Saturday Songwriting: BEAD is a Memory Hammer for Guitar

Hello there from the middle of a Fearless Songwriting week. This week’s been good to me. I’ve got six songs out of it so far. But Truth be told, I’m working a double tomorrow I won’t be writing a song. 

Get six days into a Fearless weeks and then simply quit, isn’t that against the rules!?! Sometimes knowing what’s enough is more important than the rules. Which is why often during the week of a Fearless Challenge, I declare a pause on this email, and I send out a prompt from sometime in the last year, and call it a day. This week however, I found myself with a bit of extra time to put together a new BEAD Guides Chord Flow sheet.  

When I talk about BEAD Guides Chord Flow a lot of the time, it’s a little abstract. Sure, I relate it to a one of the Greatest Songs of All Time (according to Rolling Stone Magazine), but the sheets I put together don’t have any reference the guitar. This time I wanted to create a sheet that ties in directly to the guitar.   

If you’ve been on this list for a while, you likely know that BEAD Guides Chord Flow is a memory tool for songwriters. It’s like a hammer. It’s memory hammer. It arranges and nails chords into an order that nearly guarantees they will sound good together. 

Wouldn’t it be cool if the guitar did the same thing? 

Wouldn’t it be cooler if the memory tool it used was related to BEAD Guides Chord Flow as well? 

Well, guess what?  

It does, on both counts! 

BEAD Guides Chord Flow is built into standard tuning of the guitar. The sheet below will outline how. (Aren’t you glad you’re on this list)?

If anything on this sheet or any other sheet I send out feels confusing, let me know. It’s my job to make this stuff as clear as possible. When you tell me I’m not doing my job, it’s a big help.  

Meanwhile, 

Enjoy! 

The Prompt:

Art by Steeven Salvat, full image here. More about Steeven here

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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Saturday Songwriting: The Fearless Challenge Starts Tomorrow!

We’re skipping the prompt this week because this Sunday is the start of the next Fearless Challenge. The challenge of the Fearless Challenge is to write seven songs in seven days. Writing seven songs in seven days can sound pretty intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s ok. Not everyone who takes part in the challenge does it with the intention of writing seven songs. Some just want to write one or two. The Fearless Challenge is here to give yourself an opportunity to write songs, if you write seven that’s great, but it’s also great if you write just one.  

Years ago, I first decided to write seven songs in seven days because I was frustrated by not writing any songs. It had been years since I’d written a song. I was also about to return to The Rocky Mountain Song School. I didn’t want to show up to the Song School again without any new songs. 

I didn’t care if the songs were good.  

I just cared if the songs were done.

Even “done” was negotiable. Done for me was, done enough so I could come back to the song and work on it later. Anne Lamott might call that a Shitty First Draft. Leonard Cohen might call it a few blackened pages. If you’re a frustrated writer like I was, deciding it’s enough to just show up and write a shitty song or two could be exactly the thing to help you feel better about songwriting again. One or two songs could be enough. Deciding what is enough is important.  

Community and support is important too. In the Fearless Challenge, the songwriters who are doing the challenge with you will be your support system and community. You may think you’ve written a trash song, they’ll tell you the part of it that song that are working. (Often, I’m not aware of any working parts in my songs). You’ll get the chance to see what’s working in other people’s songs too. They’ll be so grateful your there to give them new perspectives on their songs.

The challenge isn’t for everyone, but if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that it could be for you. Hope to see this Sunday, the 22nd on the Fearless Challenge’s Facebook Group.

If you have any questions, check out this FAQ about the challenge.  

Enjoy! 

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a page I worked up this week. It’s a map of the chords in BEAD Guides Chord Flow. (I skipped the flat and sharp chords for this sheet to keep it simple). The first row is major chords in BEAD GCF order. The second row is minor chords.  The third is (dominant) 7s.  Eventually this will all be part of my book. 

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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Saturday Songwriting: The Supremes, Where Did Our Love Go

This week we get to #475 on Rolling Stones list of Greatest Songs Ever, “Where Did Our Love Go.”  The story goes that this was another song the artists weren’t keen on. Supposedly, it was originally recorded for the Marvelettes—the tracks were laid down already when the Supremes got it, and in a key that’s low for Diana Ross besides. Still, it ended up being The Supremes first #1 hit. That foot stomping laying down the groove reminds me of nothing so much as metronomes coming into sync with each other. (Check out this video if you haven’t seen it before, it’s really cool).

Enjoy! 

The Prompt:

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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Saturday Songwriting: Chords that Play Well Together

It was about a year ago that I started this blog. I didn’t really know what I was doing then, but over the last year, it’s gained some focus. I’ve started to look at what makes different songs tick. The first sheet I posted looked like this. It outlined the first couple of principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow. A lots changed about how I present these idea since I first put that sheet together. I figured it was time I gave it a little make over, which is exactly what I did this week. 

Enjoy! 

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Eron (Rimini) art. Find out more about RHADS’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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