How to add guitar to a song that has no guitar parts

Ryan Vega

Garage band Groupie
Nov 11, 2019
You can look up the key and bpm of the song on google as a starting point. I usually figure out the key and just start playing on the track from there until I come up with something I think sounds cool and either just record a video playing to the track what I came up with or record into a DAW. You would just need the program and an audio interface.
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Campfire Attention Holder
May 23, 2021
There's usually a bass line of some sort, thats a starting point. Start by copying what the bass is doing, but do power chords or something. From there you could even write a notey riff based on the power chords. Then if there are other instruments in the song doing melodic lines, you can copy those on to guitar.

Then you add a breakdown because that's just the rules. Skip to 0:55 in this video for more information:

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Ed Seith

Supreme Galactic Overlord
Staff member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    Marana, AZ USA
    My wife was raised in a religion that believed there were no "non-members, only future members." In other words, everyone was, whether they knew it or not.

    I say this not to proselytize, but because it also applies to guitar in songs. Every song is a guitar song, whether it knows it or not.

    If you can't pick out the chords, then a chord chart for the song can be a great starter. Then just start playing the chords where they belong until you find a strumming or picking rhythm that pleases YOU, the one being creative.

    Repeat, refine, record.


    Stairway to Heaven Tab Studier
    May 2, 2021
    so I’ve wanted to make metal covers of pop songs or just add guitar to them and I have no clue how I would come up with guitar parts that match the rhythm/beat of the songs I wanna play. Where do I start and what do I need to do to achieve this?
    I usually start by following the vocals for lead. For rhythm, I try to find a version of the song without lyrics and play around and try to find a rhythm that matches the song, it could take a little time and effort to figure out, but it’s always worth it. If you need examples, you could always search up the metal covers of some pop songs to get an idea of how to start.
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    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Calvin Phillips

    Music Theory Bragger
    Nov 11, 2019
    Rick beato has gotten good with his top ten videos. He advertises his ear training as a big reason how he figures out progressions so fast. If say look into something like that cause the chords ARE there in the pop songs. And its not the bass line Typically that follows the progression. Its what the keyboard usually is doing.
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    William B.

    Hot Topic Tourer
  • Nov 11, 2019
    I try to match one of the notes on my guitar first usually it's a 5th power chord ( I think that's what they're called )
    The chords shaped 3-5-5 or 3-3-3 in dropped D tuning with help of some theory like knowing the names of the notes on the fretboard
    and using intervals ( spacing between notes ) I can try to work out some scale to play from for the melodies.
    I'm not so great at matching songs exactly and often nowhere near but it's a lot of fun jamming out with a few good notes
    Writing things down would probably make things easier and slowing the songs down to make out tricky or fast parts too
    Thinking about the Major scale, using and altering those power chords to sum it up
    With the rhythm most common for me is to match the speed of the song with some alternate 8th note pattern and work with that first
    I've never really covered songs except for my amusement but this is how I would and do approach it as of now

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    Free Bird Player
    Nov 25, 2019
    St Louis, MO
    I absolutely love this !!! From the ones I’ve seen it seems super common for guitarists to use the vocal melody.
    Fellow Synner @TreSavedge has done quite a few, you got any advice dude ?
    I just saw this. Wish I was a better teacher. Because of how I learn, I started with the science side of things learning the 7 notes that make up a standard scale etc to give sort of a blueprint for where melody can go. My brain likes to make sense of a concept then explore the execution and instincts building after a basic scientific understanding of a layout. From there the science and instinct sort of push and pull and build on each other. Now I probably lean more on instinct than the science. Some people learn in a reverse style though. So like EVH said paraphrazing "there's only 12 notes have fun with them." There really are only 12 notes and I'd add "and silence". Because spacing is important. So it's 12 notes and silence. That's all it is. So there's the starting point to wrap your head around. 12 notes and silence.

    This may be sacrilege, but I might consider starting with single note melody lines over chords. Method books, sight-reading basic melodies and ear training goes a long way. All the boring stuff we are supposed to do pays dividends later. So as you mentioned my thing right now is playing a lot of melody over pop songs/backing tracks etc. That's been my focus now is exploring the melodies the instrument can create with the 12 notes and silence. Backing tracks have done more for my timing and ear training than 20 years of metronomes and blind interval guessing sessions on the piano, and made the process much more fun I might add.

    We all tend to all learn cowboy and bar chords first because that's the guitar's standard thing and it's fun to jam, but that got me thinking: "how in the world am I suppose to teach someone what a chord is if they don't know what the notes are". Maybe some are fine just going with it and embracing instincts but for me i've always needed a little science, a map or blueprint. Not to think about that while playing but to take the first step in making sense of it. If I could do everything over again I'd start with melody lines and notes and then add the chords as a "multiple notes at the same time" concept after like a few months to a year of intense melody sight reading and fret board memorization. Sounds fun right?

    Essentially we are simply trying to learn a language. You are never "there". I bet there are times even Syn doesn't think he's "there yet", even though in our book his is what "there" IS. But we are slowly learning a language. There will just be mild progress along the way as well as breakthrough moments. The stuff you referred to that I post, well probably the 'Havanna' and 'Ava Max' melodies are two break through moments for me where I felt proud of where the process was going, but that's like a few moments in 23 years of trying to learn the language. I wish there was easy way to explain but I'd just reference the basics. Plug away at ear training and timing and use backing tracks to make it way more fun than a metronome and method book all the time. Be patient to be willing to spend multiple years getting lost in your "lab" and enjoy the small gains along the way. It's no different than the gym.
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