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> Chris S' Composition Workouts, Let's write some music!
Caelumamittendum
post Jan 5 2018, 06:37 PM
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Hey Chris S!

First of all I would like to thank you for showing interest in my mentoring smile.gif

As I said in the other thread, I don't expect you to answer daily, weekly or any other time, just whenever you feel like it and have the time.

I know you asked for some composition advice and advice on writing songs, so I want to go ahead and ask you a few questions regarding this:

- What kind of music are you into? You can give example of bands and songs.
- What kind of music do you want to write?
- Have you written songs before? And if you have, do you feel like sharing some of your work? It can be here or private message, that's okay too! And if you haven't written anything, here's a cheers to starting something new!

And on a final question: Do you own any programs that can help you create compositions? DAW, Guitar Pro, VSTs... if you have programs like this, let me know, as I will try and work something with those programs for you

I know you have written some songs before, but these above are just some standard questions to get an idea of what we could work on smile.gif

I'm looking forward to giving you my best tips smile.gif


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Chris S.
post Jan 5 2018, 09:29 PM
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Thanks for having me, man!

My music tastes are broken into two categories:

Band wise - I tend to write music that draws influence from Evanescence, female lead, keys, distorted guitars, and or Stabbing Westward, a nice hard rock with heavy synths (maybe even some Rammstein with the guitars/synths).

Here is an example of a song I've been working on:



And the second category is melodic instrumental - and this is where I really struggle the most. Take this song for example:



^That video is almost two years old so I've improved a little bit since then, but I feel like I can create a decent melody, keep it melodic, but then when it builds to the chorus and I want to just start shredding and going crazy I don't know where to begin and it just falls apart.

Notice how at the end of both those videos I just revert back to cliche pentatonic minor stuff rolleyes.gif

What bothers me is I know I have the potential - I can play (not the cleanest but half decent) some easier shreddy stuff like this:





But I can't ever write anything close to that - I feel like that's where I want to focus, because my lead playing has always sucked in that aspect.

Any ideas?

And as far as software I have the whole 9 yards - Reaper, tons of VSTs whether virtual instruments, or Waves plugins, Guitar Pro 6, etc.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 6 2018, 03:35 PM
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I saw your post last night, but I felt a bit under the weather and headed to bed early. Feeling better today luckily. Hadn't forgotten you though smile.gif

I definitely agree with you, you do have the potential, and with a little push you can play even shreddier stuff. And I think you can already start to include some in your playing.

You already seem to be aware of how it should build up, so that's good. And I think you already do a good job at it, but of course it can be tricky to hit that peak in the song with crazy shred etc.

You say you revert back to pentatonics, which I don't think is bad, but I'm thinking about some exercises that you probably already know, but maybe have forgotten or similar.
I'm just making some up off the top of my head here, and I'm sure you could do the same. Because I think your technique as such is good and clean enough, it's just incorporating these things into your playing.

Now these may seem very fundamental, but that's just to wrap your mind, fingers, muscle memory about them. What I want you to do is write a few more in whatever tempo you feel comfortable with, or if you want you can write something that makes you push yourself that little more. You can write in this document if you want. These are just examples of what I might use as a climax in a solo when "going crazy" in regards to alternate picking that is. Third one is off the top of my head a Petrucci exerciser from Rock Discipline.

Attached File  3_Picking_Exercises.gpx ( 21.62K ) Number of downloads: 11


Let me know if you can open it. It was written in GP7, but exported to GP6.

Then of course you can also include some sweep picking, arpeggios etc.

The one thing I will say though, which you probably already know is that "shredding like crazy" in the peak of a solo, for me it has always worked the best building something up from lower notes, to higher and higher and maybe end on a high note like in the examples above. That can also be done with sweeping and any other technique.

Now this turned out to be more of a techniques talk that I intended it to, but I think it's a mind thing more than a technique thing, as said before.

