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Singing while playing

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by xtelesquirex, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    Post less. Practice singing and playing at the same time more.
     
  2. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Learn each part separately until you are at a good comfort level with each (lyrics and guitar). If you have to think too much about either when playing, you are already at a big disadvantage.
    And as with all else, the more you practice, the easier it will become.
     
  3. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

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    I wish I knew what to advise.
    I tried working with a keyboards player as a sort of teacher.
    After some effort, the simple truth is that I don't have a good voice.
     
  4. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I’m an engineering manager, a training manager, actually. One of the hardest things for me as a trainer is remembering what it was like when I was just learning. I hope you find these suggestions helpful because I had to learn twice, once when I was 13 and again after I came back to playing after a long hiatus.

    Singing and playing use different parts of your brain. Learn the lyrics first. It can be really difficult to play while your brain is busy digging for lyrics. I learn lyrics in the car driving to and from work.

    Work out what you want to play on guitar. This can range from simple strumming to a complex finger style with an intro, solo, and outro. Bring them together when you’re comfortable with the singing and playing parts of the song.

    After enough time, you’ll be able to work on singing and picking together. That said, I still learn the lyrics in the car.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  5. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Practice, practice, practice. I could say it's easy, but have been singing while playing since 83. I'm a little better and more confident now than I was 37 years ago, but it just takes time.
     
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  6. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I have never had a problem with singing and playing at the same time. I don't play out much anymore, but today, I can't remember the words to songs, even ones I've done for a long time. I keep all my lyrics in a PDF on an iPad on a mic stand, using yellow-green text on a black background, so I can read it easily in the dark. A quick look every once in a while, and I'm cool. I expect this problem to get worse, as I slowly sink into dementia. When I can no longer remember the chords, I'll know it's time to check into a nursing home.
     
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  7. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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  8. jamesronguitar

    jamesronguitar TDPRI Member

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    I can't sing very well, so I don't bother but when I do try its hard to do it at same time. Practice I assume would help, but I need to learn to sing first. I sing with my guitar!
     
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  9. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Holic

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    If it's any comfort, BB King could do it either.

    In the mean time, start with the simplest of 3-chord songs and play slowly.
     
  10. sjwieczorkow

    sjwieczorkow Tele-Holic

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    "House Of the Rising Sun" seems custom designed to facilitate learning to play and sing at the same time. I can think of no better place to start.

    Give it a whirl. After playing it 15 times or so, I bet something "clicks" inside you. I am not saying you will be able to sing and play "Hey Joe" next month, but you will be on your way.

    -Steve
     
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  11. Converted

    Converted TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Try writing a few simple songs yourself, singing them as you write. They don't have to be masterpieces. Even a one chord song.
     
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  12. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Hadn't done it in years, but was playing a little the other night, wife made a request and after two weak beers, I'm anyone's.

    Glad Eddy wasn't around to hear me stumble through How's the World Treatin' You, but I feel like I could get it back to old form pretty quick.

    Just let yourself make mistakes, same as when you're learning to play. Singing a lot sans guitar really helps, shower, car, etc.

    And for my part... I really need to know the song backwards both on guitar and singing. If I lose a bit of confidence or forget how a given line starts, it can fall apart quick.

    GLHF!
     
  13. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I don't play twiddly bits while I'm singing ... just rhythm and chords.
    I can't do twiddly bits and sing at the same time.
     
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  14. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I learned to play guitar only to accompany my vocals so it has always been quite easy for me..I can play fill and backup while singing..
    Then it happened..Took a gig playing bass and was expected do vocals as well..Forget that..I'm just not a bass player I guess..
    My son who played bass for me for three years had the same experience..
    It can be a rough row to hoe..
     
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  15. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    As others have said, practice practice practice and take it slow. It's a "muscle" that needs to be exercised. Once you get one song down pat, it tends to make learning the next one easier.
     
  16. Jowes_84

    Jowes_84 TDPRI Member

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    Hi, late advise.
    I started as a drummer. then as a drummer-singer. But its all the same.
    so, 1st, learn how to count quarters (1234) while playing your guitar parts, learn how to count eights (1&2&3&4&), etc...
    learn how to skip certain notes.
    Have both down 150%, guitar, and vocals-lyrics, on their own.

    Slow everything down to the most boring slowest tempo you can imagine... try them both together, at the slow tempo, it will feel impossible, but do it step by step, you'll get there and it will start to flow at some point. Then you have it and things get easier. good luck.
     
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  17. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Holic

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    you ever play fingerstyle or drums? it's sort of like that. the audience hears the composite happening at the same time (bass, inner strings, melody; or kick, hihat, snare), but to practice it you have to think about the combo of where the parts go, step by step. after a while it all fits like the things sit on top of each other. you might hear it both ways at the same time from your perspective. but you have to break it down rhythmically in order first.
     
  18. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    Me too ! I don't even try... The singer sings, the guitar player plays. Each one his job and all is fine ! ;)

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    -tbln.
     
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  19. Alcohen

    Alcohen Tele-Meister

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    Just learning this myself but my two cents is to simplify the guitar playing. No one will notice if you omit all the embellishments you're proud of. But they sure will notice if your singing is off. Hit the chords, get the beat right, and move on. Soon enough you can add the Hendrixisms.
     
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  20. Bella

    Bella Tele-Meister

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    Some songs are easier than others, particularly if youre playing rhythm and the vocals happens to follow the rhythm. And some people have an easier time merging the two without much trouble.

    My 2 cents, which others have touched on as well:

    For more complex vocals or guitar parts (or both), knowing the guitar parts inside and out before attempting vocals really helps. If you can't play the guitar bits without mistakes or without having to think too hard, it may be best to work on that and locking it in before adding vocals. And by the time you do start the vocals you should know the lyrics inside and out, too

    Another thing that really helps me when a guitar part is a little (or a lot) more involved under the vocal, is slowing it way down, listening/analyzing to where the words of the vocal & syllables should fall in relation to the beats, then start up a metronome/drumbeat at a tempo slow enough that you can at least reasonabley play the tune and begin trying out the vocals without feeling too rushed. It may seem painfully slow, but it will really help solidify merging the two actions. Increase the tempo when you consistently nail it at the current tempo. I like to go 5 BPM at time. Sometimes 10, but 5pm is a small enough increase to not overwhelm, but still large enough to notice the increased speed.

    Do it in chunks. Verse by verse, etc., or even single lines at first if need be.

    It will get easier after nail your first songs as your brain will begin to more easily split its focus.
     
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