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Composing, Creation process and Vocals

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by Chris Ramlar, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    Hey Justin its been a long time since I asked something and now I have 3 questions I hope you don't bother here they come:

    1.- Does the "creative process" ever ends?
    Right know I'm playing in an original band and we have the (bad) habit of making a new song every single rehearsal but we rarely finish one I suggested that we focused on the songs that we liked the most or thought had more potential but every single rehearsal the "magic" happens someone suddenly plays a good riff and we just play around it I think we just don't have that much discipline have you ever experienced something like that?

    2.- Do I need a good guitar or keyboard for composing?
    I remember I read that you composed in guitar and piano and I know your budget and luck to find better deals is greater than mine not to mention you live where pretty good brands are from (USA) but do you find yourself needing a good guitar for composing?

    3.- How do you start seeing vocals as an instrument?
    One of the main obstacles in my band is the need of a vocalist I joined them 6 months ago but they've been playing like 2 years before that and they never found a vocalist so we decided one of the guitarists and me are going to start taking that role I think I don't sing bad at least I now the basics of singing and I don't have a bad voice either but I can't compose good melodies for a voice to sing I just can't imagine them, and that's one of the reasons I want to get either a guitar or a piano and start composing there what do you think about it?

    Anyway thanks in advance I have one more favor to ask could you check out the bands myspace? the only song I've recorded that its there its "Rave Party" I know its not a song that would get us a record deal but WTH its ours and I'm proud of it =D again thanks a lot!

    Angel (http://www.myspace.com/montaukmx)
  2. LaklandBass


    Jan 26, 2005
    I totally hear you on the creative process. Im in a 2 piece acoustic band right now and we have about 10 songs done and 15 random unfinished ones lying around. What helps is I usually make a quick crappy recording of something new when I write it and then tab it out in a book. This book is like the parts bin of our writing. Whenever we are working out a new song and get stuck we just dip into the random tabs book and find a part to use. After many years and many bands I feel this is the best way to stay focused with writing.
    As far as a guitar and piano for writing theres some great options for super cheap. M-Audio makes a fine dummy board (just keys, no sounds) for $99 and it comes with a small recording program that has plenty of keyboard sounds on it. This program is awesome for recording quick ideas like I mentioned above. As far as a guitar get whatever you like that stays in tune. Craigslist is THE hotspot for decent cheap guitars. You can always find people that bought a $250 guitar and $150 amp but never stuck with it trying to unload the gear for super cheap. Ive seen a squire starter bass pack go for $75 on there with bass, amp, strap and cable.
    Vocals as an instrument??? id say put out flyers at guitar stores and put ads up on craigslist for an actual singer. in the time youre waiting you can write and perfect a set list so youll be ready for shows once a new singer settles in. another good tip for trying out singers is to pick one or two songs and just do a basic recording. email the song/s to whoever contacts you to tryout for vocals so they can write and perform it at the tryout. this way youll not only know how they sing but how they write with your style of music.
  3. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    1. It never ends. But songs can end. They need to have conclusions to their processes. Otherwise you will end up down the rabbit hole of way too many unfinished "songs". Start exercising your ability to put a complete "thought" together, and wrap up the songs. Even if they suck. The exercise on its own will get you to the next level.

    2. You don't need a good anything to compose; you just need something that you can communicate a musical thought on. Something that inspires you. Most of my favorite songs these days are written on a $100 Yamaha FG-110 acoustic from back in the day. But that guitar just sings to me.

    3. Practice. Don't judge, just do. More and more and more. The cream will rise to the top with wisdom, experience, and musical freedom.



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