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Songwriting- Starting with a Sound


Playing Guitar
That's the Sound

Songwriting - Starting with a Guitar Sound


I have listened to many guitarists talk about finding a great sound for their guitar and then writing a song from that sound.

Some sounds instantly create an emotion – distortion creates rock or blues. It is hard to play pop or folk with distortion. It is all about perception.

There are so many examples of this but I was talking to someone about this band the other day.

Have a listen to this -



If I start with a chorused sounding guitar I immediately go to very open, flowing chords at a slower tempo so that the chorus sound has time to have its full effect. The intro is a great example.

Have a listen to this -



If I use a tight, short delay it gives me the typical U2 sound if I play 2 note chords with a driving rhythm.

Have a listen to this -



If I use a long delay with lots of repeats it leads me to play single note melodies with lots of space for the delay to sound.

If a particular sound screams out a mood to you then there is a strong chance that I will to your listeners.


Other Instruments


When using keyboards pads immediately gives the listener the impression of space and calmness. This is a song that is going to woo you rather than rock you.

I have started songs with just a drum beat and this really define where the song is going to go. I have a plugin drum creator that has very hard-edge sounding drums and with a tight reverb they bring power. The song direction is already set.

The other main sound I use is an acoustic guitar sound. Without any effects on it I speaks of an acoustic singer songwriter sound.


The Voice


Recently I started experimenting with the voice and adding effects at the recording stage to get a certain type of performance out of the artist. It is interesting how you can change the vocal performance by what they hear in their ears when they are recording.

These are just some of the ways a sound, or collection of sounds can influence the songwriting process. If you have stale in your songwriting and everything sounds the same, change your starting point. Put an effect on your instrument or voice at the writing stage and see what you come up with.

It can be very exciting to change the way you do things.

For more useful information check out my other blog posts.

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