Title says it all, I just can't do it, save for very simple chord progressions, anything else I literally can't do at all. Even if it's just plucking one string, if the vocal rhythm is even slightly different, it throws my playing completely and the timing jumps off a cliff
I really don't think there is any trick to this... Like any technique on guitar you are going to suck at first.. The only way to get better is keep on doing it... You have to know the song well enough that you don't really have to think about what u are playing and for sure knowing the lyrics off by heart so u are not straining to remember them.. Start with on easy song.. play it over and over again everyday.. In a couple weeks time you should be getting it
Slow it down. Know when to play what and when to sing what. Which notes/syllables are played/sung at the same time? Which are not? Know where the beats are. Know where the subdivisions are. You may want to notate both the singing and the guitar part and see how they work together (rhythmically).

Another thing is of course practicing the parts separately. You need to know both parts well to be able to combine them. If you need to focus on playing the right notes on the guitar, it will be hard to sing over it, because 90% of your focus is on playing the guitar part.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Dec 19, 2015,
Quote by babysmasher
You have to know the song well enough that you don't really have to think about what u are playing
The backing has to become automatic, which just means practising it more and more (and more....).
Just lean the song inside and out. If you have to read a chord chart or lyrics you have burdened yourself with the most controllable element of performing. You want to be able to concentrate on playing well and singing with some emotion. If you also expect to read lyrics and chord charts you are never going to relate to an audience and you will come off looking like an amateur. Play the song over and over till you can do the song without any issues and you can concentrate on doing a performance. That's what it's all about as far as the audience is concerned. Are you aware of and relating to your audience or looking at papers on a music stand.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 20, 2015,
Playing and singing isn't something everyone can naturally pick up. Some people may get it easier than others, but its a skill to be learned. When I started I could only do chord progressions and sing, riffs were out of the question. To play and sing at the same time you have to gel them together, it has to be one thing. Its also all about practicing the right way.

The thing I found helpful was relaxing and closing your eyes and then playing, it WILL help you concentrate. Slow down the tempo, bring it back up, repeat phrases. You cant be overly pre-ocuppied with the riff or even the vocal pattern separately, it needs to gel together. Tension is not your friend when trying to coordinate different muscle groups at the same time, if you ever learned to play on a drum set, its the same concept.
Play and sing along even when someone else is singing, just keep away from the microphone.
It will come.
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Like others have said you have to know the parts very well. As a guitarist I can zone out I am playing guitar and focus on the singing. I teach singers that do the opposite as the singing side comes more naturally.

Maybe try simplifying the strum pattern to something like 4 downstrokes to a bar while you gain confidence in the timing of singing phrases.

Everyone here has added some good concepts to help.
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