recently I've been playing mostly acoustic guitar. One of my main goals is building up my song repertoire so I can play at a barbecue, campfire etc. Until the end of the year I want to add another 10 songs to my repertoire. Which brings me to my question:
How do you come up with your own arrangement of a song?
I'm not talking about a fingerstyle arrangement but rather a simple chord-based strumming version of a song. It's not the chords I'm having trouble figuring out. That's usually pretty easy. The thing I'm struggling with is making a song my own (if that makes sense). Usually I would play along with the original record and most of the time the original arrangement works well as a campfire version. But there are instances where it just does not (different tuning, recording slightly out of tune, too fast/slow, parts being played on other instruments etc.). So I'd rather come up with my own arrangement.
For example one of the songs I'm working on is 'Africa' by Toto. The original record is quite fast at over 180 bpm and a campfire version at that tempo simply doesn't sound very good. The song's prominent parts are all played on a keyboard or synth, including the solo so I'm not sure what to do with this section. So I'll have to re-arrange the song for it to sound good.
Also, how do you practice your own arrangement? I'd rather play along with the original song or even a backing track than a metronome. But since it's an original arrangement that's not an option.
Any ideas and input would be much appreciated :)