Dynamite Dynamics
- Will Landrum

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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 playing.

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:


- CHANGE FROM A HARD DRIVING SECTION TO A SOFT SECTION

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.


- PUT SILENCE AT THE END OF A RIFF OR SECTION

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.

Refer to time mark 1:50 for the beginning of the solo section.


- CHANGE TEMPO

This is one of my favorites that I owe to Michael Fath for suggesting.

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.


- ALLOW ANOTHER INSTRUMENT INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

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.

 

 

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