We’re always on the lookout for innovative gadgets, software and books that can make songwriting and creativity easier.
I’m a “one for you, one for me” kind of person, so whether you’re buying for a friend or yourself, we want to make sure you know the best that’s out there!
And – if we found a bundle that gets you the product for the same price as the product alone, that’s the link we’re providing. Hey – if you can get free stuff, why not!
We only list products we have used and value. If we believe it’s a good fit for our members, when you buy through some links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for supporting SongChops!
How To Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy
I love this book because it’s all about just getting one song done. My favorite chapter starts on page 125 and encourages you to steal from other songs. That’s right – steal. One thing we love to do on SongChops is take a deep dive on other people’s songs.
Why? Because they’ll inspire you to write your own songs using some of their very cool chord changes, phrases, rhyme patterns or takes on song structure.
This book is all about finding your path to your first song.
Creativity: A Short And Cheerful Guide by John Cleese
Whom better (yep – it’s whom) better to learn creativity from than John Cleese?! Yes, I’m a huge Monty Python fan, but being a Cambridge grad and all he’s a pretty smart guy.
This book will help you learn how to make imaginative leaps, test your ideas in a constructive, supportive way and establish ways to feel inspired daily by finding inspiration around you.
This is one of my favorites for feeling good about the tough job of being creative.
Long Story Short by Margot Leitman
Now that you’ve got your creativity on, what about the story?
Well, being a better story teller can only help your songs that follow a storyline. This one is easily applied to songwriting, because songwriters like Neil Young are highlighted.
If you want to write more compelling story songs, this is the book for you!
Song Maps: A New System To Write Your Best Lyrics by Simon Hawkins
Sometimes you just need a simple way to figure out (1) what kind of story you’re telling, (2) the arc of the drama, and (3) how you resolve the story.
I love this book because it helps make storytelling easier for me. Truth is, I’m not a great imaginative story teller. Sometimes I need a little light at the end of the tunnel just so I know my story isn’t veering off into the darkness. This book frames out a solid course to take when writing story songs.
Song Maps Workbook by Simon Hawkins
And the workbook is a great way to practice!
I’ve gotten several good songs out of using the workbook and giving myself an assignment, because it gives me a direction to follow, and one less thing to think about!
I’ve also taken some of the assignments and tweaked them a bit based on a parallel song prompt. You’ve got lots of creative options with this one – for $6!!!!
The Songwriter’s Survival Guide by Judy Stakee
Great read if you occasionally feel uninspired, or you’re not quick sure which step to take next. Judy Stakee helped rediscover and shape the careers of Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Gavin Degraw, Joy Williams and more.
I found this one as a result of taking Kris Bradley’s (Produce Like A Boss teacher and LA music producer) “Voice Memo 2 Demo” course.
This is the USB version, which is great for going directly into your computer. If you’re setting up a recording studio per her course (check out the free course here), you’ll need the XLR version below.
This is the XLR version of the AT2020. This works well with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Solo. If you’ve got an interface, go with this Cardioid Condenser microphone. Because it’s a condenser mic you’ll need a power source. The Focusrite will handle that part with phantom power.
This one is a package that includes a boom arm and headphones for a nice price point.
This is a super solid USB microphone. I’ve used this for livestreams as well as into an interface to record. If you’re looking for better quality vocals, the Audio-Technica is the better option.
If you need something for podcasting or music live streaming that will pick up the room because you’re not plugging in with your guitar, this is a handy option.
If you already have an XLR mic or want to better manage your sound inputs from both your microphone and guitar (or keyboard), this interface is high quality for a great price.
This one has separate controls for your vocal and instrument, an output with volume control for your headphones, as well as a USB out so you can connect to your computer. Turn your great-sounding XLR microphone into a great sounding USB mic.
A little more flexibility with your inputs, but the same Focusrite quality. You get everything the Solo has, but you have versatile input interfaces to allow for two vocals or two instruments plus “Air” boost for both channels.
If you’re going the route of Produce Like A Boss programs, and recording at home, this one is the way to go.
Are you tired of your ear bud string hanging down into your strumming hand, all so you can hear what’s happening during your live stream?
These $18 ear buds are your solution. I use these when I’m on conference calls and when I’m a guest on a live stream. Connect to the device you’re using and you’re good to go. In a duo like me? I wear one and my duo partner wears the other – no more dangling wires!
Guitar stands matter.
I know, you can get one for $14, but if you’ve got kids, pets or other people (or maybe yourself) bumping around the house, do you really want to entrust your $300+ guitar to a $14 stand that can’t even fold properly after 2 months of use?
These stands are great for any occasion, and you won’t have to worry about anything happening to your guitar.
They make one with a folding neck, which is handy if you’re gigging.
If you end up going to guitar pulls or song circles you could take a full-sized stand, but why bother when Hercules makes this handy, sturdy and reliable travel version.
I have both this one and the Lite. Go with this one. It’s just as compact and you can trust it won’t tip over regardless of how big your guitar is – I’ve used with a Gibson Advanced Jumbo on gravel.
I love this tuner! It’s so accurate and easy!
Strum to see which string is out of tune. You can also go single string. It has chromatic and strobe modes, flat and capo tuning all on a head stock clip.
Sleek and clean, it has the added benefit of not looking like something you’d find hanging in the shower. Sorry SNARK . . . ummm – OK -not sorry.
Mogami 10′ Instrument Cable
There’s nothing worse than a cheap instrument cable to ruin the sound of your great sounding guitar! If you’re using a digital interface to live stream or record, a cheap cable will likely add buzz to your signal. Don’t risk it.
Mogami cables are definitely worth the investment. Silent handling of your guitar signal insures people hear your guitar – and only your guitar.
I LOVE this cart! It’s great for getting your equipment into a gig. it’s sturdy and folds up to practically nothing for storage, so it won’t take up much room in a closet. Yep – a closet. You can fit two guitars and a small amp in here with no problem.