Help in writing an R & b song

Hello friends! Willow 's here. I aspire to write an R & b song and looking for good advice into song writing. Would love to know your approach to song writing, and learn from you!

Not necessary have to be song writing, would appreciate if anyone could share some common (or fantastic?) chords and their progression in R & b.

Have a nice day!

Hi Vincent, you might start with a simple chord progression of I-IV-V and see where that takes you. Many others have followed the same route and have come out sounding great.


I-IV-V… Cool! Probably I should try that on an alternate tuning and see if magic happens =) Will figure out the open tuning I found intriguing from some amazing finger-style songs, and give it a try!

Any suggestion on the rhythm wise? Currently looking into Bruno Mars “That’s What I Like” and have hard time to figure out a good strumming technique for that kind of rhythm. Thanks!


Okay just revisited Mike Dawes Interview by Justin and I think adding percussion might help to get the R&b groove feel.

But this poses another problem on mixing and adding guitar effects. I have a hard time to get the delay effect right for simple snares (could refer to my recent music vid) Not sure how to put it but it sounds awkward. Really appreciate if anyone could enlighten me on these issues!

Are you able to play/ strum the R & B groove along with other songs you mention? If so, and you have the groove, why bother complicating things by adding percussion before the song is even written? Or if you have lyrics already try playing whatever feels right to you.
You mention Mike Dawes who is a highly accomplished musician, and if you emulate him, go for it. Though it does seem you are attempting too much all at once.
A groove can help and many apps will allow this. However, in my experience the song, once written can be played in any tempo you wish, slow, heavy, soul, R & B or whatever.
I am possibly incorrect, but you do seem to be over complicating, and perhaps making more difficult, a process which is not necessarily so.
Hope that helps.

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Thank you for the insight! And interesting read.

Haven’t figure out a nice groove for R&b yet =( Agree with you, and I think it is easier to have lyrics first and then try to fit in the melodic and harmonic ideas. Right now I try to get some pieces of melodic ideas down that would be useful later.

Yeah I have to admit it will be hard. And have to deal with the post production thing. Sadly enough I only know about finger-style guitar so I am trying to make use of what I know to make music.

It is my utmost gratitude for you to check out my recent song Senbonzakura. The playing is inspired by finger-style guitarist Kotaro Oshio. And my sensei work is below!

Love this, and you have a good groove going. Excellent! Thanks for sharing this.

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Vincent, I hope this statement of the simple and obvious is not too simple and obvious.

To write a song in a genre, I would say that you first need to have listened to many, many songs within that genre and to have learned to play many, many songs in that genre. It needs to be a style and a groove that you know and can feel, something that you have gained over time and doing.

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Thank you!
Is its like going through a lot of licks on particular style, building up the vocabulary and eventually able to make up my own solo? I use this metaphor to understand alternative tuning, and hopefully after learning a number of songs (Michael Hedges-ish style) on DADGAD I am able to express myself freely on that tuning, and many other interesting one.