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How did everybody learn to finish their songs? Bass Guitar
Old 20th September 2017
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
Great art is never finished. It is abandoned.


The best advice i've ever heard of when to quit ... when it can no longer teach you anything. Think about it ...
Who said that again? Can't remember where I read that....

Anyway, for those not interested in riding the ****** train, try finishing it FOR THE SAKE OF FINISHING IT, even if the forced parts are bad.

You will notice, over the coming weeks that the bad parts will no longer be quite so bad and that you will no longer be bogged down in ideas, but moving through them.

The willingness to suck, but to DO IT TILL IT'S DONE, will rearrange your attitudes and habits songwriting. It's all about the habits and the willingness to WORK at building new ones.

Or you can wait for "Art to teach you" your call....but the last Art I knew was a janitor in my school, and rumor had it he was a registered sex offender...dunno if that's true, but kids talk.......anyway, if you want to go that route post your addy and I'll call the school and see if Art wants to go over to your place for a little one-on-one......
Old 20th September 2017
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
Bart Nettle's Avatar
I finished more albums when I had very limited gear and resources. In fact inferior equipment and it was a constant battle to improve the quality but there was an album to do. Piurpose.
Today we have so many choices it has a name "option paralysis"
Limiting your choices is a great way to force yourself to finish.
Writing on a different instrument all work well if you are sufficiently versed in the gear you have.
The substitute for completing good songs is many. GASing for gear and latest incarnations of your DAW, plugins etc all pull you off the path to completing.

Have plenty of practice on your DAW so you can put together a completed product. It will take some time to know your gear and trying to complete songs with just a basic understanding of what your DAW is capable of is very likely a major cause of unfinished works.
Old 20th September 2017
  #33
Here for the gear
 

Something that has worked for some people is to first understand that you don't have the capacity to do anything until you learn something.
The 2nd thing is you can start by covering a song that you like. Learn all the parts and learn how they all fit together.
Then write a study piece that's exactly like the cover song with yours having a different melody but don't get too far away from your source.
The next study piece that you do should start to focus on moving further away from the source - Using different melody, rhythm, adding production ideas that you've learned from studying other songs. More study pieces later and they start becoming actual songs.
Artists usually begin their studies by drawing bowls of fruit. There's also a small chance that it will take several years. (or *gasp* decades!)
Old 20th September 2017
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
No lyrics?

No song

Composition maybe, "track" or "beat" I guess, but it's not a song.
I think that was basically the point...
Old 20th September 2017
  #35
Geariophile
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
..... a record needs a reason to exist, and if I'm asked what that reason is and can't give the interviewer a damn interesting story to print based on my answer, then I probably couldn't promote it...
A reason to exist? Surely the reason for it to exist should become obvious as soon as you press play, without any explaining anything at all? Just saying...

Old 20th September 2017
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
A reason to exist? Surely the reason for it to exist should become obvious as soon as you press play, without any explaining anything at all? Just saying...

End goal vs process. While in the process of creating, a good practical question to ask yourself is "does this song even deserve to exist?"

When it comes to pop songwriting for other people, I end up with "songs that don't deserve to exist" all the time. Two girls and a guy I just met sit down for 5 hours and write what we think Rihanna would want to sing. . . chances are we're not going to end up close lol. It takes a lot of shots to hit the bulls eye. The best move with these is to cut them out asap, don't drain your limited creative energy banging your head against a brick wall you just built for yourself. Just happened last week, went through an 8 hour session, but the next day had to call everyone up and say we didn't have anything worth doing and should reschedule another session. I'm not spending 80 hours on something that has no chance, just because I'm already 8 hours into it.

You know you have something solid when it speaks for itself like you describe, but when you're in the fog of the process, some general cutting critical questions like "does this have any reason to exist at all?" can really help you prioritize your time.

On a different note:

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
No lyrics?

No song

Composition maybe, "track" or "beat" I guess, but it's not a song.
This is fairly moot for the point though. Exact same thing with intrumentals or tracks or beats or compositions. . . "when to call it finished" can be a puzzling question for pretty much any creation of any kind actually.
Old 20th September 2017
  #37
Geariophile
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
End goal vs process. While in the process of creating, a good practical question to ask yourself is "does this song even deserve to exist?"

