View Full Version : Playing AND Singing at the same time.

07-22-2002, 05:24 PM
Hi there. First of all, I really like this evolvment of Guitar4u.com
It's alot greater now (not that it was bad before).

Now on to my problem. I'm taking vocal lessons and so to improve my voice. I have no problem to record a song.. guitar, then vox. But I must be able to do both at the same time. For a live situation for example. Now, I do know the basic exercises like singing and playing a basic 4 chords tune with no "advanced" rhythms. The problem is that in my music the riffs can be pretty tough just alone and to totally divide you body in three parts (stomping, guitar, vox) is a real pain in the ***. Does anyone here have any good exercises or tips for this? My biggest insperation in this area is Daniel Gildenl÷w from Pain of Salvation, he play those "advanced" odd-timed riffs AND sing so incridible good. I know alot more examples. Take James Hetfeild (although I hate Metallica). Playing Master of Puppets and such is pretty tough to sing at the same time. Although, practice makes perfect (that' why I'm writing this *lol*)...

Any ideas, help, anything?

07-22-2002, 06:31 PM
I suggest you record everything then just lip sync to it...............is this thing on?

Just kidding. Something I've done is get so comfortable with the music that you can play it in your sleep. Then start humming while you play, then try singing certain lines. Just work in to everything. It has worked for me but I've never had to play really complex pieces either. Good luck!

07-24-2002, 03:14 AM
I'm certainly no expert at this and I've struggled with it quite a bit myself, but I have noticed something happens when I get it right. It seems that when I get in a zone and can play and sing at the same time it feels as though my whole body are acting as an instrument--much like I imagine a drummer would feel, only here my voice is one part of the instrument and my voice the other.

It might sound kind of silly, but the way I think of it is as this--playing two different things with my voice and my hands on the guitar is hard--damn near impossible. However, it seems that when I let myself flow with the music and hear the subtle interplay between what my hands are doing and what my voice is doing--when I play the two in relation to what another, is when it works best. For example, here I start my vocal line and play a chord then chord play a short sequence and jump to another vocal phrase on that last beat.

07-24-2002, 08:38 AM
I have the same problem with singing and playing. What is helping me is playing the guitar while listening to it. Once this can be done then try listening to the same song, while playing and then join in with the singing.

When all is happy turn off the CD and you should be able to play and sing the song.

I suppose that this can only be done for covers though.

07-24-2002, 04:14 PM
Those are some good ideas, I'll try'em out.

As for the last. It can be done pretty easy since we record the songs first. then rehearse ;) So I just have to bust my *** off at home.

08-02-2002, 10:54 PM
I played in a cover band for 10 or more years, lead guitar (most of the time the ONLY guitar) and lead vocals. Basically my theory is:

1. Prioritize!
Most people don't know much about Music but they do know if you are singing it right.
So if the part requires more of your attention to sing it right than put the guitar on 'AutoPilot', while you sing difficult phrases.

2. If the guitar is demanding try to put the vocal on 'AutoPilot'.

What is 'AutoPilot'?
When you have really learned a tune and are not thinking about what you are doing anymore, but thinking "Oh ****! what was that lick I am supposed to play(or The next Lyric Line)?" and you Watch yourself play the lick (Or sing the lyric) and are overcome with the relief of anxiety because you are on 'AutoPilot'.

You can learn to control this and turn it on and off at will, but it takes a great deal of experiance and comfort in front of an audience. You should feel like you are in your most favorite chair when you are onstage and have TOTAL CONVICTION that you are going to follow through. It took me about 100 gigs to get there.
Some people never get there, most people take more than 100 gigs.

You need to have confidence in you band mates. You need to KNOW they will support you. You need to have total confidence in your playing and singing.
There will be parts you just can't play and sing with any amount of practice, with these prioritize which part is more important ( the answer should be the VOCAL), put the guitar on low priority, to be able to make the vocal part happen.

08-08-2002, 04:44 AM
I have always been fascinated by this subject. I have found that I absolutely cannot talk while I am playing guitar - I have to stop, talk, and then begin playing again. Although I don't sing well, I have found that I can sing along just fine with the music because that is the focus of my concentration at that moment. I can't talk because it takes the focus off what I am doing on the guitar. And it doesn't matter how well I know the piece that I am playing. It is as though there are two convergent skills in my brain that cannot function simultaneously. But the singing of lyrics that go with what I am playing tends to go very well, simply because the lyrics are part in parcel of the the playing process. So I suppose that, if there were any helpfulness to what I am writing here, it's that, as you concentrate on the music as a whole, you should be able to lead yourself into the lyrics fairly easily. It helps to envision the music and the words as inseparable - to master the piece is to master both. I have needed to practice music and lyrics together at a very slow pace for quite some time before mastering them and bringing them up to speed. It can be done. Just don't try to talk to me while I'm doing it! :o)

04-07-2004, 01:26 PM
It's not really that hard...I can't speak for guys like hammit and mustaine, but they're generally playing the easier parts of the songs while the other guitarist does alot of the harder stuff.

However, I'm getting into this as well, the secret I've found is to start out on REALLY easy strumming type songs. This way you can concentrate on playing a mindless thing, and sing at the same time, the reason is because your training yourself to do two things at once. You start to get a feel for when to sing parts, when to change etc...usually the changes are pretty standard and you get a feel for that.

This has really helped me alot, from where I couldn't do the two together at all, to where I can start to work on anything. It takes time and practice though, and you'll mess up alot along the way. I think it's a learning process though...

This is just my experience though, but I've found learning those easy ones really help. By easy I mean really easy, stuff like rockin in the free world (neil young/pearl jam), free falling by tom petty, some oasis etc. Not the most rockin music but it only has like 2 different progressions, and only a few chords in each, perfect for putting playing on 'auto-pilot'.

04-07-2004, 03:20 PM
Most of the time I sing while playing my acoustic so I've had to deal with this problem a lot. I totally agree with szulc - 'AutoPilot' idea is a clue. And for sure it's a matter of experience.

For me there are 3 types of accompaniment (the one I use):

1. Straight strumming.
2. Chord melody. (strumming implying some chord extensions/inversions to emphasize melody part).
3. Riffs. (single notes or power chords)

The latter is in my opinion the hardest type for majority of players due both rythmical and thematic distictions between melody and riff which happen rather often. When your guitar starts to interfere with your singing 'AutoPilot' is crucial here to master such kind of accompaniment. Simple example - 'Come As You Are' by Nirvana. Extremely easy to play but much harder to sing over. AutoPilot may be applied either to your singing or playing (not both or else you performance might sound to boring :)). Try to read some text while singing a melody :D - sometimes it helps.


04-07-2004, 04:26 PM
Yep, autopilot seems the answer. When I asked the guitar player and singer of my favourite band (who plays really fast riffs and licks, and sings at the same time) how he managed this, he told me that he practiced the guitar part until it was something completely mechanical, and then he could sing freely.

But you have to be good enough with the guitar... ;-)

10-10-2005, 11:15 PM
Yep, autopilot seems the answer. When I asked the guitar player and singer of my favourite band (who plays really fast riffs and licks, and sings at the same time) how he managed this, he told me that he practiced the guitar part until it was something completely mechanical, and then he could sing freely.

But you have to be good enough with the guitar... ;-)

I compleaty agree with this dude, mastering the guitar part first and letting it become 2nd nature and then adding the voc's is the way to go.

it is like splitting a piano piece into left hand right hand, it's possible to program each part seperately.
One must also be as equally adept with the vocal part!

There's no such word as cant!!