1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Frontman bassist

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ripper91, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Ripper91


    Jan 6, 2008
    Well it looks like I will be taking up singing duties along with one of he guitarists in my band, do any of you guys have some tips for singing and playing at the same time? If anyone could suggest any rock/indie covers we could do in which it isn’t too hard to play the bass and sing that would be useful too :)

    One final question after singing at practice I ended up with a bit of a sore throat, is this normal or am I doing something wrong?

  2. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    My advice. Practice and keep practicing.
  3. i wouldnt worry about the throat thing
  4. Practice. Practice. and more practice.
  5. matrok


    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    find a vocal teacher, wish I would have years ago
  6. Hphazard


    Jan 10, 2008
    Ok, before we went on tour, the singer of my band and I got sent to Ron Anderson, who is the be all, end all of vocal coaches.

    He's about 250 an hour, but here are some of the tips he gave us, especially if you're playing multiple days a week.

    1. Get a good warmup tape from a reputable company or vocal coach, the one we got from him was his personal warmups that we taped at our sessions, we were supposed to do them twice a day, but we usually did it once about 20 minutes before we hit the stage.

    2. Sing from your diaphragm, basically if your singing correctly, its like pushing out a pee. If you push down with your stomach muscles, you get more air to sing with.

    3. As far as partying, smoking is out, if you're gonna drink, drink vodka or the non "sticky" alcohols, beers are out, stay away from carbonated drinks. And by all means, and this is hard when you are on tour, do not over do it, barfing is a no no. As far as the party favors... Just say no kids.

    4. A good decaf tea is good with some ginsing and a little honey. This stuff helped me out a couple of nights too...


    Spray it into your mouth, down your throat while saying "AAAAAAHHHH!!!" and it acts as a natural lubricant for your larynx, this is especially useful in dry, desert areas such as Vegas.

    Also, use a humidifier in your hotel room every night or run a hot bath and leave the water in the tub with the bathroom door open, this provides moisture in the air. You don't want to get "Vegas Throat" (thats where they got it for all you Barkmarket fans), and these things help considerably.

    5. Make sure that the water you drink on stage is room temperature and not ice cold.

    Otherwise, sing your vocals on a daily basis and keep the yelling down to a minimum level.

    Good luck, bro!!!

  7. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Great post.
  8. Wm. E. Evans

    Wm. E. Evans

    Jul 19, 2007
    Southeast PA
    I sing and play in the band I lead (along with two other members). My suggestions (apart from the many other fine suggestions in the sticky thread on bassists singing).

    1. Muscle memory is your friend. Be able to play the bass lines in your sleep.

    2. Song selection is important. There are some songs that are near impossible to sing and play at the same time (or at least would take much more time and effort than just telling your guitarist to sing them; it's much easier to sing and play rhythm guitar at the isame time; I still can't sing and play "Brown Eyed Girl" with the recorded bass line).

    Songs that are more doable include:

    a) Songs with a regular right hand (picking hand) pattern. Straight eighth notes (punk/pop punk, early Police, most Van Halen and Ac/Dc, etc.), quarter note walking bass lines (50's rock), root-5 bass lines (tradition country and folk, early Beatles), staccato notes on the downbeat (60's pop rock), and dotted-quarted/eight song ("Sultains of Swing", country/folk rock) are all your friends. I find that even if the left hand is all over the place, these are still doable, e.g. the song "So Much to Say" by Dave Matthews Band, "Let's Get It Started" by the Black Eyed Peas, and (ironically) "What Is Hip" by T.O.P.

    b) Songs with active lyrics and sparse bass lines. Lots of slower songs and songs in 6/8 fall into this category. I'm currently leading "Elderly Woman Behind A Counter..." by Pearl Jam, for instance.

    c) Songs with active bass lines and sparse lyrics. "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder falls in this category, as well as (ironically) "Come On, Come Over" by Jaco [note, I can't actually play this bass line at full speed...yet].

    d) Lyrical songs (ones that you remember for the melody) are easier than dramatic songs (ones that you remember for the vocal acrobatics/range/screaming). I had to nix "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with my current band because I couldn't sing it and play it at the same time.

    3. Find a competent vocal teacher, or at least order a singing course online if you note any kind of discomfort in your singing. Speech Level Singing, Singing Success, Complete Vocal Technique, Vocal Release, Bel Canto, the Swedish-Italian School, the German School, etc. all have their proponents and detractors [I fall somewhere between Complete Vocal Technique, and Swedish-Italian]. Many vocal coaches will mix and match techniques to get something that works for the individual (the advantage of a competent vocal coach). In general, singing should be supported (not forced) with the abdominal muscles, avoiding tension in the face, throat and jaw, and involve some sort of changing of the space in your mouth with changing register...each school on singing manages to teach these differently, though.

    4. Record yourself singing. The voice you're projecting sounds a lot different than the voice in your head.

    5. Practice with a microphone in front of you, even if it isn't connected. Stay about 2 inches away from the mic if singing mf-f, closer if softer, farther if louder. When singing in English avoid aspirating "p", "t", and "k" at the beginning of words when singing very close to the mic (imitating someone speaking with a French accent works for me on those consonants).

