Hi guys,
My name's TJ and I have been playing guitar and singing for thirteen years. Been in a slew of melodic hardcore/metal bands in the North Florida area for about ten of those thirteen years. I also write folk-ish music and have been writing that for about eight years. I'll provide some links to a few recordings if you guys are interested in hearing what I sound like.

So, long story short... fate has brought me to playing music with my uncle. He has also played in many bands over the last twenty odd years and has settled down with me on the drums. We compliment each other very well and are learning and grooving out together, writing some of the funnest music we've ever played.

This music we are currently writing is somewhere along the lines of Converge, The Jesus Lizard, and Queens of the Stone Age. Those bands are all completely different genres obviously. Converge being of the hardcore/math-metal-ish genre, The Jesus Lizard being of the noise rock experimental what the hell genre, and QOTSA being of the groovy, chilled out drug induced heavyish genre... haha.

I am playing guitar and singing. This has never been a problem for me with my acoustic music, but honestly this new stuff is worlds away from the chilled out stuff I write for that project. I am playing some intricate, strange stuff on guitar incorporating things like octaves and dischords, leads to chords, etc and some of it is at a rather fast pace.

I love this new stuff and it's exactly what I've always wanted to play. But I am having trouble figuring out my vocals. I tend to sing/scream and I want some talking/yelling in there as well (Jesus Lizard influence) but it is rather hard to play this wild guitar stuff and figure out my vocal patterns.

Any tips on how I might go about training myself to sing while playing this stuff? Maybe some of you guys have experience playing intricate fast guitar and singing? Any and all tips will be greatly appreciated as I am at a loss for what to do. I know once we get a second guitar player that will free up some space for me to do more vocally... but we live in a small town and guitarists are limited.

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply and I look forward to hearing you guys and talking with you all.

Keep the real music alive


Links to some things I've recorded

This has a song me and my uncle did last year. He did the EBOW on it, played drums and bass and I wrote the lyrics and guitar part. I sing lead and he's on backup vox.

I wrote pretty much all of the riffs on these four songs and played lead guitar in the band. This band was alive for about 6 months or so, and it was my baby. I tried to take care of it but it died because we had a hefty alcohol schedule amongst other intoxicants I won't mention. We recorded with Eric Durrance in Tallahassee for like 425 bucks. The recordings are decent but not amazing, the mix is pretty weak, but we did the whole deal for 425 so it's whatever haha. It's melodic hardcore along the lines of Hopesfall, Misery Signals, ETC
The only tips I can give are:

1. Slow your singing and guitar parts right down and see if you can line up any words with certain notes you play.

2. When required, position the mic inbetween your mouth and the fretboard so you can see it while you are playing.

3. If all fails, rearrange the rhythm of the words to suit the rhythm of the guitar notes you are playing (hopefully that makes sense).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
maybe try laying down the guitar track (or getting a mate to play it for you) while you sing/yell/talk over it and record it, and then go back over it later with guitar in hand.

By not having to play at the same time really frees your ability to get some vocal lines happening and really get into the essence of what the music is calling for with a mix of both natural (lending itself to the music) and deliberate (intentionally abstract/clever phrasings/timings and tonal ideas) to really support all the vocal influences from all the genres of your chosing.

As for trying to co-ordinate some of those pesky (both natural and intentional) vocal phrasings along with the guitar parts... man there's no real easy way around it, you just have to basically deconstruct those parts note by note, nuance by nuance and co-ordinate them together (some parts will be harder to achieve slowed down and you'll find if you speed them up to normal speed they will become easier)... go figure? So a multiple pronged approach works best!

Ironically the natural phrasings tend to be harder to master than the quantified intentionally "trying to be clever" vocal lines for some bloody reason (syncopation?), but as you get to grips with a few of them (as they'll be unique to your style), you will find "that theme" easier to repeat/incorporate into other parts/future ideas.

also when going back over the vocal lines with the guitar in hand, a good thing to do is don't try to "sing and play" anything at all... but just simply play along without singing and your awareness of what word/syllable/nuance goes with what note/chord/lick will be greater enhanced as you are not trying to multi task so much by both playing "and" singing.

and for an even more abstract thought for achieving vocal ideas, once you have the guitar and vocals (albeit recorded seperately at this stage) done... play the recording back with the intention of coming up with new vocal ideas, but rather than just listening (with a critical ear), try reading an unrelated book or something from a newspaper OUT LOUD so as to distract your "critics" ear (that wants to over analyze what's already being done) and more leaves your inner "musical" ear to percieve the music... more often than not when coming up with our own stuff we can often have our noses too close to the page that we don't see (hear) the forest for the trees.

But something tells me, you might know all this already, if not, hope some of it may have helped!
I can't do it myself. I have trouble singing while playing basic stuff, because I've never really practiced it. In my band the bassist does most of the vocals (all growling so far, we plan to do more singing), and there are a few parts where he's playing some pretty complicated riffs while singing. I asked how he went about learning to do that a while back and he said he has to know the music so well that he can play it without really thinking about it, so that all he has to pay attention to are his vocals. He also said that on spots he has trouble he breaks it down and figures out where each syllable goes.
^^^ spot on. Play the riffs so often you don't have to think about it. iv started doing vocals and playing for the first time a few months ago.to start with I thought some of the tracks would be impossible to do but its getting easier. We haven't played a gig yet but my band has got 15 of our own tracks and I have played through them all for at least an hour everyday, whether singing or not, with or without the rest of the band without fail. I found as well, if you have the tv on, watch it but play at the same time, giving more of your focus to the whatever is on. I feel like my hands just play the tracks by themselves now without me having to give much focus to what im doing.
Good luck. practice practice practice
Quote by The4thHorsemen
...I asked how he went about learning to do that a while back and he said he has to know the music so well that he can play it without really thinking about it, so that all he has to pay attention to are his vocals. He also said that on spots he has trouble he breaks it down and figures out where each syllable goes.
@TS: The4thHorsemen's comments here brought a video to mind which you might also find useful with separating ideas independently.