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Jakub Żytecki – Living Mirrors: A Lesson In Songwriting & Arrangements

Jakub Żytecki – Living Mirrors: A Lesson In Songwriting & Arrangements

May 13th, 2013 by




Welcome to my lesson at Guitar Messenger! Today, I’m going to talk about my approaches to songwriting and arrangements. I’ve taken a few examples from the Disperse album called Living Mirrors and would like to discuss how the instruments in those examples work together. At the end, I’ve got a solo section I would like to break down for you, as well.

Enigma of Abode

The first example comes from the ambient part of Enigma of Abode. I’m going to show you what I tried to do to create the space and ambient atmosphere of that part and what kind of sounds I used. I’ll start from the guitar:

Guitar

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Jakub Zytecki - Enigma of Abode - Chords

Rhythmically, the whole pattern is based on a syncopated feel.

Synths & FX

To create even more space in that part of the song, I combined the guitar with some keyboard sounds. I created the first layer, which was some kind of weird arpeggiated noise in the background. It first nicely with the guitar part and sounds like this:

Pad 1

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The second layer is a windy, airy type of sound. I was searching for that type of sound, because I wanted to fill that top end spectrum in some way:

Pad 2

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For the last layer, I just used the melody that I took from the chord progression of the guitar part. To play that melody, I used some Rhodes electric piano samples:

Rhodes

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Rhythm Section

After a nice ambient break, the rhythm section for the guitar solo comes in. It’s a nice groove based on the rhythm of the guitar, but there was still something I wanted to add, so I tried to putting even more loops in there:

Drums + Loops

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I was wondering a lot about what kind of bass part I might want to use here. Finally, I came up with this slap part:

Bass

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Message From Atlantis – Second Verse

Bars 1-8

The next example is the second verse of the song called Message From Atlantis. It’s kind of an unusual motif for me, because I wanted to mix bass and guitar in a specific way. Firstly, I tried to recreate the opening melody in the second verse. I was experimenting with harmonics a lot and this is what I came up with.

Bars 9-16

In the next half of the verse, I play a denser guitar part to continue to evolve the section and connect it smoothly to the next chords. I tried to create as much ambience and space as possible from just the guitar and bass. That’s the reason why there aren’t many parts going on behind those two instruments.

Guitar

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Jakub Zytecki - Message From Atlantis - Verse 2 Riff

I tried to make another ambient instrument out of the bass, so I used a slightly unsual approach. I think it fits the guitar very well:

Bass

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Aum – Riff

This example comes from a song called Aum and it’s different from the previous ones in the sense that it’s focused only on the guitar riff for the most part. The layer structure is pretty limited.

Guitar Riff

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Jakub Zytecki - Aum Riff

The tuning I’m using for this song is Drop-G on the 7th string. The rest is just an E standard:
[Low to high: G E A D G B E]

When it comes to layers, there’s just one pad and an ambient guitar melody, because of the fact that this motif is completely focused and based on the guitar riff. Here is the ambient guitar part:

Ambient Guitar Melody

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Aum – Solo

The solo starts with the melody, which is then followed by a two-note-per-string lick. Then we’ve got a little sweep picking, followed by another melody. This is followed by an alternate picking pattern and a string-skipping lick at the end. The solo finishes with a legato-based phrase.

Guitar Solo

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Jakub Zytecki - Aum Solo 1

Jakub Zytecki - Aum Solo 2Jakub Zytecki - Aum Solo 3

 

I hope this lesson was helpful and inspiring to you guys. If you liked what you heard, check out Living Mirrors, which is out now and available HERE. The album features guest appearances from some crazy talented musicians like David Maxim Micic, Ula Wójcik, and Dominik Nieradka. I also started working on my solo music again, so you can expect some new tunes probably before the summer. Thank you guys and take care!

[Special thanks to Bartlomiej Szoja for his spectacular video work and Alon Mei-Tal for his meticulous transcriptions and tab editing!]

Jakub Żytecki – Living Mirrors: A Lesson In Songwriting & Arrangements

About Jakub Zytecki

Jakub Zytecki is a guitarist, composer, and producer of progressive rock band Disperse. Since picking up the guitar at the age of 12, the Polish native has released a diverse collection of solo material, as well as two full-length albums with Disperse. Jakub is also known for his guest appearances with artists like David Maxim Micic, Above The Earth, and others.

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Visit Jakub Zytecki's Website: http://www.facebook.com/disperseofficial


  • fsdf

    incredible guitarist, metal Guthrie!!!

  • Awesome article. Developing songwriting and phrasing skills is key to becoming an amazing guitarist.

  • Martin

    AUM Ambient Melody Track not found, pls fix it

    • Ivan Chopik

      Are you sure? I just checked and it’s playing back fine here…

  • Martin

    Propably I had trouble with my pc, It’s Alright

  • Rickyyy

    This lesson is excellent. Extremely helpful with lots to digest.

  • Rickyyy

    I wish there were more lessons like this on this site. Composition and harmony is of huge interest to me right now and lots of other guitarists. Keep up the good work Guitar Messenger! You rule!

  • Konstantin Tarasov

    thanks soooo much