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Any singing bass players?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Chris Breese, Jan 31, 2000.

  1. Is there anyone out there who is a frontman/lead singer too? This is kind of inspired by the latest Bass Player mag. The lead singer in our classic rock band "retired" shortly after the new year, and the remaining members (3 including myself) have taken on the responsibility of being the co-frontmen/lead singer. It is a great challenge for me.
    Are there any singing bass players out there? What are the most challenging tunes to sing? Do you warm up your voice?
  2. Mik Walker

    Mik Walker Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 1999
    You would not want to hear me sing....

    Phil Lynott did a good job.

    So did Felix Pappalardi.....

    I, on the other hand, remain suitably unknown...
  3. sundog


    Jan 20, 2000
    I have sung some background vocals...just the ooh-ah variety.
    I'm one of those who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
    Seriously though I've always done my singing through my bass...never been interested in singing (other than to sing through a bassline to learn it).
    I have the utmost respect for someone who can play great bass and can sing over the top as well.
  4. Geddy Lee..nough said.......Chris Squire,although not a lead vocalist he had some pretty impressive harmonies and his solo album 'Fish out of water' he does lead vocals,although I doubt he played and sang at the same time in the studio but its good none the less...and dare I mention Less Claypool,his vocals may not be great but the independent timing between the bass and vocals is truly amazing.....try "tommy the cat" on for size... wink.
  5. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    Sting really impressed me with his playing while singig abilty. Niether seems to suffer for the other. I read an interview with Geddy talking about learning to play and sing their songs at the same time before a tour. I never really thought about that before. I guess I assumed that's the way they wrote the song, so it wouldn't be a problem. I constantly sing while I'm playing, but the band won't let me have a mic. smile.

  6. Usedtobejim


    Jan 3, 2000
    I sing lead and play bass in the top-40 band I joined. I think the best advice for vocal warm up would be to sing and relax in the car on the way over. Also be sure you have a proper monitor mix. Too loud in the monitor is better than not loud enough. I could go on. Feel free to e-mail me.

  7. Hey Chris,
    I'm a singing bass player. It's fun!!!!!!!!
    What I try to do is work on one part at a time. Get the bass lines locked down then work out the vocal parts.
    Just like doing scales to limber up the hands, it's good to do the same with the voice. I, too, sing in the car on the way to the band job.
    Check in your area for a good vocal teacher. Learn the right way to "breathe". After a while, it will become second nature! Try singing and playing a 6 string fretless!!! It's a lotta FUN!!!!!!
    Take Care,

  8. I play bass and sing in one of the two bands I play in. I sing C&W. When I first started I was either thinking about the singing and screwing up the bass or thinking about the bass and screwing up the singing. So, after reading a lot threads and various articles, I starting doing the following.

    First, I pick up my acoustic guitar and get the song down solid, key and all.

    Second, I pick up my bass and get the bass part down solid. I find that my bass lines, transitions, etc., are a little simpler when I'm singing than when I'm just playing for most songs. Some lend themselves to getting fancy, but most don't, at least for me.

    Third, I now put the bass and the song together. I've been singing and playing for about a year now and I find that it's getting easier and easier the more I do.

    Try this method. I think you'll find it works quite well. At first though, keep the songs somewhat simple and the bass the same. There's plenty of time to work into it.

    Keep Thumpin'! Sammy!
  9. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    hey Chris,

    I sing lead in my cover band and play 5 string fretless. It takes some getting used to but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's total control. You are playing the bottom and singing the top frequency-wise. It does take some time practicing. I get the bass line down first and then I add the vocals. I also try to learn the changes so I'm not playing the line verbatim I'm more or less improvising to the chords. There are a few songs out there that are a little harder than most.(Rush-type stuff) but with some work it will come together.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I wish I had a nickel for every gig I didn't get 'cause I wouldn't/couldn't sing. Actually, it's hard enough for me to even talk while playing...in my head, I'm usually hearing /1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&a/1e&a2e&a...etc.
    I'm also into shifting things by an 1/8 note...so I'm thinking about that, too.
    Sting gives some more info on playing & singing in this month's BASS PLAYER(3-2000).
    Guys like Peter Cetera(Chicago's original bassist)& Jason Scheff(Chicago's current bassist)are damn good at singing while playing. George Hawkins(Kenny Loggins' band from the '80s)played some wicked syncopated lines while singing HARMONY! Now that's bad!
  11. GRAVY


    Feb 27, 2000
    I am a vocalist that has been in several different bands but have never been able to find a bass player who has been as serious about being in a band as me. I always run into players who just do it to get chicks (not that theres anyting wrong with that, but you damn sure don't marry the first one you go out with and then decide to get married and quit the band)or even worse someone who is hard to deal with and wants everthing there way. So that's why I want to start playing bass and singing at the same time. How long do you think it will take for me to get the hang of it? I also play guitar but not in my band, just stuff that I write and I can sing at the same time. Does anyone have any advice or inspiring words of encouragement? Besides practice, I know I need alot of that! Thanx all- Peace cool.
  12. Usedtobejim


    Jan 3, 2000
    The easiest way to be tight in a band and sing is to have control of your meter. Building a strong foundation is to get to know your drummer. I believe that when you sing, you have a better perceptionas to the meter of the song because you have to sing the lines. If it seems you are more uncomfortable with your drummer than without him/her, you have to discuss meter issues because it's making it difficult to sing and play.

