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. avagadro

    avagadro Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    427
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    Prescott
    I have a couple thoughts. I am a long time rhythm guitar/vocalist. Here is one idea, are you a guitarist or a singer? If you are a singer you are playing to accompany and support your singing. Remember this, to support your singing you don't need to be a great guitarist, just a good rhythm player. Don't try to do too much with your playing. I saw a number of people mention practicing at a slower pace, this is a great idea. As a singer you can really stretch out and explore the song when the pace is slower. Find out what works for you vocally, what you can do with your voice to make the song really shine, then incorporate those ideas into the right cadence for performance. Do plenty of acapella, you will have all the vocal nuances worked out and ready to integrate with your rhythm playing. Now you need to find the groove and get your playing practiced enough that it is relatively automatic and then simply let all your acapella vocal practice come to the front. Another good thought is to keep your playing very steady but allow your vocal to work within the cadence, you can be more artistic with your vocal performance but your guitar needs to remain steady.
    Better guitar player? As a guy that leans heavily on the vocal side I can only speculate but these are my thoughts. First, take my above ideas and transpose them to a guitar first regimen. Learn to sing the song fairly "straight", don't embellish too much. Look for spots where you may be able to inject chord/ lead breaks, chordal melody, playing in octaves, you know, all the cool stuff. Use your timing skills from playing to make your singing right on time everytime. Your voice will now be the predictable rhythm keeper and will allow your guitar work to be more flexible. As a guy that works from the vocal side I recommend that you find some skilled listeners with good ears and concentrate on pitch. Another good technique is to record your practices and performances. The tape doesn't lie. Don't freak out. If you have never heard your recorded voice before you will be in for a shock. Another good tip for an aspiring singer is to copy or mimíc another singers voice, hopefully a good singers voice. The tape will be very helpful here and don't just focus on one singer, try three or four. Worried about losing the creativity your were seeking when you got into music? Don't. Over time your own creative desires will creep in and before you know it your once imitation vocal will become a thing of your own creation. A couple more thoughts. Phrasing is so important, when you are studying a singers voice to copy, pay particular attention to the phrasing, it is so important not just vocally but musically too. Along with the phrasing comes another lightly regarded subject, breathing. You may find that phrasing some songs accurately seems impossible until you apply breathing to the mix. Sometimes a singer may find themselves struggling to hit or hold a note at the end of a verse. This is where a small pause to fill the lungs comes into play. Find a place to get more air onboard and you will find some of those difficult passages become much easier.
    Remember, you are doing this for your own particular pleasure, play to satisfy yourself and don't sorry about others.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  2. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,906
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    USA
    It helps if you play frequently at parties and pubs. I play lead and lead fills while singing lead, all fluently because of so much gigging in the old days. Is it important?.. nah . . just strumming and singing is fine. Or have someone else play while you just sing . . thats probably the most fun.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  3. xtelesquirex

    xtelesquirex Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    599
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2020
    Location:
    International Man Of Mystery
    Alright... I think I'm making some kind of progress. I can kind of get through House of the Rising Sun by just hitting each chord twice and singing along. It's still a really strange feeling, almost overwhelming. I tried another simple 3 chord song and had to simplify to hitting each chord once, but I managed... Kind of.

    You know that feeling when you can't think of a word, but it's right on the tip of your tongue? That's kind of how this feels. I guess it's start.

    Thanks for all the tips. I'd be lost without advice from you guys.
     
  4. xtelesquirex

    xtelesquirex Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    599
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2020
    Location:
    International Man Of Mystery
    I'm primarily a player. Been at it for something like 25 years. I'm not really much of a singer, but I think it would be a useful skill. Especially if I can pair it with some playing. Thanks for the advice.
     
  5. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    1,563
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2019
    Location:
    Between reality and imagination
    Keep at it. You will get better with time. Remember how difficult it was to start playing guitar? Looking back and forth at your fretting hand and picking hand to try and work out playing a handful of notes? I think alot of people forget how awkward it was. It's pretty tough, and the vast majority of people who pick up an instrument end up quitting before too long. For us minority of survivors it became much more comfortable over time.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  6. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,622
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    IMO vocals are king. Think of this. If you can sing well to a Karaoke track and hold a guitar you can get paying gigs near the beach in Florida. I’ve seen it. It held a crowd.
     
