Playing Bass and Lead Singing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by michelleyas, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    Hi all,
    A similar thread has already been created, yet I unfortunately didn't gain much from it.
    Does anyone know of any songs that have a good bassline that would also be good to do lead vocals on? I have an 'audition' of sorts coming up and I would like to present myself as a package deal.
    Please note that I'm a 15 year old girl, so please keep my range and musical taste in mind!
    Some of my favourite bands include Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Royal Blood. I do enjoy rock music from many eras though.

    Edit: Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I thought I should mention that although I have a female voice it's actually kind of low- a lot of soprano stuff is too high for me.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  2. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    If you like old stuff try In the Midnight Hour, by Wilson Pickett.
    michelleyas likes this.
  3. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Do you know what your vocal range is? As a girl, I assume it's higher than mine (I'm a baritone), but everyone is an individual. If you don't already know, sit at a keyboard sometime and find out how high you can go and how low you bottom out.

    In the original key, at least, Arctic Monkeys are decidedly lower than Royal Blood. I can sing Alex Turner's vocals pretty easily but Mike Kerr is a strain. On the assumption that your voice is indeed higher than mine, you might find it better to try the Royal Blood stuff. Figure It Out is pretty fun to play and probably one of their best-known songs. The other I would think of is I Only Lie When I Love You.

    How about Muse? Supermassive Black Hole is a fun one. Or for something different, try the Cake version of I Will Survive - again, you'd probably want to sing it higher than they do.
    michelleyas likes this.
  4. Downsman


    Jan 30, 2016
    It might be worth looking at songs sung by the bass player to make your life easier. I sing mostly backing vocals but occasional lead, and there are some songs that I simply can't sing and play at the same time, at least not without modifying the bass line. The beats don't quite line up and either my vocals throw off my playing or the other way around. Something the original bass player didn't have to worry about as they weren't trying to do both. I won't try and give examples of singer bass players as that would just show my advanced age, but there are plenty out there. You can always change keys if the original is too low for your range.
    David Pinton and michelleyas like this.
  5. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    As suggested initially look for songs that were originally sung by the bassist. You will probably find that the bass line is fairly simple or repetitive while they are singing. No bad thing really because the majority of listeners are hearing the lead vocals and an over complicated bassline adds very little, and often detracts.

    You have to be able to do one of the activities without thinking too much about it. For me this is playing as I am a far better player than singer, if I have to give more than the occasional thought to what I am playing then my singing suffers. For some songs I "cue up" (or is it queue IDK) the next bass part during pauses in the singing. The easiest songs to sing (for me) are riff based where I set my fingers going and they do it automatically, the hardest are those where the vocals and bass have slightly different, and overlapping, phrasing.

    When I first started I was terrible, if I sang I stopped playing, if I played I stopped singing. With time and a lot of practice I improved.
    michelleyas and instrumentalist like this.
  6. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    How about something by The Pretenders, say Talk Of The Town? The bass part is reasonably straightforward - just a walk around the changes - but there are some nice nuances in the vocal melody and the two parts mesh together well without additional accompaniment...
    michelleyas and buldog5151bass like this.
  7. Ghook


    Sep 25, 2018
    Eastern US
    White Room - Jack Bruce,.Cream
    michelleyas likes this.
  8. Chad Michael

    Chad Michael Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    Pacific Northwest USA
    I sang lead vocals while playing bass, on a few tunes:

    - Eve 6 "Inside out"
    - Green Day "When I Come Around"

    …. and a few others. The trick is to find out what fits your vocal range, and practice both the bass and the vocal individually. Then, put them together. It's not easy (for me anyway) but it was worth the effort.
    michelleyas likes this.
  9. Check out these songs....

    Newer Tunes
    Who Knew - Pink
    Ex’s & Ohs - Ellie King
    Rolling In The Deep - Adele

    Often Requested Oldies
    Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
    Hit me with you best shot - Pat Benetar
    Simply the Best - Tina Turner
    Gimme One Reason - Tracy Chapman
    michelleyas, SteveCS and two fingers like this.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Given the OP's interest in current music, I'd highlight Exes and Ohs out of that list. Big crowd-pleaser tune, very manageable bass line and vocal both.
    michelleyas and Groove Doctor like this.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have always thought a female lead on an older Police song would be killer.

    "So Lonely" starts mellow but kick in at the end. Drummer has got to have the chops too though.

    I sing high male vocals. The Police go ever every time.

    Pink always kills too.

    Sorry, ma'am. I'm WAY older than you so that's all I got. :D
    nolezmaj and michelleyas like this.
  12. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    Nothing that I listen to could be even remotely described as current (with the exception of maybe one Adele cover that features a double bass, I have no idea how old the Adele version is) and my band plays 60's music so I am the last person to ask about song choices.

    michelleyas likes this.
  13. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    I'm pretty new to this website so apologies if this reply doesn't come through haha. I'm not too sure what my range is but I know that Soprano is too high for me. Most Royal Blood songs are also too high for me but Figure It Out would showcase my range pretty well. I love playing Muse songs - I did a bass and vocal performance of Hysteria and it was super fun.

    Thank you for your help!!!
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  14. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    Thanks!!! I'll try this :)
  15. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    I always prefer to focus on my vocals as I'm not a strong singer.
    Thank you for your help!!!!
  16. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    Thank you!!! I'll definitely play around with the Green Day song.
  17. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    Thank you! This was really helpful! There's no way I could pull off singing Adele hahah but I'll definitely play around with Ex's & Ohs!!!! :)
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  18. michelleyas


    Dec 20, 2018
    Thank you!!!
  19. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    You're welcome - and your reply came through fine. If you have access to a piano or keyboard, this might be helpful...

    How To Find Your Vocal Range- Beginner's Guide -
    michelleyas likes this.
  20. If you can hit Linda perry's vocal range try What's Up by 4 Non Blondes. That would sell you as a vocalist and the bass is easy.
    michelleyas and Groove Doctor like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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