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My bitter sweet realization that I should not pursue singing

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Flatwoundround, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    I came to the conclusion that AT BEST I am probably a C- grade singer. In fact I believe with hard work the best I could get to is an average or slightly above average singing to incorporate into my solo bass playing.

    I got disappointed when this truth hit me finally. I have heard really good singers (A+ to B+ range) and there is such a world of difference between these singers and the average level which is about the best I could hope to attain.

    What makes me feel better is watching guys like Michael, Steve, Stu Hamm, Victor Wooten, Jeff Berlin and many others who play solo bass without singing and they sound FANTASTIC!. So I decided that the energy I would put into singing would be better placed into making the bass alone sound musical and fantastic.

    I have been working hard on the Stu Hamm tapping song "Te Extraneo" and it is starting to come together with the syncopated rhythms with right and left hand tapping.

    I guess my point is that even though I was already very inspired by the bass players listed above now I am even more inspired by them because I see it as a realty that with hard work I can sound good playing solo bass without the singing included in it.

    Way off topic here but how do you solo bass players deal with stage fright? For me there is more stage fright playing alone vs. playing in a band since all the focus is on you.

    Thanks much.
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I firmly believe that Bass is the hardest instrument to play while singing. At least when considering typical Rock N Roll instruments. I can sing Ozzy and a lot of Robert Plant but never while Playing complicated bass lines.
    I really do not want to "dumb down" my bass playing to allow me to sing. That wouldn't do the songs justice.
    I have just recently turned down two great bands because I don't even want to sing back-up.
    Many feel singing is a necessity and it just may be. However, if I was going to sing then I would become a lead singer.
    The fact of the matter is that I am a bass player 1st and foremost.
    Some day I will leave my mark on this world as a bass player but for now I have mouths to feed.....
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I used to have a good bass (perhaps contra bass) voice - useful in a choir situation, but not at all in most other musical contexts. Then I had half my thyroid removed, and in the surgery, I lost the use of a few notes at the top of my range, making my voice COMPLETELY unusable for most musical contexts. And then, I began playing in situations where there are really good singers. The kind where the audience's mouths drop open when they begin to sing.

    Yeah, as singers go...I'm a bass player.
  4. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    There have been many successful musicians who are not particularly good singers or players. They are entertainers. Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimmy Buffett are examples of this. None are great lead guitarists, but they have them in their bands. They sing lead, but may not have the best singing voices. Their gift is that they please you with their songs, stories and effort. You don't have to be a great singer to be effective. The same can be said for bassists. Playing simple lines that are the right ones are more effective than complex lines that aren't. The secret is to find a balance. If you can sing well enough for backups without compromising the bassline, that's better than a lot of players. The bass usually runs against the vocals rather than with them. This is why it's so hard to play bass and sing lead. It really helps if you get the bass part down pat, then sing over it. That way you're concentrating on the phrasing of the vocals. Hopefully, the bass will become almost automatic. If it's any consolation, I have the worst singing voice ever, so you don't. :cool:
    Jonathan West likes this.
  5. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I tried it when I was younger. Realized I'd need a LOT of training, besides never had the lungs for it anyway. Between cigarette smoke at home and in college for 20 years, then at work for almost 20 years, and deterioration from acid reflux, I might be able to train and do a Whisperin Bill Anderson but that's it. Unless the venue is full of smoke too. I'd rather just play bass.

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