#1
I'd love to be able to sing and play at the same time, but for some reason, I just can't do it and dI really would like some help.

Whenever I try, there are a few things that happen.

I'll play the song fine, but my singing will get off-rhythm.

I'll sing the song fine, but my playing will get off-rhythm.

Both my singing and playing will be off-rhythm.

Or my my playing will be fine but my voice, instead of singing the correct pitches, will start to follow the pitches of the notes that my guitar is playing.

It's really just a mess but I'd love to learn to do it. Any tips?
#3
Quote by jollycman
Practice!!!!


Not exactly the most helpful thing to say...

TS, there are a few things you can do really:

1 - Find places where the rhythm of the two parts match up and aim for those.
In almost any song there are key points where the vocals hit the same beat as the other instrumentation and unless it's a very specifically metred song those are what you really have to hit. You can be pretty loose with vocal timing (to a point anyway) and as long as you hit those key moments most people won't care.

2 - Learn either the guitar or the vocals so well that you don't have to think about it at all.
This is pretty much how I get by if I ever have to sing and play at the same time, which isn't very often, my guitar playing is so much stronger than my vocals so it makes a lot of sense to me to learn the guitar part well enough that I don't have to look, don't have to make sure I'm in time or anything. That way you free up your mind to concentrate on the vocals, or guitar if that's the way it works for you. Again, the important thing is that you know this part so well that you don't even have to think. Pure muscle memory (or whatever that's called for vocals).

I'm sure there are other ways to get this kind of thing in to your head but these are the two methods that really seem to consistently work for the most people.
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#4
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Not exactly the most helpful thing to say...

TS, there are a few things you can do really:

1 - Find places where the rhythm of the two parts match up and aim for those.
In almost any song there are key points where the vocals hit the same beat as the other instrumentation and unless it's a very specifically metred song those are what you really have to hit. You can be pretty loose with vocal timing (to a point anyway) and as long as you hit those key moments most people won't care.

2 - Learn either the guitar or the vocals so well that you don't have to think about it at all.
This is pretty much how I get by if I ever have to sing and play at the same time, which isn't very often, my guitar playing is so much stronger than my vocals so it makes a lot of sense to me to learn the guitar part well enough that I don't have to look, don't have to make sure I'm in time or anything. That way you free up your mind to concentrate on the vocals, or guitar if that's the way it works for you. Again, the important thing is that you know this part so well that you don't even have to think. Pure muscle memory (or whatever that's called for vocals).

I'm sure there are other ways to get this kind of thing in to your head but these are the two methods that really seem to consistently work for the most people.


This is great advice. I could not have said it better. I'm a pretty decent guitar player, but I can't sing & play at the same time to save my life, even backup
I keep trying though. I just try to do real simple songs like "Rockstar" by Nickelback, or "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. It's STILL hard for me, but like the first guy said, PRACTICE! I get a little better at it, but the progress is definitely slower than just practicing guitar.
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#5
i can't sing and play well either (or sing well even if i'm not playing )

in addition to zaphod's great post, maybe try something where the rhythms differ, but where the guitar rhythm is very simple. So, like a very simple strumming pattern (say just quavers or whatever) with very basic chords which you can play with your eyes closed, but with a (different) vocal line over the top. that'll sort of get you used to doing two different things at once, but you want to start simple.
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#6
@OP Don't feel bad, I've been playing on and off for years and I've never been able to sing and play at the same time. I haven't put the time into it yet, but when I'm ready to start trying to sing and play, I'm thinking that working slowly and practicing should eventually get me there.
#7
i will start practice from tomorrow.
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#8
Yes I suck at this as well. The way I look at it is that Jimmy Page did ok without singing right? But eventually I would like to learn.
#9
I actually don't have too much trouble playing and singing at the same time unless I'm playing something more complicated on the guitar. Problem is...I can't sing

But normally what I'd do is to learn to play and sing separately to some sort of beat, usually to my foot tapping. And since I'm a better guitar player than I am a singer, I learn to play the guitar part until it feels as natural as my foot tapping. Then I put the singing and playing together. So I just concentrate on singing and tapping my foot but as I tap my foot, my hands automatically knows what to do.

Not sure if that made sense or if it's helpful but I'm sure you'll find a way unless you're doing a Robert Johnson song in which case all I can say is good luck But I'm pretty sure the key is in the groove/beat/rhythm of the song.
#10
I had the same problem for years but my son (who plays and sings great) fixed me up with some gear that put the flame under my ass again. From the headphone jack on my computer speakers its connected to a Behringer UB802 mixer. I also run a Shure SM58 mic and of course my acoustic electricinto the mixwe as well. This allows me to pipe in whatever song I wanna play off my Itunes at whatever level and then adjust instrument and mic levels to fit. Works great I play rhythm guitar and sing back up with my favorite artist.
#11
You can start by humming or whisleling the vocal part before getting the actual words. It helps put everything in tune and disociate the vocal from the guitar.

