Dynamics are essential to your guitar playing and
songwriting. They are yet another weapon in the arsenal of
many techniques you can use to spice up your music.
What are dynamics?
Well, they come in many forms. I'll discuss a few today to
hopefully give you some ideas that you can use in your own
Dynamics are basically changes during your playing or
compositions that adds contrast to other playing techniques
or other sections of your composition.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
In my tune, "Fullness Of Time", which we have studied in the
past, you remember that this has a high energy riff offset
with 9th arpeggios and straight ahead lead playing.
To give this tune some contrast and to give the listeners
ears a break :-) , I composed a soft mellow section after the
first and second verses.
This section really allows some breathing for the tune.
Instead of crunching power chords, I pick them with a soft
chorus and echo effect.
I also turned up the bass a little bit to accent it's rolling
harmony in the background.
For the main melody, I kept my lead sound the same with
distortion and sustain, but used volume swells to play the
slow and haunting melody.
This is a very common idea that you hear everywhere. In my
tune, "Shining Hope", I drive the solo section home with this
type of dynamic.
For those of you who may have my CD, refer to time mark 1:50
for the beginning of the solo section.
This is one of my favorites that I owe to Michael Fath for
In the track "Happy Are Those", which is basically a boogie
tune with added shred, I changed from the fast paced tempo
of the main sections to a slower tempo in the solo section.
The slower tempo makes the section much more bluesy but I
maintain the energy level by playing a flurry of arpeggios
over it. You can hear it here.
Let your drummer, keyboardist or bass player have their turn.
In "Over Age", I build on my rhythm riff by letting the bass
guitar play it unaccompanied before the drums and rhythm guitar
kick in to play along with it.
This creates "air space" for the tune and keeps things moving
in a simple and straightforward manner.
You could even play a guitar riff unaccompanied for two
measures, bring in the drums for the next two measures, and
finally bring in the bass for the another two measures;
basically building your rhythm gradually instead of all at
the same time.
As I said earlier, these are just a few of many ideas for
creating dynamics in your playing. Hopefully these will get
you started thinking about ways to develop your own style of
playing and songwriting.
Will Landrum is a guitarist and composer from Virginia who dabbles in heavy rock Instrumentals with blues and neo-classical influences.
His latest CD is entitled "Living Digits", which features eight compositions produced by Landrum and Michael Fath.
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