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stewblack

Singing While Playing

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In a moment of what I can only adequately describe as mass hysterical insanity my band has agreed I should be allowed to make noises into a microphone during our set. Specifically the male lead in Love Shack. I believe their rationale is that it's not proper singing it's just talking really so what harm can he do?

So far so good. However now I try to actually do it I find I can play the bassline with consummate ease right up until the point where I open my mouth and then it all goes to stinky poo-rags. How do you good folk recommend a beginner begins to master the art of doing one thing with mouth and another with hands when he only has one brain?

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"Learn the bass line so you can play it without looking. Learn the words so you don't have to read them. Then practice. A lot." Quote from the guy who got me started on the bass in the early 80's

I hope someone knows an easier way, cos it always takes me ages.  Bv's are a bit easier and some songs are harder than others. I find it harder than singing while playing guitar...

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Im having the same problem learning and playing Pretty Woman. The bass line is no problem but I just never remember the words. I generally never listen to lyrics and eithed miss hear them or make my own up so having to now get them right and remember them is the tricky part.

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What I do is find notes in the phrase where the vocals and the bass match up (timing wise). Then practice the bass line whilst hitting those vocal notes. Then fill in the gaps.

But yes, lots of practice as well.

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I just hammer the bassline and then begin to drop the vocals in, sometimes it’s dead easy others it’s a pain. What I have found is that it isn’t down to the complexity of the bassline but the rhythm. If the vocals sit nicely over the top, I don’t have a problem but where there slightly strange things going on rhythm wise it can throw me. There are a couple where I have admitted defeat and had to say, nope can’t do that one. I also set the microphone slightly lower than I would naturally place it so my head is slightly angled down and I grab a quick look down if needed.

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As others have said, just practice, but once you suss it it gets easier.

I've tended to get the bass part down solid first so I know it inside out without having to think or look at the neck at all, then slowly add the vocals. Some lines will be harder than others depending on the rhythmic phrasing of the vocal, and the way it crosses over the pattern of the bass part, and yes remembering words is a b*tch.

It' taken over 20 years, but I can pretty much play and sing anything that comes up, but i still can't play Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher chorus backing vocals and play the proper bass part !

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Tricky song to start on! The bass is dead easy, but constant in the verses and there are lots of words! Good luck! Maybe try some exercises like singing scales or a few songs where you can chug root notes. 

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1 hour ago, chevy-stu said:

 i still can't play Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher chorus backing vocals and play the proper bass part !

The "your love keeps lifting me, love keeps lifting me, lifting me higher and higher" part?? 

Yeah, neither can I! 

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The BVs in that song are consistently off the beat, making it a right bugger to sing while playing.

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6 hours ago, T-Bay said:

 I also set the microphone slightly lower than I would naturally place it so my head is slightly angled down and I grab a quick look down if needed.

yeah, I do that, on London Calling BV's at the same time as sliding up to the 7th fret, can't do that without looking.

Once read Macca used to practice while reading the paper so he could play without thinking about it, I've done the same while watching TV (not reading the paper) 

As regards learning words, I do open mic on acoustic guitar, I always learn the words (one of my pet hates is singers who use cheat sheets), I sing them to myself while walking the dog, once they're in there they usually stay

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6 hours ago, PaulWarning said:

Once read Macca used to practice while reading the paper so he could play without thinking about it, I've done the same while watching TV (not reading the paper) 

I quite often watch the TV while playing, especially when the footy is on. The rest of the band don't like it much, mind.

 

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29 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

I quite often watch the TV while playing, especially when the footy is on. The rest of the band don't like it much, mind.

Yeh, our guitarist does that if the telly is on. It means he is guaranteed to pink torpedo up.

I was watching the Rush live videos earlier ( was trying to find something specific). Watching the video of Xanadu, I didn't realise (although it is obvious thinking about it) that the lead synth line that is being played while the bass is playing and he is singing is being played by him with his feet. I have a problem with that, if I am singing, playing bass and playing the footpedals, I find it very easy to lose balance! I guess something always has to give

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23 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

I quite often watch the TV while playing, especially when the footy is on. The rest of the band don't like it much, mind.

 

Once played (The George in Chipping Sodbury I think) with a 9 piece funk band at one end of the room and a boxing match on the giant screen at the other end. We were looking right at it 🤔

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On 4/15/2018 at 14:21, [email protected] said:

The "your love keeps lifting me, love keeps lifting me, lifting me higher and higher" part?? 

Yeah, neither can I! 

Yep, that's the bit ! 

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So it finally happened. After a long hiatus we at last got the band off the ground and I have lost my singing in public cherry. In the end I simplified the bass line under the verses to a straight four so I literally didn't have to think about it and concentrated on delivering the vocal line. The more comfortable I became with words and structure the easier it was to add to the bass part. It's not perfect yet but I have a vocal coach and she's working on the weaknesses in my voice. A lot of work but my God it was fun.

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Nice one, mate. And the good bit is, the more you do it the better you get and the better it sounds and the more fun it is.

Try singing BVs stepped back from the mic on other songs in the set - no need to tell your bandmates you're doing it. Eventually, you'll choose when to step up to the mic and join in properly.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎15‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 14:21, [email protected] said:

The "your love keeps lifting me, love keeps lifting me, lifting me higher and higher" part?? 

Yeah, neither can I! 

Yep, neither can I and its my favorite song and I so want to be able to join in on backing vocals :(

I've now got to learn It Takes Two which is a right pain. The bass line is easy but the timing of the vocals is crazy hard.

Edited by Linus27

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My daughter has been messing with the voice coach bit on Yousician, only the free ten minute a day lessons so I thought whatbthe he’ll nd gave it a go. For a freebie it’s pretty good and after a week on it I think it’s helping me hold pitch better and also to know when I’m not right. Some strange stuff they get you singing though, doubt it will be making the set anytime soon.

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