Piano and Keyboard lessons from Glenn Sutton in Poway and San Diego

Writing a Simple Song with Your Guitar

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Interested in learning the electric, bass or acoustic guitar? Need lessons in the Scripps Ranch or Sabre Springs area? Would you like to learn to play your favorite songs?

Contact Glenn Sutton at 619-306-3664.

How to Compose with Your Guitar

Composing a song is not as hard as you might think. All it takes is a basic knowledge of common chords and a willingness to try. This article will help you get started on the road to being a songwriter!

First, a Note of Encouragement.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your first song is not very likely to win you a Grammy (although you never know for sure). None of the great songwriters started off writing masterpieces. They learned the basics and worked hard at what they loved to do. Through trial and error (and belief in themselves), they eventually achieved success. It can be the same for you. Don’t give up.

The Building Blocks

Choose a key that you would like to write in. If you are unsure of which one, choose a favorite piece of music as an inspiration and use the key that song was written in. Once you have decided, check a guitar chord book to find out what chords are typically used in that key. Play around with a few of them until you find a set of chords that work well together. Start playing these chords in progression and develop a basic rhythm.

Now you have that chord progression down. Find individual notes within the chords that can form a nice, simple melody. This may take some time. If you happen to know how to read music, use standard notation and write the notes out on manuscript paper. You can use tablature if you do not want to or know how to use standard notation. Or you can simply play it over and over again and commit it to memory.

At this point, you will want to begin forming the structure of the song. Is it going to be the standard chorus-verse-chorus structure? Although ot may be a good idea to start off using a basic structure, you don’t need to feel hamstrung by it. It is YOUR song, after all, and you are just starting out. Relax and enjoy the process.


This is where you get to really express yourself! Think of what this song means to you emotionally. From that emotional base, write some lyrics that have meaning to you. They don’t have to rhyme. They don’t even have to make any sense. Chances are, no one will hear it anyhow, unless of course you want them to.

A note here; Many pro songwriters take the lyrics first, and build a song around them. This is decidedly more difficult for many, but not for all. You may find that this method works better for you, particularly if you have already written poetry that you would like to set to music. Once again, it is a good idea to stick to basic forms in the beginning, but don’t let the “rules” stop you from being creative.

Get Started!

Don’t let fear stop you – get going. This can be the beginning of a great future as a songwriter. Good luck!

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664 or email: guitarman.glenn@gmail.com

Bass Guitar

Services include:

  • Electric Guitar Lessons
  • Bass Guitar Lessons
  • Acoustic Guitar Lessons
  • Keyboard Lessons
  • Piano Lessons
  • Organ Instruction
  • Learning to Write Music
  • Advanced Improv Techniques
  • Performance Techniques



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