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Singing and playing bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Nemesis, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. Nemesis


    Apr 24, 2005
    I wanted to start to sing while I`m playing bass, but I have no band where I need it.

    I would be happy about some recommendations, how to start - I have no idea.

    Thank you very much.
  2. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Try singing the notes you play, or the other way around.
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I suggest attempting tunes from bands where the lead vocalist is the singer.

    Police, Thin Lizzy, Rush, etc.

    I sing lead on occasion in the group I am in and I found tunes where the vocals are originally done by the guitarist were harder for me to do. Timing thing I guess.

    Hope this helps,
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    All good advice. The main thing is you have to be able to sing. If you can't sing, learn. And then it's just a matter of practicing singing while playing the basslines. I sing a lot in the bands I'm in. It's always come naturally to me, but some songs less naturally than others. A few times practicing the tricky songs on my own usually nails it.

    BTW, did you know that the music business is a poophole filled with liars, cheats, and con artists? And those are the good people? Just ask DaftCat! :D :D :D
  5. Whether you're into metal or not- IRON MAIDEN is very much worth your time. Learning Steve Harris' licks will not only help your chops, they also have a way of following the vocals. So even if you can't hit Bruce's range (and I'd be amazed if you can), it will HELP YOU OUT.
  6. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    Beatles is a good place to start.
    Pick tunes you like and want to sing. Learn the bass lines and melody/words separately and when both are second nature to you, i mean you don't have to think about it to play or sing, then put them together.
  7. billio

    billio Bass Head

    Ummm.... isn't that like saying "where the bass guitarist is the guy on bass" or "the guy playing lead guitar is the lead guitarist" :p
    Sorry, couldn't resist that one!

    I play bass in a band and sing backing vocals on most of the songs but sing a few outright, while I'm playing. It took a while to get my hands to be able to carry on while I was thinking about singing or vice versa, but I've found the easiest way for me now is when I'm trying to learn a new song, I burn it to cd and listen to it endlessly in the car, singing along. By the time I've learned the bass lines, I'm pretty conversant with the song (vocally) and it only takes a while to get them to "gel" together.

    Is that any help?
  8. I sing background and harmonies in our band. I have the same issues sometimes. My hands want to do one thing while the cadence of the vocal does something else. CD's and singing along while in the car are a great way. You really don't think about it, you start singing along and when you play your bass lines it just comes together. Some songs require more prep than others but it's nothing that practice can't fix.
  9. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I agree. For difficult tracks, I think it's helpful to think of the vocals and bass as an separate parts of an integrated whole, much like the left and right hand parts for playing piano. Sometimes I'll break each part down in difficult measures, map out where to sing and where to play, and start integrating the parts playing at about half speed. When they're properly coordinated, I'll work up to proper speed.

    After you get the hang of it on a few difficult tunes, subsequent ones will come very quickly.
  10. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Or wright your own stuff like I do.

    G G A
    "Oh Baby yeah"

  11. Ethon


    Jan 25, 2003
    Akron, Ohio
    A good song to start on is 'Ohio' by CSNY

    Also, a lot of Floyd has helped out my singing/playing-at-the-same-time skills
  12. bonscottvocals


    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I sing lead and play bass (yes, simultaneously), and I am 'the lead singer' for a cover band. We do everything from rock to funk/disco to ballads to country. I will prelude this by saying that no one method is right for everyone. I will let you know what works for me and you can try to see if it works for you. I will also say that I played guitar and sang for 30 years, so playing an instrument and singing was something I have done my whole life.

    I thought that since I'd had experience playing guitar and singing that playing bass and singing would be easy. Heck, if Sting can do it, why can't I, right? :cool: So I strapped on the bass and played away, and when I went to sing, my playing suffered. If I concentrated on the playing, my singing suffered. Geesh, what a circle! :eek:

    I found that learning the bassline cold first allowed me to put that on the back burner and concentrate on being the 'frontman'. Believe it or not, songs like "Brown-Eyed Girl", "Come Together", and "Another Brick in the Wall Part II" were tough tunes, but like a drummer who has to have body parts flayling in different times, I learned to separate the timing of what my hands were doing from what I sang while maintaining an intermingling of rhythm and melody. I also increased my bass vocabulary by learning different forms of music so that when I 'jammed', I could play and sing well even if I had never played a song before or was making something up on the spot.

    There's not turnkey solution, it takes time. Be patient and it will come.