Dang - I wrote a song. Whoo Hoo - go figure! How do I transcribe it?

I was fiddling around with Grade 1 Mod 3 stuff this afternoon and ended up writing a song. Pretty simple i-iv-v, A - D - E progression. I didn’t mean to write a song, but it sorta like just flowed out of me between noon and 4pm. I didn’t know what chord progressions would work to the music in my head, but I picked out individual notes on my guitar, wrote them down, and then stared at a Circle of Fifths until the A-D-E progression popped out. It works.

I need to figure out a strumming pattern for it as my stumming needs a lot of work. I’ll also work out a simple solo for it, so this will be a bit of a personal project song.

But - my real question is about transcribing what I wrote. I don’t know how to do it, so looking for suggestions as were to start? So any suggestions would be appreciated.



A little more info would be helpful :thinking:
Do you simply have a 1, 4, 5 progression or do you have the bones of a whole song, as in verses, choruses +/- bridge?
Do you have a melody line and lyrics?

If you look up most songs for guitar on the web, you find the lyrics with the chord progression written above them. People usually already know the melody or can listen to it. This often renders transcribing superfluous. If you already have the melody line in your head, just sing it over the chord progression.
Good on you for exploring the creative side of guitar playing :smiley: If you’re interested in songwriting and are using the circle of fifths, you’d probably benefit from subscribing to Justin’s practical theory course for a while. It’s full of helpful lessons and he has a specific one on songwriting in module 4.
Good luck with your project :smiley:
(@DavidP / @Richard_close2u might want to move this thread to an appropriate cat.)

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Bridge? I had to look that up along with song structure.

I have intro, verse, chorus, a placeholder for a solo, and outro.
The song is a i, iv, v (A-D-E) progression, and it has a melody line (I’ve written out the notes) and lyrics. A full song. No bridge.

I’d like to get the whole thing on paper (or software).

Hi Daniel.
You probably already realise this if you’ve been studying a circle of 5ths chart. Don’t restrict yourself to ADE. Try CFG, or any of the other 1,4,5 combinations. The change in key might give you more inspiration.

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If you go this route, Guitar Pro, Tuxguitar, or MuseScore are recommended. All are pretty good, although Guitar Pro and MuseScore are better than Tuxguitar.

MuseScore and Tuxguitar are free.

All have a learning curve, so be aware of that.

I would start by laying out the structure of the song, by creating the right number of blank bars for each section of the song.

For instance, if the verses might be 8 bars long, the bridge might be 4 bars, the chorus 8 bars, and so on. Create each section and use the software to label it. That gives you your basic navigation.

I would then check it by listening along with the metronomes to make sure everything is the right length.

Then you can start filling in sections with chords. Remember, You can cut/paste sections to repeat the verses, chorus, etc.




Good idea. I’ve just enrolled. Thanks for the suggestions and comments.

I’ll play around this other keys and see what shakes out.
Thanks for the idea!

You are not quite to lesson on reading tab - jump ahead and watch it. There are two:

  1. https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/how-to-read-guitar-tab-mt-202
  2. https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/how-to-read-guitar-tab-b1-405

Once you see those, you can get your song down on paper and then decide on the software part. I recently purchased Guitar Pro. It did take a bit of learning, but one song was enough for me get enough proficiency to make it useful. Justin also get s a monetary kickback if you like to help him that way. See the text on this lesson for the code.

Justin has blank tab paper in the second item of this lesson. You can print those out and write your tab on them. Several handy things here.

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Pencil and paper with Nashville number system, three chords and the truth. Play and record your song. Lather, rinse, repeat.


You know, I have just got into guitar more recently so haven’t gotten any guitar specific software. But when I needed some music software, I found that MuseScore was really exceptional for the fact it was free. Back in the day you only had Finale - and it cost you highly. Now there are other options, thankfully. Even Sibelius has a middle ground. I’m going to check out Tuxguitar. Thanks, Keith.


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