As a non-guitarist, how have you approached composing music for the guitar? Tim Risher

As a non-guitarist, writing idiomatically is a difficult task. I have been more successful lately, but it remains a struggle. I have a few practical rules I will list below that I try to follow (the key word here being “try”):

1. Before composing, I try to “hear” the instrument in my head.

2. Simplify. Keep counterpoint to the minimum. Remember that a guitarist uses but 3 fingers and thumb on the right hand. Write what you want, then remove notes.

3. Work closely with a guitarist and be prepared to edit again. The guitarist knows the instrument and its limitations better than you.

When you succeed, you have real guitar music, and not just a piano piece arranged for the guitar.