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How do i play bass?...AND SING

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by spidersnake, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. spidersnake


    Aug 20, 2005
    i've been playing for awhile but i always have to concentrate on what i'm playing very often i can no concentrate at all on what i'm playing but if i concentrate on something else i start ****ing up left and right. whats a good exercise to learn to play and sing at the same time. i swear i can't even scream while i'm playing like AHHHHHH AHHHHH. what i've been trying is saying the ABC's alound kuz thats the most basic thing to say any other idea or do i need a better brain.
  2. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    1. Learn the bass part. I mean really learn it, as in no looking at the fretboard.

    2. Learn the vocal part. I mean really learn it, as in sing it by itself, no background music, no drums, nothing. Just you and your vocal cords.

    3. Start putting them together. At first you will suck. Accept it. Keep working until you get it right.

    Every subsequent time you do a song this way, the time it takes will become compressed. After a while, you'll be able to eliminate steps 1. and 2.

    Most important thing to keep in mind: you will suck at first. Get over it and keep working. Do it in complete isolation if you must.
  3. There is a good sticky on this in the Managment section. Going through the same thing myself!
  4. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Singing and bass playing is much harder than singing and guitar playing. I found the best way is to play along with a recording of the song that you're REALLY familiar with.

    After I have nailed the bass part, I sloppily play the notes with the bass volume all the way down while singing really loud with the song. Singing really loud helps gives strong feedback through your ears and helps you to phrase your singing independently of what your hands are doing.

    A good exercise to try this with is the intro to Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith since almost everyone knows that song and how the vocal is phrased.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you do Sweet Emotion, though, just try to sing with the verses and not the intro riff. That's hard as heck to sing and play for a beginner.
  6. core


    Aug 4, 2005
  7. Just learn one to the point where you don't have to think about it. I sometimes struggle with this too because I play in church. Every week, we come together on Sunday and play for about 15 minutes before the service. That's the ONLY practice time we have. Then we play a set of 5-10 songs we've never seen before. Usually, they are just chord charts and melodies too, so I end up having to make up a bass line while reading the words and notes at the same time. It gets a little confusing at times, but I come well prepared. When I practice at home, I play a lot of scales and arpegios, so when I look at the charts, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with the song. Then I can worry about the words and melody.

    It's just something that takes a lot of practice and a lot of messing up! Eventually you will get the hang of it. Just keep going.
  8. Spikeh

    Spikeh Sex Strings

    I've got the same problem at the moment - I'm trying my hardest to sing and play bass, but all 3 elements in the equation go skewiff! My right hand plucks to each syllable in the word instead of what it should be, my left hand trys to do what my right hand is doing and my voice tries to sing the song in the tone of the bass! It's insane... lol.

    I know 'Otherside' by the Chili's off by heart - the bassline and the lyrics - I can sing it without thinking about it, and quite well (if I do say so myself ;P), I still need to look at my fretboard every now and again to get my bearings (And luckily the more complicated bits in the song don't have lyrics). The guys I jam with want me to sing, and I really want to... but I just can't do it!

    Any further ideas on this one? I've tried just saying "lyrics lyrics lyrics lyrics" to the tune of the song, which does help, but my voice still tries to mimic the actual bassline!
  9. core


    Aug 4, 2005
    lol, yeah, I have the same problem as you. I often find myself singing along with the bass line instead of the melody, producing quite bad-sounding music, if I don't say so my self. Another thing I do some times is play my bass line at the tempo of the melody instead of its own tempo, which messes me up a lot; I usually end up dropping the song.

    Don't really have much advice that would work for everybody. Personally, I like to focus more on the lyrics and leave the bass line to itself. A lot of times, that means that I have to simplify the bass line, or that I'll miss a few implied chord changes, but as I'm not particularly good at playing bass without thinking about it, that's the best I can do.

    I think that it would make sense if you tried to get more familiar with the melody of the song, perhaps even learn it on bass =) or something. Whatever your preferred method of familiarizing yourself with a song should work best. Personally, I'd just listen to it as much as possible, even if I'm not paying attention. It might just be the placebo effect, but I like to think that the music sinks in subconsciously even when I'm not listening to it. Good luck...