    Most of the above comments and anything else I can tell you has been repeated elsewhere. :)


    P.S. I'm going to disagree with Hphazard's point #2 (with all due respect) "more air" isn't really needed as per the Bel Canto candle imagery [I can sing entire verses of songs loudly on one breath and I'm not even close to mediocre American Idol level], but good support with the abdominal muscles IS need to control the air flow. Note, I have a bias towards CVT explanation of support.
  9. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Practice the bass parts to the point where you don't have to look at the fretboard. That way you can keep your head up for good posture for singing and look out at the audience and interact/front.
  10. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    Hate to break it too your but your vocal coach, though expensive is a moron. #2 will hurt your voice very quickly You do not push or sing from the diaphragm, this limits your range and makes you sound like you are shouting. Diaphramatic action when singing is a reflex action caused by attacking the voice from the mask.

    When you see/hear a really good singer you will notice that their voice is very forward and placed in the mask/ and seems at points in a song to resonate through the mouth and front teeth. This makes the singer very loud and resonant. And the stronger in the mask the singer is the more pleasing the tone. Also, the stronger they are in the mask the stronger the diaphramatic reflection. This is where the whole sing from the diaphragm thing came from. It is a misunderstanding.

    Any coach that tells you to push with your abdomen as the attack or sing as if you are shouting at someone across the street is feeding you very bad vocal instruction that will not produce the best voice in you as a singer.

    Singing from the diaphragm is a technique handed down by a failed opera singer who became a coach and tried to invent new methods of singing that diverged from natural singing.

    I would guess that using this guys methods your range is somewhat limited. I'm not even that great of a singer and by attacking from the mask I have 3 and a half octaves....all of bass and up through tenor, which I can sing very easily.

    P.S. CVT is nothing short of full on BS
  11. Mongo Slade

    Mongo Slade Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    Northern New Jersey
    A couple of thoughts:

    1. Have the lyrics memorized stone solid. If you have to remember the first words to the upcoming bridge section you will be more likely to lose a beat or trash the pocket alltogether.

    2. Breathe. 90% of singing power and endurance comes from good breath support. Practice playing and breathing.

    3. Most of the singers I coach suffer from the same problem-
    You can't sing properly if you are doing an impersonation. Figure out what YOUR voice is and you can sing all night in it.
    If you are trying to sound like the guy on the song you are covering, you are not singing right and you will cut down significantly on the amount of singing you can do that night.
    God gives us all our only instrument and each is unique. That goes for range too. If it feels too high or too low-it is! Most of the clones in the club won't notice if you change the key to suit your range, so don't be afraid to.

    Good Luck and have fun!
    By adding "Vocalist" to your resume', you have increased your own job marketability, decreased your band's overhead, and radically increased your chances for going home with the hot redhead in front of the stage.

  12. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Interesting - what is the "mask?"
  13. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Actually I have to agree with you on point 2. Apart from that, it is extremely difficult to have the right posture while playing bass to sing like that. I think the other points he made were good ones though.

    Another thing I will say is that it is important to learn when to breathe. I personally found this more of a challenge when having to concentrate on playing counterpoint to my vocal lines.
  14. mikethecannibal


    Jan 19, 2008
    erie pa
    the throat thing is natural, i had to do "smells like teen spirit" which is no fun to cover at all not that its a bad song or anything, but it is annoying to cover, but i had to sing it and keep the bass going, and my throat killed me after it was done, trust me its normal
  15. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I have to ignore my bass playing, trust my fingers, and concentrate on my vocals, then things tend to work out. I know what to do when I'm playing bass, I just need to trust myself and let it flow.
  16. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    The mask encompasses, behind the nose, behind the eyes, behind the front teeth, the hard and soft pallet.

    A quick exercise to feel the mask is to first breathe in like you are suddenly suprised or delighted. What will happen, usually, is that your lungs, not your belly, will fill up with air and your soft pallet will flex and raise. Yes you do want to breath into your lungs, not your diaphragm. This is the attack.

    Now when holding this position, with the mouth closed, hum. More specifically go "Mooo or Myoooo," The ooo part will make the breath relaxed and open the throat.

    The flexing of the soft pallet causes the air flow and voice to resonate up into the the pallet, nose and front teeth depending on pitch, vowel or consonant and intensitiy. The more you flex the soft pallet the deeper or thicker the tonality and the more into the mask.

    It's important to keep the attack of the air alwasy as if humming when singing, even powerful or high. Any sudden, ha, ha, ha, or bursting from the chest or diaphram will cause the throat to clench.

    Once you get the "myhoo," to resonant where you feel it in the mask you can experiment with opening the mouth and singing the same note. It's important to note that you should not force more air, as you sing just concentrat on forward into the mask and making singing feel like humming.

    This isn't just for high notes, you can sing everthing from bass up through the highest ranges this way. Singing like this makes it easy to sing and eliminates registers and pushing and clenching up.

    If you happen to sing using the diaphragm or some other way, there will be a transition period. I found the best way over this was to use the Myooo and hum the song with the mouth closed until you resonate and then slowly and gently transtion to singing like humming and using the mask.
  17. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    Ya, I've found having a bass on your chest and or belly, makes attention to when to take a breath more important.
  18. Ripper91


    Jan 6, 2008
    Cheers for the singing advice guys I think I will have to get a bit of vocal training some time in the future, the band has it's first show in a few weeks. Should I be talking to the crowd inbetween songs ect? Or should I just shut up and play the set? :p
  19. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.

    Depends on the music. High energy music play without pause between songs and say something short about every third song. Don't go off on rants you ain't on a behind the music.

    Actually as longs you can keep pauses between songs down to next to nil you will be golden.

    I've found the best way to work the crowd is in a part of the song where you don't sing and the music is already moving them.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.