When it comes to pop songwriting for other people, I end up with "songs that don't deserve to exist" all the time. Two girls and a guy I just met sit down for 5 hours and write what we think Rihanna would want to sing. . . chances are we're not going to end up close lol. It takes a lot of shots to hit the bulls eye. The best move with these is to cut them out asap, don't drain your limited creative energy banging your head against a brick wall you just built for yourself. Just happened last week, went through an 8 hour session, but the next day had to call everyone up and say we didn't have anything worth doing and should reschedule another session. I'm not spending 80 hours on something that has no chance, just because I'm already 8 hours into it.

You know you have something solid when it speaks for itself like you describe, but when you're in the fog of the process, some general cutting critical questions like "does this have any reason to exist at all?" can really help you prioritize your time.

On a different note:



This is fairly moot for the point though. Exact same thing with intrumentals or tracks or beats or compositions. . . "when to call it finished" can be a puzzling question for pretty much any creation of any kind actually.
Sure, only he was saying in context of describing it in interviews, which is clearly after it's done.
Old 20th September 2017
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Sure, only he was saying in context of describing it in interviews, which is clearly after it's done.
Well yeah. . that used to be me too. I'd finish everything, because if you don't finish things and pitch them and get feedback, you don't actually root yourself in reality, and you're pulling the "this one doesn't deserve to exist" out your ass (and thus can be used as a cop out to never finish things). Whereas after finishing 40 tracks to get 2 that go somewhere, you start to know, field tested over and over with obvious patterns at play, what did not work in those 38, and then can start eliminating your unnecessary effort sooner in the process.

Step 1 - learn to finish and put yourself out there for feedback!!! This is essential.
Step 2 - learn to elimiate that which isn't worth finishing, based on your experience testing finished tracks in the world.
Old 20th September 2017
  #39
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Benprogfuse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
No lyrics?

No song

Composition maybe, "track" or "beat" I guess, but it's not a song.

….. How ironic… This quote ties right in with another thread that I posted from 2014:

I don't consider lyrics to be a song.
Old 24th September 2017
  #40
I tend to work using song structure to get an overall picture of how to put the song together none of these are etched in stone though during the writing process. AABA
I don't do classical music so most of it is pretty much 2/4, 4/4, 3/4,6/8,7/8 stuff. Usually based around simple measure layouts. Anymore I try to build around a vocal melody line. I use to try to write all progressive and complicated. Now days I K.I.S.S. it. When I was younger I was better at finishing things in a short amount of time. I wrote with a band, and time was limited. Now days, not being pushed to write it's easier to not take it so seriously, in the last year I've tabled that thinking. I give myself 30 days on a project, If I can't find the right parts, or get it together by then. I'll table it, unless it's stellar (which most of them aren't). I've seen that prolific songwriters tend to become some of the best songwriters. Just start writing, again and again. You'll get better along the way.
Old 11th October 2017
  #41
Here for the gear
All things connect. This might be philosophical but I've had old ideas connect with new ones like a lot. So, keep writing and keep practising. And learn on how to shift key. You can connect ideas easily that way. And ****ty songs lead to better ones in the future! Songwriting gets better, only with time and practice.

Last edited by saakey; 11th October 2017 at 11:18 AM.. Reason: forgot to say something
Old 11th October 2017
  #42
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
A reason to exist? Surely the reason for it to exist should become obvious as soon as you press play, without any explaining anything at all? Just saying...

You don't do this for a living

I can tell you've never sat with your publicist and planed a marketing campaign, or been in a sales meeting with your labels product manager.

This is a business, the branding business, in the branding business you have your narrative down or you don't do business. The "just push play maaan", music business died a LONG time ago,

Try that line on anyone with money invested in you, and you won't find yourself invested in for very long.

The music is a piece of a much larger picture, people who don't see that picture don't get a turn at bat.
Old 11th October 2017
  #43
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Thank God I'm not in it for the money/career aspirations
Old 11th October 2017
  #44
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Benprogfuse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
You don't do this for a living

I can tell you've never sat with your publicist and planed a marketing campaign, or been in a sales meeting with your labels product manager.

This is a business, the branding business, in the branding business you have your narrative down or you don't do business. The "just push play maaan", music business died a LONG time ago,

Try that line on anyone with money invested in you, and you won't find yourself invested in for very long.

The music is a piece of a much larger picture, people who don't see that picture don't get a turn at bat.
And... That's one reason why I work at a financial institution.. and do this in my spare time.

