A question for you singer/players

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by dazzajl, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. stixthedrummer

    stixthedrummer Electromatic

    Feb 5, 2011
    hannibal, mo
    Practice practice practice. It will get easier. I also found it helped me to listen to a song I wanted to learn over and over, listening to the chord changes and what word the chord changes came on. Then when I practiced, I would start slowly, making sure I changed chords on the right word, and gradually gained speed. Kind of a weird method maybe, but it always seemed to work for me. Some good three chord songs to start with might be "Can't ya see" by Marshall Tucker (d, c, g) and Sweet Home Alabama (d,c g,) Both are pretty easy to sing along with too.
  2. Strummerson

    Strummerson Country Gent

    Jul 15, 2010
    Ann Arbor
    All you need is a trip to The Crossroads.

    Everyone finds their own way. But just like everything else, singing and playing comes quicker to some than others. But anyone can learn. And there's no guarantee that the one for whom it takes more time and effort won't ultimately scale heights that "the naturals" will gaze at in profound wonder.

    I taught myself to play and to sing in the same way. I picked up my mother's classical guitar, looked at a few chord charts, taught myself Blowin in the Wind and Wild Thing and started to write. I'd come up with progressions and riffs that were too hard. There's no incentive to pound away at something like the incentive to learn your own music. People don't believe me when I say that I don't know many tunes by others, because I've always been working at my own. But that's how it went down.

    If you are enjoying the practicing, that's 90% of the battle. It will come. And then keep coming...
  3. Raspy

    Raspy Country Gent

    Jun 7, 2008
    extreme no. ca.
    That is such a great song. It's one
    of my all time favorites.

    When I was in my youth, and in a band,
    I used to sing, and play rythym guitar.
    Left the music scene for a very long time.
    In that time my voice has gone downhill.
    Now when I play, I sing to myself, not out
    loud. That way I think I sound pretty good.


    <><> Raspy <><>
  4. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Jun 2, 2008
    They didn't have steal string back then, just catgut. You do sing loud it's just that your so old, you can't hear, your 1/2 deaf! :D
  5. Raspy

    Raspy Country Gent

    Jun 7, 2008
    extreme no. ca.
    Hey, I resemble that remark, you
    old dog.


    <><> Raspy <><>
  6. hpdj

    hpdj Electromatic

    Feb 2, 2011
    I will add to everyone's advice about practicing by saying that how you practice is important...it helps me to pace myself when I'm trying to learn something new....especially if it's something I want to play and sing at the same time....there is no rush. Doesn't sound like your preparing for some gig that's coming up...and even if there was a gig coming up, learning the chord changes at a slower rate has helped me a ton...you can always get it up to pace later...

    If your learning someone else's song that's recorded, then maybe you can strum along to it sometimes only, then just sing along with the record at other times.......I practice in my head a lot as well, visualizing my hands moving about the fretboard...and I practice everyday, even for just 5-10min....

    Making mistakes and persevering through them is part of the fun, so enjoy the process and allow the experience to bring joy to your day! :)
  7. themick

    themick Synchromatic

    Nov 14, 2010
    I've been playing and singing for over 12 years now, and there is a big secret to it all. I tell all my guitar students this, and it may be some good advice.

    Practice to perfection, but don't expect to do perfect. When you mess up with the wrong chord or lyric, you need to just move forward and don't let it get to you. NEVER STOP PLAYING! That's huge, as many people tend to want to start over or get caught up at one point.

    When you are practicing, make sure to really go over trouble spots as well. If there is certain phrase of the song that is a little more difficult, get it down and then play it in the context of the whole song.

    Good luck to you. Ever since I've started playing and singing it has paid off. To the point that this my main source of income.
  8. VictoriaDD59

    VictoriaDD59 Gretschie

    Feb 26, 2009
    Hey there,

    I'm currently leading my own trio, and I'm the singer/guitarist.

    Here is my background with singing and some stuff that helped:

    As a little kid I sang along with everything all the time. Before my voice changed I could really high like Paul McCartney or Mike Love of The Beach Boys. Then my voice changed and I hated it. I had a really low voice, lots of bass and not much high end. I sang lead baritone in my high school choir for 2 years, then gave up singing. When I wanted to join a band, everyone wanted someone who sang. So I bought myself a tape recorder and started playing quietly on my guitar and singing along. All easy 3 chord type songs. Then I would play the tape back and listen and make adjustments. Some of it was downright painful. But I pressed on. I also got a vocal coach, after 2 lessons that was enough. She said I had natural pitch. After that, she just kept saying it's all about confidence. And that's the truth.