    Stay persistant and consistant and always warm up. Don't be afraid of a mic and be confident.

  13. Usedtobejim


    Jan 3, 2000
    The easiest way to be tight in a band and sing is to have control of your meter. Building a strong foundation is to get to know your drummer. I believe that when you sing, you have a better perceptionas to the meter of the song because you have to sing the lines. If it seems you are more uncomfortable with your drummer than without him/her, you have to discuss meter issues because it's making it difficult to sing and play.

    Stay persistant and consistant and always warm up (on the bass). Don't be afraid of a mic and be confident in your playing and your drummer.

  14. James Knox

    James Knox

    Feb 26, 2000
    I'm an experienced singer, but I've only been playing bass a few months. My band just did our 4th gig together. I sing backup vocals and a couple of leads. My tip for anyone one else is when in doubt simplify. There's things I can do confidently at home or in the rehersal room that become a lot more daunting on stage. If all else fails stick very close to what the kick drum is playing and don't stray too far from the root note, let the guitarist do the clever stuff, just make sure you hold down the groove while your singing.... I think the rest comes with experience, as well as practice.
  15. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    For years, I couldn't play bass and sing, but with practice it finally clicked in. I usually sing harmony, but I used to sing lead on about a third of my band's tunes, and I think it made me a better bassist. I play 5-string fretless, too, which is a challenge, but I love singing harmony now, and feel short-changed when I have to play without singing.
  16. Cool! Thanks for sharing all those tips, everyone! All that info will come in handy. With each gig, I am finding it easier and easier to sing and play bass. When our singer left, we had to have all the words to all the song that he sang, so I was raiding all the lyrics web sites I could find. I bought a couple of those little clips that have a magnet on it, so I could just clip words right to the metal grill of my monitor. This works great! It won't be long until I won't need them anymore, but it really helps to have the words on hand so I don't stand up there and sing "mummummmummummmumu" if I forget the words! Has anyone else been there?
  17. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Great thread. Yup, it's hardest for the bass player or drummer to sing, Sting (among many others) admitted as much in the current Bass Player.

    Every time we lose a lead singer, I end up singing 90% of the songs until we get a new one. Funny thing is, the number of songs I sing after we get a replacement increase (sometimes because of feedback, sometimes dammit, I just want to sing certain songs).

    2 things have helped me, 1st sing with conviction, like you should be singing, not timidly like you got it by default. And I agree, the PA should have plenty of volume.

    Sometimes I find it easier to learn the vocals and words first and then clean up the bass, but usually learn them together. My biggest problem is memorizing the words, I still use cheat sheets, they've become a crutch.

    A helpful hint: Learn to sing and play a song before you introduce it to the band. Somehow, everyone will think that's how it should sound (unless you really suck). This recently happened when I brought in Kenny Wayne Shepard's "Everything's Broken." The lead singer wanted to sing it, and I thought it would fit his voice; but he wasn't at practice the day I introduced it. When he finally started singing it, both guitarists, the drummer, and various others told him "let the thumper sing it."

    Finally, practice playing bass and singing someplace you can be alone, and lock the door! It is so embarrassing to be singing (badly), playing (badly), and open your eyes to see someone standing there lauging at you.

    [This message has been edited by Thumper (edited March 30, 2000).]
  18. SEVEN


    Mar 25, 2000
    ive recently gotten into singing as well and i totally dig it! its definitely challenging and takes lots of work. at first i didnt want to do it but after not being able to find a vocalist that really gelled with the original tunes i write, i got some help and encouragement from friends and got started.

    i started by playing a few simple songs that i knew the bass and vocal parts to inside and out. then i started playing and singing scales as i played and eventually doing more complex songs. the real key i think is to know the music down cold so you dont have to think about it and can just concentrate on the vocals. also you have to know your own voice and what your range is and how to make it work for you.


    Apr 1, 2000
    I sing in my band. The easist song to sing that we play is "other side" because it it is slow and in most parts the bass goes right along with the words. Some hard songs to sing while playing are one where the isnt alot of repition. And when the bass dosent go along with the words (like in "rock is dead", but that song is easy as pie).
  20. Easy songs to sing and play at the same time? Try Brain Stew. Hehe...
    Oh yeah, That Thing You Do ain't so hard either. Other than that...you wouldn't catch me dead singing and playing at the same time.

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