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The examples in these next two articles are all from my own work with my band Indighost. I chose to do this because since I wrote them I can give an insight into the writing process, rather than merely analyzing someone else’s work. In this article I will look at examples using clean sounds and the following one will use distorted guitars.






Divide and Conquer!

Up until this point, both parts were almost identical. They have the same phrasing but just started on a different point in the scale. There are many different options available to creating something unusual. You can use any or all of these, and of course blend them.  Some options open to you are

  • Having the parts move in different directions or independently
  • Using odd time signatures
  • Blending the parts into a composite texture
  • Using parts that are completely different to each other
  • Changing the intervals


7 Sins - Options 1, 2, 3 and 5

The first part was originally written in 4/4 but because of the title I dropped the last note in the bar to make it 7/8. The chords here are basically Bm to G with some higher extensions thrown in. The second part came about as I was playing something in Bm Pentatonic shape 4 over the top of it (same region of the neck). To my surprise it blended very well and I looked into it and saw that the intervals change almost every single time. This really suited the song as I often like to write to parts to blend together so you can’t really tell which is which, it’s more of a web of sound. Both parts have the same rhythm (the bars are filled with 8th notes split 4-3) but the movement is different.

For these two bars the intervals between the parts come out like this, and as you can see its quite far removed from just harmonising something in thirds.

8ve = 6, 4, m6, 6, m6            9, m3, 6, 5, m3, 3, 7

Audio example:


The final two bars feature a little turnaround. The chords are A+9 and A#dim. The phrasing here is much more open and serves to give a breather before the main harmony repeats again.

Check out Matt's free guitar lesson 7 Sins here.


Shapeshifter - Options 1, 3

This next example is from a song I wrote called ‘Shapeshifter’. The rhythm part has an almost constant arpeggiation of the chords and the higher part is much more sparse. A few notes dancing over the top of the chords but still blending to form a composite sound. The bassline also features some syncopation but I was careful to start the bar on the first beat and fit it around the rhythms of the guitars. 3 separate parts working together here. The style has a slightly classical sound but isn’t really a classical guitar part.  Strive to be different though!

Audio example:


Related articles:

Writing Guitar Harmonies - part 1

Writing Guitar Harmonies - part 2


Check out Matt's guitar lessons here.