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Singing while playing

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

  1. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    THIS
     
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  2. percy

    percy Tele-Meister

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    practice
     
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  3. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  4. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I can definitely only play simple rhythm while singing, with maybe a fill between verses. Some songs, I find quite easy to sing and play, others I’ll never be able to do.

    For instance, Beast of Burden. I can sing it while playing a simplified version of the rhythm. There’s next to no chance I’ll ever be able to sing it while playing the actual rhythm part, with that cool little E-to-A chords hammer on lick.

    I found Refugee pretty tough to get down. Literally took me years to get down singing and playing that one at the same time. Others just seem naturally easy.

    For example, the Weight, Love The One You’re With, Satisfaction, most Creedence.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That was nice, the real thing!
    I plugged in and played some bendy pedal steel and Marshall Tucker approved licks to go along with it.
    Nice to play some music with you!
    I'm a little rusty on that style but the feeling was there.
    Used to play that stuff on acoustic, but my beat up hands can't bend those strings any more.

    I wish I still had soulful singing guitar players nearby that did that kind of honest music, stuff I never considered to be Country or Rock or any particular exclusive style, just good honest music.

    Somewhere along the line, some time after EVH changed the idea of guitar bands into something more flashy and suited for arena audiences, a process got started that has gradually led to audiences not really wanting to go see guitar bands as much.

    Too bad, I wish more of that was still with us.
     
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  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have a heluva time getting the tuba parts on my guitar when playing tunes by The Band!
    Hell I can't even get the piano parts on guitar, from the weight.
    I've tried to get bits of piano on guitar but not a lot of success there...
    Doing pretty OK getting saxy stuff on guitar though!
     
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  7. bluesguy62

    bluesguy62 TDPRI Member

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    I understand your pain. Keep at it, don't ever give up. It's virtually impossible to master both playing and singing a new song simultaneously.

    What's worked for me when singing while either playing guitar or bass is to have one task on auto. Either you've got the lyrics and melody burned into your brain, or you've got the guitar part committed to memory; and refer to lyrics on a music stand.

    I'll give you an example. The "Hotel California" bass line is really challenging to play while singing. What I've done is memorize the melody and lyrics so they're on auto; leaving me free to concentrate on my bass lines and syncing with the drums.

    Best of luck :)
     
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  8. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    That is so cool!
    Wow, thanks.
    Funny you should mention the Tucker Boys now, cause in the last couple of weeks I have worked on (more like resurrected) This Old Cowboy and Last Of The Singing Cowboys.
    Such fun stuff. That drummer! Wow! That guy must have been a jazz fan. I have known only a couple of drummers that can carry that beet.
    When our band does This Old Cowboy, pretty much every time I get all goose bumped up somewhere in the middle of the song. Our lead player just nails Toy Caldwell. It's so much fun.
     
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  9. scotman

    scotman TDPRI Member

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    Metronomes are great and teach tempo discipline. I like to use a fancy metronome called a drum machine. Same result and a bit more interesting.
     
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  10. Terrygh1949

    Terrygh1949 Tele-Meister

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    Just do it. Check out the story of Joe Walsh. If he had not been literally forced to he would never have.
     
  11. Disco Biscuits

    Disco Biscuits Tele-Meister

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    It took me literally 10 years to start being able to sing and play. Granted, I was always more of a lead guitarist than a rhythm player. I also can't play drums, because I can't make the kick drum and snare work in tandem.

    What worked for me: I started playing strictly blues chord progressions in E/E7 while staring off and not paying attention to my playing.(New Speedway Boogie by Grateful Dead is a good example) Playing very slowly. Turns out I just wasn't playing enough rhythm guitar. I felt cursed honestly.
     
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  12. dvh2

    dvh2 TDPRI Member

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    It just came naturally for me. Get a guitar, play some chords, make up your own melody and lyrics. It doesn't have to make sense at first. Just the doing it will help.
     
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  13. UncleGizmo

    UncleGizmo TDPRI Member

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    Think of it similar to fingerpicking. Your right hand is for rhythm & pattern. Others mentioned having a downbeat or “cue” for when to start singing.

