Hi Guys,

I'm new to UGC, well not really as I get loads of tabs from here but I thought I'd become a user and speak to some fellow axe friends...

I have been playin for about a year and know most major/minor open chords, power chords etc... I know pentatonic scales and can play a fair few classic riffs... In fact I have spent the last year practising the above. However, the time has come where I wanna sing and play my fav tracks...

I find it well hard. I can tap my foot 4/4 and play at the same time, but whenever I open my mouth it all goes wrong...my strumming starts to follow what I am singing and I lose the plot completely...

Have any of you guys had this trouble? are there any things I should practice to crack it?

I mean, I spend hours learning riff's with success in the end, but this well tough... anyones help would be much appreciated, am I missing something?

Thanks in advance
Last edited by Superhands at Sep 5, 2006,
I had alot of trouble at first, just learn songs with simple 8 chord strums in one bar, for instance when I was first starting I learnt Dying In Your Arms, by Trivium, I then went onto Buck Rogers by Feeder, and eventualy more complicated songs. Its all about practice really.
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Yeah, i have this problem.

The way i see it, my mind is trying to focus on two things at once, which it cant do. I need to be able to play without thinking, or sing without thinking, which requires an awful lot of practice for either.

Ive had some success so far, but not a lot, so someone else probably best field this one .
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OK, basically you need to get it so that you've got the guitar playing so tight it's subconscious. Don't try and do that, it'll just happen. Eventually you'll want to sing over the top. Well, obviously you'll want to, but I mean your mouth will want to sing without you telling it to, if you love the songs. Just let it out, and practice. That's the best thing to do. Just keep at it.

It is very hard. One of the hardest aspects, I reckon. But once you get it right, it'll never get in your way again.

I'm sorry, but I'm a really sucky teacher. That's all I can think of to describe it. Some other guys might have better advice.

Check it out. If you like what you hear, friend me.

Quote by Rikifield
Nice acoustic man! And your voice is melting with the acoustic sound...
yeah, some of my friends have a lot of trouble with it too.
been playin' a few years and some of them still can't.
I never really had a problem with it, though.

just keep practicing, bro
once you're able to do it, you'll not have a problem again.
You can teach your self to be better at it.
Like Metal Rich said, just start off really simple with 8 strums per bar. Then work your way up.

When you first start playing guitar you don't go right into playing the solo to Sweet Child O Mine, you work your way up
This is great stuff, and good to hear that you can sympathise with my troubles...

do you think once, I get it, It will be like riding a bike....if you know what I mean..
yeah man start off SLOW then build pace, like even if you have the song nailed on time, when you go to sing and play, SLOW it down alot and then build up to the actual tempo with tons of practice
Try some simple stuff first and sing or play a song you know really, really well. Practise really does work.
Play drums. No seriously. I'm not saying go out and spend 1000 on a kit, but just go to your drummers house and have him teach you the simple 4/4 rock beat, and after a small ammount fo time you should have it. Then go back to your guitar, and you may find that it's a little bit easier to play and sing at the same time. Guitar playing is more about coordination between your hands than it is muscle independence (at least thats what I think ), where drumming is almost purely independence (what you use for singing/guitar). After I had played drums for about about a month I picked up a guitar and realized I could play most any rhythm part while singing the words.

If thats not a viable option for you, you just need to take simple songs and learn them as much as you can. I found it helped me a lot to play along with the cd, and try to focus on the lyrics as they are being sung. Don't try to sing them, just repeat them in your mind. Then once you have that down, learn to hum, then eventually sing with the cd. I think the most important thing is to make sure you are playing each part flawlessly on guitar, if you are messing up, then slow down until you have it. Another important thing is to make sure that (at least at first) you are picking a song where the guitarist actually is the singer in the band, and the writer. This will help you get vocal/gutiar parts that are more often in the same rhythm style, and easy to play. I recommend Megadeth (symphony of destruction and dread and the fugitive mind), as well as some alice in chains (heaven beside you) to get you started. Hope some of that helped.
This is all good, I think I have a lot to work on here, I have read a bit of stuff about muscle memory and playing the guitar which has triggered a few thoughts with my practice sessions, thanks derkym for the drums idea, I haven't a drummer but I do have access to an electric drum set, so I will try that to.

Its crazy when you see people like Billy Joe Armstrong playing and singing at the same time...they make it look so easy!

I thought I'd try a bit of Oasis aswell as my voice is about as flat as that! - Not one to start an argument about oasis, but their tracks seem to be the best sort of thing to target first...
I'm not exactly Pavarotti, but I can play guitar and sing reasonably good backing vocals at the same time, if there is a trick to learning how to do it, I would say it was looking for the main beats/accents in the vocal line you're singing and sort of mentally 'lining them up' with your strumming or picking pattern on the guitar, if you know what I mean.

e.g. if you were trying to sing and play this line from 'Blowing in the wind' you sort of hit the strings slightly harder when you sing the syllables in bold:

How many roads must a man walk down Before you call him a man?
Quote by Superhands

Its crazy when you see people like Billy Joe Armstrong playing and singing at the same time...they make it look so easy!

