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Tips on singing and playing

Okay, I'm tired of playing to other's tunes, now I want to sing and play to other's tunes. But my simple mind can't get wrapped around it. I can sing better than the average middle aged guy, and I've gotten some solid intermediate chops on the guitar.

I thought I'd be able to do something with simple lyrics, so I tried Mary had a little lamb (Buddy Guys version) and if it came out close to right, I'm amazed. I felt as though I stumbled through a dark room full of furniture.

I just can't put them together. Any suggestions?
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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/14/2008 9:42 PM

Ethan Burke (2) wrote:

This is my first post, so hi guys :D. Anyway, the first time i sung and played, i was baked out of my mind. This could be a coincidence, but i doubt it. after baking, i retained the skill, and i can sing while playing simple riffs.

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/14/2008 11:14 PM

Dave Magaro (1726) wrote:

I always learned the music to the point where I didn't even have to think about it, I just played it. I never really found singing and playing hard. I think it's just one of those things that takes practice. More for some than others. You only get better at it by doing it.

Dave

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 8:29 AM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

Some songs are easier than others, at least for me, to sing and play at the same time.

Maybe you should try a slightly different arrangment? Another idea is to practice the tune every day, for at least 15 to 30 minutes. As long as the tune is in your range, you should see an improvement if you play it every day.

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 10:23 AM

Kevin Sage (3299) wrote:

I am with Ken on this one. There are songs that are just easy to play and sing, and some that make rubbing your belly, patting your head, hoppipng on one foot while whistling Dixie sound like an easier option.

Yup, the key is to change the arrangement of the song (creatively) so that the parallel action of singing and playing falls into place once again.

Don't get discouraged though...if it were easy, everyone would be doing it....and anything worth doing requires practice, patience and persistence. Keep at it! Your post said something about Mary Had A Little Lamb. Try strumming the chords on just the "1" and sing it....then strum the "1" & "3" once you feel like you're not juggling chainsaws. For even more noodle baking practice strum just the "2" & "4" (but you have to sing like Bob Marley when you do that) LOL. Good luck Mac.

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 12:01 PM

Danny Danzi (2052) wrote:

I'm with Dave M on this one. The biggest problem I've seen over the years is thinking too much about what your playing. If you have to think about what you're playing, you'll never sing correctly. For me, I need to know the guitar part so well, it's not even something that comes to mind...like breathing, you don't realize you do it.

When you have the guitar part so well rehearsed, the singing part is easy. The only problem I have at times is when I stop singing and there is a little filler solo or the main guitar solo....I get so in the zone that I forget what the next line is. LOL! Thank God for my bassist keeping an eye on me to see if I'm gonna give him that "bail me out" look or not. ;) But +1 for knowing the guitar part completely.

I also agree with the altered arrangement suggestion. This not only allows you to play and sing to your abilities, it can be quite entertaining to your audience if you are creative enough....and most times, they'll think it's your song if you can really impress them. Good luck! :)

Sincerely,

Danny Danzi
www.dannydanzi.com
www.myspace.com/dannydanziband

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 12:47 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

Try simplifying your chord arrangement. Rather than playing barre positions, opt for the cowboy chord versions first.

You can also try playing just the E7#9 and sing Mary had a Little Lamp without changing the chord, but working on the strumming rhythm and the voice phrasing.

I hope these tips help!

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 3:20 PM

Robert Strait (6657) wrote:

Haha...well, I don't know if I can endorse the "bake your way to
singing and playing" approach, but I agree that the way you
accompany yourself is key, and the best initial approach is too
simplify.

If you are playing solo, it can help if you really loosen up a bit
and not restrict yourself to playing strict time or rhythms. Here is
a clip of a live recording I did playing a tune solo that I think
illustrates this approach pretty good...listen how I play simply
when singing and then play a little more interesting in the vocal
spaces. I really think this helps the song breathe a bit and sound
a little more like "call and response" stuff. Of course, ALL of the
guitar is pretty simple:

http://themightyburner.com/music/WeAllFallInLoveSometimes.
mp3

Playing blues tunes is a great way to practice this as well.

If you do have to keep strict time or play tricker rhythms, try to
break down the rhythms of your guitar part and vocal part to
find exactly how they interact and then you can focus your
practice on the trouble spots. Another practice tip you can try is
too play tunes that have very specific rhythmic strumming, like
1/4 note strums or triplet strums. Playing Beatles tunes is great
for this...like going to school, really!

good luck and keep pickin,

RS

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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 5:14 PM

Chris Pinto (24466) wrote:

Hi there Mac,

It's like anything else associated with guitar. Basically, years of practice.

I could never do it all that well, but, in a heavy metal band, it's not really that important. If the song was not too complicated (chord progressions), I could swing the singing & playing at the same time, but, the more complicated the song was.....well......forget it!

Chris



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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/15/2008 7:41 PM

Kevin Sage (3299) wrote:

In my AC/DC Tribute I cannot for the life of me sing the backing vocals to Jailbreak....sounds simple but there's something about playing that rhythm and singing that line that gets me every time...

Go figure.



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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/18/2008 9:20 AM

Mac McCoy (532) wrote:

Thanks for the tips everyone. Sounds like a lot of practice and redundancy is the way to the promised land. I only pity my wife and dog. They lived through me learning guitar, I guess they'll survive this too...



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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/19/2008 9:28 AM

Chris Pinto (24466) wrote:

Well, basically, that's how you gotta do it. Just keep plugging away at it until you get better.

My "Yin" doesn't work with my "Yang", as far as singing & playing. I always tend to concentrate too much on my playing hand, and it totally screws me up when I have to come in on "cue" for a certain song....

Oh well.... hehe

Chris



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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/19/2008 10:56 AM

Mac McCoy (532) wrote:

I think we are of the same ilk, I can do one pretty well, when I try two, they both go to hell...



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Re: Tips on singing and playing

8/19/2008 3:47 PM

Chris Pinto (24466) wrote:

Yeah, I always get jealous when I see guys like Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, James Taylor....They make it look SO EASY to play & sing at the same time.....

Or even musicians like Elton John, Karen Carpenter, Billy JOel...etc etc

Playing ANY instrument, while singing has to take real dedication & practice!

Chris

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