When you’re constructing a song, think of it in relation to the human body. You build the skeleton first, which can be a melody, and develop your song from there. Read the post.
In a career that spans decades and features collaborations with an array of influential artists, John Gustafson is a name you might not know, even though he recorded on over 100 albums, including his solo album, Goose Grease, in 1976. Read the post.
Power chords might not be chords, but they’re powerful intervals — especially when mixed with distortion. Read the post.
Not all these songwriting tips deal with the minutes and hours you’ll spend with your instrument in your hand, but that’s partly the point… your life outside your music studio should be rich and inspiring so that the music you create is too. Read the post.
Whatever your aspirations as a musician, there are lessons to be learned from the basement-tapes legacy created by Guided By Voices. Read the post.
All work, when properly evaluated and processed, is a learning experience and just another step in the life-long journey of discovering and deepening your own artistic voice. Read the post.
A song can take you on a journey, and including a key change — or modulation — can produce various emotional effects, from brightening the mood to creating a sense of unease. Read the post.
The first of a two-part series explores how taking time to learn another instrument will help you become stronger at your first instrument and improve your songwriting chops. Read the post.
Being creative is not an innate ability that you either have or you don’t. Creativity is not, in and of itself, a talent. Creativity is not related to IQ. Creativity is a way of operating. Read More.
If you are interested in writing lyrics with depth, you need a deep artistic well to draw from. All output requires input, and as a lyricist, I recommend you begin with words. Read the post.
Borrowed chords (chords “borrowed” from a key’s parallel minor) are commonly used in music influenced by the blues, including rock, jazz, R&B, even country and folk. Today we’ll focus on the flat-six chord. Read the post.
Sixth chords have an inherent lack of identity and purpose that can be riveting — a sixth chord can provide ambiguity, set curiously dark moods, and add a layer of complexity to your music. Read More.
Not only does “Good Vibrations” provide a structural template for Smile, it also gives the album its tonal language. Nearly every song or song section is written in one of “Good Vibrations” chords. Read More.
There’s nothing wrong with big, noisy rock, but here’s a perspective from three guitarists who use their instruments to create a vibe rather than flex their muscular musical chops every chance they get. Read More.
To write a great melody, throw in a dramatic flourish to enhance a moment, but sing the way people speak: It sounds better and makes a melody more memorable. Read More.