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FDP Forum / Sing, Sing, Sing! - Vocalist's Forum / bass players: doing lead vocals



Aug 9th, 2012 06:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm struggling to play bass and sing lead vocals at the same time. It's a mess. The music is 12-bar rock'n'roll, blues and a bit of C&W - straightforward stuff, not complex.

1) timing: the phrasing and delivery of the lyrics sometimes is very much at odds with the basslines. It's fine if I'm playing 2nd guitar and singing because the guitar parts can drift in sympathy with the vocals. Not a luxury playing bass where I need to an integral part of the rhythm.

2) pitching: very few of these songs are sung following the chord patterns (usually I-IV-V) - the vocal lines are deliberately not following it to compared to what I'm playing on bass, to create some harmonic tension. When I'm playing chords on guitar, it's easy - somewhere within the chord is the vocal melody for me to pitch off.

any suggestions?



Official Brew Master of Clamfest
Aug 10th, 2012 07:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

yeah thats a hard one.

I find that this works for me... Learn to sing it with out playing (really learn it- rote memorization and inflection), learn to play it without singing and then play and sing to the record to help with the timing. It will take some time but if the singing becomes automatic then you only need to concentrate on the playing and keeping in the pocket.

good luck- if Sting can do it with all those syncopated rhythms then you can too!

Contributing Member


"Cheese biscuits be mighty fine eatin'"
Aug 15th, 2012 05:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

The gman's suggestions are good.

I noticed that I had to be able to put my bass playing on "autopilot" to pay more attention to vocal timing.

Another thing is focusing into what the guitar or keys are doing for pitch reference. Once again developing a confidence in your bass part will help.


Omaha, USA

Aug 24th, 2012 07:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I usually learn vocals to a new song while playing the chords on guitar. That way the changes are already implanted in my head. I usually learn the bass part by itself, then practice, practice, practice! At my age I do usually keep a music stand in front, so I'll use the chord changes as cues. The more you do it, the easier it will become.



Fender power to the people!
Sep 1st, 2012 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

I find that if the vocal is pretty much like the bass part, I'm OK.
If it is completely different, I'm OK.
If it is similar, but not the same...
I am SO screwed!



Sep 1st, 2012 09:03 AM   Edit   Profile  


yes! I'm finding this also.

I wonder why (compared to completely different)?

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Mar 27th, 2013 10:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

I switched from guitar to bass in 1969. The first song that gave me fits was Jimi Hendrix' "Fire".

There are still a few songs that give me problems, but as with most problems, practice takes care of it. I'll sit at home and play the bass line until it's second nature, then work on singing to it. On songs that just are not working, I'll simplify the bass line to accommodate the vocals, and get back to the actual bass line between vocal phrases.

FDP Forum / Sing, Sing, Sing! - Vocalist's Forum / bass players: doing lead vocals

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