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Five Heads Are Better Than One

Beyond the Realms of Conventional Guitar Thinking - Part III
Greetings once again fellow WN cats! I'm writing this installment on the heels of a very successful and inspirational band practice in where we came away with the beginning stages of four new original songs! It was an incredible feeling to present my ideas and have everyone be on the same page like that, all working together as a team, and just that feeling alone has inspired even more new ideas that I plan to explore this evening. I guess what's so strange and cool about it is that it was last night's inspiration that now finds me "inspired" to write more.
"Just always remember that the mind is like a parachute... it only works when it's open."

But I digress. See, I had a couple ideas brewin' lately, but I have been struggling a little bit with them due to a lack of inspiration. Y'know... when everything you do sounds stale to your ears? Anyway, on one of the tunes I had this killer phat-ass tuning [Db,G#,C#,F#,C#,F# - 1st and 2nd strings an octave higher] which led to the song's inception, but it wasn't until I sat down with the good ol' drum machine and programmed the underlying groove that it started to really come to life. So I brought the drum machine with me last night to formally present my idea, and almost immediately the guys were putting in their two cents and tossing about great ideas so fast that it was hard to keep track of them! [Side note: Always have a recorder handy at your practices, because you never know when the muse will strike.] I mean, we've written entire tunes at our practices before, but never before have we all been on the same page like we were last night. I dunno, something just "clicked". So then I showed them the other riffs I had been toying around with, and once again everyone jumped right in and before we knew it we had the beginnings of four new tunes! In band life it just doesn't get much better than this.

It may seem the premise of this piece is about writing songs, but it's really more about jamming with others and being open to their ideas to help fuel one's own inspiration. Sure, some gifted songwriters out there such as Sting and the like are able to do it all on their own if need be, but for those of us who go through dry spells of creativity, bouncing ideas off of others is a great way to get out of those dreaded songwriting ruts. Just always remember that the mind is like a parachute... it only works when it's O P E N

Craig Smoot — Musician, Web Site and Info Systems Developer — is 1/2 of the guitar team for Black Label, and also runs Hellecasters.com and Rivera.com in his spare time.