Songwriting For Guitar

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Making Your Guitar A Sample

guitar riff samples Nov 07, 2019


This week we're gonna talk about making your guitar line feel like a sample. I know what you're thinking. . . 

"Mike why do we want our guitar to sound like a sample? Why can't we pull something from Splice, Arcade or Apple loops!?"

You could do that and that's completely fine, if that's what you want to do. For me I want to have a tiny bit of authenticity in the things that I'm creating. I want it to feel simplistic, I want it to feel like it's a sample but when asked I want to be able to say. . .

"That's something I made that's an actual riff"

We're looking for is something that sounds strong to stand on its own. I can stand as an intro, but when the verse comes in and then a vocal melody happen, it doesn't feel distracting and it doesn't feel like it's out of place.

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Building Dexterity & Stamina

dexterity stamina Oct 21, 2019

Today, let's talk about dexterity and stamina in guitar playing! When you're playing a series of chord progressions and shapes for a long period of time in a write, ever notice the quality just dip down?

How do we fix that what? Any steps we can take right this very second? Yes! SCALES!

We can take a very basic major scale, and I'll take just the 1st three strings (6th, 5th, and 4th) I get particular with the fingers that I use and I'm not going to lift up the finger until the next one's down!  (Check out my video as I go deeper into explaining.)

Now this won't happen overnight, this is something that needs to be added into a consistent practice schedule. Put the time into this and you'll notice a difference! 

What are your thoughts? I'd love to know if you've ever run into this problem. 


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The Metronome

the metronome Sep 26, 2019

What's up everyone it's Tuesday and it's time for a "Songwriting For Guitar" tip. This week we're gonna talk about the metronome.

Now, many songwriting guitarists don't realize the importance of playing with a metronome consistently. You may not be recording the final product (the final version of the song) but you're gonna do a rough work tape and if it sounds choppy, rhythmically unstable, and all over the place that won't cut it! If you sit down with a new co-writer and you're playing sounds sloppy and inconsistent.  . .that's not a good impression!

It's important to sit down with a metronome and practice through chord progressions playing. That way when you play independently without the metronome and start at a specific speed, you commit to it! Theres one metronome I love and it's called MetroTimer, if you just type in the word "metronome" in your app store or google play it's one of the first ones that pop up. It's super easy, free, and it has a tap tempo feature that I...

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grooves Sep 10, 2019

This week, let's talk about grooves!

To me, a groove adds energy. It keeps the song moving forward but at the same time it doesn't distract from the melody. A groove is really gonna happen in the right hand, it's a mixture of openness and palm muting. The position of the hand matters, somewhere between the bridge and your sound hole will do.

My downs are percussively muted and my up's are nice and open. I can do this with any time signature 4/4 or 6/8. Try this week to add some grooves into very basic chord progressions that you have in your songs, you'll find it's a fantastic change and adds killer dynamics!

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The Three Boxes

the three boxes Sep 03, 2019

This week we're gonna talk about the three boxes you should be thinking about when you're leading with your guitar in a co-write!



These are the type of shapes that we're using to play our chords (open chords, barre chords, power chords, roots and 3rds

What's the strumming look like? Is it 3/4? Is it in 4/4 or 6/8? Are there lots of up strums on the and's?

Every genre has different techniques some are more percussive, some straight palm muting. And sometimes we're going to be doing some pull offs when we're using our open chords

I find that when you think about those three things you end up walking away with a song that you're proud of and not this Frankenstein song that was supposed to be pretty contemporary pop but ended up feeling like a Fleetwood Mac song.

I'm gonna be talking a lot more about this, Saturday in a live Q&A that I'm hosting at 3 p.m. (Eastern) We'll be going through rhythm patterns, voicings, and techniques...

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Turning Chords Into A Hook

hooks Aug 27, 2019

Happy Tuesday Everyone,

Today we're going to take clunky chords and we're gonna turn it into a loop/guitar hook.

I've noticed with a lot of songs, they're not using massive guitar chords. Instead of using chords they have a hooky guitar that starts off the song. So that means, it's strong enough to stand on its own but as soon as the melody is introduced it doesn't interfere. As more  things are added on top of it, the guitar falls into the background.

Let's say we're writing a song and we have the chords G, F, and Eb. Since they feel a bit clunky, let's take the roots and find them elsewhere on the guitar. I'm also going to find two constant notes that I come back to as I change my roots. In this case, I'll use Bb and C. I can make this palm muted, add a groove to it and suddenly we've taken these chords and we've turned it into a hook. Maybe that's the intro of our song and then our vocals come in and they go over top of it. This makes our guitar almost feels like you pulled...

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the capo Aug 20, 2019

Time for a "Songwriting for Guitar Tip". . . this week we're gonna talk about the capo! For me as a songwriter, the capo is an awesome tool to use. This gives me the ability to write in different voicings.

If you're not sure what a voicing is, to put it simply, we can play the same chord but using different shapes. Let's say we have progression F major, B flat major, C major and D minor. These barre chords sound pretty bulky, kind of in your face. But if I were to take the capo on the fifth fret I can get a totally different voicing.

F is now C

Bb is now F

C is now G

Am is now Dm

I get a completely different feel and that may affect how I write my melodies. My whole point is this isn't a cop-out. Yes, the capo can help you play easy chords when you're starting guitar and play other songs but as you advance as a guitarist and songwriter this is a great tool for different voicings.

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Songwriting For Guitar Tip (Cleaning Your Strings)

cleaning strings Aug 13, 2019

We're going to talk about basic string maintenance and how to increase the longevity of your strings!
You're gonna need some super low grade rubbing alcohol or really cheap aftershave and a cloth! Take your rubbing alcohol (or aftershave whichever one you use) put a tiny bit right on the cloth and go up and down your strings. . . .look at the dirt!! The sweat and dirt on your hands from playing goes right on your strings. This can cause it to corrode and wear away your strings.
So after playing, clean them! It's going to increase the longevity and you're gonna have your strings last a lot longer than they usually do!
Got a question, something you want me to cover for a future video? Just e-mail me at [email protected]
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Songwriting For Guitar Tip (Consistent Palm Muting)

palm muting Aug 07, 2019

What's up everyone it's Tuesday and it's time for another song writing for guitar tip! This week I want to talk about palm muting. Now on the outside it seems like palm muting is very standard easy and super simple, but for a lot of people it's tricky to getting it sound consistent. I'm gonna give you a few tips to help improve your palm muting.

The first thing is to have your hand at an angle and to keep your pinky out like it got super glued to the side of your pick guard. Your second and third finger are gonna be loose they're gonna feel relaxed and then the first and thumb are holding the pick. When the second and third finger are relaxed that means there's going to be less tension on in the wrist. A lot of inconsistent palm muting comes from tension. A big thing, remember keep that hand to the side right by your bridge, you’re gonna get some more consistent palm muting music now when you start practicing a big thing with all guitar. . . . go slow!

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Building A Practice Routine

practice Jul 30, 2019

Building a better practice routine, is one of the trickiest things for any guitar player/singer songwriter. Stop have this unreasonable expectations when practicing! Set very reasonable (yes, reasonable goals. . . you're an adult, life happens!)

Pick a focus item (Scales, chords, a chorus a song you want to learn)
You'll feel better and start to build a more focused/consistent practicing routine. 

Not sure where to start? Shoot me a message at [email protected] 

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Get the songs and sounds out of your head!

What if you could. . . 

stop collecting those songs in your head and start getting them heard! With the Genre Jumping Cheat Sheet you can. You'll finally have a plan of action!