and I like the idea of trying something with different instruments.
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