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How to sing and play?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rum Ham, Aug 9, 2019.


  1. Rum Ham

    Rum Ham

    Jan 28, 2018
    Ohio
    I've recently decided I want to create my own songs where I sing exclusively amd play bass.
    I am having a very tough time trying to play a traditional bass line and sing. So I end up strumming the bass like a traditional 6 string.

    How can I get better? (other than practice). Is there anyone who has or is struggling like me?

    'llMy melody is ok at best. It's the singing during a chord change that is kicking my butt. I have to stop, change chord and continue. So everything ends up sounding like a hybrid rap sing thing. Not there is anything wrong with that but I am not aiming for that.

    What I am hoping to find is a tip or trick I can utilize. I am open to all suggestions.
    Except the smart @$$ who suggests I stop singing even though my neighbors suggest that .
     
  2. DrewinHouston

    DrewinHouston Not currently practicing Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    You have to get the bass line down so well you don't think about it, then add the singing. Or get the singing down so well you don't think about it, then add the bass playing.
     
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    It's not easy. I have to know both parts very well, then I go through very very slowly (beat by beat) figuring out how they "interleave" rhythmically and melodically. Then just practice from there to speed up to tempo. But that "inverleave" part is slow and excruciating to figure out (for me). Once the two lines become "one thing", though, it can be incredibly fun to play / sing.
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    This never works for me. I have to do all that on both sides before I even start the actual "hard part". (Counting beats and even eighths to see how they fit together.)
     
  5. DrewinHouston

    DrewinHouston Not currently practicing Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    To me it was similar to how you learned to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time as a kid. You do one, get it to be autonomous, and then add the other.
     
    Ekulati, Gr00veJones, Rum Ham and 3 others like this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    For me, I have to boil it down to a sequence of events shared between the two lines - whatever note I'm on (whether voice or bass), I need to know what the next coming "change" or "event" is (whether voice or bass). Once I've got that, I've made the two lines one thing in my brain.

    The "make one autonomous" thing never worked for me.
     
  7. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    This is how I see it. It's no different to how a pianist plays with left and right hand independence, or how I approach things when I play the Stick. I have to consider the whole rather than have one or the other element on autopilot.

    But the independence has to be developed and nurtured. Simple exercises like singing a major scale in 1/8 notes up and down one octave whilst playing a major arpeggio in 1/4 up to a high 5ths then back to the octave can help...

    ScaleArp.JPG
     
    Wasnex, Rum Ham, jefkritz and 3 others like this.
  8. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    That's all there is to it. At least one needs to be able to be put on autopilot while you focus on the other.

    Of course, with enough practice and proficiency, both eventually become like second nature.

    It does involve hard work, especially for bass. It is SOO much easier to sing and bang out chords on a guitar.
     
  9. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    I find it very easy to sing and play guitar but very difficult to sing and play bass. Sadly there is no quick easy trick for this. I guess for some folks it just comes natural, but not for you or me it seems. The way to do it is to spend as much time as it takes practicing singing and playing bass. For me I am often playing syncopated bass lines that contrast rhythmically with the vocal. For each song, I need to learn where the words fall in the bassline (this word coincides with this note, etc) and give it a lot of repetition until I'm sure I'm doing both things correctly.
     
  10. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    True enough, though you can certainly use the "sing and bang out chords" on bass, it just doesn't sound quite the same. :)

    (My craptasmic attempt, strumming and arpeggios):
     
    teh-slb, RiffwRiter, Rum Ham and 2 others like this.
  11. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Getting better at anything always requires practice. That said, I first learn the bass part. Then I practice playing and singing the song very slowly, half or quarter tempo. That helps me know where the syncopated parts are, between playing and singing, and how they fit together. I usually will go over those parts multiple times. I may even put them in a loop, and play and sing them over and over. Then I start speeding it up, until I am at normal tempo.
     
  12. Samatza

    Samatza

    Apr 15, 2019
    Learn both parts separately then slowly bring them together. As you get better at this it will take less and less time to get new songs under your belt.
     
    Rum Ham and danielnorris like this.
  13. rocu

    rocu

    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    This may sound snarky or maybe too obvious but it was an epiphany for me:

    Pick songs that you can sing and play at the same time.

    In the beginning they will be simple and few but as your skills improve you will be able to grow your repertoire.
     
  14. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    No snarky, waaay too obvious and bang on point...
     
  15. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Here's a couple more. The first is just a variation on the one above, but a little more tricky and in D this time. The second is from a well-known UK band, and it took much practice to get down...
    ScaleArp2.JPG
    BrokenGlass.JPG
     
    Rum Ham likes this.
  16. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    There's no other way to get better than to practice. Maybe practice differently?

    Just like when learning left hand/right hand parts on piano, learn each part so well independently you don't have to think about them, then put them together. Then go back to doing them independently. Then put them together again. Do that over and over and over until everybody within earshot is whining. Then do it some more.

    Honestly, don't mean to be snarky, but it's not practice if you're just trying the same thing and messing up every time. You gotta break it down. Eventually, it just works!
     
    Rum Ham likes this.
  17. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    Minnesota
    Read through @jive1's tutorial/thread on singing/playing. It helped me immensely and I keep it bookmarked whenever I am struggling with a new song.

    Bassist's Guide to Singing
     
  18. I sing/play all the time. Know your lyrics. Find your best key. Focus on your voice, projection, pitch accuracy and articulate in a style commensurate with your genre. I beg you do not think that excessive reverb and effects improves anything. It just sounds cheap and amateurish. I go very minimal reverb or completely dry. Speaking of dry, keep yourself hydrated. Know how to EQ the PA. Lastly play your bass on "automatic."
     
    Rum Ham likes this.
  19. Eminor3rd

    Eminor3rd BLAAAAARRGGHH!!

    Feb 10, 2008
    NYC
    Close your eyes. Trust me
     
    Rum Ham and RichardW like this.
  20. nilorius

    nilorius

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    At first you should learn how to sing, then how to play without sing, then how to sing paralel with play.
     
    Rum Ham likes this.

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