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Seeking feedback on writing your own song.

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Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 127
Topic starter  

I've been playing for just a little over a year and thought I would start using what I have been practicing to write my own little melody/song. Just something simple and for my own entertainment purposes only. To get there, I did the following and I'm just looking for feedback on ways to improve for the next go around.

- First off, I picked a key I wanted to play in. I went with E and figured I'd stick with a simple 12 bar blues progression to play it over (E A E E A A E E B A E B).

- The notes I used for the melody where all derived from the E minor pentatonic scale, alternating between the first and second patterns for variety.

- Not sure if it was necessary (feedback welcome here), but I attempted to begin every bar with the root note of the chord played in that bar. Outside of that, I fiddled around with different notes (all still within the scale) until I got a full 12 bars I was happy with, Tabbed it out (so I would remember it) and recorded it.

- Next, I played and recorded the chord progression so I could use it as a backing track (very slow, 60 bpm, power chord shuffle) in the key of E.

- Here's where it got interesting (for me at least). I tried to play my little melody over my recorded chord progression. Where I seemed to really struggled was the timing, in particular hitting the planned note at the chord change. I think by biggest mistake was not taking timing into consideration when I originally wrote the melody out (ie. some of my measures have 4 whole notes, some one whole note and a triplet, etc.) so when I get to the chord change on the backing track, I'm either playing behind it or ahead of it (if that makes sense).

Anyway, suggestions always welcome.

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

Well, you're certainly on the right track.

First things first - I presume the tempo on your backing track is steady. If it isn't, re-record it.

There's actually no need to start on the root note for each new chord. You can do it if you want to, it's certainly not wrong but it's not a requirement either.

The big thing this is going to teach you is phrasing. If you want to keep the whole note on the first beat, then your triplets (for example) are going to be on the first beat of the next bar (assuming a straight four beats to the bar rhythm). That should sound good. What I would suggest is you make sure your rhythm track is solid on tempo and just noodle over it time and time again. Eventually, you'll know where the first beat of each new bar is going to happen and you'll find your soloing will fit in with it quite nicely thank you very much.

Then - play a half note on beat four, so it goes across the bar-line and your next note is on beat two of the next bar. That's fun, and it will fry your brains for a while getting the phrasing tight but it'll be worth it.

Got anything we can listen to? It always helps.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 127
Topic starter  

Thanks for the advice Alan, looking forward to trying out your suggestions. Would love to post what I've got worked out so far, although, I'm not sure I can download the format I have it saved in on my computer to this site. One of these days I'm going to get motivated and sign onto one of the shared sites that many on this forum seem to use.

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717

One of these days I'm going to get motivated and sign onto one of the shared sites that many on this forum seem to use.

Just do it!


It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.