How To Write A Rock Song
So you are wondering how to write a rock song? Well, here is the thing. It’s a very subjective topic to write about. Everybody has their own “hacks” and techniques.
However, there are “shortcuts” that you can take.
It’s like using a template for your resume. You still have a lot of work to do, but the general draft is there for you.
Alright, let’s give it a shot.
1) Write The Lyrics or Brainstorm The Ideas
Clearly, you need to have something in mind before writing a song. It doesn’t have to be completely clear, but having a vague idea of what you are passionate about will make things easier.
I) Picking The Topic Of Your Song
Rock genre has established itself as being edgy and anti-authoritarian. And a lot of new rockers just keep pushing the agenda the same way it used to be back in the days.
I want to tell you one thing. There are no set rules. If you want to sing about love, go ahead. If you’re going to lean towards something less cliche, such as social issues, justice, or something else, that’s great.
Write about whatever you want!
It’s that simple. There is no reason as of why rock songs should be different from any other genre.
II) Working On The Title And Hook
Every song needs a sweet title and a catchy hook. This is a no-brainer.
You want to intrigue your listeners with a title and make them fall in love with the hook. Pretty simple.
Think Of A Title
There is a rule of thumb that your title has to be something unique. Don’t just call it “love” or “pain” or anything cliche like that. This will do for Linking Park but not for you.
Try coming up with something “special.” Obviously, you can’t just measure “special” but how about you give it a shot at least?
Come Up With A Hook
Generally, you want your hook to have something to do with your title. The title could also be the word that you emphasize in the chorus.
There are no rules about what melody should sound like.
However, you want to keep it as simple and catchy as possible. Usually, a 4/4 drum pattern and an easy chord palate will do.
Remember, the more simple it is, the more people will find it catchy. Some will say this is wrong but think of your favourite rock songs. You can play most of them on your guitar.
Does this tell you something? It should.
III) Writing The Lyrics For A Rock Song
As we figured out earlier, all the emphasis should be put on the hook. The chorus is the part that is telling and the story and at the same time leading to the chorus.
The chorus tends to be a little vague.
A good idea will be to add more details and imagery to the verses of the song.
First, one would start the story off and slowly lead to the chorus. The second one will be the continuation of the story leading to the second hook.
I mean this can’t be any more straightforward. I know most people know this, but for complete beginners trying to write their first rock song, this may be helpful, ok?
IV) Coming Up With A Bridge (Extra)
Not every song has a bridge. Not every song needs one.
However, it may add something unexpected and new to the melody that will break up the monotony, you feel me? Not a bad idea, hey?
2) Come Up With Music For The Song
Lyrics are done and sound amazing, what do we do now?
Clearly, we have to come up with a melody and drum patterns. Well, there is a little more to that.
I) Pick A Beat And Rhythm For Your Song
There are different styles of rock out there. Some have more BPMs (beats per minute), others have less.
Punk rock is faster, for example, and reggae and heavy metal are a little slower or even off-beat.
The best bet would be googling what style you want to play and go from there.
II) Decide On Chords
Not many rock songs are made with traditional chords you would use when playing country, for example.
Power chords, on the other hand, seem to be very popular among rockers. The main idea is usually to give the music edgier sound.
You can play them pretty easily. All you have to do is finger the main note of the chord with the first finger on the very top string.
After that, your third and fourth fingers press down on the two below stings two frets down the neck of the instrument.
I would suggest watching some YouTube videos instead of just reading how to play power chords as it would be a lot less time consuming for you!
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Hard metal and punk rock are using this kind of chords quite a bit, but they are the most popular in grunge music.
You can notice them in acid rock subgenre also, but most of the time they are being distorted by a pedal hooked to an amp.
Indie and glam rock tend to be a lot smoother and softer, so not a lot of power chords are being used.
III) Electric Guitar Is A Foundation
You are not here to play ballads, are you?
The electric guitar has been hand to hand with rock since the beginning of times. This should mean something. If you don’t have an electric guitar playing as a centrepiece, are you really making rock music?
Try playing along when writing a song to get a feel of the melody. If that’s your first time writing, take your time when coming up with a tune.
As you practice more, you’ll start coming up with one faster and faster.
Once the guitar part is done, it’s a smart thing to add some percussions, a keyboard and bass guitar.
Don’t forget to play the guitar like a rock start – pull strings hard like you are trying to break them. What is rock without a destructive vibe anyway?
IV) Add A Solo To Spice Things Up
Can you think of a hit song without a great instrumental solo? Me neither.
How can you say that you play the electric guitar if you haven’t come up with a single killer instrumental?
Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true, as some rock subgenres don’t really have solos.
This is more of a generalization than anything.
Anyways, it’s not that hard to write one. Just play around with scales in the song’s key. Once you hear something interesting, remember it or write it down. Then keep adding in small bits of your melody.
Once you’ve tried a bunch of different combinations, see what you’ve gotten and make sure to pick the one that sounds the best.
Conclusion: How To Write A Rock Song
It’s that simple to write a rock song, guys.
Start with the song structure and lyrics and keep building from that.
After everything “sits” on the track, send the mix to the mastering engineer to get it mastered professionally. Don’t try to do this on your own if you are not proficient in mastering. If the engineer knows what he or she is doing, the way your track sounds and feels will change dramatically for the better.
And then, of course, the music promotion part. It’s not an easy or fast thing to get your music out there, but there are a handful of techniques that may speed up the process.