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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by naveed211, Sep 21, 2020.
I’m like you OP, I have to sit down and compose intentionally.
I wouldn't play if I couldn't noodle. I don't usually noodle chord progressions, but rather, I noodle lead parts over an existing progression. I would like to think that noodling is productive, produces some useable licks, but the reality is that I don't usually recognize the best licks as useable at the time, nor do I really remember what I've played. I hope that it all sinks in on some unconscious level to be dredged up later when I need it.
I record a fair amount, and often don't realize what sounds best until I play it back. When I get to an improvisational section in a song on a recording, I'll usually record four or five tracks, then use what I like best.
I'm not a songwriter ( a few cool instrumental progressions/ blues variations maybe), but a ' productive noodler' that plays all kinds of cover music on acoustic and electric.
I do play a lot at home every day and play gigs, so it's a combination of fighting off my own aging, and just keep my mind active, but I'm always 'tweak noodling' what I already play:
- keep my Blues lead and rhythm playing focused- same with vintage Country...
- clean up sloppy chording, better articulation with my left hand, and precision with my right hand fingerstyle/fingerpicking.This just means playing through a ton of songs I know, even though I may not play them at gigs-
- work on my Jazzy/ Jerry Garcia-style lead playing.
* this is all by ear so yes a lot of self-educated noodling, hunting and pecking, in the interest of getting better!
My daily musical effort.
All of the songs I have written have come from noodling.
But I will own up to being very undisciplined when it comes to learning stuff. I start well with the best intentions but in minutes I'm back on planet noodle.
I noodle a bit.
I play riffs a lot.
Writing music? Not yet.
Noodleshedding! That's a great way to describe how many songs begin.
I don't see the distinction.
I guess I’d call what I do when I’m in the basement playing mindlessly with my amp is “guitar store noodling.” Like I’m not actively trying to write music, I don’t often play with much of a direction, it’s more just playing for the fun of it and for enjoying the sounds. I’ll play some songs I’ve already written or riffs that are pretty much muscle memory, but I’m not actively challenging myself and often nothing new resembling a song comes from it.
Hence why for me the process for songwriting is usually separate from jamming/noodling/leisure playing, whatever you want to call it.
Almost always noodling.
Songs are all about the words for me. So I don't generally write music until I have some words done.
When I pick up a guitar I'm generally just having aimless fun.
When it comes to songwriting I suffer from constipation of the ideas: I grunt and strain, but all that comes out is... well, you get the idea! So, call me spaghettihead!
Have all guitar players become songwriters?
Like maybe also all carpenters are now luthiers?
And are all the songs written by all the guitar players plus all the guitars made by carpenters; actually any good?
I'm asking because while I can assemble meaningful lyrics combined with some sort of song structure, plus play guitar parts that are clearly not copped off of records or sheet music, I just don't consider myself a songwriter.
Instead, I love to work with a good singer songwriter crafting the rest of the music that makes a chord progression and lyrics into something bigger.
So I play parts I come up with, as opposed to playing scales, or playing a little BB and a little Chuck Berry.
Playing the same crap I came up with last month gets boring as hell and I keep trying to come up with other stuff to play, while of course a song might really demand the fills be within a narrow melodic or rhythmic range so limit the options.
I see so often the reference to songwriting as being the important thing, as if all of us who are maybe not songwriters were somehow not legit musicians?
Is that a thing now?
Like has youtube tutoring made every player into a fine songwriter?
And I'm the only fool who dropped the ball?
I suppose I'm feeling isolated and like I'm missing out on stuff in these changing times.
But I'm confused by the often made referral to song writing vs not songwriting seeming to suggest that every good player is naturally also a songwriter.
A couple of times a year I might sort of puke out some lyrics to some tune, with a sense that it has some value and meaning.
But the singer songwriters I've worked with are steady manufacturers of product in a way that I am just not.
I hope that doesn't mean I'm relegated to "noodler"?
