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Singing while playing the Guitar

Lux782Lux782 Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have decided to start singing while playing the guitar but my initial attempts have been extremely difficult. I find that trying to remember the words while playing the song to be very difficult and after some thought I have determined that I am attempting songs that are too difficult for my non-existent singing while guitar playing abilities.

If you know any simple finger picking songs with lyrics so I can work my way up to more complex ones I would appreciate it if your could name a few!

Lux782 on

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    blakfeldblakfeld Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'll Follow You Into the Dark by Deathcab for Cutie
    Jezebel by Iron and Wine
    Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine/Postal Service
    To Be the One by Ryan Adams

    if you want some good non-finger picked ones to start out on I can start tossing more out. These all have repeating pattens that are pretty basic, and the vocal melodies are pretty tame, with everything timing out on the same beats and such

    blakfeld on
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    ShawnaseeShawnasee Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    It is so hard to sing and play at the same time. I need a super simple strumming song to even manage it.

    Finger picking AND singing is talented. Gratz.

    Good luck in your search.

    Shawnasee on
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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kansas, Dust in the wind (there are some simple tabs for that out there)

    The_Glad_Hatter on
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    Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    try humming first instead of singing.

    also, you could try practicing playing the song and singing seperately enough times that you don't have to think about words or what notes come next.

    Dunadan019 on
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    garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Dunadan019 wrote: »
    also, you could try practicing playing the song and singing seperately enough times that you don't have to think about words or what notes come next.

    Really, this is the only way to do it properly.

    You should also break the song down into really tiny sections and observe how the vocal and instrumental rhythms interact at any given point in time, then practice playing the two rhythms together really slowly until you internalize that feel. Eventually, you gain enough independence over both instruments that you can sing and play together no sweat.

    garroad_ran on
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    ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    practice with songs you know the words to by heart.

    you could also try singings/guitaring in gutiar hero/rock band to get into the rythym of doing two things at once.

    ascannerlightly on
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    AmphetamineAmphetamine Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Dunadan019 wrote: »
    also, you could try practicing playing the song and singing seperately enough times that you don't have to think about words or what notes come next.

    Really, this is the only way to do it properly.

    You should also break the song down into really tiny sections and observe how the vocal and instrumental rhythms interact at any given point in time, then practice playing the two rhythms together really slowly until you internalize that feel. Eventually, you gain enough independence over both instruments that you can sing and play together no sweat.

    this is way too fucking complicated.

    play a song till you can do the strumming without thinking about it then sing. it gets easier.

    Amphetamine on
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    RazielRaziel Registered User regular
    edited May 2009

    this is way too fucking complicated.

    play a song till you can do the strumming without thinking about it then sing. it gets easier.

    That's what I do.

    Raziel on
    Read the mad blog-rantings of a manic hack writer here.

    Thank you, Rubacava!
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    IcemopperIcemopper Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Yeah, practice both sides of it individually until you can flawlessly complete singing without forgetting lyrics, and playing without messing up the rhythm.

    Plus, sometimes it just doesn't click right for you personally. Everybody I know can play "Crash" by Dave Matthews and sing at the same time, but I fail to do so every time, but I can play "Satellite" by Dave Matthews and sing at the same time easily. Crash just does not work for me, despite it being rather simple to play. Satellite, thought more difficult, is much easier to sing and play for me personally.

    Icemopper on
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    Penguin_OtakuPenguin_Otaku Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'll ask my own question:

    I've never played an instrument in my life, but have always wanted to play the sax or guitar. I'm going with the guitar because that seems easiest to go with. Anyway, how do I go about this? I want to buy a guitar and stick with it. I wanna be good and I know it takes years to be good... but I wanna be able to pick up my guitar and just jam as a therapeutic session kind of.

    Any tips?

    Penguin_Otaku on
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    TavTav Irish Minister for DefenceRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Stairway To Heaven seems like an incredibly obvious choice.

    Tav on
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    musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I listen to a song a million times and try to match the guitar part with the song. Once I can play the song without thinking about it, I try to focus on when the vocals for each part come in. Then try to sing the parts I can until I can do the whole song.

    When I first started playing while singing as soon as I started to sing all semblance of music from the guitar stopped (no fret hand coordination or strumming rhythm) and my singing wouldn't even be words...I would just make noises with my mouth. Then I started playing with the song and over time figured it out.