You can also work on this on backing tracks of course. Here's one in a more rock style:



Another thing I thought about just now. How comfortable are you with scales outside of the pentatonics? I think you know them, but given that you return back to the pentatonics when "going crazy", it could be an idea to incorporate some scale learning. For me, again, the best way is simply to choose a backing track in a key you're not used to and start playing with all the notes in the scale consciously. That to me is more fun than sitting and playing scale up and scale down. Having some context makes it nicer!

Let me know what you think. I hope I didn't misunderstand completely your request smile.gif

Your song teasers sound great btw, I think you should keep working on them.

This post has been edited by Caelumamittendum: Jan 6 2018, 03:36 PM


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For some prog metal made by yours truly, check out:

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Chris S.
post Jan 7 2018, 11:27 PM
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I can't open the file for some reason - it just takes me to a page of random symbols and such no option to actually download it?

When it comes to scales I know basically the first position of the minor scale, like if I'm on a single string I can play the minor scale just based off of how it sounds, but I've never actually tried putting all the strings together so that's probably a factor in my playing as well.

Also I can't sweep, and my legato is pretty weak in my opinion. Everytime i try to work on something I convince myself I such and will never be a shredder and then just give up haha - it's a vicious cycle.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 7 2018, 11:30 PM
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Try right clicking and "save as", that's what I have had to do lately smile.gif

I'll return to you a bit later with another reply.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 8 2018, 01:24 AM
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I think it would be valuable to learn a few more positions or at least runs that you can pull off at the peak of a solo as such. That was really what the file was about. To begin with it can just be some standard runs through the scale, but you can expand on this as you go along, making different patterns etc.

But of course the peak of a song doesn't have to be a million notes at a time, it can be build up with tension and release or just be some nice bended high notes to indicate a climax.

There's no reason to convince yourself you won't be this or that. It does take time and practice, but that's something you can do for sure. It doesn't have to be 2 hours each day, but just 20 minutes concentrated practice a day or every other day can set you up really well.

Having small sweeps in a solo can be nice too! That's something else to work on of course.

Another trick is keeping dynamics low and quiet in the beginning and playing with more and more power and intensity in the picking.


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For some prog metal made by yours truly, check out:

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Chris S.
post Jan 8 2018, 01:44 AM
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That worked - thanks man!

I'm gonna start practicing the first scale run.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 8 2018, 01:58 AM
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QUOTE (Chris S. @ Jan 8 2018, 01:44 AM) *
That worked - thanks man!

I'm gonna start practicing the first scale run.


As said, this is just a start of course, but it's a typical run to play to build up to a bend on a high note smile.gif You can also write your own combination of these of course.

Besides that I'm sure we could also look at what some other players do. From the top of my head, someone like Malmsteen is quite good at making these intense runs.


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Chris S.
post Jan 10 2018, 12:36 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Jan 8 2018, 12:58 AM) *
As said, this is just a start of course, but it's a typical run to play to build up to a bend on a high note smile.gif You can also write your own combination of these of course.

Besides that I'm sure we could also look at what some other players do. From the top of my head, someone like Malmsteen is quite good at making these intense runs.



This was without a metronome to just get an idea of how fast I could play it comfortably without too many mistakes - I'm going to slow it down and try to build it up as much as I can I doubt I can get it past 100bpm.

I'm looking forward to building my chops though, I'm also practicing the lick using legato since that's another one of my weaknesses.


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Caelumamittendum
post Jan 10 2018, 02:14 AM
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That was really great! And at good speed too! As said this is just an example and a way to get ones mind to think diagonal across the fretboard too, which means you can build bigger lines too.

I'm glad you're looking forward to building your chops smile.gif


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For some prog metal made by yours truly, check out:

https://soundcloud.com/benjamin-storm-linnebjerg/storm-linnebjerg-a-celestial-voyage-full-demo

And subscribe to my Youtube Channel and Instagram here! and here!
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