Those are all fantastic questions. I do think there’s become a level of snobbery with some like if you’re not actively writing a song to produce and then release and then promote, you’re wasting your time.
I don’t see it that way. And to be honest, you need a lot of luck to be successful even under the best of circumstances with releasing music.
To me, it’s totally okay to just play for leisure and just play because you like the sound of guitar. I do have separate times where I feel inspired and hunker down in my DAW and produce a song, but honestly like 10-50 people are going to hear it and I haven’t made a dime off my recorded music in like 16 years of doing it. (Edit: That’s not true, I think someone donated a dollar once.)
Most of that’s on me for not doggedly promoting it, but I appreciate not having to do that BS more often than not and just playing for fun.
I hate writing now, haven't enjoyed it in years...but I love playing the guitar.
The two main songwriting instruments are guitar and piano. Not every guitarist has to be a songwriter. But a songwriter who doesn't want or need to use a piano has to know at least some basic guitar.
That means not only are many guitarists going to be songwriters. But that there is implicit expectation on guitarists to be songwriters, if not merely because so much popular music features guitar at least prominent in the arrangement.
You can thank Chuck Berry, Woody Guthrie, the Beatles, and countless other singer/songwriter/guitarists, famous or unknown, before and after them.
I didn't make up the "rules". But I will admit I picked up the guitar not to noodle, but to learn to play guitar songs, accompany myself singing, and write. The guitar lends itself to all the above. Far more than, say, trombone. I'm certainly not alone in that.
Come on over to Twanger Central (here on the TDPRI) and participate in the backing track challenges so I can steal all your good ideas
I actually say that frequently. But just to be clear, it's just my opinion and the way I handle being a mostly solitary musician. I don't even think my songs and toons are all good. Some of them quite likely stink. Nevertheless they represent an act of creation - something's there that wasn't there before. See, I'm doing it again.
Well valuing the act of creation is certainly honorable and worth promoting.
Guitar players in many cases need to remember that, as we seem to be in an age when guitar has begun to bore the average music consumer.
And also in an age where learning guitar is speededup by tutorial and pedagogy based on repeating what you are shown over and over at increasing speed
I have to look again (often, not just today) at my view on where to draw a line between creative playing and writing actual songs.
I used to have players around to work with and collaborate with.
To me, music is a collaborative art form, compared to stuff like painting and...
Writing, photography, sculpture, all end up more collaborative once the artist depends on others for aspects of the work.
The solo singer songwriter performer can truly be non collaborative, but most of us in music have to play a part and are not the whole.
Legally though, the law says only the lyric and the chord progression can be owned and sold.
Which implicitly claims that writing songs is the only legit way to own your own work.
So for a guitar player to make and own any product, we have to write songs.
If we don't write songs, we legally do not own our own work.
Collaborate with lawyers much?
Need to get out just a little? I really enjoy reading your musings here, btw.
I much prefer the collective/collaboration stuff, but ever since I picked up a guitar, I was always working on the trail of something. It wasn't always a song, but maybe a composition. For the first twenty years of my playing, I did mostly compositions, because, brother, my lyrics sucked. No other way to describe it.
but then maybe I lived long enough to find a few ways to think about things differently enough - and for me that meant reading enough, that I could come across something and think, hey that might just make a good song. So for the next twenty years, I also worked on both music and lyrics.
Did not consider myself exactly a songwriter, until a few folks asked to cover my songs. Ok, then I could dub myself a songwriter, but it's still kind of a pretension, if I reveal the way I actually think about it...
But all in all, the labelling doesn't mean squat to a tree, I just love playing guitar, playing in a band and singing songs. What you gonna do?
To me it is difficult to concentrate and write something specific. Not to say to record something other than a quick demo on a voice memo.
That leads to the question I want to bring to the table: how do you organize your memos, demos, ideas, ongoing recordings, etc.? I guess that digitally, most of you. But I end up having material on my Mac, phone, laptop and even tapes... When I want to go and review some of my stuff it is always a mess. I am thinking about redefining my system...