How To Write Songs For Guitar
Even if you’re a total beginner, you can write songs. Songwriting is a form of storytelling, and if you feel the need to songwrite, then you’ve got a story to tell. Below are some steps to help facilitate your songwriting.
Lets venture into the realm of songwriting, dear traveller!
Choose your theme
First thing is to choose your theme for your song. What are you writing about?
If you don’t know what to write about, think about your strong emotional experiences, or things you feel/ have felt strongly about. Think about what makes you:
- Wonder about the true meaning of the Universe! (#deepseathoughts)
Basically, think about people, situations, objects, activities or places that move you. Things you remember for some reason. Write about that reason. Keep it in mind as you create your guitar song.
Write Lyrics About Your Theme
With your theme in mind, create your first lines. To do this, you can ask yourself questions about how you feel about your theme. Interview yourself. Ask yourself questions like:
- How do I feel about this?
- Why was this an emotional experience for me?
- What do I like/ dislike the most about this? Why?
- Would I do things differently?
- What message do I want to send out?
- How does this effect my life today?
- How have I changed as a person from this?
The more authentic thoughts and feelings you can articulate in your song, the more powerful it will be, both for yourself and the listener. If you’re having trouble here, check out this post for writing lyrics in 5 simple steps.
To start, create 4 lines. Once you’ve done this, you can think about what chords to play with them.
Accompany your first lines with chords.
Choose a chord progression to accompany your song. Here are two ways of doing this:
- Choosing a key, then choosing chords that fit within that key
- Choosing a combination of chords you like the sound of
Knowing which key you are in will help greatly, so try and figure out the key if you can. The key will usually be the first chord you start in (e.g. if you start on an A Minor chord, the key is likely to be A Minor. For A Major, the key is likely to be A Major).
You can have a different chord for each lyrical line of your song. So the first line would have one chord, the 2nd line would have another chord, etc.
Creating the chorus
Now you have one section of your song done. This can be considered the ‘verse’.
The next step is to repeat steps 2 and 3 to create the next section, the ‘chorus’. The process is the same; the only difference is with the lyrics. You want to think of a line that you can sing over and over again, and sounds good to hear each time. This is also called an ‘ear worm’, and most songs have them. If you can’t think of a catchy line, then any line will do. The important thing is that you have another section.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 again for creating another verse.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 one last time for creating a bridge. This time, only write 2 lines instead of 4.
Putting it all together
Now you have all the pieces of your song: a verse, chorus, 2nd verse, and a bridge. To put it all together, simply repeat the chorus 3 times in between the other sections. Here’s what it looks like:
1st verse – Chorus – 2nd verse – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus
The final thing to do is to practise playing through the whole song. Take it slow at the start, and practise section by section. Once you’ve got two sections down, practise playing them one after the other. Then move onto the next two sections and do the same. Repeat this process until you have tied the whole song together.
If you carried out these steps, then congratulations, you made a song! Well done 🙂 (toots expression party horn)
If you read through this post, then you now have the skills to write a song!
Songwriting is a skill like anything else. The more you practise it, the better you will get., and the easier it will get. You’ll learn more specifically what you like, how you write, and what your style of songwriting is.
With the steps above, try creating more than one idea. Usually, the more ideas you write out, the better the ideas get. This is like a refinement process. You can even take parts from each idea you’ve created and put them together for a totally new idea. If you’ve created a song you love, then amazing! If you feel its not what you thought it would be, then keep trying. You can check out this post on songwriting tips for more help.
Keep learning new ideas to play, new licks, new chords, new progressions to add to your skillset. All of it will help your songwriting.
If you’d like to get some ideas of songs to learn, check out Justin Guitars website. It has tonnes of free lessons teaching how to play songs on there. I highly recommend it.