Do you guys sing while playing?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Danko, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. I'm a lead singer in my band. And playing DB while singing is a challenge for me. Aside from the intonation problems on both (singing and bass playing) while doing two jobs simultaneosly, I have another problem which I'd like to ask you guys about...

    I can't reach above the 5th position without moving my back and head toward the body of the bass. That's normal. But there is a mic in front of me I need to sing into. So, I can't play high while singing. Do you guys use a headset mic in such cases? If yes, what kind whould I be looking for?

  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I can do it well on electric bass, but trying to sing while playing URB really throws me out of whack. My intonation gets really bad when I have to split my attention. Chalk it up to inexperience, I guess.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I thought this was going to be about Jazz players who sing their solos at the same time as they play them ....I've noticed a few recently and as a listener, I find it really irritating - although I appreciate all the reasoning and arguments about it helping you to play melodically etc.
  4. D McCartney

    D McCartney crosswind downwind bass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Tacoma WA
    I am trying to learn to do this too. The only thing I have come up with is practice practice practice. :) If I know the bass and vocal parts so well that I don't have to think about either one, then it seems to comes together. Like Mike says, it seems easier with BG. I would be interested in any ideas from the pros.
  5. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    Yes I sing while playing and they're almost always different parts. Very challenging, as the issues are the same for both...intonation, timing, dynamics...but lots of fun IMO.

    My first classical bass lesson, interestingly, had me singing and playing and counting the lines in unison to train me to keep in my mind what I was doing and anticipate what was going to happen next.

    I don't ever go up to thumb position while I sing so I haven't had this problem (yet LOL), but I'd say just keep doing it and experimenting with whatever comes to mind and you'll eventually find a way through that works for you.
  6. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Maybe you should not go above 5th position while you're singing. ;)

  7. Maybe. I have other band members sing lines where I "really need to go up there". But it's the matter of freedom. I'd like to be free on bass aswell as in vocal part, but stupid mic that has a fixed hight prevents that.

    Let me say it's phisically possible to reach thumb position and sing. I've tried. :) But then you really have no control of what is happening on the bass + your spine looks like a letter "S", and I don't think that is very healthy. :meh:

    I'm looking into various headset mic solutions. For now, AKG seems promising, but I'll keep digging.

  8. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I was just funnin', man. You know, the ol' thing about no money above the second position.
  9. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    In the past I have found it difficult to sing a melody and play a bassline at the same time. Generally it helps to minimize shifting (which usually means playing an absurdly simple line and staying in low positions haha).

    Good luck, though!
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You oughta e-mail Jim Ferguson (I think his membership is still here; if not do a GOOGLE to find his website), he plays great and sings great and does them both at the same time. He's been doing it for a long time, but he should be able to talk about what he worked on when he was coming up.

    My best recollection was that he was a singer before he was a bassist.

    He's a great (and really nice) cat, so don't feel weird about contacting him.
  11. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    New Jersey
    Yeah +1 on Jim Ferguson :bassist:

    It made me think of Kristin Korb too...her website has a bunch of pictures of her playing various concerts

    She keeps her head up all the time and that makes total sense to me.
  12. rob f johnson

    rob f johnson

    Nov 15, 2005
    nelson bc
    thats where your sound is. if you can hear it play it. sing without making any noise!
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Rob, he's talking about actually singing like a vocalist, not singing along with what he's playing. If he sings "without making any noise", he's gonna get some funny looks.
  14. rob f johnson

    rob f johnson

    Nov 15, 2005
    nelson bc
    thanks ed, i was just making a general comment about singing or not singing.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Unless miming to a backing track!! ;)
  16. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes!

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    What about using one of those headphone-type mics that go over your ear or something. There are some good ones out there, prolly have to worry about bleed from the bass with your head getting closer; but they're usually pretty good about not picking up too much background noise.
    My $0.0199999...
  17. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I can sing while playing and love doing it. I've done it on gigs and although I haven't done it in a while, I'm planning on doing a little bit (only this time only as a backup singer) for an upcoming show. I've never found it too hard but there are limits to the bass lines I can play while singing. Usually the changes have to be pretty simple. It is great practice to play bass lines and sing the melody - start with ballads.
  18. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    I've been working on this recently. Try playing the melody and singing the roots as well.

  19. Thanks I'll try Jim and Kristin.

    I've seen Ron Carter's concert few weeks ago here in Zagreb, and he also moves his head very little (like you say Kristin does too). Day after that in the same room John Patitucci concert - he is moving his head and spine up and down where his hands go.

    I'm more like that, putting all my body into motion. That's why it sucks for me to sing into a static mic while playing.

  20. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    does singing Pennsylvania 65000 count? :D