4 Tips for Writing A Song on Guitar
by Rodrigo Sanchez, Oct 11, 2021 . 4 min read
These 4 tips for writing a song on guitar will help you kickstart your creativity.
They are a starting point that you can use as a springboard for your ideas. After all, few things are more intimidating for a songwriter than a blank page. These tips will also help anybody looking to get started with songwriting. Here you’ll find insight on the basic aspects that make up a song. Furthermore, these are all practical as opposed to theoretical, so you will get to test them immediately while trying to write a new song. So let’s tune-up and have some fun. Here are 4 tips for writing a song on guitar.
Think of the form
The form of a song is the order in which its parts appear. The most common form is verse – chorus – verse 2 – chorus 2 – bridge – chorus 3. The verse can be eight bars long, and the chorus can also have the same length. Typically each verse features the same melody and chords but with different lyrics. On the other hand, all three choruses tend to be identical. For the bridge, you can do four bars of new chords, melody, and lyrics.
The challenge is to make each part different but also seem like they are part of the same song. Try writing a song with the form mentioned above and see how you like it.
Start with a title
Professional songwriters usually start a new song with a title. This gives them a clear direction to build to the song. Once you have a title, you can make every single choice of the song relate to that title. For instance, the melody and chords might suggest something mysterious to match a mysterious title. Naturally, the lyrics will be truly related to the title. Starting this way leaves very little room to wonder what the song is truly about. This is exactly why professionals usually don’t start writing unless they have a good title.
Pick a chord progression
One of the best ways to start a song is to have a chord progression and build on it. For instance, the progression I V iV IV is one of the most common in history. Let’s say you want to play it in the guitar-friendly key of C. That would be C, G, Am, F. Play that progression over and over until a melody starts popping in your head. Once you have that, try adding some lyrics. Does it sound like a verse or chorus? Pick one and then just write the other. To do this, simply create a new melody and then add new lyrics. Very simple in principle, and a great way to get your creative songwriting ideas flowing.
Start with the lyrics
Do you have a poem that you wrote? Perhaps a letter to an ex-lover? You can take that and turn it into a song. The trick is to only try to fit parts of it and not the entire text. Take a central phrase in a said poem or letter and you can make that your title. Then try to put it in your chorus and build around that. Starting with the lyrics is not the most common of approaches, but can also work wonders at times.
Take the time to try out these 4 tips for writing a song on guitar. See which one of these seems to be more natural to you. Perhaps you can find a method that truly works for you and lets you write some solid songs. Keep in mind that if your chosen method does not work at a particular moment, you still have three more to choose from. Remember that every great songwriter started somewhere. Have fun.