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Thread: Singing and playing

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    Tone Member probo_squad_henry's Avatar
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    Default Singing and playing

    My band recently lost its singer, so the other guitarist and I decided to split vocals. He is taking most of them, but I still ended up with a song. I've never tried to sing and play at the same time. Any tips on how to play complex riffs and sing at the same time?

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    Mojo's Minions Rand-O-Monium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Practice...

    Sorry.
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Practice, practice, practice.

    One thing I do...when I think I have the song down, I will practice in front of the TV with the sound at a moderate level. It helps menwork on my concentration and ignoring aural visual distractions.

    Bill
    When you've had budget guitars for a number of years, you may find that your old instrument is holding you back. A quality guitar can inspire you to write great songs, improve your understanding of the Gdim chord while in the Lydian Mode, cure the heartbreak of cystic acne--and help you find true love in the process.

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    Mojo's Minions dystrust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand-O-Monium View Post
    Practice...

    Sorry.
    +1

    Practice a lot. Fortunately it gets easier the more you're used to doing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by crusty philtrum View Post
    And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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    Alnico 6/8 Chickenwings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rand-O-Monium View Post
    Practice...

    Sorry.
    +1
    "Technique is really the elimination of the unneccessary ... it is a constant effort to avoid any personal impediment or obstacle to acheive the smooth flow of energy and intent"
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    I think its an art. I have good voice IMHO but cannot sing when playing.

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    Mojo's Minions Kamanda~SD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Yup, Practice.

    I found the more I did it, the more I could 'separate' the two in my head. Certainly helps when you have the guitar part down its practically on autopilot.
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    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamanda~SD View Post
    Yup, Practice.

    I found the more I did it, the more I could 'separate' the two in my head. Certainly helps when you have the guitar part down its practically on autopilot.
    Either this or the other way around. I started as a singer before I ever started playing guitar so learning lyrics and the vocal melody is a second nature. Once I have the song down vocal-wise, integrating guitar is easy, provided I don't have anytyhing too fancy to play (complex chord progressions are fine and simple leads too but I can't solo or do complicated leads while I sing, at least not that well).

    Remember that if you can't sing the song correctly without playing guitar, there's no way you'll do a good job once you have a guitar in your hands. The opposite is of course true as well.

    In the end, it comes down to what has been said: practice. When you get comfortable doing both well individually, combining them will require a bit of practice and you'll be good to go.

  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    As BB King said, I have "stupid fingers" and I cant sing worth a hoot anyway.
    My playing is bad enough, I couldn't, in good conscience, subject anyone to my voice as well

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    Super Toneologist Lucy Diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Practice SLOWLY. Everything you know...you don't know anymore because you have to sing too.

    Learn the words. You already know the riffs. NOW....play the riffs and sing....slowly. Then speed up.

    It's like learning your first scales again. You won't hit the right notes all the time but slow down and get it right.

    Also...if you have finished recordings of your bands songs, play them and play along. Do your own private guitar karaoke thing.

    It'll happen.
    For the record, Lucy Diamond is a stage name and a movie reference and I'm a guy.

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    High Voltologist Wattage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    You know practice will help for sure. Get each part down individually as well as together.

    Break it up in pieces too. Sometimes I have to simplify a part to get the whole thing to work.

    Oh yeah practice with a metronome or something to keep time while you're working on it. Do not just play it along to the backing track. Make sure you record yourself so your can listen back to what you need to change.

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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Quote Originally Posted by probo_squad_henry View Post
    My band recently lost its singer, so the other guitarist and I decided to split vocals. He is taking most of them, but I still ended up with a song. I've never tried to sing and play at the same time. Any tips on how to play complex riffs and sing at the same time?
    You have to get the guitar playing down to muscle memory. The problem is going to be that if you use the "music" part of your brain both to focus on the notes you're playing and the ones you're singing, you'll end up singing your guitar note or playing your vocal part, because you'll be trying to split your focus between two notes, like patting your head and rubbing your stomach only even more closely related. To overcome this, you have to relegate the guitar playing to an area of your brain that isn't music related, and that usually means practicing it until your fingers can't play it wrong, then layering the singing over your playing.

