1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Singing while playing

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

  1. soundcloset

    soundcloset TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    66
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Location:
    Horsham, PA
    All of this is good, and illustrates where for some it is intuitive and "the hand knows what to do" and for some, not so. I can do chordal stuff and sing along, on acoustic or electric, both chordal and picked-patterns (flailing), which is just seeing or knowing the chord and hitting it, and the brain knows which strings to focus on or skip, as in a D chord. But on bass, suddenly it's like I'm juggling coffee and the phone and driving -- not a good idea! I think melodically when I play bass, so that part of my brain is occupied when I open my mouth.
     
  2. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    1,153
    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Location:
    Twangville
    dont think about it just do it

    like playing tricky beats on drums
     
  3. Arfage

    Arfage Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    131
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2019
    Location:
    Alameda Ca
    Try this, it helps me. In your mind Assign a syllable you're singing to the note or chord you're playing so that in your mind, they become one act instead of two. REALLY sped things up for me and now I'm quite good at it.
     
  4. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    1,563
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2019
    Location:
    Between reality and imagination
    It's a an issue of simultaneous rhythms (polyrhythm), just like playing drums or piano. It might seem obvious, but learn the parts separately to the point that you're comfortable with them without having to think about either. If you can't play them together at that point, simplify the guitar part as much as needed, as a stepping stone. For example, you might only play the chord at each chord change to start off with. When that becomes comfortable, add just a little more of the complexity of the guitar rhythm, looking for chords and notes that fall directly against the vocal notes to begin with (fill in the rest later). It can be helpful here to see the rhythms of the guitar and vocal written down in notation to see how they align with each other. An alternative to that is to record the guitar part in recording software to a metronome, exaggerating the attacks and minimizing the sustains so that you can easily see where each note falls in the bar. Then record the vocal on a separate track, doing the same with attack and sustain. Now you can see how each aligns with the other in time. Using markers can be helpful here too.

    Whichever way you go, start with only a bar or two, play at a slower tempo, and get comfortable with it. When you have that down, move along another bar or two. It should be mentioned here too that you should start with songs that have simple guitar rhythms and work up to the more complex ones. It's a learned skill for most people that takes time and effort. You should have some breakthroughs along the way where things start to fall into place and it gets much easier, assuming that you are starting simply and slowly. There is no sense in beating your head against the wall with going at it full steam if you're having a hard time. Think, simplify, slow down, work up to the real version.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  5. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    1,563
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2019
    Location:
    Between reality and imagination
    I have had much better results with playing tricky beats by thinking about them. Playing each part separately. Writing down how they align rhythmically to one another. Isolating only a bar or two. Playing the thing all together slowly to start. Simplifying parts to begin with if necessary. I also have seen people on drums, guitar, and bass not do this and continuously beat their heads against a wall, sometimes getting through, sometimes not. I know that when I think about it, slow down, and simplify, I will get there and in a more satisfying way than the frustration approach.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  6. Jeremy_Green

    Jeremy_Green Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    121
    Joined:
    May 4, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Honestly, this is just a thing you need to just do. Keep doing it and before long something will click. At first it feels like rubbing your head and patting your belly, but that fades. IF and only IF you don't give up
     
  7. DrKewel

    DrKewel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Location:
    Bernville, PA
    Try playing only slow songs at the beginning.
    I put all my chords and lyrics on my IPad using an ap called OnSong. I copy and paste the song onto Word, save it to Dropbox, upload the song to Dropbox.com and then import the tune to OnSong. I then go to Karakoe-Version.com and purchase a Custom .mp3 Of that time with the guitar and/or vocals removed and import that to the tune in OnSong. Now I can practice all that I want.
     
  8. kirby02

    kirby02 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    25
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Location:
    Anniston, AL
    First, you need to believe you can do this. Get rid of the doubts about your ability. Every thing is a skill that must be learned and to learn a skill takes practice but if you can play the song you have this skill already and if you can sing the song you have that skill. Believe in yourself and you can put these two skills together and have a sense of accomplishment.
     
    xtelesquirex and Toast like this.
  9. Socalsupermoto

    Socalsupermoto TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    40
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    Location:
    Stay Classy San Diego
    I play, sing and play lead

    1) keep the guitar rig and playing simple. I have a few set it and forget it pedals, and only have to mess with volume. solos often single line melodic stuff

    2) I start every gig with a easy song to build confidence. Deep breaths to relax

    3) practice a **** ton to build muscle memory. Often times I’ll completely forget, relax and my hands go to the right place. Oh and it’s easier to fake blown lyrics than blown chords!
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  10. Rustbucket

    Rustbucket Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    5,666
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Location:
    Québec / Arizona
    Nice job HipNeck! Well said...I also think of myself as a singer first who happens to play guitar.
     
    telemnemonics and OlRedNeckHippy like this.
  11. oregomike

    oregomike Tele-Meister

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    128
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2019
    Location:
    Hood River, OR
    I've never tried the metronome like others have here. For me, the single most helpful thing I do, is first learn the guitar part so well that you don't even have to think about it. Then, I make sure I know the words of the song forward and backward (not really, but you know what I mean). After that, all I needed to worry about was staying in pitch. Those things allowed me to get lost in the song which can be hard to do if it's not something I've written.

