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bassists who sing...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by joebar, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    in my current band i am a bassist who sings about half the time and almost always as a harmony.
    i am a solid bassist and when i sing, i simplify my lines a great deal which i don`t mind.
    the funny thing, is that i would rather someone compliment the vocals (not just mine) in the band than any one instrument.

    are there any other bassists that would rather be known for their vocals as well as their bass playing, or is singing just a means to an end; the cost of doing business as a bassist who happens to be able to carry a tune?
  2. I like to sing and I don't like to sing. Not that I "sing"... It's more like yelling or grunting on key and sometimes not on key. :D Like you, I have to simplify my playing when I'm singing even if there's room in the song to make it interesting. I also have to play with a pick in order to keep time. Total mental timing block when using my fingers. That and I've sang in my last two bands so I'm probably better at playing with a pick these days, anyway.
  3. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
    I get the same mental block when trying to sing while playing. Just can't seem to do it.

    Guys like Pinnick, Lee, Wooten, etc that can play complex lines and sing complex melody at the same time (or even have a conversation) amaze me.
  4. Kenny Vasoli from The Starting Line is a great singer bassist, as is Fat Mike from NOFX.

    There's also Dan Smith from Listener, whom I feel is the best at that simply based on the fact he does 'talk music' so he doesn't really follow the bass rhythms.
  5. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i have heard and experienced it, that playing bass and singing vs. singing and playing a guitar for example, is harder due to different syncopations and rhythms.
    especially if the songs you are playing WERE not written by a bass player.
  6. tbplayer59


    Jan 20, 2013
    When asked how he sings and plays complex bass parts simultaneously, Geddy Lee said that he practices.
    FoxInSocks likes this.
  7. scatbass


    Feb 4, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I'd rather be known as a great musician and entertainer than as a bass player or singer.
  8. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Man I'm not that coordinated and have lost gigs because I don;t sing. I envy you. A singing bassist is a gigging bassist is what I say. I however don't look for compliments. leave that to the lead guitars, horns, and lead singers. Just play and sing your azz off. That is the reward. That you can.
  9. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Sir Paul, Sting, & Geddy come to mind

    in my band I sing harmony on several tunes and sing lead on 3 or 4 songs. For some reason singing and playing bass don't conflict in my tiny musicians brain, I can do it without compromising either.
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I sing a majority of our harmonies and I take the lead for a song or two. We also have several songs where all 4 of us take a verse, so I sing lead and harmony there as well. People know my voice and I always have a great time singing. I prefer playing bass, but I sure do love singing when it is my turn.. I don't really care what people think about if I am a lead singer or backup singer. Hell, I am usually glad when they remember I am in the band!
  11. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    it is funny because i wouldn`t call myself a singer. but when people hear me sing, they respond to it. so i guess i am.
    it is good to be able to wear more than one hat as a musician.
    hard work doing both together but satisfying as well.
    compliments aren`t important. but if the band was complimented for the vocals, i would feel that we were on the right track-the average person notices voice more than instruments i would guess
  12. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    check out esperanza spalding's version of 'endangered species' for some terrific singin' and pluckin'!
  13. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    The trick to singing while playing is to practice doing them at the same time, all the time.

    -Signed, I sing while I play, and I do not simplify my parts.

    Seriously it is a brute-force kind of thing guys. There is no magical formula. You learn by doing it a lot.
    FoxInSocks likes this.
  14. Finneus

    Finneus Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Oswego, IL
    Think about this... If a band has a lousy singer, people leave the venue. If the bassist is average, he/she won't sway people one way or the other. I also sing lead and play the bass, I definitely feel that simplifying lines not only to sing better, but also to engage the crowd is a small sacrifice musically that pays major benefits to the entertainment value in the end. I do agree though, the more you run through every song, the less you will find that you need to simplify.

    People may not realize that the vocals and harmonies are a big part of what is separating an average band from a top notch one, but that is often the case.
  15. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Yeah I started singing backup just because I was the only guy in the band who could do it, but since then I've always sung - always harmony though, no lead duties - and I enjoy it as much if not more than playing the bass.

    I suppose I just like the role of contributing rather than leading. I get stuck in adding hooks and improving arrangements including vocals and brass, and adding turnarounds and middle 8s and stuff. I like seeing the improvement to a tune, and luckily I play with a lot of guys who write good tunes but don't really know how to make them great tunes. :)
  16. jaibeau

    jaibeau my fingers hurt Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Endorsing Artist:MIKE LULL / ERNIE BALL
    Best advise I got at age 17 from my bass teacher when he asked if I really wanted to do "this" for a career...he said "learn to sing and you'll always have a job." He was right-
  17. ive kinda grown attached to just yelling into a mic myself, its good fun :bassist:
  18. BryanM


    Dec 15, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    +1 to this, I started singing because a lot of times the rhythmic style of my songwriting didn't click in other peoples' minds. I initially simplified a lot of things when playing them, but I wouldn't simplify the writing. After having played a particular song out 50-100 times and four times as much at practice it just comes naturally to play it the "right" way while singing. It also feels really good when someone recognizes the complexity of the bassline and the vocals together.
  19. I don't know. I think someone complimenting my songwriting and composition skills would make me the happiest.

    Also singing while playing complex lines is simple, not easy but simple. Just spam eithe rone until it's second nature then do the same with the other part. That's how I can play in 6/8 while I sing in 4/3
  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    My guitar player ends up getting a lot better on this song, and we replaced the drummer, so no need to focus on his initial speed-up, but this is a song I am very proud to sing and play.

    I don't do many lead vocals while playing bass; that's why we take TURNS on bass.

    But I do enjoy it, and hope to do more in the future.

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