  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,024
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    another point, if we are trying to sing exactly like a great singer/phraser on a record, we may not be able to do that even without a guitar in our hands !

    Pick your poison !
     
  8. dasherf17

    dasherf17 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    61
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2020
    Location:
    25 mi SE of Rogers (South Minneapolis)...
    I want to add that I dropped playing for awhile...with this pandemic issue, I kept myself busy with building/finishing/refinishing 5 guitars over the last 6+ months...that meant getting chops up, again... I was amazed at how much I needed to relearn. Gettin' there...
    Be patient with yourself..."i can't" doesn't work. "I'll get it" works better !
    Good luck and let us know how it's going , ok?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  9. teleblastard6

    teleblastard6 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    83
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2019
    Location:
    chicago
    Huh?
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  10. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    308
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Maine/Florida
    Singing while playing can be very hard. That may be why so many bands have a lead singer/rhythm guitarist while having a separate lead player. I sing and play rhythm guitar; I'm no lead player (yet). Start with some easy slow songs and take it from there...
     
  11. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    308
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Maine/Florida

    Jimi Hendrix, Bob Seager, Curt Cobain and Bob Dylan, and many others weren't/aren't especially good singers, but that didn't stop them...
     
  12. Oxidao

    Oxidao TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    19
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Location:
    Pamplona, Spain
    As a veteran beginer, It happens to me also. I’m getting better, but there are some songs that for any reason, seems to be less straigh-forward that others, and not necesarily writen (both lyrics and guitar) by a different person.
    ‘Dead Flowers’ by The R.S. is an easy one for me.
    ‘Sweet Jane’ by The V.U. ... no way on some of the verses.
    I gess there must be any technical issue around, but i just don’t know.
    I’ve no problem with most of the songs i try (Dylan, Reed, JjCale, etc) but that song...
    I’ve to say that it was one of my first songs ‘learned’ 25 years ago when i first picked up a guitar, and still can’t make it work.
    I’ll try some tips i red in this post, like slow slow slow down the tempo, but on that particular song, some verses are talked rather that sang. Does it has any relevance?
    i love reading such a site like this, learning from such experienced people like you

    Pd: Yes, we also love country music in Spain.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  13. jameshall

    jameshall TDPRI Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    8
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Kennesaw, GA
    I learned to play in the dark. Playing guitar was not allowed, so the only time I could learn to play was in bed after the lights were out. It was a huge help. I couldn't see with my eyes, so I had to listen to what my hands were playing, and imagine the chord shapes in my mind.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  14. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Location:
    The Heartland.....Kansas
    I didn't read all responses but I recall quite well back '74 during my live band days I struggled with doing both.
    It was as frustrating a hurdle as most in our quest to perform well.

    I just kept fuffling through my songs/covers we were doing and - strangely enough - one day I tackled it again I got through a song!
    I was in disbelief.
    That was 4.5 decades ago and I started playing drums just prior to joining the military....I can sing/play drums at the same time now.
    (Singing is loose term when it comes to my originals :))

    To me...it's no different than anything else we try....IE: if one wants to get better at pull-ups....you do more pull-ups.

    OP...it will come...just keep at it.
     
    xtelesquirex likes this.
  15. Linkslover

    Linkslover Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    215
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Location:
    Chicago

    I started out doing the walk down on FOTD as an intro and just playing the chords while singing. But I reached the point where the walk down became second nature and started trying to sing while playing it. Now, I'm comfortable singing while playing it.

    I've done the same with dine other songs. For example, the slide in opening of The Loser is now something I can use as a fill in the verses on the Am chords. It took a lot of practice, but as I wrote originally, these are songs I can sing in my slee

    LL
     
    bcorig likes this.
  16. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,967
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    In the 909
    Exactly what I did with FOTD. Then I finally did it at an open mic. I couldn’t believe I pulled it off. I just started singing 4 years ago.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.