    Usually, whoever is singing and playing guitar will be doing more chord work and less melody work on the instrument, because chords, by their very nature, are something you commit to muscle memory and don't think too much about in terms of the individual notes, while playing a melodic line introduces the competing single notes. I won't go far as to use the R-word or the L-word, suffice to say that if you look at guitarists who sing, those who do both at once tend to play chords, while those who sing and play melodic lines usually switch between one and the other during the song; there are both artistic and practical considerations behind these decisions. I have the utmost respect for singers who also play bass, because they don't get either luxury; they have to lay down an often-complex bassline while singing something else, and they can't let either one drop in favor of the other.
    Last edited by Liko; 02-03-2016 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Surgeon View Post
    Either this or the other way around. I started as a singer before I ever started playing guitar so learning lyrics and the vocal melody is a second nature. Once I have the song down vocal-wise, integrating guitar is easy, provided I don't have anytyhing too fancy to play (complex chord progressions are fine and simple leads too but I can't solo or do complicated leads while I sing, at least not that well).

    Remember that if you can't sing the song correctly without playing guitar, there's no way you'll do a good job once you have a guitar in your hands. The opposite is of course true as well.

    In the end, it comes down to what has been said: practice. When you get comfortable doing both well individually, combining them will require a bit of practice and you'll be good to go.
    I've sung much longer than I've played any instrument, and I find the opposite to be true; even with my vocal skill and talent, I find it pretty much impossible to focus on the guitar and just let the singing happen. I end up out of tune, missing lyrics, eventually just humming along with the guitar playing. Much easier IME to let my fingers do what they do and concentrate on a good vocal performance.

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    Mojo's Minions Lazarus1140's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    I've tried getting the vocals down pat before attempting lead type guitar lines and had little success. It also didn't work for me the other way. Either way the guitar and vocals both suffer at least a little.

    It seems the only way I am able to do it is by breaking both parts down. Then I analyze and build them to fit together mechanically for lack of a better term. Which syllable and pitch am I on vocally when I down pic on what note, and does the guitar part sustain (or rest) during this or that vocal part. I have to construct each part on a time line ... in a sense like it would occur in musical notation ... not on paper but in my little brain. Then I can see how and where the two "tasks" intersect. Once I understand the way they mesh the practice is more effective. It still takes practice, but the practice is productive rather than frustrating. I can learn very quickly this way, but still don't claim the ability to do anything very complex.
    I am so close to retirement that I could play in a band full time. All I have to do is improve my playing, learn some songs, and find some other musicians more talented than me who will do exactly as they're told. .

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    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    And, any time you get hung up with your vocals, scream YA UH! OOOOOOOO... Works for Het...
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

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    Junior Member DESERTRAT1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    misposted
    Last edited by DESERTRAT1; 02-07-2016 at 01:04 PM.
    Practice guitar for hours each day. Do that for years on end and one day you will make it look so easy that people who have never done any of that will say that you were blessed with talent.

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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Practice. I use to swap singing with the other guitarist and my vocals just seemed to come out like leads to back my rhythms. I also agree with muscle memory.
    'If at first you don't succeed, keep sucking 'til you do suck seed.'

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    Shaunofthedeadologist Johnny the Kid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    As someone who has been the lead singer/ rhythm guitarist of bands, my advice is to lock down on the guitar parts. Let muscle memory be what drives your playing.

    Second of all, listen to the music and find out where the lyrics fit in during it all. I never thought in terms of "rhythm guitar and lead vocals," everything was always "how do these interact and how can I keep fit them together." Like putting together two pieces of a puzzle.

    Going off of what Liko said about chords and using the "music part of your brain" to do two things at once, I would say don't think about the guitar in terms of notes and chords. Think in terms of chord shapes/ numbers. If you know how tabs work, then instead of thinking in terms of each note and chord you're playing, instead focus on the fret number and let the logical side of your brain handle the guitar work. Think of it as a math problem. Your vocals are using the artistic (right) side of your brain, so let your left brain have a math problem to work on.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Johnny the Kid; 02-07-2016 at 11:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    yeah honestly i tried the singing guitarist thing. giant pain in the arse i determined it wasnt worth it to sacrafice my guitar technique to add IMO subpar lyrics. so yeah. my advice is again as everyone else is saying make the music muscle memory and/or make the the guitarist do lead and you take the rhythm section simplify if necessary. have fun and dont get too hung up if u dont like your voice but keep workin at it
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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRose View Post
    And, any time you get hung up with your vocals, scream YA UH! OOOOOOOO... Works for Het...

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    Default Re: Singing and playing

    Man you should watch the rob chapman video on youtube where he explains how to excersise singing and playing at the same time. Dont remember what its called, but do a fee searches and you should find it, good luck!
    Filip Naja.

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