    Eventually I joined a band and had to sing 10 songs per night. I dreaded it at first. Then I started to really get into it and my songs were the most popular ones of the night. When I left the band I was doing 50-60% of the lead vocals. Enough people came up and told me I was such a great singer (yeah right) and guitarist, I should start my own band.

    So, that's what happened. October 2008 we had our first gig where I was the only singer, it was a 3 hour show. I was terrified all night, playing all the solos, singing all the songs and calling all the songs. My throat hurt the next day and my sinuses weren't happy either. I was told that was normal for new singers. I kept recording gigs, learned what songs I was flat on and which ones were sharp. Now I'm usually right on pitch and get lots of compliments on my vocals. But there are certain songs I really struggle with like: That's Alright Mama on the E7 chord, alot of times I push too hard and miss the note completely. I sing lots of songs in A, and strangely that's the only one I have problems with. I sing in the car, I sing and play at home and now have the confidence to sing almost anything.
  9. sroux

    sroux Country Gent

    Oct 6, 2008
    Baton Rouge Louisiana
    Victoria.....sounds like we had similar paths.

    I would always sing along with records, and cut my vocal teeth on Beatles records. Like you, I used to be able to hit those Macca high parts, then my voice changed.

    I've always been the lead guitarist in the bands I was in, and sang backup if at all.
    When I joined my current band, we were going to get a singer/rhythm guitarist. We tried out a few guys but they didn't work out. Meanwhile I was singing the songs at practice. One day, Greg our drummer deemed that I'd be singer. I was reluctant at first, but I've some to embrace it. I got some vocal coaching cd's and have been doing exercises to get better. Like anything, it takes practice.

    I am not a great singer by any stretch of the imagination, but I get the job done.
  10. GentleBen

    GentleBen Country Gent

    Jul 29, 2008
    Huntsville, Al
    As I have often said,

    I am a half-assed singer and a half-assed guitar player.
    Put them both together and you know what you get........
  11. GentleBen

    GentleBen Country Gent

    Jul 29, 2008
    Huntsville, Al
    What? No smarty comments?
  12. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

  13. Spike Strider

    Spike Strider Gretschie

    Dec 28, 2009
    N Idaho
    I have no natural ability for guitar or singing... I can tell you that after 2 years of singing on a reg basis, while I have no talent, I can hold tune much better than before as videos from 2 years ago to videos of us today show. After a bit you start finding your voice. The points above about learning one part (usually the guitar for me) well enough so that you do not have to think about the chord changes is spot on.
    Also.. Concentrate on the chords early on and skip the riffs, one less thing to think about while trying to add the singing..
  14. mikante

    mikante Country Gent

    Aug 11, 2009
    when you drive a car for the first time, you use all the RAM you got focusing on the driving, you just can't do anything else but driving. After a couple of years you're able to eat an hotdog, hold a smartphone, yell to your girlfriend she's a $&#!, keep an eye on the can of beer you left over the dash and drive all at same time.
    My point, sorry I forgot it, I'm driving for god sake!
  15. S Macp

    S Macp Country Gent

    Sep 6, 2009
    Glasgow, UK
    Bob Dylan?
  16. RustyPlayer

    RustyPlayer Electromatic

    Feb 10, 2011
    New Jersey
    I know using a capo was mentioned but if a song is just out of your range you can also drop tune a half step.
  17. beep.click

    beep.click Country Gent

    Apr 30, 2009
    I'm the precedent. And I'm here to tell you: yes, you can find some way to do it, if you keep at it -- even if you're not a "natural."
  18. fletch

    fletch Country Gent

    Oct 19, 2010
    Sydney Australia
    The concept of 'being a natural' is one I can relate to.
    I love music and I love to play.
    I am NOT a natural.
    I've always been able to remember lyrics, because I learn them along with the song. It's the way I was taught. In one of the first bands I was in, we were told "The band is the servant of the singer." and then, "The singer is the servant of the song."

    Over the years I've seen bands who showed off to the detriment of the performance. And very often, I see singers who have no idea what they are singing about. A great aid to learning how to sing is:
    1) Know what the hell you're singing about and
    2) Tell the story (maybe that should be SELL the story)

    As an aside, I learnt how to play 'Jambalaya' when I was twelve. It took me a year to find out jambalaya was a STEW! (I'm from Australia, remember) and another five years to winkle out that,
    a. the song was about a wedding
    b. a pirogue is a boat
    c. "fill fruit jar" referred to bootleg whisky whiskey because the authorities monitored the sale of empty bottles, but everyone preserved fruit in jars, so the bootleggers used those jars to store the whisky in
    d. 'Tippy-doe' was the cajun accent for the town of Thibordeaux.

    God, I love that song.
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