Getting over the block.

Guitar techniques, music theory, recording and anything to do with actually playing your guitar

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Getting over the block.

Post: # 1347636Post kingkiller »

I’m sure there’s like a million threads on something like this but how do you guys overcome “the block� when it comes to writing/inspiration in general? I’m not pretending that I need to be inspired all the time, I just can’t seem to come up with a half decent musical idea any more frequently than once or twice in a year honestly, if that. Nothing original, anyways.
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Post: # 1347916Post Benmurray85 »

Ive been in this situation on and off for the past 5 years or so. Here are some things I have found that have helped me;

Play with other people - anyone and as many as possible
Learn a new instrument. Or don't learn, just bash away at something
Take some time away from your chosen instrument
Listen to something new and rip it off
Find inspiration in new places. Music is everywhere. TV adverts, door bell jingles, squeaky doors, everywhere. It sounds cheesy as f**k but just look around for new sources of inspiration

I hope these help
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Post: # 1347919Post robroe »

actually listen to lyrics of songs instead of just headbanging.

steal that shit and make it your own by changing some shit around.


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Post: # 1347927Post George »

If it's the music itself I really recommend getting a burst of lessons and knuckling down with some music theory.
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Post: # 1347977Post daftsupernova »

changing tunings is usually my go to for writer's block. just figure out some chords, make up some chords as i play, and just bash away until it starts sounding like a song
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Post: # 1347979Post Doog »

Learn a song(s) that you really like but isn't immediately easy to pick up. I've found that will add to you 'musical vocabulary' , and add it to your brain melting pot of 'things to mash together to create something new'.

Tunings for sure; I formed a band based on dropping the low E to random lower pitches.

Pick apart the 'unoriginal' music you've been able to create. What makes it unoriginal? Can you change something about it, to make it more unique? Time signatures, tempo, guitar sounds, the way you physically attack the guitar, chord choices in general?

First and foremost, play your instrument a lot. Don't expect genius to come from sitting down one a week for 30 minutes.

There's a million Youtube tutorials and apps out there, it's really an amazing time to learn anything. I wonder if that Yousician app is any good?
Last edited by Doog on Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post: # 1347981Post gusman2x »

Benmurray85 wrote: Play with other people - anyone and as many as possible
Learn a new instrument. Or don't learn, just bash away at something
These two are gospel.

uugh, another Manchester alt/indie band
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Post: # 1347982Post Freddy V-C »

Partially just repeating what others have said, but hey, I'm bored at work so here's some stuff which has helped me at various points.
  • Try writing on an instrument other than your 'main' instrument. I've recently forced myself to write a couple of songs on keyboard rather than guitar. It doesn't mean the song can't have any guitars, it just forces you to approach the tonality in a different way.
  • If you're in a band, try writing as a band rather than writing on your own at home and then bringing full songs into practice. Most of my best stuff in recent years has been written by jamming it with a band; we might record ourselves on a dictaphone looping different variations on one idea for half an hour or more, and then we'll go back and reconstruct the best bits into a song.
  • Try a new guitar tuning. I'm at a point now where I find it difficult to write songs not tuned to CADGBC, which is kind of the opposite problem but at least my guitar parts sound kind of unique, ha.
  • Read a book. Two books I've read in the past couple of years which I found particularly useful for lyrical ideas were Kurt Vonnegut's 'Breakfast of Champions' and Russell Hoban's 'The Bat Tattoo'.
  • Start carrying a notebook, or at least start making regular notes in your phone (I do the latter because there's no way I'm well-organised enough to carry a notebook). I often write down words/phrases/sentences I think are funny/interesting/unsettling and then occasionally I'll go through and reconstruct a bunch of them into song lyrics.
  • Listen to shitloads of music. I've recently started to keep a list of every album I listen to for the very first time (mostly either new releases or "classics" I've somehow missed - on 17 so far since the 1st of January!) and it's made me start listening to loads of stuff because I'm like... feeling competitive with myself to make the list as long as possible. Anyway, even if the albums aren't really relevant to the stuff I'm writing, listening to this much new music is inspiring me to approach my own writing in different ways.
  • Or maybe don't listen to any music. I've definitely had periods of time where I haven't listened to anything other than the stuff I'm working on. Ages ago I remember reading about a songwriter who would read reviews of singles/albums without listening to the songs, and then try to write what he thought they might sound like.
  • Give yourself some strict limitations. I did some songwriting workshops in my first two years of uni, and the guy who led the sessions would sometimes set us very specific tasks like "Write a song with the title ____", "Write a song in _____ time signature", "Write a song with _____ chord progression", "Write a song including the word _____", etc... Obviously it might be a lot more difficult to set these tasks yourself, but I often found I came up with songs really quickly when I was working within limitations. I guess if you decided some parameters for a song before you had any musical ideas it might have a similar effect (e.g. "This song is gonna be in 7/8 and the chorus has to include the word 'balloon'.")
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Post: # 1348015Post jcyphe »

Good Tips
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Post: # 1348018Post robroe »

ive noticed that listening to sports talk radio on the 45 minute car ride to and from work totally stifles all creativity.

so give up sports ? fuck sports entirely if you are trying to work on music. just throw it out completely for that period of your life until you are over the block.
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Post: # 1348025Post sunshiner »

Sport only helps your general creative outlook(BUT KURDTZ DIDN'T DO ANY SPORT!!!), listening to shitty radio doesn't
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Post: # 1348131Post singlepup »

Get new pedals.

Sleep deprivation.

Have a kid.

Numbers 2 & 3 sort of go together.
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