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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bass18, Nov 20, 2001.
Does anyone have any tips to help practise singing while playing a rythm on bass?
Learn both parts separately first. I would suggest the bass part to begin with. Once the bass line becomes comfortable to you, then start with the vocal portion. I've found many times that it's easier to find the correlation in the two parts this way.
Best of luck!
.....That's why bass players who sing lead vocals are indeed a rare Breed !!!
McCartney, Sting , Geddy Lee.....to name a few of the more famoues ones.....have all commented at one time or another on how they accomplished it.
Like said b4......learn each part so it becomes 2nd nature.......then work on putting the 2 together...making mental notes of downbeats and lyrics which correlate. It takes time and practice...
Even Geddy himself admitted that he tried to keep the bass part simplier when vocals were written over top......and there are some bass lines/vocal lines that are just very hard to perform live.
I have a question about this stuff... when you sing and play at the same time a lot, do you get better at doing it in the first place, or do you have to practice as much every time? I guess what Im trying to say is, does it get easier the more you get used to learning songs that you sing and play bass in, or is it just as hard every time?
Speaking from my personal experience only.....
I've been playing bass for about 24 years.....
....and Playing bass/singing at the same time has definately gotten easier for me .....
There are still tunes that take a bit more practice than others .....and some that are just impossible for me to do both !!!
As with most things we do......with repetition it gets to be 2nd nature.
It, like anything else you do, does get easier over time, but singing and playing bass is never an easy trick, and i've been doing it for years. Like the others said, some songs really kick my a$$ to sing and play on, and it's not always songs with a real complicated bass line, for me it's the cadence of the song that can be tricky for me. It just takes going over and over it and starting to feel comfortable, some i never do feel real comfy on, some come right away. I do disagree with learning the bass and singing parts seperatly, i mean sure you have to learn the words and melody, and the changes and bassline, but i really think you need to be doing what your going to do live when you practice. So, for me anyhow, i play and sing a new song a right from the start, with the cd 4 or 5 times, then i'll stop and go over certain parts over and over. Then i'll record myself playing and singing it and go back and listen to the parts that make me cringe and listen to the song again and work on them. Might consume some time, but i don't know any shorter way to get stuff down right. Trent
i write lyrics that are very rythymic with the bass. that way the way my mouth and vocal chords move is similar to the way i'm moving my hands for the bass. i also play fast so there are a lot of lyrics.
but usually i start playing the bass first, then work on doing both.
Pacman is a fat slut and I want to whack him in the face with a bad-smelling pillow.
That is all.
i sing some parts in my band and play bass. singing and playing is very frustrating at first. learn how to play and sing seperately first. than sit down and try to play and sing without any amps by yourself. thats how i learned anyways. dont give up. its very hard at first. but with practice youll get it.
I am bad at singing while playing too, I end up singing in the rhythm of the bass line. I try to play songs that have really simple bass lines eg Blink 182. Now I am trying 'Little Things' by Good Charlotte, which I am having a whole heap of trouble with, I can't even sing the backing vocals!!
This is one of those times when standard musical notation actually helps.
First, I agree with what so many have said, to get both the bass and vocal parts into your head separately. If that doesn't do the job:
Write out the vocal line, and write out the bass line on a separate staff beneath it. Take care to keep every 8th note and 16th note lined up vertically (that is, make sure the "and" of beat 3 on the bass line is directly below the "and" of beat 3 on the vocal staff, etc). Then you will see how the parts relate, which word you sing at the same time as which bass note, when you should be singing a word when holding a bass note, hitting which bass note while resting in the vocal, etc.
Then, you can slow the whole thing down and practice it slowly. Then build up speed until you can play/sing it at tempo.
this is one fo those things i find to be really difficult. its easier to write your own stuff and sing it to your own basslines, than to sing a song while playing a bassline that the original singer wasn't playing.
another thing, if you notice Les Claypool (Primus/Oysterhead), he only sings while playing slap, and Mark Hoppus (Blink182), and Mike Hererra (MxPx), only sing while playing with a pick.
i think playing with your fingers and singing takes extreme coordination, but if you can get away with picking or slapping, it cuts down on the amount of coordination you have to devote to playing the bass.
If you want some practice, learn to play "Chick Magnet" by MxPx.
actaully mike usually uses his fingers....barely does he use a pick
I'm fairly sure mike does use a pick most of the time. in fact, he rips the hell out his strings with his pick to the point where he has to rotate between two basses between every song to stay in tune while playing live. I seem to remember mike using a pick when i saw MxPx, i mean, i didn't actually see the pick itself, but its tough to play with your finger when you're moving your entire arm up and down from the shoulder.
I'm sure there are some songs that he plays with his fingers, but in general, to get the kind of rythms that he uses would be infinitely easier to play with a pick, and especially so while singing. Listen to The Theme Fiasco and tell me he's not using a pick. Not to mention the clarity of the notes being played indicates pick use over the muffled sound of using fingers.
While its true that most MxPx songs can be played with your fingers, I'm just saying that Mike does use a pick.