I really don't give a sh%t about the larger picture.. It doesn't exist to me.
Old 24th October 2017
  #45
Here for the gear
 

Hmm. The general trend with my songs is that I do a kind of intensity building up to a peak and then once that peak is hit you can either drop it back down to its original intensity or bring it down to a breakdown then bring it back up again to have a final major peak (where I normally either end it there or do an outro.)

As far as my songwriting has developed, I used to write guitar riffs and tunes and record them and then later I would scribble down a few lyrics that felt right with the tune or riff(usually incomplete parts that I can kind of feel fit there) and then at a later date make an attempt to finish it. I dunno about everyone else here but when I speak and when I type I just let it flow out, and it is the same with my lyrics and songs. I just let them flow out and that seems to be the best way of having all your lyrics and music fit together; if you do it by feel and not logic (not saying it's bad to use logic because all human qualities come into art.)

Nowadays I usually just fiddle round on through guitar til I find some chords in a rhythm that go together and then try singing over the top or writing some lyrics down that feel they would go in the melodies that I feel would go with the chords etc. Music writing is all about the bigger picture in my opinion of how everything fits together and feel is the MOST important part. I said that I build things to a peak but that is just generally speaking. Some songs don't feel like they need to go on any journey at all.
Old 28th November 2017
  #46
YOU LEARN HOW TO LET IT GO.
if you make music for longer than 2 years, you're going to make a lot of music. you're not going to finish all of them. when you want to finish a song, you can either try to make the perfect song, or complete the song, and write a new one. GET DEADLINES. when you have to make songs all the time, or for a specific purpose, you're going to learn how to finish those songs. trust me lol
Old 29th November 2017
  #47
RTR
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RTR's Avatar
I had that problem for decades. I was BLESSED to find my writing partner here on gearSluts 2 years ago right in the songwriting section.I would sit and try to finish the tons of ideas I had recorded but could never finish them. When I met Rockinrob on here, I sent him something I of corse could not finish, and after a week we had this. We been at it for 2 years now. The first one is still one of my favorites. maybe because of the great relationship that came out of it! I would suggest maybe finding someone else to work with, that person may add something to the process that will get you finishing songs. Good Luck!
Old 9th March 2018
  #48
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I don't think a single song of mine will be actually finished until I finally turn up my toes. Call them finished then, I guess. 'Released' is a different concept I suppose, 'Played out' another.. but 'finished'.. naaaa.

I always pondered on famous folk getting older, having to play 'the hits', 'murdering them' (as I saw it, having been marinaded in the record) with new 'interpretations'. But then every song i've written (that I still remember how to play) has changed and evolved in time... I don't see why that would ever stop until I no longer have the capacity to hear them in my head..

also, and not directly relevant:
a) I'm a hopeless procrastinator and terrible commiter..
b) All these songs such as they exist are highly unlikely to be heard outside my head.. or at least my house...
Old 9th March 2018
  #49
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dc_r's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benprogfuse View Post
Then I end up with about 50-60 songs which are left in about this state:

I like this bass sound. How do you record your bass for this sound?
Old 12th March 2018
  #50
Gear Head
 

That's the problem I am (unsuccessfully) fighting for the long time. What helps a little bit is to prepare piece structure in advance with fixed number of bars in each part. Then I am not writing, but filling empty bars. If most of them got filled, seeing that very little remains empty motivates to fill them in all.
Old 12th March 2018
  #51
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Benprogfuse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
I like this bass sound. How do you record your bass for this sound?
Funny you ask:

The bass parts in the verse are literally just plugged directly into a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, into the Di, with no other processing or plugins whatsoever..

The bass in the chorus, was recorded the same, but I applied Amplitube SVX Clean B-15 setting.

No Eq or anything..


Just a Fender Jazz Bass plugged directly into a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40.


What's funny about this is I had previously been using my ISA ONE's Di, but I had just moved into a new apartment and had most of my equipment put away and I specifically remember for this song I was like screw it, I am just going to plug straight in and record this part.


I now use a Rupert Neve RNDI into an Apogee Quartet and I was revisiting this song the other week and was surprised that I had no plugins or eq whatsoever on the verse..
Old 13th March 2018
  #52
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dc_r's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benprogfuse View Post
Funny you ask:

The bass parts in the verse are literally just plugged directly into a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, into the Di, with no other processing or plugins whatsoever..

The bass in the chorus, was recorded the same, but I applied Amplitube SVX Clean B-15 setting.

