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Can't sing and play


slowfinger

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There have other threads about the problem some ppl have with playing and singing at the same time. We played at a small charity function over the weekend, and while it was great fun, I found that I could not play and smile at the audience (both of them) at the same time. Is this why we have a 'guitar face' when playing?

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This affects a lot of us, I still find it hard to play and talk. I play and sing fine - it's just the singing sounds awful. The best musicians are very relaxed when they play, it helps to get a good sound and relax and let the music play.

 

You need to work on relaxing and playing so it's more effortless.

 

I highly recommend Kenny Werner's brilliant (if slightly new agey) book 'Effortless Mastery' - this book will make anyone a better player:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Effortless-Mastery-Liberating-Master-Musician/dp/156224003X

 

 

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I think Davo has the key. Try practicing songs while talking or singing at the same time at home. Yeah it'll be rough at first but you'll eventually get better. I still have some trouble with talking or singing and playing at the same time but I'm getting better. Of course with practice you'll eventually be more relaxed as Phil points out and it will be more effortless.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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It is well known that most men cannot "Multi-task". I think this tread falls into that catagory. Those of us who are not "great" players must concentrate with 100% of out being. I certainly cannot sing and play, barely able to smile and play, definately cannot carry on a conversation and play. It's a guy thing!

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Yeah well when you're in a 3 piece band and some clown decides to walk up in the middle of a song and ask if we know such-and-such song, you have to have some multitasking skills to at least tell them politely to piss off without missing a beat. And smile while doing it!

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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I agree with Jeremy. I try to smile, interact a little, dance a bit. I am finally getting to be able to play and sing (if you can call it singing) at the same time. Takes hours of practice.

 

Someone on this forum said you "you can play and sing but you can't play, sing and look at the girl in the tight jeans"... that is multitasking...

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Yeah well when you're in a 3 piece band and some clown decides to walk up in the middle of a song and ask if we know such-and-such song, you have to have some multitasking skills to at least tell them politely to piss off without missing a beat. And smile while doing it!

 

This happens a lot. What the heck?

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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You have to be able to play your parts well enough so that you can look at the audience, look at the rest of band, and walk over to the guitarist and say, "check out the blonde in the third row on the left side" without missing a beat.

This is what I do but it usually consists of telling dirty jokes back and forth with the drummer. :D

 

Actually, I suck at singing or talking while playing but I can dance just as horribly playing or not playing.

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- C'mon, you can't be concentrating that hard. Maybe you just need to practice.

 

- Those of us who are not "great" players must concentrate with 100% of out being.

 

- Sometimes I tell my students that playing a bass line properly is only the first step.

 

For me there is some truth in these comments. On reflection, this is what happened:

 

We had a generous space to play from, so I put on my long lead and stood on the corner of the 'stage' and gazed out at the scene before me, enjoying the nice band playing nearby. I then realised that I was part of the niceness, and zoned in again and started concentrating on what I was supposed to be doing.

 

As for smelling something bad (in the avatar pic) - I was probably watching the lead git for a cue to a change or ending. I normally look like that.

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This happens a lot. What the heck?

 

Not every night but fairly often. We play a lot of small venues these days where the "stage" is a corner of the bar.

That makes us pretty accessable. Jeremy is correct as usual learning the bass line is just the first step.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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I've been doing more background vox lately (even bought a mic, stand and cable) and I find my ability to sing has little to do with how well I know a song or how difficult - or not - that it is. It really depends on the rhythms of each part. Some songs it just flows and others I have to say I can't do it yet. I'm sure it'll get better as I do it more.

 

As for the quality, well, it's OK. Plenty of reverb and judicious EQ. Also, it's just backgrounds so I'm getting by for now. Good enough that I am talking about doing the duo thing with our lead singer/guitar player.

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As a guitar player, I could sing and play with no problem. As a bass guitar player, I can't do it unless I'm playing a really simple line.

I haven't been a bottom dweller for very long, so I've chalked it up to not being totally comfortable playing bass. But maybe SteveC hit it with "It really depends on the rhythms of each part". On guitar I could peck and poke notes wherever I wanted, whereas the bass line is more locked to a specific rythmn that doesn't always follow the rythmn of the vocal line.

