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ubit

Any singing bassists here?

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1 hour ago, ubit said:

Yeah, For instance, I can sing and play Crazy Little Thing Called Love easily as its a walking bass line, but struggled with The Killers All These Things That I've done. I had to simplify it as I just couldn't get that the notes were different lengths. Dead easy bass line to play. A bugger to sing over. It used to annoy the hell out of me, as I always felt it was rubbish not playing that verse correctly, but it went down so well, that we kept playing it

Aha now for me that's the other way round with that song - my old band used to play it all the time, but I tried to sing it once mid gig and it's in such a weird key for me that i sounded rubbish! 

Ill stick to doing the "I got soul...." bit and it'll be fine!

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8 hours ago, SpondonBassed said:

In some ways I feel it as challenging as I did when I first realised I'd have to eventually play for actual people.

By people I mean those who aren't friends who would give me a street opinion because they don't know me personally.  The buzz from meeting that milestone and passing it was worth the efforts leading up to that point.  I expect it will be the same sort of buzz if I can get to do the singing bassist thing.

And when you do it, the "civilians" in the audience won't even comprehend the achievement - which is similar to riding a motorcycle and driving a car - at the same time! 😁

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3 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

And when you do it, the "civilians" in the audience won't even comprehend the achievement - which is similar to riding a motorcycle and driving a car - at the same time! 😁

So when do the "civilians" in the audience ever comprehend anything the bass player does? 

I did have a lovely moment last summer after a festival gig when a very elderly lady came up to me, put her hand on my arm, smiled and said "Thank you - the bass drives the band, you know!"  🙂 

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4 hours ago, josie said:

So when do the "civilians" in the audience ever comprehend anything the bass player does? 

I did have a lovely moment last summer after a festival gig when a very elderly lady came up to me, put her hand on my arm, smiled and said "Thank you - the bass drives the band, you know!"  🙂 

Ahh, that was nice. 👍

TBH, I've never felt particularly unnoticed or undervalued as a bass player, although it's a sentiment I've often seen expressed on here... sure there will be some in the audience whom probably don't know what sounds are coming out of which instrument, but that doesn't matter to me, or to them either, I doubt? 😊

 

Edited by Ricky 4000

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14 hours ago, Ricky 4000 said:

I've never felt particularly unnoticed or undervalued as a bass player

One of the reasons I like playing bass is that, as a general rule for the music I like, there is someone between me and the crowd, ie: the guitarist/singer.  Not being the centre of attention yet being a key part of the performance is what I seek.

I don't do well in crowds unless I am occupied with a task such as bass.  I see the singing bassist being a stage in my development that will help overcome some of my lifelong fears with regard to crowds and crowd behaviour in particular.  That's my ultimate aim.  It means I must make mine an impeccable groove, as mentioned by MK in a song a long time ago.

Without going into detail, my upbringing has turned me out as a confirmed loner.  It's not good for me in the long run so I have to make extra effort to keep in touch with the living, as it were.

It doesn't matter whether you are on-stage or in the mosh-pit, music is a great ice breaker. 

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I was at one point so foolishly egotistical that I thought I could do lead vocals and bass. The bass bit was OK, and I sang along to it, but my singing was atrocious. I'm a bit better now, and do some BVs, but the only song I've been allowed to sing while playing bass was "Make me smile (come up and see me)" and I played quite a busy bass line for it but left my fingers running on automatic because the lyrics are so ludicrous that you have to concentrate on them. So, that song, a few mind-period T Rex songs (Telegram Sam, Get it On), and quite a lot of Bowie songs should provide that concentration on the lyrics that means you don't have to think about your fingers.

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4 hours ago, tauzero said:

I played quite a busy bass line for it but left my fingers running on automatic because the lyrics are so ludicrous that you have to concentrate on them. So, that song, a few mind-period T Rex songs (Telegram Sam, Get it On), and quite a lot of Bowie songs should provide that concentration on the lyrics that means you don't have to think about your fingers.

You have to concentrate on the singing on ALL songs. There’s no way you can sing automatically. The bass has to be muscle memory always. 

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I'm Trying!

