Write Songs On Guitar More Creatively Using An Overlooked Musical Element

by Tom Hess


When most people sit down to write songs on guitar, they often get started with a single melody, a handful of chords or even a time signature.

These are common elements people use to write songs, but they aren’t the only ones.

You can write songs on guitar that sound great when you focus on other, frequently-overlooked musical elements, such as:

Dynamics.

This element generally describes how loud or soft a particular part of a song is. You make your music stick out and sound high-quality when you understand how to write songs on guitar using dynamics as a primary focus.

Paying attention to this element creates a new layer to the music that makes it more expressive without changing the pitch or rhythm of the notes. Think of this almost like an element that is crucial for making your musical parts “pop” or stand out.

Here are two ways to write guitar songs by focusing on dynamics:


Articulate Notes On Guitar Using Stronger Picking Force

Guitarists often pick using the same amount of force all the time – especially when they only play with distortion.

Don't limit yourself to this approach.

Picking with more power has the effect of creating more musical intensity, while picking softer feels less intense.

Experiment with this concept in the following ways by picking through any guitar phrase using clean settings on your amp:

  • Pick softer at the beginning of the phrase and start using additional force as the phrase gets closer to the end.
     
  • Choose specific notes to accent with a lot of power to make them stand out from the others.
     
  • Experiment with as many different combinations of loud versus soft notes as you can for several minutes.

Notice how this totally adds a new dimension to the way the phrase sounds without adding any new notes!

Note: As an added benefit, this is also one of the best ways to train your hands to keep them synchronized - leading to faster and cleaner overall guitar playing:
 

How To Master Guitar Technique


Use Palm Muting To Create The Illusion Of Dynamics With Distortion

While playing guitar with distortion, it is difficult to use dynamics in the same way as you would while playing on clean amp settings.

However:

Palm muting gives you the power to create the effect of dynamics because muted notes are perceived as softer and less loud than open string notes.

Apply this concept as you write songs on guitar by first experimenting with any guitar phrase using palm muting on different notes in a similar fashion to what you did in the previous point.

Notice how this has a powerful effect on how loud or soft the notes seem to be. Sometimes, a great guitar phrase may simply be played with all palm muting then repeated with no muting to create a great effect without changing a single note.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing songs on guitar that sound good.

There are many more tips that help you quickly write songs that sound awesome. Learn some additional writing approaches to use in your music right now by checking out this songwriting article.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He teaches rock guitar lessons online to students from all over the world and conducts instructional live guitar training events attended by musicians from over 50 countries.

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