If there's one Spotify playlist I keep returning back to every time I'm working, cooking, walking, driving, and hanging on my apartment balcony, it's the Acoustic Covers playlist. You can find it here!
Not only is it perfect for my every mood, but it also has some amazing acoustic guitar cover ideas to play! Acoustic covers are super interesting to me because they take a song with an entire band, and condense it into this brand new song that not only shows the beauty of the work of the songwriter, but also the creativity of the person covering it. You are basically working as a reverse band. This Spotify playlist has also given me some great ideas of how I can create acoustic guitar songs out of pop/ full band songs, and make fun covers that people know whether I'm playing a gig or with friends!
Here's some tips if you are wanting to create your own acoustic guitar covers!
1. Put the full band into your acoustic
When you are stripping down a song to just the acoustic part, you'll want to think about your rhythm a lot more than normal. In pop songs, a lot of times the bass and drums/beat make the song catchy and driving, You can do the same thing by thinking about the bass line in the song (like focusing on the low E and A being played like a bass) and transferring it to your acoustic. You can also slap the strings or pat your guitar to add in most percussion elements. I think the acoustic version of Attention by Charlie Puth nails this!
2. Decide on a Vibe
Now that you are doing an acoustic cover, you can give it any feel you want. I think it's really cool when artists take an upbeat song and slow it down for acoustic. It can reveal words that are written from a more heartbroken or wistful place that get lost in production and when the tempo is faster. I think the Gardiner Sister's do an awesome job at this (like their cover of My Love/Hotline Bling). It's interesting thinking about the way a songwriter may have even originally crafted the song to be acoustic.
3. Use Open Strings
My favorite thing on acoustic guitar covers is the sound of open strings ringing out to create a fresh, airy, and peaceful vibe. Most pop songs use barre or Jimi Hendrix-style chords that make for a more rhythmic/controlled sound on electric. I think using a capo is really great for covering these kinds of songs because you can change the song to using chords that naturally have more open strings.
4. Decide which pieces are essential for people to recognize it's a cover
There are certain times I have heard an acoustic cover that they have taken out parts of the song I think are completely essential to its whole feel. So don't just play the chords and sing the lyrics. Think about fun guitar parts or synth parts you can creatively recreate. I like Boyce Avenue's version of Cheap Thrills to demonstrate that, especially how strumming the chords in the beginning mimic the synth part in Sia's original version.
So here is my list of my fav covers on Spotify that you can play on acoustic guitar!
The harmonies at the end of this song are insane and magical!
This cover is gorgeous and I love that it stays true to Adele in that it gives you all of the feels!
I like what they did with the acoustic part in the beginning here. They still kept the song upbeat on acoustic which is nice to not always make the acoustic version really slow.
This one is so fun! This Cheap Trick song already reminds me of some of my favorite 80's movies and I love how this cover completellyyy changes the entire feel of the song.
Who doesn't love the Gardiner Sisters! They are such a cute little family and their voices blend so well. I love this Taylor Swift mash up they do!
I hope you have fun creating your own acoustic covers and drawing from songs that inspire you! If your looking for songs to cover on acoustic, I think going back to 70's/80's/90's songs you or your parents love is always fun. Also choosing pop songs that are really produced and have synth-y parts can be fun because you can completely make up your own guitar part.
So have fun and please share with me if you do make a cover!
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