Tips and Tools for Outdoor Songwriting

Achieve your musical goals while enjoying the weather

Published September 7th, 2018 by Nathan H.

Summer is almost over! The season has flown by and we only have a limited amount of time left to get outside and enjoy the weather. This can create a bit of a conflict for us songwriters. For the most part, our gear doesn’t exactly play nice with nature. It stays in cases, gets polished, can’t get wet, and isn’t easily transportable. Should we just stay inside and write? Do we enjoy the weather and neglect our music? How do we get the best of both worlds?

Every job requires the right tools, but sometimes it can be hard to find which tools will meet your needs. When it comes to creating music on the go, we have some great options available to help you attain your musical goals and have some fun in the sun, all without breaking the bank.

Yamaha JR1 3/4 Scale Acoustic Guitar

I bought the JR1 a few years ago as a travel/outdoor guitar. While many people see this model and think it's just for kids, it works great for anyone who wants an inexpensive alternative to take with you out the door. I've tried the slim travel guitars that don't have much of a body, but I found them extremely unnatural and distracting. I’ll take the JR1 to the lake and write or practice without worrying about the heat, bugs, etc. It’s comfortable to play, stays in tune, and actually sounds quite nice. Definitely one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made. Exposing guitar strings to the elements does cut down on the life of the strings, so be sure to check out our Complete Guitar Bundle that includes two extra packs.

Explore Our JR1Bundles

Roland GO:KEYS Music Creation Keyboard

Playing outside isn't just for guitar players any more. Piano players can now get outside with this battery-powered, compact keyboard. Not only was this instrument specifically designed to be portable with solid, yet lightweight construction (less than 10lbs), it is also incredibly easy to make loops on and features a range of sounds. The Bonus Pak bundle gets you a cable to connect your device and earbuds for private listening. It really is an incredible value that gives you enormous creative freedom.

Explore Our Roland GO:KEYS Bundles

Ukuleles

Have you ever tried playing a ukulele? They are very easy to learn, tons of fun, and are extremely compact instruments. New instruments can help unlock creativity you never knew existed. Former Beatle and guitar legend George Harrison was a known ukulele enthusiast, giving ukes to almost everyone he met, including Tom Petty. We offer some affordable options, including the Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele - Black UKE ESSENTIALS BUNDLE, Ibanez UKC10 Concert Ukulele UKE PAK, and Kala KA-15T Tenor Ukulele - SATIN UKE PAK.

BONUS TIP: For guitar players who don’t want to learn a new tuning, Baritone ukuleles are traditionally tuned to the top 4 strings of a guitar in standard tuning (D-G-B-E). A great option here would be our Kala KA-B Baritone Ukulele - Satin UKE PAK.

Explore Ukuleles

Portable Recording Devices

When I write, I often start by fumbling through chords and mumbling melodies. The Voice Memos app is great for small snippets of ideas and mumble tracks. But once I start getting some momentum, I transition to a portable recorder. The Zoom H2n has served me well for the past 7 years, and I highly recommend it or any other similar model. Not only do you get a higher quality recording, I’ve found it easier to sort and file ideas later. For some good starting points, I'd recommend checking out Zoom H2n Handy Recorder PERFORMER PAK and TASCAM DR-05 Handheld Stereo Recorder BONUS PAK

Explore Portable Recording Options

Notebook/Sheet Music

Smartphones, tablets, and portable recorders are great, but putting pencil to paper is still one of the best ways to remember your ideas and lyrics. Bringing some good old-fashioned paper along with you is never a bad idea. Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to our roots. A few years ago, I bought a blank journal from a local leather maker. It goes with me everywhere! It houses all of my lyrics, set lists, and brainstorms.

Manuscript Paper Available Here

So don’t be afraid to get out there, breathe in some fresh air, get inspired by nature, and write some songs. With the right gear and friendly weather, you’re in great shape to stay creative while enjoying the great outdoors.

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