    Other things that helped (especially playing in front of an audience) were starting off with simple chorded songs so I wouldn't worry about fat-fingering. With more complicated finger-picking stuff, the memorization became key (muscle memory and all that).

    Edit: I say guitar first mainly because once I decide I want to play a song I like, I usually know the lyrics already, or mostly. But as someone said here, if it's a new song, knowing the lyrics first is probably the way to go. Naturally for me, when I find a song I like, my first impulse is to grab my guitar, then learn the lyrics.

    OregonMike
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  12. cosmiccowboy

    cosmiccowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,503
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Location:
    East of the Mississippi
    It’s like patting your head and rubbing your belly or driving a five speed ... hang long enough and you get used to hangin’
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  13. klaus

    klaus TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    For me it had always worked to practice the guitar part until my fingers play it without even thinking. The singing is no longer a problem.
    Having said that I'm talking of more complicated songs, if you should have problems with simple chord progressions to your singing, you should do either guitar or singing. But whoever says that neither singing nor guitar playing loses quality doing both at the same time is a liar imo ;-)
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  14. Telebra

    Telebra TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    99
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Location:
    hawaii
    You have to train your brain to develop a dresser with a drawer for guitar and one for singing. Its like learning a language, when you first try it all the words are jumbled up together (say English, French, Chinese, whatever) like tossing all your underwear and different socks in the same drawer. When you pull something out it will be all mixed up. Make a separate drawer for socks and a separate drawer for underwear. Then practice your singing alone striving for tone, phrasing, lyrics, pitch etc. Same with guitar, play simple back up cords maintaining tempo, timing, changes, until your drawers are neat. Then put them together. Don't do like too many wannabees, and try to play every fancy lick and tricky lead part, then the timing will be off and the singing will suffer and you will sound like s**t. After some practice you will find that your playing becomes automatic and your able to croon like Sinatra over it. The chicks will love you and the dudes will be jealous.
    Its about letting your brain catagorize and file. Gotta crawl before you walk, keep it simple. Soon it will become second nature.
    Aloha
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  15. Linkslover

    Linkslover Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    215
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Location:
    Chicago
    By now, you've probably recieved so much advice that you're ready to give up music altogether.

    But, I'll give you my take anyway.

    First though, I'm going to assume you don't expect to get up on a stage and have people think you're the artist whose song you're covering.

    As a mediocre musician, what has worked for me is starting with songs that I know really well. I know most of not all of the words. I can sing it more or less in sync with the vocalist when it comes on the radio. I learn the chords. I don't worry about playing either a metronome. I play and sing and let the rhythm of the vocal tell me when to change to the next chord.

    As something earlier suggested start with a simpler sing like Friend of the Devil. The vocals all start on the downbeat of the chords. Sticking with the Grateful Dead, don't pick a song like Black Peter where there are pauses and vocals might begin in weird places like the 2nd upbeat of a chord.

    In short it's easiest if you start with songs that you know in you're sleep. Then you sing get hung up worrying about what your hands are doing while you're singing.

    Most of all, enjoy what you're doing - warts and all. Enthusiasm is contagious.

    Peace and stay safe,

    Linkslover
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  16. teleblastard6

    teleblastard6 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    83
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2019
    Location:
    chicago
    When it comes to internalizing lyrics, it helps me to write them out by hand after finding the song online. This helps to cement the words in my mind. After that I keep it for reference 'cause I might forget it later. Playing & singing @ the same time can be hard, & we all struggle with it. That's why so many bands have a rhythm guitar, lead guitar, & vocalist. That's why Hendrix, SRV, etc are truly virtuosos. Anyway- repetition & more repetition.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  17. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,967
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    In the 909
    Investors heard Joe Walsh in multiple interviews say it’s the most difficult thing to learn. In one he said the only way to really learn is do it in front of an audience. These days that doesn’t happen-your advice seems pretty good.
     
  18. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,967
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    In the 909
    I used Friend of the Devil too to master that walk down during the verse and sing the verse was a real achievement for me.
     
  19. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    1,462
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Location:
    Chattanooga
    Trust your hands and focus on your lyrics. You have to separate your brain from your fingers. I fronted a band and played bass for many years. Try singing harmony and playing, that's the tricky part. You got this, just don't overthink it.
     
    teleblastard6 and xtelesquirex like this.
  20. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,622
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    I’ve been practicing playing licks, riffs, picking patterns, arpeggios etc. while I’m singing, not just rhythm. For 20 yrs. But I could never do a song with a talking part, until recently I found I can talk and play if I have the words and chord changes in front of me.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.