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Bass and lead singing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by 0scar, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. 0scar


    Jul 11, 2003
    I'm hoping this is the proper forum for this...but I was wondering, how many of you out there are the bass player and lead singer of your band? I want to do this, but whenver I try singing while playing, I lose control of one of the two. Am I doomed or do I just need a lot of practice? I would consider myself a good bassist and a developing singer
  2. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    It takes a lot of time and patience. I sing all of the Rush tunes we do because our guitar player can't play the guitar lines and sing at the same time. It's how it should be anyway. :smug:

    Practice. Practice. Practice.
  3. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Just take it slow, know the lines so you don't have to worry about them to concentrate on your singing. I use the drummer to cue me quite a bit because a lot of times the lines are conflicting with the vocal notes, that's the tough part.
  4. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
  5. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    What exactly is your problem? DO you hear the melody and not the line? It is difficult nonetheless. I concentrate on the melody of the vocal line and then my brain does the rest with the playing. It just happens.
  6. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    I hear ya man. I used to have some serious problems with that, but now since my band finally has a PA that we can use at practice(it really sucked when we didn't lol) I've gotten a lot better at staying on key with my singing, while playing all my lines and stuff.
  7. I sing 90% of our tunes, it's fun :)
  8. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    I am the lead singer in my band as well. At first it was really hard and I would miss most of my notes, but after practicing really hard at it for a while. The way that I do it is, I learn the bass line so I can play it perfectly. Then I'll have the rest of the band play the song and I'll sing to it, but without playing bass. Then after getting the line, and the singing down, I combine them and it makes it much easier. You have to know what your playing and what your singing until you can combine the two. I am in a metal band that mostly does growling but I also have to do some actual singing. It really takes a lot of practice though. I find growling and playing to be harder than actual singing and playing though I do both.
  9. Roberto


    Dec 24, 2004
    I've done some primussongs and no foolin', it's hard. Just learn the lines til u know em backwards. Claypool did it watching tv.
  10. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    16 years or so...and I still can't do it that well. Funny thing is that I can multi-task very well in anything other than playing bass and singing.
    Even playing guitar and singing is fairly easy but bass and singing I just can't do. My hat's off to those that can...it's a tough feat.
  11. Right forum, and the replies are always similar to this question.

    Basically, there is no easy way to play bass and sing lead without practicing pretty hard. It's two different things at the same time whereas some instruments are much easier to play and sing (rhythym guitar). Even lead guitar is easier because most of the lead guitar stuff drops out during lead vocals in most songs. But that low end has to keep plodding along!

    Yeah the songs with different basslines than melodic parts are the toughest and give me fits. All I can say is learn the bassline first and then start working the vocals in. You just have to decide which one is easisest - learn it well enough to put it on auto-pilot and then focus on the other.

    I sing about 1/3 of the leads in my band but sing backup on nearly everything. This was a big challenge for me and a common question around here.
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I have been the lead singer of my band for quite some time now. I agree with what everyone else says, it takes practice. It ain't easy, but I have been having a blast doing it.
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yup, yup... I'd almost forgotten, but that's how I did it for a while when I was getting it together.

    I had played acoustic guitar for a couple decades before I picked up the bass again a couple years ago (not professionally), and I could sing and play just fine, but it's way harder to do with bass! Now it's fairly easy for me.

    Now if I could just sing in a higher range, the band would give me a lot more lead parts! In fact, I think now I'm getting good enough that the band is looking for more songs in my range!

    Keep working on it - it makes you much more valuable ($$$) as a bassist if you can sing too, because many bassists can't!

  14. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I sing lead on 2 songs. It gives the lead vocalist a break and gives me a chance to grab the spotlight. :cool: I agree with all said that it is really hard to play bass and sing lead. I find that it it easier with straight up rock than with funky or jazzy stuff. The main thing is that you really need to memorize to the point that it is unconscious. The old acxiom "if you thinking, youre stinking" applies double if you are singing lead and playing :eek:
  15. Sane

    Sane Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Melbourne Fl
    Yea trying to take over the vocals on our jam band... because the lead now... just doenst have a voice you could say, if you wanted to be nice about it... Its eaiser for me to learn the lyrics and notes to the song first then putting that in some context with the basslines... Its "slowly" becoming easier and I believe subconscious. Nothing beats it though... lead singing bass players have the must fun in the band Imo.
  16. I was a singer first, then picked up the bass,
    so for me it was much harder trying to get the
    bass part right. It was only a short time before
    I was "up and running" though.
    Everyone in my band sings lead at some point.
    And everyone sings back up harmonies the rest of
    the time. I sing quite a bit towards the end of the
    night. Mostly "bar band" stuff like Brown Eyed Girl,
    Keep Your Hands to Yourself, Pretty Woman, etc.
    Earlier in the show, I get to do stuff like Just My Imagination,
    and a mowtown medley.
    I think being a singer first made singing and playing bass
    a whole lot easier. Also, I agree that if you're a "singing
    bass player" you'll have greater opportunities open up for you.
    Even if you don't sing lead, you'll probably find more work if
    you can sing some back up.
  17. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004

    I share the vocal load. We kind of do a Beatles "if you write it, you sing it" thing. Or in the case of a cover, if you introduce it, you sing it.

    As for singing and playing bass, I really never had a problem. From time to time, I mess up one or the other, but I do that when only singing or playing :p Nothing new about me screwing the pooch. I think that some people are just more naturally open to doing that type of stuff. Now, with that being said, practicing it will help. Try practicing bass while doing other things such as talking, watching TV... if you divide your focus while practicing, it should help you to your goal.

    So unless it comes nature, you're doomed to practice it. But hoenstly... practicing is fun, so I can think of worst fates ;)
  18. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm going to start singing lead for a lot more songs with our band starting SOON, dang-it! We had to CANCEL last Saturday's gig because our drummer, who sings two-thirds of the leads, got laryngitus... Grr.

    ..It's not just for the Laryn. thing - he's always talking about 'blowing his voice out', like "we can't work Friday and Saturday because I blow my voice out", or even "we'd better not rehearse on the Wednesday before a Saturday gig, because I don't want to blow my voice out".

    I don't know if he's singing wrong or what, but I'm sick-a-dis! We just have to quit picking tunes that are too high for me to sing!

  19. I've been lead singer off and on over the years. You'll find it difficult to concentrate on one or the other. What I try to do is learn the basslines hardcore so I know them by heart and can play them sleeping, then I can concentrate on the vocals instead of playing. Thats the easiest way for me.
  20. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I sing lead on about 1/4 of our songs, and harmonies on most of the rest.