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Shred Academy - Free Guitar Lesson by Fredrik Pihl


 
 

 

How Do I Write A Good Song?

By Fredrik Pihl

 

How do I write the perfect song? How do I put it all together? Well, that’s a question many musicians ask themselves. In this column I’ll try to answer that question from my point of view.

First of all I would like to point out that there are no right or wrong ways of thinking when you are composing. Writing songs is a very individual thing. What sounds good for me might not sound good for you. So the first thing you should do is to listen carefully on the song you are writing. If it sounds good in your head, then go for it. Whether people think it’s good or bad is just opinion, but what matters is that you like what you do.

As guitar players we usually start with a riff or a melody that pops up in our heads. Then the problem always seems to occur when we start to build a song from that riff. This is a thing that I struggle with a lot when writing songs, whether if it is with my band or my own music. And one thing I have learned is to never force yourself to come up with something. Let it come naturally or it won’t sound natural. If you can’t come up with something, give it some time. Go do something completely different, and then pick up your guitar again. And maybe then you have the solution.

A question I have seen many times is the “Ear vs. theory” question. “Do I need to know a lot of musical theory to write my songs”? My answer would be NO. Knowing theory will help you to communicate with other musicians, and maybe help you with some things as chord changes etc. You can't write a song ONLY by theory; usually it won't come out as music. So my experience is that music theory will help you, but it won’t write the song for you. So go with your ears and judgement.

So…. Are there any advices on how to approach song writing? Well, as I mentioned before song writing is very individual. But here are some things that I have found out during my years of playing. And who knows, maybe these advice can be helpful for you too…

* Never force yourself to write a song. Take the time you need to make it the way you really want it to be. Writing under stress is not a good thing… not for me anyway.

* Write as much as possible using your head, heart and soul. The music should begin in your brain and end with your fingers, not the other way around. Think more, play less!

* Use your judgement wisely. For example: If you are writing an instrumental guitar song, it’s very easy trying to put all your cool sounding licks in that very song. But some of those licks may not fit into the music you are doing. I have heard many guitar players that write their own songs doing this typical mistake.
You should use your judgment, and maybe save some of those cool licks for later. There will be other times.

* If you are stuck in the middle of a song and don’t know what to play next, try shifting sounds. If you play with distortion, switch to a clean sound. Maybe that’s what you’re looking for. If not, put the guitar away…. Go out and enjoy your life a bit, then try again.

* And finally, there are no right or wrong ways when writing a song. So never think along those lines. Do what your heart tells you to do… and just do it.

See you next month!

Feel free to contact me at: mail@fredrikpihl.com

www.fredrikpihl.com
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