Guitarist - songwriter

Improve Your Songwriting By Improving Your Instrumental Abilities

Does this describe your own songwriting situation: You sit down with your guitar and start to strum, trying to come up with ideas for a new song. You find your fingers moving to the same chords — the ones your fingers usually like. While you’re strumming, you become aware that you’re using the same basic […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Instrumental Music: What Do You Want Your Listeners to Hum?

A number of years ago when I was looking to buy a house, the real estate agent I was using was explaining some of the terminology to me. I found it humorous, for some reason, to find out that the term “improvement” was used to describe the house I was considering. As I understand it, […]

Alicia Keys

Orchestrating Your Songs to Expand Your Sound Palette

If you still write songs in the traditional way — sitting on the edge of your bed with a guitar and working it all out — you probably perform your songs with your band, or perhaps as a solo performer, with guitar or keyboard as your main instrument. Lately I’ve been giving Peter Gabriel’s album […]

The Wrecking Crew

Adding Non-Standard Instruments to Your Song Recordings

How much thought do you give to the instrumental accompaniment for your songs? The question may feel like a no-brainer; if you’re a guitarist, you’ll use guitar. If you’re a keyboardist, you’ll lean towards using keyboards. But simply deciding to use the instrument you’re most comfortable with may be missing great opportunities to create something interesting for […]

Tony Banks - Genesis

Songs With Almost No Melody

If you’ve ever written an instrumental, you’ve hopefully noticed that the same principles of good composition apply as when writing a song that’s meant to be sung. The way the chords work, the way you shape the melodies, and the general ideas behind production issues — these things stay the same whether you’re writing a […]

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Contouring Your Instrumentation to Create Energy Peaks

When we think about a song’s energy level, particularly as it pertains to the instrumental choices, we often think about how much energy we can generate by adding instruments into the mix. That’s a pretty instinctive approach, and it has worked in almost every genre, in any era. Eighties’ power ballads took this to extremes. […]