Watch the Pop: Technique 2 online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from RhythmCraft
One of my favorite things to do in the studio is layer up guitar parts and I wanted to show you one way of finding those ideas.
My guitar overdub guitar part that you hear me playing is pretty simple and was created by listening to the track first and letting an idea come to me without playing the guitar. I think these ideas are always stronger and more melodic because you are not limited by your technical ability to create them! You can always try and find your idea on the guitar afterwards.
The part I played can be broken down like this. It's an A chord fragment at the 7th fret. I'm playing the A-C# of the A chord and using the open B note to add a 2nd or 9th. On top of the chord fragment I played a simple melody that starts with a B -G# -A. This can be seen as playing an Ama9 arpeggio of sorts.
The reason these melody notes work so well is that while the A chord in our progression is sounding I'm playing a B to E (5th of the chord) G# is playing while the E major is being played (major 3rd) and I end my melodic phrase on the A note which is the 5th to the last chord Dmajor.
When the chords change to the minor chords in the last four bars of the progression I move my 2nd guitar overdub part down to the 4th fret to outline those changes.
I'm basically playing another chord fragment of the F#mi7 chord and using the open B note again as a common thread. The B can be seen as a 4th. (so this chord could be named F#add4). I don't change my chord fragment shape as the other chords play, what I did was, change the top note to create a melodic phrase again. Those notes are G# - F# - E/B. The G# plays against the F#mi7 chord backing (2nd or 9th), the F# plays against the C#mi7 (4th) and the E, B, A and F# notes are arpeggiated against the Bmi7 chord in the track. (4th, Root, b7, 5th) Breaking this all down isn't half as much fun as playing the part and creating some others, so don't get hung up on the theory if you don't understand it.
Now go ahead and create some cool pop guitar parts yourself.