Every once in a while we feel stuck in one spot. Be it lack of learning progress or creative absence, it will happen and has happened to the best of us in the past. Some turn away, others may take a pause or search for other ways of inspiration. There are those who I look in awe at, who just “lol” and double their efforts to tackle their own set goals.
Personally, I found that muse or inspiration may be stubborn at first but if you call on her enough times, she will come.
Pick Your Keys
Since it all starts with a feeling, try to put that feeling in text at first. For example: Are you happy or sad? What caused it? Put a finger on it and then turn it into major (happy) or minor (sad) chords and you got a skeleton. Pull three good keys together and step back for a moment to identify your feeling further. Set of different chord types can commonly be found in different guitar genres. Since we are a Blues Guitar bunch, 7th’s, 9’s and 13th’s would work well to add some skin to our skeleton and make a rotting zombie out of it.
Pick Your Chord Types
So now we have a basic structure of our composition with a couple distinguished character chords. Now you will have to do some extra research to learn if you could add a hammer-on to your 9th and make it human with its own traits and personality. When this is done and to your liking, proceed to switching chords places for chorus and finding good notes out of the Blues Scale for the bridge. This will give your child an eye color, height and hair.
Embellish and Enjoy
Now step back once more and hopefully smile. You have your own, manually inspired, soulful and beautiful Blues Song. Slap some lyrics on it and win.
Sometimes, great inspiration comes from listening to your influencers and attempting to replay their riffs without searching for tabs. Imagine how many great sounding Blues riffs you might stumble upon during the process. Endless muse is inside of you and your mind is the only thing holding you back.
The very same concept applies to writing your lyrics. You pick a topic, be it “Green Apples” or your own story and build an emotion on it. In his recent TED appearance, Sting added greatly to the topic of songwriting:
Improving on current progress
As for being stuck on improving your playing, hard practice is the only thing that can be given as an advice. It gets better with each pluck. Even if it is slow, it does.
You could always sell your soul to the Devil if all else fails, Robert Johnson might have, and look, we are still influenced by him.
Special thanks to Em Kotoul for the great Delta Blues painting.