Backup Vocals

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by j b scott, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. hey all, when i first started playing (not that long ago) i found it completly impossible to play and do backing vocals simultaneously.

    Lately howver i played a couple of songs, and i found that i now can (to some extent)! This has led me on a quest to increase this skill, by playing with songs with backing vocals. :oops:

    So if you guys know some songs which are good/fun/talent-building in terms of getting used to singing backup vocals while playing, could you share these songs with me! :)

    And do any of you make it a priority to actually practise this skill? :confused:

  2. Can't help with songs, but I know what you are saying. I am one of those type people that can only consciously do one thing at a time.

    If I try to sing, I get freaked out when approaching the mic and either don't sing, or forget what I am playing. It takes alot of practice.

    To try to get around this, I am looking into a headset mic for myself so I don't have to "think" about singing while playing.
  3. "in bloom" by nirvana has a great chorus to sing and play. you could probably do the verse if you wanted to, also.
    a lot of nirvana's stuff is relatively easy and FUN to sing along with, while playing.
  4. When I first attempted to do backups, I found it helpful to try and do really really easy parts....that is, screaming.

    Try something like the chorus Self-Esteem by The Offspring. Just scream your lungs out and try to keep the rhythm of the chorus, which is a pretty easy one.

    Also, a lot of RHCP songs have backing vocals that arent really words at all. Try something like Otherside. After you get used to that, try to do songs with actual words.
  5. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    IME, it's easier to sing backup when the bass rhythm is relatively simple. I've also found that it's easier to sing and play bass to songs where the original bass player sang the part you're trying to sing. For example, songs by the Police where Sting sings and plays bass. Rush doesn't count though.;) And like anything else in music, the more you practice the better you get at it.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    "I Saw Her Standing There" - learn the actual backing vocal, it's not as harmonically simple as most rock and roll songs, does throw you for a little loop.
  7. Sinker


    Dec 4, 2002
    Newark, DE USofA
    I'm a harmony guy. I've always played guitar and sung lead or harmonies. Now that I'm learning bass I feel like an idiot. Even simple bass lines seem to shut down my 'harmony brain.'

    Practice, practice, practice....

  8. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Coming from that drumming background, it was easier for me to do this musical multi-tasking. But you still have to sing in tune!

    I stand at a slight angle to the mic so I can still see the fingerboard on new tunes until it becomes instinctive.

    After a while you just dash up to the mic to do your part because you gotta rock the tune out!
  9. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Like the man said....practice, practice, practice.

    2 ideas for you.
    Get the bassline nailed, so you can play it without thinking, muscle memory. Then you can play, even some complicated syncopated lines, and sing over the top.
    the other guys in my band still find it amazing that I can sing and play 'superstition', and 'stuck in the middle'

    A tip from one of my friends...
    think of the bass/guitar and voice as one instrument, not two. Treat them as the left and right hand parts of the piano. He practices songs, learning both parts bar by bar. Sometimes making up charts on graph paper, telling him where to play or sing on each half beat.
  10. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    get each part down by heart and combine them...

    ummm, Mest has alot of songs with backup vocals...especially alot of songs off of "Wasting Time" i.e. "Electric Baby", "Drawing Board", "Long Days Long Nights"

    and they aren't really hard songs to play

  11. I play bass and sing backup in my church band. I find that sometimes its good to just stop singing for a second to make sure the bassline sounds right. I do that alot.

    Anyways, play some blink 182, anything by blink 182 really is easy to play and sing.
  12. Anything by Danko Jones. it's more play, then sing, then play, but it's still good practice. And if it's not practice then it's at least fun, which builds self esteem witch you allso need for singing and playing.

  13. "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath is a good song for singing and playing, and "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones is allso good, even if you just play the what the guitar playes.
  14. Try singing along while playing scales, not only will it help your ear but could also help you stay in tune. Though may not help too much when singing and playing different rhythms.
  15. I can only play and sing at the same time as long as I play the same melody as I have to sing
  16. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    ah, I do about half the vocals for my little group, but i can only do the vocals on the songs that have the same basic melody and rythm as the bassline...i write all teh material so it helps..haha..:D