Month: December 2013

Writing a guitar part for need your love

I gave myself the challenge of composing my own guitar part for the song Need Your Love by Ellie Golding. Firstly I decided to work out the chords, I did this by listening very carefully to the individual notes in each chords then I tried to find them all individually on the guitar to build the chords. Finding these chords also helped me figure out the key of the actual song. As a result of this I was able to improvise melodies and runs around this key. For example, during the second verse I found harmonizing notes that went well with the basic chords. To make the notes flow better I added in a few notes in-between.

I felt that the guitar sound was a bit too simple therefore, I decided to add in a phaser effect to help the guitar mix in with the rest of the track as the song is very techno. I also added in a delay effect to go along with the steady 4/4 beat that is continues throughout the piece.

after finishing this piece i found that the parts i had written didn’t sound very good, this was a result of the parts being too complicated. i order to get over this i decided i would use the technique ‘playing it backwards’. i did this by playing the last part first and mastering it then going to the second last and so on. However, this technique didn’t seem to help me play it any better, therefore, i instead change the technique to ‘isolation’ on the hardest parts i did this by playing these parts to a slowed down metronome until i mastered it.


Reflecting on My Love

I feel that my performance of my love by Justin Timberlake with Will, Sam and Elly went exceptionally well. I felt that the best way to improve the piece was to use different dynamics in the song, to do this I kept the verse relatively soft with only finger picking  then going into a more aggressive chorus by strumming the guitar, this gave the guitar more volume and over all more power. I also wanted to add in more of a rhythm element of the guitar part to go along with Will’s beat boxing, I did this by hitting the guitar with my nails on ever beat to add a snare like sound.


To finish the song off I felt the best way to do it would be to decrease the dynamics and focus more on the tone of the guitar; I did this by strumming chorus once near the 12th fret of the guitar, giving this section of the song a slow and warm feeling to the guitar part. To contradict this I strummed the very last chord slowly and near the bridge of the guitar giving the guitar a very harsh tone.

Reflecting on Crystallize

After finishing the song crystallizes I feel that I was a little slow on some of the parts and I failed to hit some on the notes. This impacted the performance negatively as it made the song appear out of time and a little hollow due to the lack of layers when I missed the notes. It also forced Conner, who played drums for my performance, to go out of time with the backing track while he was trying to stay in time with me.


Despite saying this I feel that the majority of the performance was a lot better that I felt it went. For example when going into the first chorus I feel that every note I played was on time and sounded clear due to the selection of distortion I used; Modern. I also feel that the use of the neck pickup made a big contribution to the tone of my guitar sound. I chose this pickup as the song is very high end and using the neck pickup countered this as it gave the guitar a thick worm feeling to it.


During the song I kept the distortion maxed out on my ME70 Effects pedal as the song is very hollow due to a lack of instruments. This also helped give feedback to the guitar on some of the longer notes. I then used this gain in feedback to end the song, I did this by holing the very last note for as long as I could without dragging the song out, as a result of this the note gradually changed into feedback creating a very high end noise.

Mash Up

When working with my friends on a mixture of songs we came up with the idea of performing and composing a mash up of all of our favorite songs, this included: the Cup Song by Anna Kendrick, Come as You Are by Nirvana, Royals by Lorde, the Only Exception by Paramore and Give It Up by Casey and the Sunshine Band.

The First thing we felt we needed to do was to organize the songs into what order we would play them. This proved to be a challenge as all the songs had their strengths and weaknesses, for example, Give It Up had energy but didn’t capture any emotion from the audience where as the Only Exception had a lot of meaning and emotion yet no energy, preventing the audience from really getting into the song. In the end we decided the best order for the songs would be to put the Cup Song first as this was the simplest of the pieces containing vocals and a percussive effect on a cup, this was so that the mix could have a feel of tension as the pieces gradually gained more instruments and layers. The Cup Song was followed by the Only Exception as we wanted to capture the emotion of the audience early on in the song so we could leave the piece on an up beat happy feeling. Come as You Are was the next song in the mix as this song has a grungy element to it giving it a moody feel. the second too last song we decided would be Royals as we interpreted this song to be very funky by including elements of funk and blues in it, this then gave the song a more up beat feeling. Finally to end the mix we went with give it up as this left the audience / listener feeling happy as it has a very up lifting sound due to the major chords and fast tempo.

as their was so many part to this song we found it very difficult to memorize what song was supposed to be play at what time. therefore, we used the technique ‘repetion’ to get over this. to do this we simply played the whole mash up over and over again rather than each song at a time. the reason we did this was so that we could perfect every part of the song faster as we were playing every part every time we played the whole thing. it also assisted us in memorizing the order of the song meaning that we would not need reminders or need to stop halfway through the song. The reason that i chose this technique was that i found it a lot simpler than playing it to a metronome as i find it easier to get a feel for the music rather than playing to a click.

Tokyo – The Wombats

After performing the song Tokyo with Pippa I found that the song was a little to simple for my liking, this is due to the same four chords that are repeated throughout the piece. As a result of this I felt that it needed a little more interpreting, to do this I decided to increase the length of a few parts of the chord progression leaving room for Pippa to create a melody or improvise. I also decided to change the dynamics of the song, for example, the first verse it very quiet with only a small amount of tapping on the strings to create a simple beat for the piece, this will then lead into a louder chorus and go back into a quieter verse with a little more percussive elements.

Later on in the song Pippa and I became stuck with how we were going to perform the bridge, however, after a little thinking we came to the conclusion that we would have percussive guitar playing a beat with straight open chords. Over this Pippa will sing an original melody.

However, this came with problems as my transition from playing chords to playing a beat was a little slow in order to get around this i began using the technique of ‘tapping my foot while playing’. i did this by beginning to get a feel for the tempo as the bridge came up then tapping my foot as we changed to the bridge. i did this in order to create a most uniform tempo. i also did this so that Pippa was able to stay in time with my tapping and overall be able to stay in time with my playing.

Progress on Lindsey Stirling’s ‘Crystalize’

After a few practices of Lindsey Stirling’s ‘Crystallize’ I found that it sounded a bit to plain without any bass or backing, therefore, I decided to use the technique of ‘playing along to the backing track’ with Conner on drums. i did this by plugging my ipod with the song into an amp and speaker. The reason i did this was to help fill out the sound of the piece and gave it a more powerful effect. it also helped me to stay in time a lot more as i made more to compare my playing to. However, this still has problems in its own, The track is difficult to play along to with the drums as it means Conner will have to listen to me and the track just to play in time and play the right things to fit my guitar part.

I feel that to get over this I feel that we could both use the technique ‘playing to a metronome’ as this will assist us in playing in time with each other. to do this we played to the metronome and slowly turned the volume of it down each run through of the song until we couldn’t hear it anymore. We did this as this will help the tempo of the song stick in our heads so we are able to imagine the tempo as well as listen to each others playing. This also helped us to get used to each others playing styles while we were just getting used to playing in time as we could analyze how the other reacted to what we were playing or if we went out of time.