Where to start with writing your own songs on the guitar

If someone asked you to write them a song today, what would you do?

Well your first thought could be that writing your own songs can seem scary, or maybe you can already write songs but sometimes you face ‘writers block’ and it’s tricky to come up with new ideas.

One of the main things that holds people back is they have thoughts such as “I’m not talented enough to write songs” or “I not a creative person”.

I understand where these thoughts come from because I used to think that way, and I know many students who felt the same way too. As a guitar teacher, what I’ve found is that being creative is something that can be practiced and learnt.

Here’s how to get started with creating your own music on the guitar and have it sound like real music:

And this is really easy, even as a beginner you can do this too.

  1. Choose your chords:

    1. The chords you’ll need are, C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and we’re going to label these chords 1 – 6 (C = 1 etc…)

  1. Create a ‘chord progression’:

    1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down 4 numbers at random to create a ‘chord progression’ (e.g. 3 6 5 2).

    2. Repeat this step again until you have 10 orders of numbers.

    3. Now put the chords back into the numbers.

  1. Make it sound like music:

    1. From here, you’ll need play through them, pick the chord progressions you like the most, and then use things like strumming, or finger picking to make them sound more like music.

If you’re still struggling to find patterns that sound good to you, you can use these following guidelines:

1 __ __ 5

6 __ __ 3

The number is the chord (e.g. 1 = C)

The ‘__’ is where you can choose what chord you want

Experimenting is what’s going to really help you develop your ear so you can hear what you like and don’t like.

Pick out your favorites and write a little note next to them so you can develop those further.

Repeat the chord progressions over and over again as well. And try going from one chord progression to create different sections of a song.

This is the simplest way to start to write your own songs even if you don’t yet understand music theory.

You can also use a capo to change the key in which your chords are being played. This is particular useful if you want to sing along to your chords but it’s too high or too low.

Use a capo to help you bring the overall pitch of your chords higher or lower.

Or if you know how to create your own chords, experiment with the chord progressions you have written out. By playing your own chords instead of open chords to create a different sound altogether.

About author
Dan is a guitar teacher at Guitar Tuition East London, based in London, England. There to help their students learn guitar and also develop their musicianship and creativity. They provide creative guitar lessons to both children and adults for them to learn guitar in a fun and enjoyable way.