Practice playing & singing

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by triggert, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. triggert

    triggert Guest

    Feb 5, 2005
    I'm starting to practice singing and playing, which is something that doesn't come easy for me. Can you guys point me to some easy songs to start with?

  2. Earthday

    Earthday Guest

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    The Police

    And I can't stress enough. Learn how to play the bassline on its own, learn how to sing the song on its own, and THEN combine the parts.
  3. Pete528

    Pete528 Guest

    Aug 13, 2007

    Playing any kind of instrument and singing is a challenge, and it's a skill. What you have to establish is being comfortable in doing both things: playing bass and singing. Know the bassline well, and know the lyrics and melody well. What you want to do is make sure you don't speed up lyrics or slur speech, because that will throw your timing off. One nice, easy exercise is to just play a repetitive note on a certain timing and start singing anything along with the beat, so that way you can try to organize yourself a little.
  4. Some people may disagree, but IMHO, try not to sing the actual words...

    What I mean is, when you're playing the bass line, instead of singing the words, using variations of the letter "L" followed by a vowel - la, li (lee), lo (low), lu (lou). My voice teacher in college taught me this concept when singing foreign language songs...I would alway get caught up with correct pronounciation with German, French, Italian, Latin, and yes, even English.

    For Example:
    "Hold My Hand" by Hootie & the Blowfish:

    With a little love,,

    and some tenderness...

    When you're more comortable playing the bass line of your desired song, along with your la's & lo's, then add the words.

    Hope this helps!:bassist:bassist:
  5. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    For some strange reason it seems bass players who are also singers tend to be monsters at both, and the bass playing is often quite intricate.
    Sting (of Police): Some are simple, some very hard. Not exactly syncing with the kick drum. But try "So Lonely".
    Paul McCartney: Really busy bass lines. And a killer voice.
    Phil Lynnot (of Thin Lizzy): Vocal phrasing very groovy. Bass lines not so hard.
    Jack Bruce (Cream)
    Geddy Lee (Rush)

    The list goes on, and I don't think any of them are particularly good starter material. Don't get hung up on the bass player being the singer in the original.

    You need something that's quite simple rythmically. Anything by Bryan Addams, Bon Jovi or Van Halen. I find that it's the rythm that makes it difficult or easy. One of the absolutely hardest is "Don't chain my heart" by Toto. That song keeps convincing me I suck.:crying:

    I also always recommend learning to play without looking at the bass. I can't stress this enough. That helps in may ways. You'll be more confident, free up your eyes for the cheat-sheet or the audience and have better posture. Plus - and this is very important: bending your throat down to the left constrains your vocal tract which makes singing a lot harder.
  6. CallieBum73

    CallieBum73 Guest

    Oct 24, 2007
    Roanoke, Va
    I still cant play and sing at the same time...for some reason, when I open my mouth my arm just stops!!! I leave the singing to the professionals!!!!
  7. triggert

    triggert Guest

    Feb 5, 2005
    Thats a very good point I completely missed. I assumed if I could find music a bassist played and sang at the same time that would make it easier for me. After thinking it over though I just need "easy" songs to sing and play period.

  8. rkatapt

    rkatapt Guest

    Jun 7, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    I've just learned to sing and play at the same time.

    I used to have the hardest time with it.

    It took practice and practice.

    Kinda like the first time you ever drove a stick shift. You have all those things running through your mind. Clutch, shift, steer, watch out for other object people etc, etc....

    After a bit of practice it becomes 2nd nature.

    Like Earthday said learn the part two parts completely on there own then bring them together. It makes it a bit easier.
  9. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    That is an interesting approach. I sing and play the original music I write and a lot of it is polyrhythmic and contrapuntal. I usually start by getting both parts down and then combine them. Usually it's terrible at first but after repeated playing and some linear analysis it eventually comes together. I might try your suggestion there and see how it goes if the absence of thinking about the words helps to put the two parts together more easily.

    I would also agree that if you want to find some songs to sing and play don't just stop at songs sung by bass players.
  10. professor_bills

    professor_bills Guest

    May 17, 2006
    ST Pete Florida
    I have made the mistake of writing some lyrics and singing a little for the band...Now they want me to do it alot more. It is truely a challenge doing melody(Singing) and rhythm (Bass)
    But it certainly has been gratifying to find out people like my lyrica nad voice.
  11. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    It very much reminds me of watching my son(17 now) put right and left hand piano parts together when he was younger. He would learn both separately very well and THEN, as he put it, combine them.

    With bass and singing it is very similar. Learn the bass part very well, well enough to play it without even thinking about it. Then learn the vocal part with the same intensity. Then put them together which, to me, means concentrating on the vocal part as it is "newer" to me. If the bassline wavers just a bit, the vocals get put on "automatic" for a few seconds while the brain checks the bassline. And you go back and forth with a once-in-a-while STEREO BRAIN look at both parts happening at once. After decades of almost no singing, the past year has taught me tons(60 gigs in 48 weeks or so). There are many threads here and elsewhere that describe the "feeling" which is akin to splitting your mind into 2.

    Practice and more practice.
    LIVE experience at it speeds up the "I get it" part.
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones

    That's it in a nutshell. When you can put one (bassline) on autopilot, then you can sing.
    Start with songs that aren't too syncopated.

    One you might try, if you like the style, is Wilson Picket's "Midnight Hour".