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It is tough to sing while you play the bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Rod Barchetta, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. AceOfBassFace


    Jun 23, 2019
    There's been a lot of great advice already on this thread - I'd add this:

    Pick really easy songs to start. The idea is to get some early 'wins' to keep your motivation going. Memorizing the lyrics and the chords/bass line first so you don't need to read them really helps. Ramones, Weezer, ZZ Top, CCR, Tom Petty, Neil Young come to mind as bands that have lots of popular songs with easy lyrics and vocal melodies, and basic quarter-notes-on-the-root bass lines. Cinnamon Girl is a really great song that's super-easy. Moonage Daydream by Bowie is another good one - a bit trickier in the chorus with the descending bass line that doubles the backup vocals, but still doable and gets easy once it 'clicks'. Save the Stevie Wonder/Jamerson songs for a real challenge later once you can do the simple stuff.
    J R Knots, Thundertips and JEDI BASS like this.
  2. I don't know how Geddy does it. He plays keyboard and keyboard pedals, too. I don't think that's just from practicing a lot. I think it's God given talent, too, as they say.
    KJMO and JEDI BASS like this.
  3. KJMO

    KJMO Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    Horsepower. He's got more cores.
  4. Mariachi507


    Mar 10, 2020
    The Holler
    It's definitely hard. Somehow though, despite not being the bassist I feel I should be at this point, I do rather well while playing and singing simultaneously. Like anything else, it just takes practice.

    Start off easy and work your way up. The busiest parts of bass lines don't often occur in the middle of vocal parts. Think of "Fly by Night" as an example. In the chorus, the bass and vocals match each other fairly close. Then the vocals rest for a moment and the bass follows that up with that double triplet run. Of course it doesn't always work this way, but you have to pick your battles.

    For me, it was using the same part of my brain that make my hands work together on piano. I started off small, and before I knew it I was pulling off Zeppelin's "Ramble On".
    Jacobaeus likes this.
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