Singing over complicated basslines

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by BK bassist, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    I can't even sing over a simple quarter note root bassline .... I'm in total awe of bassists who can sing and play at the same time like this, and on a fretless too!

    How many hours of practice went into being able to pull this off?!
    murphy, Caloiski, JMPGuitars and 38 others like this.
  2. BurnOut

    BurnOut It's The Billy Baloney Show

    Feb 1, 2015
    The Natti
    At first I couldn't play and chew gum. I've come a long way since the beginning. I do quite a bit of the vocals now.
    There are still bass lines and vocals that are just impossible for me to do.
  3. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    This one comes to mind also .... between the bassline, and the piano riff timing, I have no idea how Sting can sing a completely different melody line over all of it. This one is also very impressive.

    murphy, joebar, shewhorn and 20 others like this.
  4. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    What's odd is that I can sing and play rhythm guitar, the strumming doesn't mess up my timing but fingering a bass part does. The brain is a mystery drool
    murphy, barrenelly, Monzo and 27 others like this.
  5. BaileyMan

    BaileyMan Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    San Francisco
    It's a lined fretless, not that impressed...

    JK, of course...I couldn't pull that playing off, even minus the singing...
  6. lpbfender

    lpbfender Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2012
    Stamford CT
    Learning now as well.
    1. Get tune transformer app which slows tube dune and can change pitch.

    2. Print out lyrics and make bold fits over where the bass notes are identifying root and chord tones

    3. Lear the bass line so you can play it blindfolded.

    4. Learn how to sing the song without bass until you barely need the lyrics.

    5. Import tune into tune transformer and set speed at 60% and sing and play the root and chord tones only. Until you can add the passing tones.

    6. Gradually raise speed until over many repetitions you can sing and play.

    7. at rehearsal, ask band to play song slower a few times so you can get through newness of conditions and nerves.

    Takes time but if you listen to a lot of early live Sting, many if the tunes are repetitive 1/8's. But he is remarkable as is Lemmy, John Wetton, Greg Lake etc.
  7. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Yes, but how much have you practiced? I find the only issue with singing over complicated bass lines is if the singing requires a lot of body control. Meaning I can sing a melody over the toughest thing I could ever play, but if I have to work to hit the notes; get the phrasing; or put myself into the trance, even a simple bass line would mess it up.
    bdplaid, Sherlocat, eJake and 5 others like this.
  8. lpbfender

    lpbfender Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2012
    Stamford CT
    A lot. If you need to learn how to sing and/or structure the tune... that adds time.

    A pro singer charts a song with breaths, phrasing and notes.

    Many apps and YouTube to develop breathing.

    Key is to know both the bass line and vocals cold and thoughtless. For some, that takes a long time
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Esperanza Spaulding is a very tough act to follow. She's someone who has it all. Talent, taste, tone, skills, and "the look."

    What's not to be impressed by?
  10. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    I find it very easy to sing while I'm playing. It's too bad I'm not very good at singing in key, otherwise I'd be a real threat :cool:. I don't let that stop me from singing along during live stuff, though (albeit without a mic).
  11. jwilson67


    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    It's just like anything else you learn musically - you do it until it becomes second nature. I've gotten pretty good at singing and playing bass and it feels good to the point that I want to do it more and more and don't really think about how I'm going to pull it off.

    That being said - what she's doing in that video is pretty amazing.
    BaileyMan and BK bassist like this.
  12. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have read articles and watched interviews with pros who say that one of the two - either the bass playing or the singing - has to be completely committed to muscle memory. You have to know the one or the other to the point where you are not thinking about it, then your brain can focus on the second one.
  13. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    Since nobody else has mentioned him so far...

    Geddy Lee is the god of simultaneous singing/busy bass parts/bass pedals.

    Resume thread.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  14. ToneMonkey


    Sep 27, 2003
    Newberg, OR
    Me too. But piano players learn to sing over two hands doing quite different things. IME, something has to go on autopilot. Also, breaking it down and learning each element on its own, then recombining slowly, and building tempo gradually is the only approach that has ever worked for me. But then again, I have almost no talent. Some ability, but not much talent.
    JeffC23, Sherlocat, timplog and 4 others like this.
  15. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm even more in awe of Piano players who can sing, lol ... that's a whole other level! I'm not much at multi tasking I guess.
    younkint and Charlzm like this.
  16. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    If you ever get a chance to see her live, don't miss the opportunity. She's every bit as charming and lovely a person as her elegant looks and formidable talents promise her to be. I've seldom seen a musician or performer of any stripe connect with the audience as quickly and personally as she does.
    Speedhitter, Sherlocat, eJake and 5 others like this.
  18. BassFishingInAmerica


    Jul 24, 2014
    Yes, it takes practice to play and sing, but I believe you have to have a brain that functions that way, just like some people are born left handed, mathematical or artistic.
  19. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I love Esperanza Spalding. If you think that is impressive watch her do that on an Upright...
  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    For me, it took a *plethora* of hours! I used to play in a YES tribute band (mostly their 70's material). Prior to putting that band together, I had been playing Yes material on my bass for decades and I knew the bass material very well. But in the YES tribute band, I not only played bass, but I forced myself to learn to sing Chris Squire's very odd, contrapuntal vocal harmony parts. Oh man.....that guy is all over the place with his vocal harmonies! It took me hours and hours and hours (actually months) to nail it. There was no easy "short cut" available. I just had to put in the time to do it. But since I'm the one who put that band together, I felt that I needed to step up and learn my vocal parts to pay correct tribute to the music. After months of practicing by myself, I finally got to where the vocal parts became programmed in my mind to match playing the notes on my bass, kinda like wearing down a path in my neurons. No one else forced me to do this. I chose to do it. And in the end, it was all worth it to me because I had a blast performing that music in that band! :thumbsup:
    Ramana, GBass001, Thwack and 18 others like this.
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