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singing AND playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nate 0 jt, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. Does anyone have any tips on how to learn/improve? I can play REALLY, i really mean really, simple basslines and sing but I can't play what i want to play and sing at the same time. Most of my lines arent too busy but im not just pumping the root. could someone please give me some practice tips or anything for that matter. Thank you very much

    Nate M
  2. Orco87


    Mar 26, 2000
    Well, singing and playing isn't my forte at all, but I think I remember another thread of this topic a while back. Basically just practice a whole bunch. And in time if you're cut out for doing it, then you're good to do it, if not then you're not. If you can already do simple basslines and sing, then I think you should just practice a whole bunch on more and more complicated (do it gradually) basslines while singing. It definitely won't be an overnight thing, but I think you'll get it. I'm sorry, but I don't have many tips or anything about singing and playing at the same time. I hope this helps though. :D
  3. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    As someone who's still trying to figure it out myself, you have to try and separate the parts at first. You'll probably want to have the bass part down well enough that you can play it blind, so you can work on the vocals. Sometimes it's by feel, and other times, you may want to match specific words to bass notes. The idea is to sync up the parts so you can do both. I never thought I could do this, but last night, I found that I can almost play, and sing the background vocals to "The Authority Song" from John Mellencamp. That's a lot more playing than I used to think I could sing to. You just have to stay with it, and do it over and over and over. You might even try learning the bass part, and sort of "sketching" in the vocals to help define some structure, then build from there.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Practice, practice, practice. There is NO shortcut.

    Any time the rhythm of the bass line differs from the rhythm of the vocal you may find yourself in trouble.

    You need to have each part down cold. I mean 100% automatic!!! If you have to THINK about either part you're dead. Then work it up to tempo SLOWLY.

    Tape yourself to hear what it sounds like.

    Simplify the bass line in tough spots if you have to.
  5. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    heh heh...

    he said, "pumping the root"

    heh heh

    sorry, someone had to!
  6. huskybones


    Jun 13, 2001
    AZ USA
    I agree that you've got to have the bass line nailed first.

    "You need to have each part down cold. I mean 100% automatic!!!" is right!

    Here's what I did.
    I picked what I thought was the hardest music to play and sing. For me this was 1. Motown 2. Stevie Wonder 3. the Police 4. old-school funk (Ohio Players, Cameo, Lakeside, P-Funk, etc.)
    Once I got the parts down I played the bass really, really, (no really) slowly and worked out (beat for beat) where the vocal parts fell. Then worked this up to speed. As you do this for each specific song it gets easier to tackle new material. The first two or three were torture but number four was definitely easier. I call it "the Hump" and guys who don't get over the hump don't sing and play while guys who got over, can and do. Every singing bass player I know has a similar story. Not to mention the masters Geddy Lee, Sting and Mark King.

    Work slowly. Attend to the details. The rest will follow.
  7. Like almost everyone said, you gotta practice. If I'm learning a cover tune, I'll learn the bass, then the words. And it's quite a bit easier to do backing vocals and play a song. Anyways, it helps to learn the vocals and the bass, and then play/sing along with the cd so you can get the beat down. I've found it kinda tricky just to play a song's bassline without anything else and sing along with it. Having the full sound of the song while you're learning helps a lot when trying to learn to sing and play. But just practice, and you'll get the hang of it. So if you want some easy songs, try some new Offspring songs (Americana, Kids Arent Alright, Million Miles Away) and that might help you get the hang of it, cuz basically, Greg K is just "pumping the root," and then try some more tricky stuff. Oh yeah, fast songs are kinda a pain to sing and play at the same time, every time I play "Staring At The Sun" I sweat quite nicely...
  8. bumpcity


    May 12, 2001
    Well, aside from the obivious, just practicing, one technique I use, though it might seem fairly obvious, is to sort of ease in to it...when I try to do vocals with my band, I will first just try to hear the vocal line I sing while I play it. Then away from the microphone, I will start to hum it, then start to sing it a few times, maybe just the notes without the words, to get the coordination down. When I have done that enough to get my confidence up, I just do the same thing, but close enough to the mic to be heard. It really helps to have a recording of what you are playing, so that you don't have to waste a lot of rehersal time just repeating the song over and over. This only works for me becuase I am not the lead vocalist, so the whole band isn't "waiting" for me, they just sing the lead parts, and are patient enough to wait for me to get up to speed. Hope this might help...but like brianrost said, there really is no substitute for practicing the tune, over and over, until you work up the confidence. The only way out is through.
  9. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Hello friends,

    I know I´m not the best player/singer, but over the years I´ve developed the technic and reached a good level for a metal band, so ther´s only one word I can give as an advice:

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