Songwriter U: 10 Songwriting Tips For Guitar Players

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The feeling of playing songs you wrote is a high many performers keep going back to. Agreed, songwriting is a very long process, probably harder than learning to play the guitar. But who said it was impossible? 

Are you a guitarist and would love to play songs written by you? Then this article is written just for you. I’ve collected 10 very important tips, ideas and instructions on how to begin writing your songs successfully.

1. Be Confident

You may have received this advice a million times, but only because it’s that much more important. If you lack confidence in your skills, you will constantly doubt yourself.

Questioning your skills will have a negative effect on your confidence and you can’t take the next step towards writing your songs.

2. Listen To Your Guitar

Each guitar has a different feel as they come with steel strings or nylon strings. A nylon-stringed guitar produces mellow, soft tunes and pairs well with classical or folk songs. Whereas, a steel-stringed guitar is suitable for rock or country music.

Listen to your guitar and understand the type of songs it can play comfortably, as writing an angsty, passionate song with a guitar which produces warmer tones would be very foolish. You should also check out some of the best 12 string guitars as it’s a recommended guitar type for aspiring rock artists.

3. Learn The Basic Song Structure

A song is better understood if it’s broken down into pieces or parts. Structuring your song is an essential part of writing if you’re a beginner. There are no rules on how to structure your songs, but a song can be divided into 6 parts:

  • Intro
  • Verse
  • Pre-Chorus
  • Chorus
  • Bridge
  • Outro

Learning the basics of song structure helps you in keeping your songs organised. So, next time you write a song, see if you can break it into the above-mentioned parts.

4. Online Course

It’s a known fact that writing is improved with lots of daily practice. But, there are various online courses where you get expert assistance for the songwriting process.

Online courses teach you the basics of writing, the techniques required for writing songs, advice on being how to receive inspiration and turning your real-life experiences into words. You even get the chance to receive advice from musicians and professionals on how to make a song successful.

5. Note Down Everything

How can you be an artist when the notes in your mobile app aren’t filled with random words and quotes about a song idea? If you’re guilty of this, then don’t be ashamed. This is a very useful strategy for successful songwriting as sometimes you may be in the mood to write a song but no words come to your mind and that’s when these notes come handy.

Want access to all articles like this? Become an American Songwriter member today and get access to all print and digital issues plus Songwriter U and exclusive songwriter discounts.

6. Master Your Fingerboard

The fingerboard is the neck of your guitar and being aware of the notes and chords on your guitar helps you to write faster and better. Applying theoretical information makes your task easier, be it playing a guitar or writing songs. 

There are many online sources which may help you in mastering your fingerboard.

7. Don’t Steal

As an artist, you should know the difference between good stealing and bad stealing. Good stealing is when you praise, credit and study the original artist. Bad stealing is when you imitate the song as your own, rip-off and degrade the original artist.

Every idea comes from the work of an artist we adore. You’re allowed to take inspiration and create your authentic work. But, never copy the original work shamelessly. 

8. Sing While Playing

Even if you can’t, sing while playing the guitar, sing after finishing a song. As a songwriter, it helps you to pick tunes and melodies for your songs. Don’t shy away or be awkward, these are your songs and they deserve to get a nice tune which only you can make.

9. Receive Feedback

Show or sing your songs to your friends or family and ask them to give their honest feedback. This helps you to understand what changes need to be made. You write songs for yourself but receiving constructive criticism helps you improve your skills further.

10. Don’t Fear Writer’s Block 

Even the greatest of writers face a writer’s block. The biggest mistake during a writing block would be to force yourself to write. Instead, defeat your block by being patient, changing the environment, watching movies, reading, listening to songs to take inspiration and then slowly get back on your writing.

With that, we come towards the conclusion of this article. I hope that I’ve covered all the useful suggestions which will get you started on your songwriting journey.

Want access to all articles like this? Become an American Songwriter member today and get access to all print and digital issues plus Songwriter U and exclusive songwriter discounts.

Ronald Ross is a skilled guitarist and contributes regularly at He has been playing music since he was a kid and believes music has the power to heal your mind.

Looking to make your own music? Check out our Gear Guides for everything you need to rock out

Leave a Reply

Behind The Song: Led Zeppelin, “Battle Of Evermore”

Dreamland Announces Two-Day Festival in Austin