Hello there fellow guitar players and enthusiasts! I'm trying to learn some metal-style songs with lots of rhythm on both electric and acoustic and I'd like to sing at the same time. I've got the singing down and playing the right notes at the same time, as I'm good enough with my hands for that, but for some reason I find that I subconsciously play the same rhythm as my singing when I'm playing and I'm not sure how to counteract/ avoid this issue. Anyone have any advice for as to how I can learn to play and sing different things? Thanks
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Last edited by adexder at Aug 14, 2016,
Obviously with everything, practice makes perfect(or good enough haha).

But learning the part your playing inside and out will help you greatly so you don't even think of what you're doing.

Also, try to break it down and see if certain syllables of words line up to certain parts of the music if it's a complex riff. I remember seeing a video with James Malone from Arsis and he talks about that a bit.
If you find yourself merging the rhythm with your singing it's most probably because your mind is too engaged with the guitar piece, ideally you want to make the guitar part as autonomous as possible which can only be achieved by repetition followed by more repetition with a side order of more repetition.
Break down the guitar and vocal parts and process it as a linear piece.
It's somewhat like playing piano.
You don't learn separate hands parts first and how to play them together later. You process them at the same time. Try that with singing.
Be aware that if you have 2 eight vocal notes over 1 quarter powerchord think about it like "first eight note part of a bar: play powerchord and sing eight vocal note; second eight note part of a bar: hold powerchord and sing another eight vocal note".

I hope it helps.
The best way to learn melodic singing with static guitar rhythms is either write or find a song that does that. Most metal choruses where it's just a flat kind of aggressive chorus will have that. Try and do one without a super high tempo.

Just start by singing along to the melody, then slowly introduce the guitar, but introduce the guitar by just striking the chord for each bar rather than running all the way through it. Slowly introduce more guitar hits to find that point where your mind flips over into mimicking the guitar rhythm with your voice. Then just practice from there.
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As others have already said, practice the parts together. Figure out which syllables and which notes are sung/played at the same time. Don't practice it as just two separate parts, practice it as one part. (The piano left/right hand analogy was good.) Obviously you need to first know both of the parts well but just because you can play them separately doesn't mean you can play them together.

Start with a slow tempo.
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Here's a good tip I found useful.

Count out loud while playing the guitar rhythm, rather than singing. E.g, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + (keep the count steady, don't be temped to count only when you hit the strings).

If you can't do that, don't even try singing yet. Your voice box needs to be thought of as another limb. Creating limb independence takes time and practice, as does using your voice.

After you can do that, try singing while clapping the rhythm of the guitar part (don't play the guitar). E.g. clap 1 + 2 . 3 . . + 1 while singing the part.

Once you can do both you should be pretty set.
Last edited by gweddle.nz at Aug 14, 2016,
I know you'd like to be able to play and sing metal, but that's really jumping in head first into the deep end of this kind of thing. It might not be your favorite music but I suggest you go back a little bit and see if you can play and sing a song that just has a simple strumming pattern first and see how you do, like an old Eagles or Beatles song or something first, if you have trouble with that you'll have an easier time getting over it and will start to make the connections in your brain needed to tackle more complex vocal/guitar parts. If you don't want to do that then try scaling it back and trying a metal song with simpler guitar parts like Seek And Destroy, Sweet Leaf, Walk, or Man In The Box, something like that, where it's still heavy but the tempo is slower and the notes aren't all over the place, but there is still some counterpoint in the rhythms of the vocal and guitar parts.
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Honestly, try something really easy to play and really easy to sing at the same time, for instance most (if not all) Nirvana tunes, or just play the chords for a song and sing along a few times over while you just practice getting a feel for singing and playing. It's easier to do if you start with something that isn't intimidating, confidence is a big part in what you can pull off
As the last 2 posts said, start with very simple easy songs. I started at age 5 playing and singing at the same time, it's always been natural to me, but I find sometimes I can't play and sing if the guitar part is too complicated, and during leads, forget it.

Start simple, as with everything else guitar. Go back and find Beatles, Eagles, Rolling Stones, CCR, even ZZ Top did some great songs that are simple as can be. Learn a few really easy tunes, then start working up to the more difficult ones.

Eagles -

Peaceful Easy Feeling is a good fairly simple one, basic rhythm parts.
Beatles did bunch of songs that would work, CCR did loads of dead simple songs like Who'll Stop the Rain, lots of acoustic based songs would work, just look around. I can't think right now, usually I can name a bunch but I just woke up...
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Last edited by Paleo Pete at Aug 17, 2016,
I find that its best to write out the words with an accurate indication of the bars and the chord changes before I even start to practice a new song. Practicing it wrong is a double waste of time.
If you are looking for a relatively easy metal song to sing along with Sweating Bullets by Megadeth is another good one. Pretty slow and easy guitar part, a lot of the singing is when the guitar "rests", and the rest of the singing is a similar rhythm to the guitar stuff.
Quick tip...put on drum track or backing track (if the song has one available). That helps your body keep the rhythm while singing. In the end just a lot of practice of the riff. Yes, some people it comes easier to. I know Hetfield I believe said it came pretty natural to but then again he likely played nonstop.