I've always done BVs, but this is the first time I've attempted lead vocals, and it's tough. If I'm honest I've never had any desire to front a band, but my desire to go through the process of finding a singer (based on previous experiences) is even less. We want to keep it small so the idea is that everyone needs to sing, and I reckon we can handle it between ourselves. 

I'm not prepared to dumb down the bass for the vocals, or dumb down the vocals for the bass, so I write the parts independently. I've found what works for me is to record a rough version in Cubase, then to learn it as if it was a cover.

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Mrs Ubits brother is a guitar player. She has two brothers , both are incredible musicians. The older brother always had a terrible singing voice. He set himself a target and said I will sing. Over the years he has taught himself to sing and now has a fine voice. He’s got a raspy tone kinda similar to Bryan Adams. Maybe that’s the answer. Put a bit of fry into your voice. I’ve been lucky in that I always could sing and over the years, I’ve become more known  as the singer rather than the bass player. I’d like to change that and become the musician that everyone recognises. I do find that as I’m getting older, tuning slightly lower helps. Obviously now I know more about different tunings or keys, whereas before, I forced myself to sing everything in standard tuning, which can be hard on your voice. 

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On 21/01/2019 at 18:22, bassbiscuits said:

Aha now for me that's the other way round with that song - my old band used to play it all the time, but I tried to sing it once mid gig and it's in such a weird key for me that i sounded rubbish! 

Ill stick to doing the "I got soul...." bit and it'll be fine!

The verse is like 12345-6-7-8 and that's what I couldn't get around whilst singing. I practised and practised and used to go mental with frustration!

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On 20/01/2019 at 14:08, Staggering on said:

There's a YouTube video by Jay Leonhart called "It's Impossible To Sing And Play The Bass".He's playing DB and I and many others know exactly what he is talking about.I do a few vocals and backup vocals and it took a while to get things coordinated, especially when trying to learn a new song while reading music and words at the same time. I can do it easily on guitar but DB is a whole other world.

Loved the first comment on this video 😂

You know what's harder than playing bass and singing at the same time? Playing the trumpet and singing at the same time.

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I figure if this guy can coordinate this, anything is possible!

 

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I’ve always sung and played, since the day I first picked up the bass. I’ve sung lead or backing in most of the bands I’ve been in. Sometimes I find more complicated bass lines easier than the simple stuff, when singing. I just practice, keep doing both.  I tend to get the bass so it’s somewhere near and then work on the vocals, although sometimes it’s the other way round. Relaxation is key. 

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8 hours ago, ubit said:

The verse is like 12345-6-7-8 and that's what I couldn't get around whilst singing. I practised and practised and used to go mental with frustration!

It’s just a very weird key for me to sing - ie pretty low. We’d been doing it for years with me doing backing vocals and the whole middle section so I thought it would be plain sailing to do the rest of the song when it was suddenly needed. Didn’t suit my voice at all. 

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On 20/01/2019 at 20:18, T-Bay said:

I only do BV but you have hit the nail on the head. The lead guitarist/ vocalist on one of my bands can’t get the idea that some songs I can play and sing on are more complicated on paper than others that I can’t sing on but it’s the rhythm more than complexity that nobbles me.

Yes. Back in the 80s my originals band had a tune in 12/8 with a slap bass part that was a bit like Level 42's 'Heathrow' in terms of rhythm, i.e. it went sort of 'daah-daah-d-d-d-daah-daah-d-d-d-' and so on. I had to sing a smooth BV over it. It took me weeks and weeks of solid practice to nail it and I still had to concentrate furiously when we did it. Most of my BVs were and still are second nature, but that one never was.

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15 hours ago, 4000 said:

Sometimes I find more complicated bass lines easier than the simple stuff,

I find this too. I can surprise myself sometimes but as I say All these things that I've done just stumped me. Dead easy baseline in the verse but I just couldn't play and sing it. 😖

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Singing-yes, talking-no. You know when you're trying to be 'cool' by introducing a song, while playing the Intro? Can't do that. I used to have to talk while the Guitar and Drums were quietly starting off, then, when I'd finished talking, start playing and singing. I found myself talking 'in rhythm' with the song, and I've never been able to stop doing it.