Also, as it was told already, you have to know the songs pretty well. I always start by the guitar parts because it's easyer for me.
#13
Zaphod has it right. You have to be able to do either one of the two without being very conscious of it. It was my first thought when I read this threads title. If you are trying to read lyrics or sing something you need to be able to play your instrument without much thought and vice versa. You can't struggle with both at the same time. I always learn to play the song first (because that's the easier thing for me), get that down cold then go for the vocal. In my case I am often singing harmony vocals so I need to be able to play the song well first so I can concentrate on my harmony and blend on the vocal side.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 12, 2015,
#14
Yeah you need to be able to play it without thinking. That's really the only way to sing a song competently while playing.
#15
One song that kills me is Polly by Nirvana. I can sing that all day, play it with my eyes closed, can't mix tho.
#16
Quote by highgear
One song that kills me is Polly by Nirvana. I can sing that all day, play it with my eyes closed, can't mix tho.


In those situations I find I have to slow everything right down. Work out which note I'm playing at the time I'm singing a certain syllable. Same with learning a song on guitar really, really slow, slowly speeding it up until it's subconscious.

Be sure you're playing it right though (and in time). I've sometimes found I've been playing songs slightly wrong which throws the timing off and makes me stumble with my words. Not saying your playing this song wrong, just general advice.
#17
Just a thought and you may already be doing this but I just thought I'd mention it. When you are learning to play the song on your guitar keep your chord inversions within the same area of the neck if possible. When you are singing you don't want to have to jump from a higher inversion to a lower inversion when you can get the same chord right in the area you are already playing on the neck. It's let's you concentrate more on your singing.
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#18
I realize this is an old thread but for any future user who happens to search this/stumble upon it from Google, here's what helped me:

-Pick a very easy song. I can't stress this enough. It may not be something you want to learn but there's no point struggling over something hard your first time. Easy as in simple lyrics, simple chord progression, and simple strum pattern. I found that once I got my first song down (singing and playing) it became much easier to learn other songs after.

An example song that has a very simple progression and strum pattern with quite easy/memorable lyrics is Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show/Darius Rucker (either version). Darius version can be played G D Em C - G D C with a capo on 2 and a very simple strum pattern. It might not be your style of music or whatever but learning one easy song and then applying that knowledge to more difficult songs is much easier than trying to jump into a hard song that you like right away. Set manageable goals.

-Don't simply "learn guitar, learn to sing it, and hope they combine", this doesn't work. You need to practice putting them together, otherwise it won't happen on it's own. I find that simply trying to nail the guitar part doesn't always work, unless it's to the point that you don't have to focus on playing at all and you can hold a conversation while playing (which it should be).

One way that worked for me to combine the guitar and singing was to simply play the first note of each beat and sing the song to the best of your ability, slowly adding in the accent strums. This will help you focus on changing your chords without needing to think about it, as you should be focused on singing the song correctly.

Alternatively, sing in more of a "talking" / monotone voice that doesn't require much thought and play the chords using the correct strum pattern. It boils down to this: your strumming hand needs to be able to stay on beat and effortlessly produce the required strum pattern, while your fretting hand will produce the required chords without having to think about where to put your fingers. This lets you focus on singing, which arguably takes more effort to remember the words and sing the right notes.

-Isolate sections that give you trouble. If you can nail the chorus but mess up the bridge or verse or something, practice that section. Slow it down if you have to as others have said, this will help. If you can nail the tough parts you can manage the easy parts.

-Don't always play along to the record. When I first started out I would listen to the song with headphones in to get the beat right and help me sing; this wasn't always helpful. Occasionally I would slow down my playing and then I would mess up as the song would get ahead of me, and I'd have to restart; if it is only you playing the song and singing, you dictate the beat. Slow it down if you have to at first and speed it up once you can play it at the slower tempo. Learning to sing a capella also helped. Part of the reason I needed the record was to be able to sing the right notes. If you can reproduce the song without any music you're well on your way.

The most helpful thing for me though was picking an easy strum pattern as I found the beat was the hardest part. Your strumming needs to be effortless.

Hope this will help someone.
Last edited by maccartm at Aug 14, 2015,
#19
I had this problem as well really recently, but now I got it down. You have to learn the song you're playing first so you can play without thinking, then start to sing the lyrics. So basically what everyone else had been saying ^_^
#20
Play your instrument sticking to rhythm STRICTLY. This is important. Try go through the melody in your mind first, then hum the tune out so that you know where the melody starts and stops. Then put in the words for the melody. Get the pitch right first though.
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