Guitarists who write expressive rock & metal songs do 2 things differently than most musicians:


  1. They understand the musical skills needed to become excellent songwriters and they practice often to improve them.


  1. They make their #1 goal to create great music, followed by play guitar.


So, what happens when you do these things?


You write better music and have a blast doing it!


This video shows you what to do:



Even if you don't have great songwriting skills, six tips help you start writing great music in no time.


The tips are:



Songwriting Tip #1: Master The Ability To Manage Pitch Range (As Seen In The Video).


What does “pitch range” refer to exactly?


It means:


This term involves how high or low (in pitch) notes are. When you use many instruments in a song, this becomes a very important thing to keep in mind.


When you use good pitch range management, every instrument sounds clearly in your music.


The video shows you how to manage pitch range while writing for guitar and orchestral instruments.


Songwriting Tip #2: Learn How To Use Good Voice Leading


Voice leading refers to how the notes in a chord move to the next chord.


When you use good voice leading, your chords sound like many melodies sounding at once, rather than just blocks of notes.


This makes your songwriting sound great (regardless of what chords you use).


Check out this video to see how cool solid voice leading sounds:


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Note: Voice leading applies for any instrument.


Piano players generally use better voice leading than guitarists do.


Songwriting Tip #3: Learn The Emotions Of Notes And Chords.


To write emotionally expressive songs, you’d need to know which notes create what emotions in any given scenario.


Once you do, writing emotionally compelling music becomes easy.


Want to see how this works?


Watch this video:


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Songwriting Tip #4: Utilize Many Songwriting Methods


Do you have a main songwriting approach?


As a guitar player, it’s likely that you pick up your instrument and improvise until something sounds good.


Some great songs have been written this way.


However: only having this way of writing music is a very limited approach.


These are some great songwriting approaches few guitarists to consider:


Write A Melody To Begin With

Focus on creating a melody before anything else (this includes before thinking of any chords to use). This is not what guitarists usually do…

So why use this approach?

Answer: This pushes you to create new ideas you would never write normally.

Tip: Listen to the vocal phrases of your favorite singers. Then use guitar to turn them into something new.

Check out this video to see how it’s done:

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Start With A Chord Progression

Figure out if your song is going to stay in the same key the whole time or change at some point.

Then, figure out the chord progressions and voicings that will be used in your song.

These chords make the foundation for the song you are going to create.

Check out this video to see how to create and resolve tension with chords:

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Songwriting Tip #5: Write Throwaway Songs


It’s not enough to just write a few songs and hope you get better at songwriting.


Just like with guitar, you need to practice A LOT if you expect to get results.


The quickest way to get better as a songwriter is to write song after song after song.


This applies even if you don't intend for anyone to hear what you write.


I call this exercise: “writing for the trash bin”.


Bottom line: Make it your goal to write one hundred songs as soon as you can.


Songwriting Tip #6: Don't Stop Developing Your Overall Musical Skills


What are the most critical skills to improve upon to make your songs better?


Music theory – contrary to popular belief, music theory isn’t just about intervals, memorizing key signatures or other rules.


So, what is it then?


It’s how you explain emotion in music. (So you can write songs that expresses specific emotions).


Check out this video to see how music theory really works:


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Aural Skills – this involves being able to hear chords, intervals, note rhythms and melodies in your head… then play them. With an excellent ear, your songwriting skills go through the roof (and it takes less time to write).


How can you train your ear?


Train it in short bursts of time away from your instrument. Train it often and consistently. (This ear training skill development article shows you how.) This is the single most important skill you need to write great songs.


Fretboard visualization – you want to know the fretboard like the back of your hand. This makes it much easier to write songs for guitar.


Here is how to practice fretboard visualization:


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Now you’ve received proven songwriting tips to make it easier to write great songs.


The next action to take is to learn how to write expressive guitar solos, so you can create any emotion you want with your instrument. Get this free guitar soloing guide and find out how to play amazingly expressive solos.



Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player and composer. He trains musicians to reach their guitar playing goals in his rock guitar lessons online. Visit his website, to read more articles about guitar playing, get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources. Learn more by reading the Tom Hess Musician Wikipedia Page.