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singing and playing the bass

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by Jazzfiend, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. Jazzfiend


    Nov 30, 2002
    I have an extremely hard time staying in time when i sing and play the bass for this one punk band I'm in. Do you have any tips or exercises(other than singing and playing bass:D) that can help me with this skill?
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    This, I can tell you from experience, is gonna take quite a bit of work, it's harder than it looks. To start out, work on a simpler bassline. Then, get that bassline down solid. Next step, make sure you know the vocal melody and lyrics well. Work on the two seperate before you bring them together. Combining them is hard, but it helps to have something there keeping time for you, drummer, metronome, etc.

    It's a process, but once you get a few down, it'll be cake after that.

    PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT but nobody's perfect... so why bother? ;) Good luck.
  3. AdamRuckus

    AdamRuckus Guest

    Mar 21, 2003
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Hi all, i'm new here, but this is something I've had to tackle lately. The first tip is fitness! Be fit, or get fit. I've found that fatique & having to breath is a big cause of vocal timing problems, especially important during more energetic songs. It also expands your lung capacity, improves your voice quality and your range if those things are important to you!

    And have you tried the Tai Chi approach for specific phrasing/playing problems? ie, Get really familiar with specific songs at half speed with a click track then speed it up.
  4. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    you're right - there's a lot to be said about breathing right but I think the big hurdle is co-ordination - doing two things at once is a tough deal but can be done w/prac. you just kind of have to force it at first and then slowly it'll come around, that's the way it's worked w/me. not practice to make perfect but practice just to get it to be doable! what is perfect in the real world anyway? that's a pretty high goal to shoot for, I think. more realistic is just getting a hang on things to make them exciting and fun to do.

    on bass, watt

  5. please dont tell me its that 8th note over and over and over again punk music....that wouldnt be hard to sing to...ill assume its some more complicated music, in that case, you either got it or you dont. but with a crap load of practice and KNOWING the music, almost anyone could get it down.
  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    We were all beginners at one point. Wheter or not jazzfiend is a beginner to bass or not he's a beginner to playing and singing. So I recommend working on 8th note punk/singing. As "easy" as it is, it is a good start.
  7. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    whole notes work good too!

    "beginners" truly is a relative term. once, I heard someone say, "the only thing new is you, finding out about it." that's a trip but true!

    practice practice practice

    on bass, watt

  8. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    The advice on simplifying the bass line is good (Sting has been criticized for doing this). I find that I can strum chords on a guitar and sing along, but trying to keep a nifty bass line going, well, it just seems to be more incompatible. Anyone else notice this?

    Going completely against this, I can usually sing along with Rush while playing Geddy's busy lines, maybe he works this out specifically, but this is an anomaly.

    Anyway, in the end, the only real answer is practice (isn't that always the case?), and patience, don't worry, you'll get there!
  9. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    totally - but then look at what jugglers get going!

    on bass, watt