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I sing mainly harmony BVs in a Jam tribute band, but take the lead on a couple of Bruce Foxton sung tunes. My approach to singing and playing is this.

1 learn the bass part ( you must be able to play it without thinking about it.... so go over it many times.

2 learn the lyrics ( I often find this to be the most challenging thing to do ) because you will trip yourself up, when playing, if you're having to think about "what comes next lyrically" ?

3 Try to play and sing  both parts together. You may find certain parts are a bit tricky, especially up beats in a fairly busy bass line. So slowly play and sing those parts, and work out where the word / words fall on the up beats.... and play those sections, over and over until it kinda syncopates with the bass. (You will find , you  have more time and space in the song than you originally thought)

 Then go into rehearsal full of confidence......and completely f**k it up. REPEAT steps 1,2 and 3 until you nail it. 

It's not easy, but with time it gets easier and faster to learn new tunes. * We'd just nailed " Beat Surrender" in rehearsal , ready to gig new tune, then the pandemic hit.....Gutted. Stay safe everyone and keep practicing.

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On 22/01/2019 at 19:20, SpondonBassed said:

One of the reasons I like playing bass is that, as a general rule for the music I like, there is someone between me and the crowd, ie: the guitarist/singer.  Not being the centre of attention yet being a key part of the performance is what I seek.

I don't do well in crowds unless I am occupied with a task such as bass.  I see the singing bassist being a stage in my development that will help overcome some of my lifelong fears with regard to crowds and crowd behaviour in particular.  That's my ultimate aim.  It means I must make mine an impeccable groove, as mentioned by MK in a song a long time ago.

Without going into detail, my upbringing has turned me out as a confirmed loner.  It's not good for me in the long run so I have to make extra effort to keep in touch with the living, as it were.

It doesn't matter whether you are on-stage or in the mosh-pit, music is a great ice breaker. 

 

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+1 - that’s pretty much me too, except that I choose not to sing.

For me, playing bass is still a pleasure that I fear would only be diluted if I had to sing at the same time - so I don’t.😎

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On 20/01/2019 at 11:55, ubit said:

Do any of you singing bass players have techniques that you use?

Just stumbled across this old thread... I've recently started lessons in singing while playing bass. I'd tried off my own bat a few times and not made much progress, but having a teacher who both talks the talk and walks the walk has made all the difference. We started with a simple Wilburys number - End of the Line - but finding I could sing, play and crucially, stay in time was a massive confidence boost. I think it'll be a wee while before I can front a band and do Won't Get Fooled Again though!

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I sing lead vocals and play 5 and 6 string, plus double bass. If the bass lines are straight forward I'll just do it, but if they involve tricky timing or syncopated lines, I'll try and learn the bass parts to the point of playing automatically so I can concentrate on the singing. Jazz standards can be a challenge because of concentrating on intonation on the double bass. One drop can be awkward for me too, so I leave the vocals to others. This weeks challenge was Black Water by the Doobie Brothers. I had to play the bass line over and over for about half an hour to 'get it planted firmly in my head before I looked at the vocals.

Edited by Marty Forrer

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I'd always done some of the singing , up to 50% . A few years back I formed a trio with myself on bass and lead vocal partly to see if I could pull it off. I really enjoyed it, I agree that you have to learn both parts , if you falter on a lyric the bass can fall apart and vice versa. You also need to have total confidence in what the other guys are doing, you don't get to interact with them as much. 
Sadly our last gig was booked for the 21st March and is currently awaiting rescheduling 😪 so yes I am or was a singing bass player.

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On 31/08/2020 at 20:56, lozkerr said:

I think it'll be a wee while before I can front a band and do Won't Get Fooled Again though!

On this song do NOT try to swing your bass around by the lead like Roger Daltrey used to to with his microphone. 

Otherwise that howl of pain and rage will be from the bandmate who gets your bass in the back of his head!!

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Last time I played with a band I couldn't quite get the timing right for one song, so the BL and I stayed after to go through it. At one point I said something like " Ah, it goes like this.." and sang the part. He looked at me and just said "You're no singer are you."  Which then cracked me up because it was totally deadpan, not a joke, and completely accurate. It's now a catchphrase:-)

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