No Eq or anything..


Just a Fender Jazz Bass plugged directly into a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40.


What's funny about this is I had previously been using my ISA ONE's Di, but I had just moved into a new apartment and had most of my equipment put away and I specifically remember for this song I was like screw it, I am just going to plug straight in and record this part.


I now use a Rupert Neve RNDI into an Apogee Quartet and I was revisiting this song the other week and was surprised that I had no plugins or eq whatsoever on the verse..
Sounds good!

I had half an hour this morning and decided to quickly swap strings on my Jazz bass before going to work.

I changed from super lights to 40-100 Lowriders. I have US Jazz Deluxe but I never had it professionally set up. I have all the tools for adjustment and measurement but yours sounds like it has more pop, mine sounds a bit more restrained although I can get very nice clean sound.

I am not sure whether to raise or lower the action. How is yours set up and how do you pluck strings?

I'd like to be able to get this bright sound for at least some songs.
Old 13th March 2018
  #53
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Benprogfuse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_r View Post
Sounds good!

I had half an hour this morning and decided to quickly swap strings on my Jazz bass before going to work.

I changed from super lights to 40-100 Lowriders. I have US Jazz Deluxe but I never had it professionally set up. I have all the tools for adjustment and measurement but yours sounds like it has more pop, mine sounds a bit more restrained although I can get very nice clean sound.

I am not sure whether to raise or lower the action. How is yours set up and how do you pluck strings?

I'd like to be able to get this bright sound for at least some songs.
I think a lot of it may have to do with the way that I play with my right hand. I actually use my thumb a lot to pluck the strings, vs using my fingers. I will generally use my thumb on the lower strings while up plucking the high G and sometimes D with my index or middle finger.

Within the Pro Tools session I did write a note on that track which read "Tone all the way up".

I actually used a MIM Jazz Bass, which I purchased 2nd hand which has after market Dimarzio high output pickups and upgraded bridge and machine heads. The bridge piece is thicker than the standard.I cannot remember the model number off the top of my head, but I knew what it was at the time that I purchased it.


Old 13th March 2018
  #54
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dc_r's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benprogfuse View Post
I think a lot of it may have to do with the way that I play with my right hand. I actually use my thumb a lot to pluck the strings, vs using my fingers. I will generally use my thumb on the lower strings while up plucking the high G and sometimes D with my index or middle finger.

Within the Pro Tools session I did write a note on that track which read "Tone all the way up".

I actually used a MIM Jazz Bass, which I purchased 2nd hand which has after market Dimarzio high output pickups and upgraded bridge and machine heads. The bridge piece is thicker than the standard.I cannot remember the model number off the top of my head, but I knew what it was at the time that I purchased it.


I go through phases when it comes to plucking. Lately I've been using thumb as well but I was able to get closer to your sound by digging in with index finger only.

How high is the action and do you have your neck straight or with a slight relief?

I think hardware on mine is fine but I just need to alter the setup and technique.

The problem I had in the past was that bass would not cut through the mix so having a slightly brighter sound would help.
Old 18th March 2018
  #55
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For me once I really get going on writing the lyrics, finishing the song has not so much of a problem
The problem is more making the time to work lyrics into the the 30 or 40 tune ideas I already have going.
I am not very good at working up a tune, then writing the lyrics for one song, then going on to the next.

Here is the first song I ever wrote and the first one I finished

Old 19th March 2018
  #56
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Back in the old days you used an analog mixer, You HAD to finish one song before you could start another.
Old 19th March 2018
  #57
I'll let you know...if I ever finish one.

Steve
Old 19th March 2018
  #58
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Benprogfuse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
For me once I really get going on writing the lyrics, finishing the song has not so much of a problem
The problem is more making the time to work lyrics into the the 30 or 40 tune ideas I already have going.
I am not very good at working up a tune, then writing the lyrics for one song, then going on to the next.

Here is the first song I ever wrote and the first one I finished

Exact opposite of me. I always have the entire song, arrangement, etc. completed in my head before I even begin working on it, but without lyrics. The vocal melody, etc. yes, but no lyrics. I can imagine exactly how the singer would deliver the vocal melody, but there are no discernable words.


This is actually pretty much how I listen to other music. I never pay attention the lyrics.
Old 21st March 2018
  #59
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I only work on songs I know have potential and I always finish them.

Sometimes it takes hours - sometimes years!
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