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As a guitar player, I could sing and play with no problem. As a bass guitar player, I can't do it unless I'm playing a really simple line.

This is where I'm at... I can do it on guitar, but only if absolutely necessary and only in the right key...(usually C or G) and the rhythm does seem to have something to do with it... obviously the simpler the better. With a singer like my wife around, it is very difficult and even painful to hear my own voice. Kind of like the feeling you would get when a Maserati pulls up next to your broken down, beat up old Pacer at a stoplight...

As far as smiling, I get accused of being too stoic or serious all the time by my wife... and since she is usually standing somewhere in front of me with a mic when I play, what I tell her is that I'm concentrating on certain parts of her anatomy that help me get into a more 'creative' frame of mind... then she tells me I suck at multitasking. But with the right set, the right players and the right audience I do manage to loosen up a little.

 

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My wife is our singer too. My voice sounds like crap next to hers. You are right, it is intimidating to hear your own singing especially in contrast to someone that sings with a pretty voice.

 

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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As a guitar player, I could sing and play with no problem. As a bass guitar player, I can't do it unless I'm playing a really simple line.

I haven't been a bottom dweller for very long, so I've chalked it up to not being totally comfortable playing bass. But maybe SteveC hit it with "It really depends on the rhythms of each part". On guitar I could peck and poke notes wherever I wanted, whereas the bass line is more locked to a specific rythmn that doesn't always follow the rythmn of the vocal line.

 

Are you saying, playing good bass takes more concetraion than playing good guitar?

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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As a guitar player, I could sing and play with no problem. As a bass guitar player, I can't do it unless I'm playing a really simple line.

I haven't been a bottom dweller for very long, so I've chalked it up to not being totally comfortable playing bass. But maybe SteveC hit it with "It really depends on the rhythms of each part". On guitar I could peck and poke notes wherever I wanted, whereas the bass line is more locked to a specific rythmn that doesn't always follow the rythmn of the vocal line.

 

Are you saying, playing good bass takes more concetraion than playing good guitar?

 

For me it does. But I've only been playing bass for a couple of years vs. having played skinny string for close to 40 years.

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It's harder to sing and play bass than it is to sing and play guitar.

 

When you are playing bass, you are essentially playing another melody which has a completely different rhythm than the vocal melody.

 

When you play guitar and sing, you are generally strumming a repeated pattern which enables you to sing whatever you want.

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All true Jeremy. For example. It took me forever to be able to sing harmony in the chorus and play to Brown Eyed girl. The melody seemed counter to what I was singing. For me it was difficult but practice makes perfect...or at least better.

Also with guitar players, they can stop playing to sing a tough line ala BB King, Willie Nelson, and others. Stop playing the bass and all comes to a halt.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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For me it's about learning the part so well that I can play it without thinking about it and THEN I can concentrate on what I'm trying to sing. Took me a number of years before I could do this effectively...well, it's only been in the last couple of years that I'm decent at it, really!

 

But yeah, guitar players have it easy!

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Oh Man Brown Eyed Girl. I had played that song about a billion times when I decided to sing a harmony just to make it interesting.

 

That is I think the key to singing and playing bass you have to know it cold, both parts and then practice to you are scundered.

 

Eventually the process quickens. Strumming guitar players have it easy not so the riff guys. Thats when you hear the stories about people being drummers in a past life.

 

 

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Took these a couple days ago... makes me think twice about the whole idea of singing and playing... if a 2 year old can do it, why can't I??

He's down to 2 strings on the little "V" but he's strummin' and singin' his little heart out!

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http://home.comcast.net/~proffett/Images/zephsing1.JPG

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Genz Benz GBE250-C 2x10

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I think you have two ask two questions:

 

First, do you make an ugly face becuase you really CONCENTRATING on not screwing up, memorizing the chords, etc? Playing and singing is hard (I can't do it), but if you are struggling to remember stuff or not screw up, you will get a particular type of face.

 

Second, do you make an ugly face becuase you are INTO the music? Is the music playing you? Has the groove arrived? If so, you will have a different face. This face, in my opinion, is OK. (I tend start bobbing around but still don't look at audience members).

 

Anyone else?

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