Singing While Playing Bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by naruki, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    First just in the name of clarity I am not much of a singer myself so I don't know if this works but...

    I hear you should record the bass part and then record the vocals over it. Then listen to yourself playing and singing it. Supposedly by hearing yourself do it, it tricks the brain into actually being able to do it.
  2. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 vaxx! Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    North AMERICA, USA
    In some of the cover bands I've played with, I always make it a point to find at least one song whereby I sing lead vocals on. I usually wait till the end of the night, so that way I'm warmed up and -since I'm not the world's best vocalist- most of the crowd is very well lubricated. I consider myself a pretty good backup singer, but I'd never ever attempt to be a "crooner" or anything like that. You just gotta do it. Even if you flop few times, you absolutely WILL get better over time.

    Also, talk to some very good singers. I'm lucky because my partner is a trained vocalist so she gives me good advice regarding breathing, approach, mic technique, etc. One of the best things you can do is drink tea before and during the cold soda or alcohol.
  3. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I have played a lot of Rush, singing while playing extensively, and really, it's a lot of practice. You need to know the bass part instinctively, and the same goes for the singing. You can't afford to devote total attention to either of them, so you have to be able to go on autopilot for both. It's practice. Even though I've done a lot of songs playing bass and singing, and sometimes even managing loops and rhythm tracks at the same time, I'm never able to sing and play a new song the first time. It gets easier to pick up, but you just need to play a lot, and sing a lot. If you're still working hard at one alone, you won't be able to do them together.

    Keep at it, and it will come.
  4. A bloke was telling me the other day that is EXACTLY how muscle memory works, by focusing on something other than what you're playing, your fingers learn the routine by repetition. He said the point is to train your muscle memory so you know the bass part by feel and don't need to focus on it as you introduce your vocals. I've always done what that other bloke in this thread mentioned about taking note of when vocal rhythms coincide with particular notes or pauses and sound out words more slowly to give me time to find where exactly the music fits.
  5. I honestly think that some ppl are gifted and some aren't when it comes to singing while playing! I couldn't do it even if you held a gun to my head :) for two reasons!! Firstly, when I'm playing I get so into it that even talking is hard, near enough impossible!!! Secondly when I'm playing I am literally humming every single note I'm playing, no problems playing bass guitar but massive problem when I record double bass using a microphone. Funny ey? That is why I have deep respect for Mark King or even Paul McCartney.
  6. True!! But let's be honest, these guys although legends and massive inspirations to most of you guys but still, their bass lines are not exactly the lines of a virtuoso and that's being kind. Love Paul, Sting, Gene for their music loads not for their bass playing. But that's just me. When I listen to Mark King or Richard Bona it's like whaaaat! Now these guys are pedigree bass monsters and I can never understand how they do it!
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  7. Fuzzy Dustmite

    Fuzzy Dustmite

    Jan 25, 2005
    Mesa, AZ
    In an interview with Geddy Lee:

    The interviewer went on to ask how Lee manages the difficult task of singing and playing bass at the same time, a difficult task for most musicians. Is there a trick to it?

    Lee replied: Yeah, especially on some of our songs. Sometimes you write a song that has a really cool riff, and then you write the melody later, and record it separately. Then when you go to rehearse it, you go, "How do I do this?" because one part has very little in common with the other part. It's hard to get your brain synchronized ... you kind of split your brain in two, and, if you practice it enough, it starts to come naturally. Sometimes you have to compromise a bass part a tiny bit to let it fit more comfortably into your brain pattern, but generally I've found it's like Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule [author Malcolm Gladwell says that the best way to achieve success in any field is to spend 10,000 hours honing your craft]. Just keep playing it, [and you will] eventually get it.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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