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playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:04 pm
by suzy q
I'm a total newbie....both to this forum and to guitar so please forgive my really dumb question but...........

I am having a real hard time singing while I play guitar. Seems like I don't have what it takes to do both at the same time. Could any of you talented folks out there tell me if there is a "secret" to learning how to do this?

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:25 pm
by notsonhouse
For me, the thing is to learn to play the song on guitar until I can play it without thinking about it. Then I can concentrate on the singing part without having to worry about the playing.

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:55 pm
by bosco
Suzy-

NotSon is right, you must be totally comfortable playing the song before you can sing to it. Fingering the chords must be second nature or you won't be able to concentrate on the lyrics, phrasing and breathing that singing requires.

Also you must walk before you can run...may I suggest some very basic 3 chord strumming songs for starters. Avoid finger picking and bass lines until you are more advanced. Something like "On Top Of Old Smokey" or "Michael Row The Boat" should do. When you can play through the song repeatedly without stopping, making all the chord changes, then you are ready to try and add the singing.

Enjoy yourself and have fun!

Bosco

"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it."

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:00 pm
by allanlummox
There is a trick, but the trick is repetition. If you practice, you WILL get it- maybe not the first thousand times you try, but you will.

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:25 pm
by watertore
These guys are all right. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat, but time will be the universal key to success. Don't be too hard on yourself. If the guitar was easy to learn, everyone would be playing one. I started on the guitar and quit it real quick because I couldn't make a song right away. I switched to the harp. That was a lot easier to sing and play. Then I got back to the guitar and already knew how to sing and play harp, so it just carried over to the guitar. Walter

PS: 35 years later I am still learning how to sing and play at the same time.


http://www.spontobeat.com/

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:31 pm
by david
Let me throw in perpetual newbie's insight.

First of all, my attempts at singing will make a cat laugh and a dog run for cover at the best of times.

But, as I am learning new songs I sometimes find getting the timing just right to be a problem. IF (a big word) the lyrics to the song are timed with the picking pattern, and they often do, then I find the lyrics actually help me get the picking pattern right.

I start by trying to sing the song "in my head" while I play the part I'm working on. Then I move to humming the lyrics while I play. From there it is a matter of moving your lips independently of your fingers.

That may not work for everyone, but I sometimes find it helps.



;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:18 pm
by stumblin
Follow Lummox's advice, and just keep practising until you get it.
Each song presents different challenges, but once you're started off singing and playing one song, the rest will surely follow.
Having said that, I keep losing it or getting tonmgue-tied on certain numbers. When that happens, I try to think up an instrumental part until I can get the words out.

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:24 pm
by alexjay
Off the top of my head, I can think of two good guitarists who absolutely DO NOT sing and play at the same time--B.B. King and Eric Clapton (though Clapton does do both more and more these days)--and I'm sure there are more.

Funny; when I first started taking lessons this past year, I found it harder to play songs I was learning WITHOUT singing along.

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 4:11 pm
by suzy q
AlexJay,
Unfortunately, EC is where I'm stuck right now.....my teacher has me learning "Nobody Knows You" from Clapton's Unplugged the chord changes in that song just went way beyond my capabilities........I got so confused, never mind trying to sing along with that song! Last weeks lesson, I think my teacher could tell I was getting frustrated because he switched gears and started me on "House of the Rising Sun". Whole lot simpler! I think maybe I just need to follow the advice given here and just "practice, practice, practice" + I'm gonna try the thinking/humming/then singing suggestion. BTW, I was fortunate enough to se BB King last month at Wolf Trap.......you're right, he didn't sing and play at the same time, but when he DID play I was blown away!

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 5:40 pm
by bosco
>Off the top of my head, I can think of two good guitarists who absolutely DO NOT sing and play at the same time--B.B. King and Eric Clapton (though Clapton does do both more and more these days)--and I'm sure there are more.<

Suzy-

What Alex J did not explain clearly is that B.B. and E.C. do not play LEAD guitar while singing. They are both very proficient at playing RHYTHYM guitar and singing simultaneously which is what you are trying to accomplish. B.B. plays very little rhythym anymore because he doesn't need to at 78 years old and he has 10 piece band.

Man, its frustrating when a beginner asks for advice and people come along talking about customized equipment or idiosyncracies of professional players. All that does is convolute the issue and does little to further the thread. Stick to the basics and work with us here people.

Bosco

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 9:59 pm
by mofuggah
This was a very tough thing for me to get used to. Especially playing in a power trio. I had to play alot of fills and guitar parts to fill up the sound on top of singing. I thought I'd never get it. Here's how I overcame it in time:

1. I tried to learn as many Johnny Winter songs as posible. Because of the odd way Johnny plays, and the fact that he puts so many notes into a tiny space, Johnny has some of the most difficult songs to play and sing at the same time. By learning his stuff, everything else came easy. Bands like SRV and Cream have become a walk in the park to me after playing Johnny Winter for so long.

2. I learned to play the song first. Then with a metronome, I slowed the song WAAAAAAY down until I could play it and sing it at the same time. I paid close attention to what notes were played at the same time as certain words in the lyrics. I did this over and over until I got it. Then I began slowly increasing the speed until I had the song back up to its original tempo.

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 10:52 pm
by badfinger
"Seems like I don't have what it takes to do both at the same time..."

What, you too? That's what we've all said - not once, but many times over.

As Allan said - just keep at it, a few times or a thousand or three times... then one day...

David had a good point about visualisation (running it through in your head) imagining every litle movement and action, playing and singing.

bf

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 12:58 am
by blinds
I can't do either

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 4:13 am
by houndog
Dammit Blinds ,
you have a better vox than a lot of fellas have, and pick a gtr pretty good too.

Taffy + SRVL get over there and skelp this miscreant until he admits it :D

I'm working on the vox/playing thing too...practice and sacking of internal critic are the way forwards I think.

adios,
Lovat

RE: playing and singing

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:31 am
by blinds
Thanks Lovat, 1 of these days I'll send you a full song and I think that'l set the record strait as to my inability's either way I have fun...At least 20% of the time anyway the rest is spent contemplating how many pieces my guitar would make if I slammed it into the wall like a P76...

blinds