Log in
Log in

Create an account


Thread The process of making a song

  • 3 replies
  • 4 participants
1 The process of making a song
I wanted to see what people thought was the correct process of making or coming up with a song.

I've discussed this with a few people but there is no constant answer. Everyone has their own opinion.

So let's take the ingredients of a song...


The beat / rhythm


Idea / reason / meaning





Am I missing something out and to you, what is the correct order and why?

Thanks guys - look forward to seeing people's thoughts

So far I find that there is no particular order to creating a song, as a guitarist I often find that the music tends to speak for itself telling me what it wants and in what order. Other times I find that when I look to a conventional method I end up playing someone else's music, i.e. songs I have heard on the radio or on CD, my best aproach is just to let myself find my own voice, yes, over and over again, that no two songs ever sound the same. There is one formula that is standard...intro, verse, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus. I hope you find this helpful.




It depends what you're doing really.  If i'm making a song on reason, or some computer production station (LIke Fruity Loops)  I'd make a hook or 2 first, then i'd start laying it out in a proper song shape (i.e.. AABA, or ABAC)  Then i'd add in effects and crashes, then add  swing it up and mix it down.

If i was recording a song in the studio, I'd first try and get the rhythm section down (drums and Bass, or other rhythm instrumenst) I usually record some scratch vocals at this time to make sure everyone has a good idea of the shape of the song.   After this i'd start overdubbing any solo's, after that i'd start overdubbing Vocals.  Then i'd auto-tune the Vox and Bass (and any monohonic instrument) and start the mixing process.

I think getting the rhythm section down first (to a click!) is crucial.


It's MUSIC- there's now "wrong" way, and there's no such thing as cheating!  the goal is to make it sound GOOD!




I will usually get a chorus in my head, sometimes the whole song and what I'm trying to say. My songs usually start with a chorus, which I will write down, and the rest will develop in my head as I'm playing guitar and writing it down with pen and paper.
However, one of my best songs, at least in my opinion, started as a vague idea, the line "driving home in my car today" kept rolling around in my head. I heard the music in my head for a few weeks but, only that one line stuck with it. I would get ideas driving around in my car and would sing into my iphone. After several ideas had been captured this way, I sat down and pieced them together. This was among very few songs I'd ever written this way.
I love to record blended acoustic guitar parts, picking, strumming. I haven't written a song using the DAW or a Looper (though I want to try it). I usually have the song in my head, lead vocal, chords in tact, before I start writing it down.
The harmonies, instrument parts and mixes form while I'm recording.
I always start recording with a basic (guitar, vocal) stereo track and build from that. I like to fill the lead vocals with duplicate tracks, one reverb, one clean, add fullness with a little EQ. The harmonies I like to bounce one soft higher on the left, one soft lower on the right. Bass slightly off center with rhythm guitar on opposite side. I use DAW effects sparingly. I record with slight to medium reverbs on vocal, slight reverb on guitar, everything else runs clean into audio interface. If I don't use the acoustic bass I will add bass with a digital keyboard from Garageband. I have quite a problem getting the synth sounds (other than very basic) into Reaper.

Here is a link to one of my favorite original songs.

I loved how my voice came out with the Spring Reverb from a Zoom H4N. I really regret selling it. It had the best Spring Reverb I've ever heard. I love the warm sound that the Zoom stand alones have, I recorded this with the H4N (because of the Spring Reverb) then mixed it with Reaper or Garageband. I also record with a Zoom R-16 both stand alone and as an audio interface, though not on this song.

I'm looking to get a decent audio interface, if anyone has suggestions. I've tried the presonus 44VSL and a tascam us-1200 and I still prefer the Zoom.

Deb Erney