    Now once I hear the chords a few time I can pick up the rhythm and pull it off quickly, so it worked for me.

    musanman on
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    archonwarparchonwarp Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Any reason why you don't want some strumming songs to learn first? That seems more logical to me, as you could focus more on the rhythm of the strum and how it plays in with the vocals. I was a singer before I started playing guitar (which was very recent I might add), and the first song I ever learned to play was "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show. It's got a pretty simple rhythm with only four chords, so you can focus more on the singing if that's your weak spot.


    @Penguin: Buy a cheap acoustic, whether that be used or new. Cheap as in $100 dollars. The Gibson Maestro series has a surprisingly good sound for its cheap cost and is what I bought based on word of mouth recommendation. I've been pretty happy with it besides its high-bridge which made it harder for my non-calloused fingers to play notes properly at first. After that, sit down with someone who knows what they're doing or take a less or two so that you understand the basics. You can just follow guides on the internet, but it's helpful to have a person to guide you so that you don't develop bad habits that will slow down or put a ceiling on your progression as a player. As for learning songs, find some tabs online (ultimate guitar is the best site for this IMO) and pick a song you want to play that doesn't seem like it has too difficult of a guitar part. Lots of songs will have video instructions on youtube on how to play them. Practicing a song for a few straight hours every day is a pretty solid way to learn one from my experience, though don't be surprised if your hand becomes wicked cramped.

    archonwarp on
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    RazielRaziel Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'll ask my own question:

    I've never played an instrument in my life, but have always wanted to play the sax or guitar. I'm going with the guitar because that seems easiest to go with. Anyway, how do I go about this? I want to buy a guitar and stick with it. I wanna be good and I know it takes years to be good... but I wanna be able to pick up my guitar and just jam as a therapeutic session kind of.

    Any tips?
    Take lessons for a few months. Like any instrument, you need a formal introduction to music and technique, or you're just going to be reinforcing bad habits for the rest of your life. A teacher will help you strengthen your hands and ingrain that muscle memory.

    Once you feel you've learned as much as you can from that teacher, you should get some sheet music or tablature to songs that you enjoy, and play along. That'll teach you some useful licks and forms that you can integrate into your own playing.

    I mean, I got my first guitar when I was 10, and took lessons until I was 14. Then I decided I liked the Blues, so I learned a few songs there. I'm not a great player, but I'm comfortable enough to enjoy the instrument.

    Edit: Yeah, what Archon said.

    Raziel on
    Read the mad blog-rantings of a manic hack writer here.

    Thank you, Rubacava!
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    lifeincognitolifeincognito Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    While I cannot attest for ever 'trying' to learn to do this because I sort of picked it up while learning to play songs in the first place. I would suggest the way I went about things in that you try to learn simple chord driven songs and train your brain to do two things at once at the same time. When I was a wee tot of high school age I learned Green Day songs because they were easy to play and I could hit the notes for most of the melodies. I just forced myself to sing and play at the same time.

    Finger picking songs and singing may prove more difficult, but I'm sure if you follow the above posts of advice you'll find one that works for you. Most of these PAers know a thing or two about a thing or two, most of time.

    lifeincognito on
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    i n c u b u si n c u b u s Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'll second the Rock Band suggestion because it actually gets you used to the action of strumming and literally singing at the same time even though your not really playing anything, although you are moving your neck hand like you would on a real guitar. I learned to play while singing on a bunch of easy to play Nirvana songs. Simple chord progressions and lyrics that I've known for years now so its hard to forget while playing. One thing I will tell you is that when trying to play anything while singing at first is to try keep one thing constant at all times. Whether its the singing or guitar, if you screw up a line keep playing and work your way back into the song and if you screw up a lick keep singing and find a spot to work the guitar back in. Eventually, after practicing a lot, you'll get the hang of it. I can't imagine how artists like Thomas Erak ever learned to accomplish this so amazingly.

    i n c u b u s on
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    Lux782Lux782 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    I have been playing the guitar since I was 5, all of it finger picking. So I figure I should be able to play a simple song and sing. If I cant then I probably will pick a song with some simple cord progression and work from there.

    Lux782 on
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    FoodFood Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The only way to learn rub-your-belly-tap-your-head rhythm like this is to practice. Slow the song way down and keep at it. You'll get it eventually.

    Actually as a finger-picker you probably had to go through the same thing early on when you were learning to separate each of your fingers.

    Food on
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