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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by saxnbass, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I have a friend (no longer lives where I do) that could just write songs and come up with chords to go with it real easy. He said it just came to him. I have a huge problem writing songs and such. I can come up with things to play on bass on the songs he wrote, but I can't write my own stuff.:crying: Anybody have any tips or know of anything that could help me write songs?

    :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:
  2. Songwriting is a lot easier on an instrument that naturally lends itself to chord playing - ie a gu***r or keyboards, IMHO.

    Basslines come very naturally once you have a chord progression, but its necessary to know exactly what chords you are playing over - it's not that easy when you are playing a single note within the chord structure on your bass.

    Get yourself an old acoustic or dinky little keyboard just to help you write.

    My $0.02
  3. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I own an acoustic and an electric guitar. I play guitar a lot. The acoustic sits next to my seat in the kitchen and I pick it up after every meal when I'm done eating and play it. I usually play other times too for a little bit. I also have a keyboard next to my desk in my room, although I don't play it yet, I am learning. So that is not the problem, it's the songwriting process itself. I also have a hard time writing lyrics.
  4. how well do you know your theory? do you know about I-IV-V progressions? how about 7th chords, turnarounds, leading notes etc etc.

    The more you understand musical structure the easier it will come. Also, study some of the great songwriters and their techniques:

    Elvis Costello, Burt Bacharach, Lennon/McCartney, Elton John etc etc. You don't have to enjoy their music exactly, but they are very talented songwriters and use all kinds of cool tricks in their work.
  5. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I know some theory, but it's not my strongest point.
  6. I have an excellent theory book (for trumpets/wind instruments) all about progressions and turnarounds. It's really helpful.
  7. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
  8. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    I'm my bands singer and bass player and primary song writer (don't let the guitar player hear that though)

    I find it easier to write some of the words first, like one verse chorus with a melody, and sing it with the rhythmic feel your looking for. And just sing the music parts inbetween.

    Then write a bass line that fits that, while you sing.

    the reverse works too where you just sing words over basslines, both work but just singing over the bassline can sometimes give the singing a stiff feel. Different for different writers though I suppose.

    Once you have a couple of solid verses and the chorus come up with structure that has a good flow and repeats your hooks enough. Don't forget to write in a section where the guitar player can wank and do a solo. ;)

    Then an intro, then an end, and if the song needs to be longer a musical bridge.

    Easiest way to start though is just write four lines of lyrics that rhyme and write a bass line too it, that lets you sing at the same time. A lot of poeple who say they can't write songs, simply don't peice it out.

    Write one part then another badda boom, pretty soon you have song.

    Sure sometimes you get a flow going and a whole song comes out all at once, but that's not usually how it's done.

    And the more you do it the easier it is. Just don't be overcrital write what comes off the top of your head and tweak it later.
  9. LOL, I'm not kidding here.

    "Progressions and Turnarounds For Trumpet And Wind Instruments"

    Purple cover, old.

    But your best bet with theory would be to keep reading the threads and advice given in the General Instruction forum on this board. In fact, there's probably a whole heap of info in there already that you could source.

    Use "Search" feature on the GI board and you'll probably get some really good responses.

    Good luck!
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    That's like saying "I want to write a novel, but my language skills are not my strongest point".

    The bottom line is you gotta have it IN you before you can put it out. A lot of great songwriters work around their deficiencies and write great songs, but no matter how unskilled they are, good songwriters know one thing: Structure. You can start by listening to the songs you like with a songwriter's ear, how the song develops and goes from one section to the next. Then, start writing songs of your own witht he knowledge you have, while learning to play other songs. At some point, you'll start applying the things you learn from other songs in your own.

    Also, I recommend the guitar as a more useful songwriting tool than a bass.
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If you don't have the natural gift/talent for songwriting, no amount of work is going to make it come on. I do not have the gift, though I have written the occasional song. My talent is that I am an excellent collaborator. I've been known to write parts, i.e. bridges, chorus, verse, to complete ideas with co-writers in bands through the years. It's all about knowing where your talent lies. I was priveledged to be in a band for a while with a brilliant musician (now prominent behind the scenes in the industry) who had a gift for coming up with catchy progressions/melodies, but didn't have much in the way of "finishing" ability. We collaborated well, and it was a lot of fun. When he would play his ideas to me, often I'd have that "light turning on in the head" feeling and instantly out of nowhere come up with a chorus or a bridge or sometimes both. Once I took his chord progression and changed the beat, taking his 3rd measure of a 4 measure progreassion to the 1, completely rransforming it to something everybody in the band thought was much better. That's where my personal talent lies (which is a good thing for a bass player), and when that kind of inspiration comes on, beleive me you know it!

    I find it a bit frustrating being in bands where one member comes with a song, completely finished. I've been known to suggest / make major adjustments to arrangements.

    I've been listening to The Who a lot lateley. Pete Townshend is an incredible songwriter!
  12. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I kind of agree about having a natural gift for songwriting, which some definitely have. I would suggest that you begin by forcing yourself to write something like a song per week using only 3 chords, the I-IV-V. So use the key of "A" and write your first song using "A", "D", and "E". If you sing (at all) in a better key, use that key but stick to the I-IV-V. If you can't do this, I don't think you'll be able to write songs, but on the other hand you could be a genius that can't handle something this simple. All the greats I know of started with really simple stuff and built on that but many a gazillion dollar hit is a simple I-IV-V.
  13. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    First learn to play some good songs - not just basslines and changes but most importantly the vocal melodies. Jazz standards, opera arias, Beatles, Stan Rogers, whatever. Use theory to understand how and why they work.

    Once you have some understanding of that you can try to imagine some songs in your head. If they're good try to make the sounds you hear in your head a reality.

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