Songwriting For Guitar – 6 Easy Songwriting Tips For Guitar Players

By Tom Hess

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

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You know how some guitar players easily write expressive rock & metal songs?
They do 2 things differently than most musicians:
  1. They know what skills they need to become good songwriters… and they practice them consistently.

    (More on this below.)
  2. They see themselves as musicians (and composers) first – guitar players second.

And what’s the result?

They write more & better songs and have fun doing it.

The Secret To Adding Fire &
Emotion To Any Guitar Lick

By submitting your info, you agree to send it to Tom Hess Music Corporation who will process and use it according to their privacy policy.


...their music sounds more expressive than the songs of an average songwriter.

You can learn to do the same...

...(whether you are writing your first song or have been writing music for years).

Watch this video (and read the rest of the article) to see how:

No matter what level your songwriting is today, there are 6 tips that can make you better quickly.

Here they are:

Songwriting Tip #1: Master Pitch Range Management (As Shown In The Video).

What is “pitch range”?

Simply put:

Pitch range means how high or low (in pitch) the notes are. The more instruments you use in your songs, the more important pitch range becomes.

With good pitch range management, you can hear all the instruments clearly and the music becomes enjoyable to listen to.

Watch the video to see how to manage pitch range between guitar and orchestral instruments.

Songwriting For Guitar

Songwriting Tip #2: Understand Voice Leading

Voice leading is how the notes in one chord move to the notes of another chord.

When you use good voice leading, your chord progressions sound like multiple melodies played at the same time.

This makes your songwriting sound very advanced (even when you are playing very simple chords).

Watch this video to see how to awesome good voice leading sounds:

Voice leading applies to all instruments (not just guitar).

Piano players typically play with much better voice leading than guitar players.

Songwriting Tip #3: Understand Emotions Of Notes And Chords.

To express yourself, you’d better know what notes create the emotions you want to feel.

This makes it easy to choose the right notes when writing your music.

Want to see an example?

Watch this video:

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Songwriting Tip #4: Have Multiple Songwriting Approaches

What is your go-to process for writing songs?

If you are like most guitarists, you probably go to your guitar and improvise until you stumble on something that sounds good.

A lot of great music was written this way.

However: this way of composing is very limiting.

Here are songwriting approaches few guitar players explore:

Write A Melody First

Challenge yourself to write a melody first (before writing any chords). This is not common for guitar players at all…

So why do it?

Answer: To expand your songwriting comfort zone and create ideas you would never come up with any other way.

Tip: listen to singers and transcribe their vocal melodies. Then expand on them with lead guitar techniques.

Watch this video to see an example of how it’s done:

Plan Out A Chord Progression First

First, decide if your song will stay in one key or change between keys.

Next, plan out the chord progression(s) in the key(s) and decide on the chord voicings to use.

The chords you use are the backbone of your entire song.

Watch this video to see/hear how to build (and resolve) tension using chords:

Songwriting Tip #5: Write Songs For The Waste Basket.

You know the saying “Quality over quantity”?

Good songwriters do the opposite.

They focus on quantity before quality.

Yes, you read correctly.


The fastest way to improve as a songwriter is to write as many songs (or songwriting ideas) as possible.

Even if you don’t want anyone to ever hear those songs.

I call this exercise: “writing for the waste basket”.

Bottom line: Write your first 100 bad songs as fast as possible.

Songwriting Tip #6: Continue To Develop Your General Guitar/Musical Skills.

What are the most important skills to develop to improve your songwriting?

Music theory – contrary to popular belief, music theory is NOT a set of rules about how music works (or how it should work).

Then what is it?

It’s a way to explain (or predict) musical emotion. (So you can write music that expresses the emotions you feel).

Watch this video to understand how music theory works:

Ear training – this is the ability to recognize chords, intervals, rhythms and melodies in your head… and play them. Imagine how much better of a songwriter you become when you have a good ear.

What’s the best way to train your ear?

Do it away from the guitar, in short blocks of a few minutes a time. Train it frequently and consistently. (This ear training article explains how.)  

It’s the single most important skill you can develop as a songwriter.

Fretboard visualization – you want to know your fretboard just like a piano player knows the keyboard. The better your knowledge of the fretboard – the easier & faster you can write songs (and guitar solos).

Watch this video to see how to practice fretboard visualization:

You now know proven songwriting tips that make writing songs easier and more fun.

The next step is to learn how to write awesome guitar solos, so you can express more emotions with every song you write. Download this free lead guitar solo guide and discover how to play guitar solos that make other guitarists wish they could play like you.

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.

Take guitar lessons with the best online electric guitar teacher.

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