    When I think of right hand work as rhythm, I concentrate less on the notes (I trust my left hand most of the time lol) and more on the beat. You can break a song down that way by practicing a capella, and tapping your right hand to your knee or a table on the beats when you’ll be playing a note. That will help the syncopation between voice and playing.

    Also, start simple and slow. Something like Blowin in the wind (Dylan) or No woman no cry (Marley). If you want more of a challenge, think of SRV songs like cold shot or pride & joy. Those give you an idea of rhythmic playing and call/response singing. Even if it’s not your style those are simpler songs that give a little room for making it your own.
     
  14. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I don't have much to add here (lots of great advice), except that once you're comfortable singing and playing a song of your choice, try performing for an audience. I never knew how challenging it was to play and sing until I started doing it at a local open mic night. I got much better with time to the point where I can do now a solo acoustic gig with just a set list on my music stand (no lyrics unless I need to review them before hand).

    And start s...l...o...w... :) A I-IV-V slow blues song like "Hootchie Kootchie Man" is a great learning tool.
     
  15. ChristopherByron

    ChristopherByron NEW MEMBER!

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    You said the problem in your description. "I either focus on trying to sing... or focus on my playing..."

    I'd say, practice each for a little bit... try to put them together... then, STOP Focusing. Don't worry about getting a part right or wrong. Don't try to be note-for-note. When you try to force pieces together they usually won't fit. When you Let them come together, when you're just having fun with it... they'll probably do it all by themselves.

    "Too Many Mind" is a real thing. Look it up on YouTube. (from The Last Samurai.)

    That's my $0.03!

    Good Luck!
     
  16. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    I learned to play guitar and sing simultaneously by humming melody lines and writing original material then moving toward "cover" songs. That took some time, several years in a couple bands. Singing harmonies helps as well. I learned to play piano/organ/keyboard and sing simultaneously at the same time a few years ago. It was a quick learning curve for me and now I can sing and play elton john songs and Chuck leavell style keys pretty well. I'm currently in a band where we do a set of doors songs and I play keys there. You can do it. Keep up the practice and get together with some mates and Rock out!
     
  17. ampsplus

    ampsplus TDPRI Member

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    Hi. I am one of those guys who has been singing and playing for 40 years. My suggestion is to pick a song that you can play on the guitar without looking at the neck, and thinking about what you are playing. Just listen to what comes out of the guitar. If you can play the song without thinking about what you are playing, then you are ready to start trying to sing the lines. Use printed lyrics, and perhaps a backing track to keep your "heard" music familiar. It has become second nature for me, and sometimes I find after I have played a song with the band, I realize I have played all my bass notes where they were supposed to be without consciously doing it (I mostly play bass now, but also have played guitar and sang in bands).
     
  18. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    I started at 50 so I say go even slower. In change areas syllable by syllable. Even adjusting the song if needed to make a word come in early or late to keep the rhythm. And figure out where to breathe. Notes if you have to or switch to an easier song where it is more natural. I find cant always get what you want is a good starter. And capo around to see if it helps get past a prob or to help your voice fit in the range. And that's assuming you already worked on the singing by itself.
    I got to where I can solo and sing a chorus. Just background wanking type solo but it's supposed to be in the background during a chorus anyway.
     
  19. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Start be knowing the words, DO NOT read them.

    Song phrasing like the original artist can be extremely difficult. do not try to emulate a great phraser, they are not trying to play guitar at the same time plus in studio they may have sang one line at a time until they got it right !

    Remove words, change words to fit your dialog and phrasing. Make the lyrics FIT into YOUR mold , don't force them to fit, you will go BUST in a hurry. Make the lyrics flow in your comfort zone. Nobody cares and nobody will even notice. Too many times we try to sing exactly like the record, big mistake.

    relax, make that famous song YOURS !
     
  20. JTStivers

    JTStivers TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    If I'm strumming and singing, or playing fills and sing, no problem. Trying that, with, say, Message In a Bottle, that begins to get me. The hardest combo I've tried was John Mayer's Belief, because the vocal phrasing is not in line with the moving 6ths part he's playing. After HOURS of practice over two months, I'm 91.288% of the way there to sing and play that one simultaneously with panache, elan, and brio.
     
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