Page 1 of 1

Singing and Playing- Taking It Up A Notch

Posted: August 3rd, 2011, 9:01 am
by Rum Runner
I'm mainly a solo singer/guitarist. I play giutar to accomany my vocals. I can do a pretty decent job of singing while playing; I do mainly just the chords on guitar with very little embellishment. I can keep the rhythm pretty well and can follow basic strumming patterns. I sometimes throw in some sus chords where appropriate and also have a few simple riffs and fills in a few of the songs I do.

What I'm after is to be able to make the guitar accompaniment a little more interesting- to take it up a nitch beyong simple strumming and chord changes. I'd be interested to hear what techniques some of you might use when playing solo such as I.

What I have been thinking is to start to incorporate some of the things that David has covered in his strumming podcasts- such as incorporating bass/strum, walking bass lines, maybe some different chord voicings or substitutions, whatever.

I do find it much more difficult when I try to do anything, especially during the singing parts, that incorprates a more controlled right-hand technique, where you've got to be more accurate on the strings and such. It's like now I got to have three things going at the same time- vocals, right hand, and left hand. It seems like I can do two out of the three okay, but combining all three is a real challenge. Anybody else come across this barrier, and if so, how do you approach in your practice being able to put all three of these things together?

I'm not talking here about being able to play fills or things while singing, just things like incorporating a bass/strum where you've got to be right on hitting that bass note, etc.

Re: Singing and Playing- Taking It Up A Notch

Posted: August 4th, 2011, 7:37 am
by Hobson
This is probably obvious. Take small bites. First try some more complex strumming so that you can keep the rhythm going while you sing. Then do some simple fingerpicking patterns and see whether you can maintain them while singing. Once you can do that without having to think about it, move on to things that are more complex. The guitar playing has to be fairly automatic so that you can concentrate on the singing.

Re: Singing and Playing- Taking It Up A Notch

Posted: August 4th, 2011, 8:22 am
by Rum Runner
Yes, that makes sense. David mentions in some of his Podcasts that you should practice a given technique until you can do it while you are carrying on a conversation with someone. So it requires a lot of repetition. It also makes sense to do it in small bites because simpler techniques will be easier to do this with than more complicated ones.