Thats cuz what he does is really easy.. Dont get me wrong I like greenday but powerchords and singing is about as easy as it gets. Now move over the Jerry Garcia, sure Bob Weir did most of the singing but Jerry did his share. Or Stevie Ray!! Now that is impressive.
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And what about James Hetfield singing when playing those riffs like Four Horsemen, Battery, Holier Than Thou, etc.
My advice... KEEP PLAYING AND SINGING AT THE SAME TIME!!!! If you cant do it naturally, then it has to become an aquired skill.... the more you do it, the better you will be at it.
There are definately levels to playing/singing ability. I can play and sing any simple acoustic strum song, period. I don't even have to know the song beforehand, if I know what it sounds like and have the chords and lyrics in front of me, I can play it.

But even though I'm so use to that, I still find songs where the vocal rhythm and guitar rhythm are so different that it's almost impossible to me. Right now I'm working on Stickshifts and Safetybelts by Cake... I can play the guitar part, I know the vocals, but on the chorus, they're just so far apart from each other. I knew a guy who use to play that song at open mics, though, so I know it's possible. It's just hard as hell.

Basically, don't worry, you'll get it eventually, and don't listen if anyone gives you crap about it, don't listen to them, 'cause no matter how good they are, there's sure to be somethin they can't do. Even the best players are still learning, don't take their crap.
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Quote by Superhands
Its crazy when you see people like Billy Joe Armstrong playing and singing at the same time...they make it look so easy!

look into a band called children of bodom if you think that greenday are impressive for singing and playing at the same time! their guitarist plays lead riffs and sings at the same time! always amazes me...

as for my input, you have to know exactly when to start singing and when the phrase finishes, plan everything out.

to start with, if you are interested in play stuff like oasis, if you find there strumming patterns too hard just strum each chord once until you get the hang on it, it will come with time
It just comes with practice...my advice:
Choose one song, and get it down. VERY well. Learn it so you can play it with your eyes closed. Then work on the vocals. Once I could do this with one song, it came really easily. I did Floyds WYWH.
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um... wow, the guy from greenday can play and sing at the same time
howbout some hendrix, play and sing well at the same time
Yeah yeah, The only reason I mentioned greenday was because I watched a video of them the other night, The point i was trying to make is that I am at the level where I can play their tunes, Just like Oasis, but I find it difficult to master the art of singing and playing them at the same time. I can think of a stack of legends who surpass in their playing and singing skills but I'm wayoff that level yet... New thread required for that debate me thinks..

Back to the topic in mind ... has anyone any more techniques worth trying? or good tracks to start off with....
Quote by Superhands
Back to the topic in mind ... has anyone any more techniques worth trying? or good tracks to start off with....

Poison was the cure-Megadeth, or anything dragonforce. Haha, just kidding. As far as easy ones go, I would say ATWA by system of a down is a great one. Also, just about any SOAD songs that daron sings are prime candidates (Kill rock and roll). Give Forest a shot as well.
I'm trying to sing while playing "Bold As Love". I find it pretty hard, but I can't sing along with anything yet so I have to practice a lot, that's my only advice, sit down with the song and practice it while singing.
Gonna Leave this town

Gotta leave this town

Gonna make a whole lotta money

Gonna be big yeah...
(Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train A Comin')

songs like for whom the bell tolls are very easy to get a hang of for singing and playing at the same time because during the singing parts there's basically one powerchord per bar (it's sustained throughout the bar) and then the chorus is a very basic galloping and chord structure - basically imo as a beginner there's just not that much to focus on with that particular song so it's really quite easy to do.

Its a bloody difficult thing to do, good luck, im trying it myself. I like what a guy said at the start of this forum - to like figure out where the rythm parts comin in relation to the sylabells of the words.
For Whom the Bell Tolls was the first song I ever sang and played at the same time, and it is a great song to learn on, because pretty much anytime you're singing, you're not doing much on the guitar, and vice versa. Also, Where is My Mind by the Pixies is good, because both guitars are easy, so you can sing whilst playing either part.
I understand what you mean, its a bit like tapping your finger on a table, one finger is doing one thing and the other another thing, it just gets messed up and you end up doing the same rhythm.

Singing is much easier to do than to play guitar well. Because of this I would advise practising focussing a lot on what you are playing and just hum or mime the words. This way you will become accustomed to singing the song while you play. Once you get better start to concentrate a bit more on the Singing until you have full power over both. It will take some time to be able to keep two different rhythms up at the same time but it will come eventually, dont worry.
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