Songwriting Advice

How To Write An AC DC Song

how to write an ac dc song lyric assistant

AC/DC is undoubtedly one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. With a career spanning over four decades, their signature sound, powerful guitar riffs, and infectious energy have inspired numerous artists and captivated fans worldwide. Although the band has experienced lineup changes and faced challenges, their distinct sound remains strong and its influence in the rock music genre is undeniable.

So, you want to write a song that captures the essence of AC/DC? We've got you covered. In this guide, we'll take you through the steps to create a song that combines the essential elements of AC/DC's style, making it recognizable and authentic. And with the help of Lyric Assistant, you'll be rocking out to your own AC/DC inspired song in no time!

1. Embrace the Power Chords

The foundation of AC/DC's signature sound lies in the power chords. A power chord is a movable chord rooted in the lowest two or three strings of a guitar, creating a strong, simplified version of a major or minor chord. To write an AC/DC song, focus on the use of power chords in your guitar riffs and progressions. This will establish the base of your song and lay the groundwork for the other distinct elements we'll discuss.

2. Keep the Song Structure Simple

AC/DC is known for its straightforward song structures, typically following a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus format. Keep your song structure as simple and easy to follow as possible. This will ensure that your AC/DC-inspired song maintains the band's signature feel and lends itself to an energetic live performance.

3. Inject Energy Through Rhythmic Guitar Riffs

The secret to AC/DC's electrifying sound is their rhythmic guitar riffs. The consistent use of upbeat rhythms, driving riffs, and syncopated patterns throughout their songs contributes to the overall excitement and energy of their music. When writing your guitar riffs, be sure to create a sense of momentum and energy by experimenting with different rhythmic patterns and syncopation.

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4. Incorporate Memorable Riffs

What is an AC/DC song without a memorable riff? Bands like AC/DC are famous for their catchy, memorable guitar riffs that become synonymous with their songs. Spend time crafting a powerful and catchy guitar riff that grabs the listener's attention and solidifies itself as the defining element of your song. Be creative and make sure to use power chords and rhythmic elements we discussed earlier.

5. Write Anthem-Like Choruses

One key element of AC/DC's classic songs is their anthemic choruses. They are simple, catchy, and instantly recognizable, allowing fans to sing along and energize the live performances. To capture the spirit of AC/DC in your song, craft a chorus that is easy to sing and memorable, with a repetitive structure and powerful vocal delivery.

6. Choose a Powerful Vocal Style

Arguably, one of the most significant characteristics of AC/DC's music is the unique vocal stylings of their lead singers (Bon Scott and Brian Johnson). To write an AC/DC-inspired song, choose a powerful, gritty vocal style that emulates the raw energy and passion of the band's legendary frontmen. This will add authenticity and personality to your song, giving it that unmistakable AC/DC flavor.

7. Roll With Simple and Straightforward Lyrics

AC/DC's lyrics tend to be straightforward and unpretentious, often focusing on topics such as rock 'n roll, partying, or rebellion. When writing your lyrics, adopt a direct and simple approach that captures the energy and spirit of the band. Stay true to their storytelling style by using colloquial language and common expressions to convey your message.

Now that you've learned the essential elements of an AC/DC song, you're ready to create your rock masterpiece. By following these steps and incorporating them into your songwriting process, you can capture the essence of AC/DC's sound and style. And with Lyric Assistant by your side, you'll be well on your way to crafting the perfect song that resonates with fans of this iconic band. So, pick up your guitar, channel your inner rockstar, and start creating the ultimate AC/DC-inspired song today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the defining elements of an AC/DC song?

AC/DC songs are defined by their straightforward rock-and-roll sound, catchy riffs, driving bass lines, powerful drumming, and distinctive vocal styles. The simplicity in their song structures, predominantly using power chords, and the consistent loud and energetic performance, are key components. Their lyrics often focus on themes like rebellion, partying, and rock and roll itself.

Is there a specific songwriting process I should follow to write like AC/DC?

While there's no one-size-fits-all process, AC/DC's approach typically involves starting with a memorable guitar riff, around which they construct the rest of the song. A strong rhythm section supports the riff, followed by devising a catchy melody and lyrics that embody the band's carefree and rebellious spirit.

How important is the guitar riff in an AC/DC song?

The guitar riff is paramount in an AC/DC song. It's often the foundation and the most memorable part of their music. Iconic songs like "Back in Black" and "Highway to Hell" are instantly recognizable by their riffs, which are both simple and powerful.

What kind of lyrics should I write for an AC/DC-style song?

