Singing and Playing


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justin_fraser
07-11-2007, 03:36 PM
Hey guys,

Well after months of seeing the same thread after same thread about singing and playing in the guitar and bass basics, I decided that the article I wrote for the MT sticky should be a lesson because Im sure some of these people do search the lessons but cant find this. I searched for one as well, but there wasnt one. So being the main guy in the singing thread, I think we need this up as a lesson. So here we go...




Singing & Playing

So you have a guitar and what you consider to be a decent voice. Now youíre asking yourself what you are going to do with these 2 things. Well, youíve come to the right place. Here I will explain a few techniques that you can use to master singing and playing at the same time.

I am going to start with the guitar aspect of these 2 things. When singing while playing guitar, you are mostly playing chords or a simple riff. Not many people can shred the guitar and sing at the same time, so donít expect to do that.

So now you have all these chords figured out or the riff nailed. Now the key is to be able to play without singing first. You should figure out how the rhythm of the guitar goes along with the song. If you are doing a cover song, play with the recording. If it is an original song, then just play those chords or the riff.

If you have the playing part down pat, and you can do it in your sleep, try to sing the song you are doing without playing guitar. Now same with the guitar part, if you are doing a cover song, sing along with that. If it is original, try singing it just solo. You should have the words memorized by this point. By having the words memorized, you donít have to really pay attention to them anymore. Also, have the dynamics of the song down if there are any. Dynamics are really what make a song all the better.

By this point, you have the guitar chords memorized or the riff down, and your lyrics to the song are basically memorized. Now they donít have to be all perfect, as you are going to sing and play some more when putting it together. So it will come all together in the end. However, itís good to have an idea of what you are doing. Now for this part there are 2 methods that I will recommend when putting it all together.

-Method 1 - Sing through the song once with no guitar. Then for the second time through, play each chord once whenever it is said to be played. With doing this, you will get a feel for playing and singing at the same time. This method works mostly on the voice, but adds the chords for a good feel of the song and how it should be. Once you do this a few times, you are likely ready to add the strumming to the mix. If you canít get all the way through the song, then look at what you are doing wrong, and make adjustments. Whether this be just going over the chords again, or the singing. The key is to take this slow when you are just learning how to sing and play at the same time.

-Method 2 - Play the song through just strumming the chords or the riff. Then next time through, itís easiest to just hum the words so you get a good feel of the song and the tune. You can do this several times if needed, or just a few until you get the feel of the song. From there, you can go all out with playing and singing.

These are only 2 methods that I find work quite well. There are obviously many more and you can mix it up to get the maximum benefit. For more experienced singers, I recommend method 1. For more experienced guitar players, I recommend method 2.

Once you can do that, congratulations, you are now able to sing and play guitar at the same time. Not many people are capable of doing his. So now you wonder what you can do with this. Well you must play of course. Go into your music library and find music you want to strum along to and sing, and work your magic.

There is no limit to what songs you can play. It doesn't matter if the song is not acoustic or meant to be chords, you can change it up. Often taking harder songs and finding the chords for them does the trick. Just add your own flavor to it. Also, for those of you that are involved with church, there are limitless things you can do. Playing worship music is about the best way to practice singing and playing as you know how the song goes already. Itís just a matter of plugging it all in.

So look around for what style you are into, and donít be afraid to let your voice free. Thatís what this is all about. Just letting go of all your inhibitions and singing and play guitar for the joy of not only yourself, but for people around you as well. You are opening a whole new world of music to yourself so all the best with it.

bshizzle911
07-11-2007, 03:57 PM
Awesome. I've been starting to work on this recently myself. And I agree, Playing worship music definitely helps a lot.

hurlyz
07-11-2007, 11:07 PM
Hey justin!

Can you recommend me any easy songs for singing and playing?? I've never done it before and I have no idea where to start... :)

justin_fraser
07-13-2007, 02:29 AM
Hey justin!

Can you recommend me any easy songs for singing and playing?? I've never done it before and I have no idea where to start... :)

Hey Karim, fancy meeting you here bro :p:

But anything really. Anything that is music, can be done with this. If it has chords, you can play it. Matthew Good is a good choice if you can sing high. Some others would be like Jack Johnson and the sort. Anyone that carries an acoustic guitar is the best choice.

So any other comments are appreciated, thanks.

psychodelia
07-13-2007, 04:03 PM
I am going to start with the guitar aspect of these 2 things. When singing while playing guitar, you are mostly playing chords or a simple riff. Not many people can shred the guitar and sing at the same time, so donít expect to do that. In fact, even the best guitarists out there don't sing and play an intense riff. They will just play the chords and sing.

A bit nitpicky, I guess, but I would change this; particularly the last sentence. Guitarists don't always play chords and sing; they sometimes play riffs, and metal guitarists sometimes have to play rather tricky riffs while singing. So, while it may not be practical to start off this way, it still is an option.

Even Kurt Cobain, who is often flamed for his supposed lack of guitar abilities, still is able to sing while playing riffing (Come as you are, All Apologies, etc.)


With that in mind, perhaps you should also include a method for learning to play a riff while singing. My personal favorite is to learn the riff and the singing parts cold, and then slow the song down to a crawl when you bring both parts together. This way, you can see how the different rhythms interact; it's a bit like putting together a drum beat, or two hands on the piano. Once you've gotten a handle on where all the different parts come in, it's much easier to get everything up to speed.

justin_fraser
07-13-2007, 06:59 PM
Very good point. Ill take a look at it later and make changes, thanks psych. Im busy at the moment and likely wont be able to get a full on edit until monday so ya, ill see then. Thanks, and any other comments are appreciated.

Your41Plague12
07-13-2007, 07:56 PM
Great thread, this will help me a lot. I'm a bassist looking to start singing and playing, and this should help a lot. Thanks! :cheers:

hurlyz
07-13-2007, 11:25 PM
...

and metal guitarists sometimes have to play rather tricky riffs while singing.

...Actually, I'm more comfortable singing while playing powerchords (or even chromatics @ my practicing speed.. which is ~100bpm 16ths) than while playing open chords rofl.... or even barre chords =S

justin_fraser
07-14-2007, 12:49 PM
Great thread, this will help me a lot. I'm a bassist looking to start singing and playing, and this should help a lot. Thanks! :cheers:

Awesome to hear man.

Actually, I'm more comfortable singing while playing powerchords (or even chromatics @ my practicing speed.. which is ~100bpm 16ths) than while playing open chords rofl.... or even barre chords =S

And to Hurlyz, it all depends on what you practice man. I know I play open chords and rarely ever play power chords, so I likely wouldnt be as good at them :p:

EDIT: I took the 5 minutes I have right now and changed it up according to psychs help. There are likely spelling errors and grammar errors in there now as I couldnt read it over, but it gives a jist of what it is.

It be nice if a mod could come and tell me how this all works as well. We really need a lesson in here of this sort, and heres one right in front of us.

virtualetters
07-23-2007, 09:44 PM
I like it, but may I add that, if you are learning a song, having something to read as you play and sing through it really helps. In my experience, it reduces the number of items your brain has to keep track of. Once you've mastered playing and singing the song with the music/plan/etc. in front of you, you'll find that you can easily move to playing without the visual aid.

-megadeth-
07-27-2007, 12:01 AM
Try singing the main verse riff of disposable heroes and singing the verse at the same time that **** is ****ing hard

the_relic
07-27-2007, 03:07 AM
Oh awesome, Thanks for the tip mate..I was just thinkin that Im the only guy who cant sing and play guitar at the same time..well..I cant really sing, but you know what I mean.