How can I get inspired to write stuff?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CauliColin, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. I'm not very good when it comes to writing, so I'm looking for tips on how to improve.
  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Listen to alot of music of your favorite genre. (which you already do)
    Steal as many ideas as you can!
    Seriously, let your musical influences guide you.
    Are you wanting to write on bass?
    Start improvising/messing around on bass while recording (even in a crude manner).
    You may be able to go back and mine little nuggets of riffs or scales you've recorded that you can develop into original songs.
    Some people say you can't write songs on bass, but it's not true. You can. Most of my tunes were created on bass, then all the other instruments fell in later.
    Sometimes you can get into a rut. Dont let that discourage you. Keep at it. Songs or music ideas will come.
  3. michael_atw


    Feb 28, 2009
    Jamestown, NY
    Writing lyrics or music?
  4. Thanks! I usually get riffs by listening to Metallica solos, simplifying them and playing them in a different key!

    Ps Help witb music.
  5. TOOL460002


    Nov 4, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    If you don't know all your scales/modes, do that first. Make a conscious effort to play a different key (or changes) every other day or so. I also approach writing visually, as in how the fingering forms runs and interesting chord structures. That might work for you; might not.

    Start strumming a melody, then get the bass going. If you have a looper its so much easier. You benefit a lot from that, or a delay with a looper etc.
  6. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Yeah.. different key, change the pattern slightly, play the riff backwards, ect.. soon it'll become your own idea
  7. Testing_123


    Jan 23, 2011
    WMass, USA
    1) Just write. Make time for it. The romantic notion of inspiration leading to writing/creation may not always hold true. Set aside time to write (open the pipeline) and perhaps inspiration will come for a visit.

    2) Be willing to write "bad" music; if you come up with a riff, progression, or melody, keep noodling on it even if you're pretty sure it's pure drivel. Don't let your internal editor shut your process down. I suspect most artists in any creative medium will say that it takes a lot of "bad" ideas to get to one "good" idea; in fact, it may take the creation of many "bad" ideas to help us understand what truly constitutes a "good" idea. This is the creative process.

    3) Be a student of music you enjoy and feel is well-written. Analyze what does and does not appeal to you about a piece of music. Learn a few riffs from you favorite artists, then try and rework them and make them your own.
  8. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
  9. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    need inspiration?

    marry a stripper!
  10. KenHR


    Jul 28, 2010
    Waterford, NY
    This is good stuff, right here.

    Writing, just like anything else, is a skill you have to develop. Set aside 30-60 minutes every day to write. You won't necessarily come up with something every day, but getting in the daily habit will help your productivity in the long run. Sitting around and waiting for the muse to strike is a sure way to get a whole lotta nothing out there.

    Beyond that, learn to play other songs, not just the bass parts, but the guitar parts, lead vocals, harmony, drums, etc. Even if you don't play those other instruments, at least learn the parts well enough to understand how they work.

    Learn theory. Absorb as much of it as you can. Don't let it rule your songwriting process, but it helps you communicate and analyze your ideas, and it can help you out when you get stuck on a part.

    Also, a couple books that are helpful:

    Tunesmith, by Jimmy Webb - one of the BEST books on songwriting, ever.

    Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo - tons of interviews about songwriting with a variety of folks, from Paul Simon to Richard Thompson to Bob Dylan to Burt Bacharach to...very inspirational to me. The take-away from all these interviews: songwriting requires a lot of work and dedication.
  11. I've realised that I write sad-sounding songs when I am happy, and happy songs when I am depressed.
  12. EatADeadGoat


    Aug 29, 2010

    Seriously. I broke down a bunch of riffs recently because i was all like: this sounds suspiciously like a scale swapped around and played quickly. And lo and behold, I was right, It's a cool riff too.

    As far as "songs" go, don't be afraid to change stuff, especially if writing alone, with no other musicians. I have riffs that I swap around and marry with other ones and keep changing them till they interest me, and when I get bored with them I change 'em again. Don't worry about having full songs done even in full band situations, songs are never really done. Sometimes they even change it for live versions because the released studio version isn't "done enough"

    As far as creating riffs, listen to music. Play along, and don't use tabs. Really the best way to get an idea on how some riffs are constructed are to learn other people's. Learn enough, and you start to get this odd way of mixing all of the elements of said riffs that are the highlights for you. And bam, you can churn out riffs way more often. As said above, don't let your self-editor get in your way. Just play and have fun. Miss a few notes even.
  13. Thanks. I almost ( :) ) managed to get a distinction in my Grade 5 piano theory and I am currently hoping to go for Grade 6 pratical so I *hope* I can figure stuff out.
  14. erock0138


    Feb 4, 2011
    Think outside the box, try to pickup on little things in life to give you inspiration. Get your mind wrapped around it, and see what comes out. Try to let it naturally come to you, I always find it hard to purposely sit down and write.
  15. forget scales and theory; gather up some buddies and get ****ed for a week straight.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    live life, then write about it.
  17. But I don't want my writing to be like Rebecca Black :'(
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    then don't live your life like a 13 year old girl.
  19. What everyone already posted, is exactly the way I do it! I once even developed a cool riff by following along to the pattern of a jack hammer banging away down the street,lol. I wish you guys could hear it, even though its kinda heavy...on the D minor scale, I cant help but giggle when I play it knowing how it came about. Inspiration is everywhere! Grab ur bass and make noise!
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Also, get a keyboard, learn to play guitar chords well...then focus on different types of chords, buy some song writing books, transcribe your fav. bands, try different rhythms, record yourself jamming, listen to it for song ideas, jam with friends and record, play with a metronome at different tempos,...

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