Songwriting Techniques I STOLE From Dave Matthews & Jason Mraz

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Here are 2 songwriting techniques based on chords I picked up while learning Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz songs.

The first technique I took from Dave Matthews’ song “Satellite”. In this song he plays an interesting chord shape as an arpeggio. Dave uses this songwriting technique a lot. You can hear the same chord shape in “Warehouse”, “What would you say” and a bunch of others.

What I’ve done is simply take the chord shape and use it in 4 different positions while incorporating some open strings (which is another great songwriting tip – use open strings!!) The reason this works so well is because this chord is a root, a 5th and a 9th. It’s the 3rd of a chord that determines its tonality, so you can use this particular chord shape in place of major OR minor chords. This shape also sounds pretty good strummed as a full chord.

The second songwriting technique is based on the 6/9 chord, which is a really unique and jazzy sounding harmony. Jason Mraz uses it in 2 of his GIANT hit songs, “curbside prophet” and “The Remedy”.

While Mraz uses it as the second chord in his progression, I make it the very first chord in my version. It’s a really versatile chord because it has a chameleon type of a quality. It can fit into a lot of different situations and sort of creates a feeling of drifting, especially if you strum it for a few beats…it’s almost like you can keep strumming it and fade out…

Also notice in this second songwriting technique with the 6/9 chord, that I incorporate the minor 9 chord that I talk about in the minor chords video, as well as the major 7 chord I talk about in the “sexing up your major chords” vid AND a dominant 7th chord. The result is a pop/jazz kind of groove that sounds pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.

I’ll be posting recordings of the entire songs where I use these “stolen” songwriting techniques because number 1, I want you to really understand how utterly LUDICROUS it is to think you can ever steal an artist’s style by using one of his/her techniques and secondly, I want you to hear my tunes! I spend so much time teaching you, that playing my songs for you gives me a chance to feel vulnerable, embrace constructive criticism and work on opening up my ‘beginner eyes’…


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-Vincent Vinturi


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