#SongwritingHack 1.18 – “Top 5 Songwriter Guitar Hacks For The Broke A$$ Writer”

by Clay Mills
Jan 12, 2024

Today I’ve got five songwriter guitar hacks that are free for all – check them out.

1. Capo Trick

When you’ve come up with that great guitar idea, and you want to come back in a few days and remember what you did, your iPhone can perfect for recording a short little video. Simply grab your phone, clamp it in your capo, and you’re ready to go!

2. Tempo Check

Early in my career, I would write a song and take it in the studio when it came time to record it. And I would find that the chorus was at a great tempo and felt good, but my verse didn’t really feel right. So we’d adjust and get the verse sounding right at that tempo, but then my chorus didn’t sound right. Later, I learned if I checked my tempo while I’m writing to make sure that what it worked consistently from beginning to end, it really helped and saved me a lot of time and money later in the studio. And it’s also just good to know when you write a song, what the tempo is! Google makes it so easy – simply type in “metronome” on your Google search!

3. Snap Your Strings Back to Life

I learned #3 on my songwriter guitar hacks list off of the late great Robert Byrne – Hall of Fame songwriter and producer. We were in the studio recording a song that we’d just written that day, and he showed me a trick that will save you in a pinch. If your strings are really old and sounding a little muddy and dead, try it out.

Go through each string, snapping your string against the neck as you loosen and retighten. You will be amazed at how much brighter your strings sound! It’s not a long term fix, but in a pinch it will do wonders for your guitar.

songwriter guitar hacks

4. Google Docs – Hands Free Co-Writing

As guitar players, when we’re co-writing with other people in the room, we’re sitting here playing our instruments. And if you have to stop and type words every time you, or your co-writer, come up with a lyric, it kind of busts the flow of the writing session. So Google Docs are awesome – one person in the co-write simply logs on and starts a Google Doc, sends you a request, and once you accept it you’ll see that doc on your computer screen.

As they’re typing, the words show up on your screen as well as their screen. Basically, the guitar is my instrument, and the computer is their instrument as they’re typing. It makes the workflow go so much smoother – and it works great on Skype writes too; even if you’re in different countries, everybody sees the lyric changes happen in real time.

5. Online Audio Converter

Ever find yourself in the position of needing an MP3 file, but all you have is your phone recording that’s not an MP3? Or maybe a recording studio sent you a WAV file, and you really need that music standard MP3 file to send out to a producer or publisher.

It’s an easy fix! There’s a great online free converter – all you do is upload your song, and hit convert. You can set the quality that you want and convert to pretty much any file format too.

There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed these five free songwriter guitar hacks for songwriters. Cheers, yall.

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


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