#1
In my "band"(a friend and I, really.) I've been doing the vocals (since no one else really has the guts to do it) and filling in guitar bits while I'm not singing. We had a buddy come in who wants to learn to play as well, so we thought we'd put him on bass. Well, he wasn't too enthusiastic of having to play bass and he wanted to, of course, play guitar.
Since I already had three years or so of experience with guitar and I was rather comfortable with a bass, I figured I'd let him take guitar and I'd sing and play bass. We didn't have the time to try that set-up out, so it's on hold until sunday.

This brings me to my question. Is it much harder to sing and play bass rather than singing and playing guitar? My teacher, who's kind enough to let us use his equipment and has been playing for 15-20years or more, said that it would be.
Last edited by Dethvone1 at Mar 10, 2008,
#2
Harder to sing and play bass? Personally, yes, but that really depends on the riff and the song. Thumping even notes and chord progressions while singing isn't hard at all, but when you start to do grooves and melodies, having your brain think about two rhythms at the same time is difficult. This goes for both guitar and bass parts, but typically, interesting bass parts are a bit more rhythmic than their accompanying guitar parts.

Personally, I always suggest that you record the band with you playing bass, and then singing, so you know how you sound and can hear yourself in your head. That might make things easier, but the fact is, it's all about practice. I sing and play all the time, and that's how I take care of it.
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#3
Yes, it is. I can sing and play guitar with no problems what so ever; if I go to bass its much, much harder.

Playing a rhythm instrument (like drums or bass) and playing at the same time is difficult because most times you are playing a counter to the main melody, not following the melody with a logical chord progression.

The best advise I would give you is to learn the bass part and then start "speaking" the song over the bass line to start to lock the rhythm of the bass line and that of the melody together. When that comes together, sing the song over the bass line. For me, using that progression has helped tonnes in this arena.
#4
Really depends on the style of music. I was in one band where I could play and sign no problem (kinda of a Goo Goo Dolls meets Rush). I was in a band doing a more funkish style and couldn't do it - the vocals and bass were out of synch and sounded bad when I did it.
I'd always simplify my bass part until I could sing over the progression and then gradually and the walks and fills. Playing as much in one position also made things easier.
#5
interesting how geddy can do it so well....wow

yes its significantly harder, but as stated above, depends on what your playing and what your singing
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#6
I have no problems singing and playing bass. The best way I've found to approach it is to get the bass part down 100% and confidant with it before I start to try and sing it.
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#7
Yeah, it's definately harder than singing with guitar. In my current band I'm both the bassist and primary vocalist, and in my old band I played bass and both sang and screamed.

Screaming and playing bass is probably the most physically difficult. Like running up a hil, clapping your hands, and yelling. It burns you up pretty fast. The bass lines aren't too hard, the vocal rhythms aren't bad, and there obviously aren't any vocal melodies, but it's a workout
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#10
its that hard when you can play the song without having to look down. and yeah depends on what you play. I find it kinda easy when i get the songs down
#11
well if you're writing your own music there's a guy in my school who plays bass and sings, but they either have breaks (like Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl) or he plays root notes while singing, then plays better when not singing.
it works well, but yeah I agree, its really complicated, I'm working on trying to sing .Californication at the same time as playing the bass and an open note (E string tuned to F). Now that is hard, but practice makes perfect.
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#12
Quote by whack-a-bass
interesting how geddy can do it so well....wow

yes its significantly harder, but as stated above, depends on what your playing and what your singing


geddy plays more melody than rhythm wouldn't you say?
its easier to sing to a melody
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#13
Apparently Paul Weller originally was singing and playing bass for the Jam but he found it too hard! So he went too guitar.
They key really is to just practice and practice, as with everything!
#14
Singing and Bass is a pain in the ass. Nobody in my band can hold a melody while singing except me and i just happen to be the bassist....
#15
depends... for my ska band i can interchange between walking basslines, and the upstroke chords on guitar while singing (its all basically four four so there is no trouble)

for my progish band i can only focus on the bass as its irregular

edit: funny thing is... i can sing when the guitar is irregular...
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Last edited by latinosuperstud at Mar 11, 2008,
#16
it depends on the song
i play bass and sing really easy in some songs(mostly pop punk and punk and ska)
but i cant play properly and sing RHCP stuff because i need to concentrate to do all those things
but with practice you should be able to
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#17
Thanks for the information guys. If nothing else, the fact that everyone thinks it is harder makes me want to try it more--and get good at it. Heh.
#18
Quote by Dethvone1
Well, he wasn't too enthusiastic of having to play bass and he wanted to, of course, play guitar.


Well you certainly caught us all there! It is a well known fact that we bassists all aspire to be great guitarists really.

Back on topic... it is more harder.
#19
Quote by shinhoman
geddy plays more melody than rhythm wouldn't you say?
its easier to sing to a melody

Whether it's a melody or rhythm is irrelevant. It totally depends on how different the rhythms of the vocals and bass parts are. Whether or not they're rhythmic or melodic lines makes no difference.

I assure you, the hardest possible thing to do is play a melodic line that's synchopated with your vocal melody.
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#20
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Well you certainly caught us all there! It is a well known fact that we bassists all aspire to be great guitarists really.

Back on topic... it is more harder.



I wasn't saying anything bad. =P Bass obviously isn't as popular as guitar, sadly. He wanted to play guitar to start with, but since myself and the other guy already played guitar, it seemed best to give him a bass. He wants to be a l33t, guitar rock god, though, so yeah. It was surprising, is what I meant.
#21
It can be hard, When Ever I sing and play bass, I end up going compltly of time, I usualy end up playing the notes As soon as my voice starts, and when I stop sining, I stop playing. Im very Comfusing.
#22
I've tried it with negative results. I end up either getting off-beat or off-key and mumbling. Check out Jack Bruce for a guy who sings and plays semi-complicated bass parts. It can be done, but I imagine it takes practice.
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#23
Quote by mountaindew88
Screaming and playing bass is probably the most physically difficult. Like running up a hil, clapping your hands, and yelling. It burns you up pretty fast. The bass lines aren't too hard, the vocal rhythms aren't bad, and there obviously aren't any vocal melodies, but it's a workout



This is probably the hardest thing to do. When your playing bass, you are already (if you are not playing roots) are doing something relatively difficult. But, by adding screaming into it, you are basically adding another instrument into the mix, your voice. Like he said it really burns you up fast, especially if you are like me and have a cold.
#24
Quote by t3hrav3n
I've tried it with negative results. I end up either getting off-beat or off-key and mumbling. Check out Jack Bruce for a guy who sings and plays semi-complicated bass parts. It can be done, but I imagine it takes practice.


Jack Bruce also wrote his bass lines to compliment his singing as well, so while with the exception of Politician, if you can learn the bass lines to say "White Room" or "Brave Ulysses", the bass lines under the vocals are very complimentary to singing the lyrics. Its in the solo sections or the bridges that Jack really flies in the bass lines.

The story I have heard is that when Cream was recording "Strange Brew", Jack thought he was going to sing, so the bass line is a very straightforward blues variation. But it was determined that Clapton was to sing the song, and Jack never had the opportunity to go back and amp up the bass lines. Its a grudge he held for a long time, and if I remember right, its one of the few Cream hits that wasn't played on the reunion tour.

I love Jack Bruce--great bass player and damn sexy voice.