How Fingerstyle Guitar Shapes my songwriting

Most of my songs begin life as a Fingerstyle piece

The songwriting process is different for all of us. I know a lot of songwriters who write lyrics first and build a song around that. I’ve tried doing it this way, but being honest I get limited results. Maybe it’s because I latch on to riffs and melodies way before the words sink in when I first hear a song. The rhythm and meter of the lyrics is what first catches my attention. Phrasing can make or break a song for me.
Because I’ve had some formal classical training, playing solo instrumental pieces is very natural to me and this ability forms a big part of my playing and songwriting style. I then set about writing lyrics that fit rhythmically to the fingerstyle melody.

The video below is a phone recording of the latest song I’ve written, but it’s the fingerstyle guitar version.

This fingerstyle piece is how I began writing ‘Scars Upon The Heart’. I’ve posted some of the lyrics below so that it gives you an idea of how it sounds as a full song. Hopefully you’ll work out quick enough which are instrumental parts & where the verses begin.

Scars upon my heart left not by enemies
They’re the remnants of the one who said they cared for me.
The Flame it flickers like a distant memory
But I keep it buried deep inside, under lock and key
If you find you’re lying on that cold, hard ground
with no one there to pick you up, no one to dust you down
Do not withhold your heart for fear of loss and pain
If love is won or love is lost the heart will rise again
World she’s turning as she does
I’d like to feel some love before I turn to bone and dust.
Time she’s gliding through her dance
I should have said I loved you,
but I never got the chance.

I’m really looking forward to this song developing once Sam and Coops are playing on it. We have a couple of rehearsals coming up ahead of our Wirral debut gig, so all being well Scars Upon The Heart will be in the set real soon.

I hope you enjoyed this little insight, if so please leave me a comment πŸ™‚


4 thoughts on “How Fingerstyle Guitar Shapes my songwriting”

  1. It’s a beautiful song, Skeet. I admire your skill not only at finger style but also at composition. I have some classical formal training too but all that means is that I understand the theory and can follow instruction to play something someone else has composed. What a gift to have both! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. Brilliant, love the vibe in that piece. Always interesting to experiment with phrasing, I find, and don’t always go with the gut instinct. Experiment with phrase starting positions, relative to the “1” beat, and mix them up between verses and choruses. Long/short. High/Low. Rising/falling. Linear/big jumps (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for that…!)

  3. Thanks Sharon. I started out self taught for years and then sought out some professional tuition aged 24. Best thing I ever did to develop my playing. I’d say the best thing I’ve ever done to develop my ear and general musicianship was to start teaching. Both have played a huge part in my development as a player. X

  4. Rhythm is something I like to experiment with, even on basics four on the floor songs.
    Since the earliest age I was a saucepan drummer!!
    So many of my songs have developed since Sam and Coops joined us.
    They are both exceptional musician with an understanding of complex polyrhythms, so pushes and swells etc just grow organically between the 3 of us taking care of the music side of business.
    Did you catch the follow up blog post yesterday with the finished song?


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