Lyrics for an AC/DC-style song typically revolve around themes of rock and roll lifestyle, personal freedom, sexual innuendo, and blue-collar pride. They're often straightforward, avoiding overly complicated metaphors or messages. The key is to keep them catchy and in sync with the song's energy.

How complex should the drum part be in an AC/DC song?

Simplicity is key for the drum parts in an AC/DC song. The beat should be steady and driving, complementing the guitar riffs without overshadowing them. A solid backbeat is more important than technical complexity.

What are some characteristic features of Angus Young's guitar solos?

Angus Young's guitar solos are characterized by their blues-based structure, high energy, and skilled, yet straightforward, phrasing. He often uses quick finger movements and vibratos, sticking to the minor pentatonic scale for his blistering solos.

Should I focus on acoustic or electric guitar for an AC/DC song?

AC/DC songs prominently feature the electric guitar. The driving power chords and riffs that define their music are best achieved with the distortion and amplification of an electric guitar, providing the raw and powerful sound they're known for.

Can I incorporate other musical styles into an AC/DC-influenced song?

While AC/DC is known for their consistent rock sound, incorporating elements from other musical styles could add a unique twist. However, it's important to maintain the core characteristics of the band's style to ensure the song retains the distinct AC/DC vibe.

How significant is the bass guitar in an AC/DC track?

The bass guitar in AC/DC tracks plays a fundamental role in building the song's groove and providing rhythmic support. While not typically the focal point, the bass lines are key to driving the songs forward and adding to the overall heaviness of the sound.

How important is the vocal style in replicating an AC/DC song?

Vocal style is crucial in capturing the essence of AC/DC. The lead singer's voice should have a gritty, powerful quality, often with a raspy or screaming touch, embodying the raw energy and intensity of the music.

How can I make sure my song has the 'AC/DC energy'?

To capture the 'AC/DC energy', prioritize a strong, memorable riff and build a tight, propulsive rhythm section around it. Maintain a sense of raw power and simplicity throughout the track. The energy often comes from the performance too, so play with confidence and attitude.

What tempo is most common in AC/DC songs?

AC/DC songs often fall into a mid-tempo range, but they can vary from moderate to quite fast-paced. Aim for a tempo that supports a solid, driving rhythm and allows the riffs and vocals to shine without rushing or dragging.

Are there specific chord progressions that AC/DC frequently uses?

AC/DC often relies on simple, blues-inspired chord progressions using power chords. A common progression is a variation of the I-IV-V sequence, which provides a strong and straightforward harmonic base for their riffs and melodies.

What key signatures are best for writing an AC/DC song?

AC/DC typically writes songs in common rock keys that suit the guitar, such as E, A, D, and G. These keys allow for easy access to open strings and power chords that give the guitar a fuller, more resonant sound.

How can I create a memorable chorus for an AC/DC song?

For a memorable chorus, aim for simplicity and repetition. The chorus should have a catchy melody that can be easily sung along to, with anthemic and empowering lyrics. Think of how choruses like those in "You Shook Me All Night Long" quickly engage listeners.

Can I use guitar effects to enhance the AC/DC sound?

AC/DC's guitar sound is famously straightforward, primarily relying on the natural tone of cranked-up amplifiers. However, subtle use of effects like reverb or delay for solos can add dimension without straying too far from their core sound.

How much musical theory do I need to know to write in the style of AC/DC?

A basic understanding of musical theory, including chord structures, scales, and rhythm, is sufficient to write in the style of AC/DC. Their music is more about feel and energy than complex theory.

Can I write an AC/DC style song on my own or do I need a band?

You can certainly start writing an AC/DC-style song on your own, especially focusing on the guitar riffs and basic song structure. However, capturing the full energy and sound of the band typically requires the dynamics of a full rock ensemble.

How should I approach the recording process of an AC/DC-style song?

When recording an AC/DC-style song, aim for a live, unpolished feel. Minimal overdubs and a straightforward production that captures the energy of the performance are ideal. Recording the band playing together in one room can help achieve the authentic vibe.

Do I have to have a certain type of voice to sing AC/DC songs convincingly?

While having a voice similar to Bon Scott or Brian Johnson could help capture the AC/DC essence, what's more important is the attitude and energy you bring to the performance. Focus on delivering the vocals with power and conviction, regardless of your vocal type.

What's the best approach to learning AC/DC songs on guitar?

Start by listening to the songs carefully and try to play along to get a feel for the riffs and rhythm parts. Practice playing with a metronome to nail the timing, and focus on perfecting the simple elements that give their songs such impact.

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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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