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:
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
Message From Atlantis – Second Verse
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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!]