Playing guitar and singing is difficult. Players struggle to play and sing. It’s a long process to learn both of these skills. You must master both of them and that takes a lot of work. Use the tips below to learn how to sing while playing guitar.
Use A Metronome To Improve Timing
Many guitar players don’t use a metronome. It’s a mistake to avoid the metronome as it’s beneficial if you want to sing. When you sing you have to coordinate the hands and the voice. If you use a metronome this is easier to do. Start with a slow metronome beat and work your way up.
Use a metronome and play the song without vocals. Make sure you can play the entire song back to front in time. Once you can do this without mistakes, add in the vocals.
Play the song several times with full vocals and the click of the metronome. You want the guitar parts and the voice in time with each other. You can also use the recorded version of the song to practice.
Once you have mastered this, play the song minus the metronome and see how you do. If your timing is off, go back and try again.
If you are still not convinced why you should practice with a metronome, check out my post 15 Important Reasons To Use A Metronome As A Guitar Player
Relax As You Play
You won’t be able to play the guitar and sing if you don’t relax while you’re doing it. Many people panic when they try and play. You will find yourself getting frustrated if you can’t learn to relax. Before you pick up the guitar spend a few minutes and take some deep breaths.
Meditation can help you if you’re unable to relax before you play. As you meditate, see yourself singing and playing your guitar. If you get frustrated as you play and sing, step back and focus on why you’re getting frustrated.
Don’t allow your negative emotions get the best of you. Have a positive mindset and focus on your playing. Once you relax, you’ll find singing and playing a lot easier.
Start With Simple Songs
It doesn’t make much sense to try and sing a complicated song if you have never learned to sing a simple song before. Make sure you start with songs that are quite simple. The ideal song is one with two to three chords.
You will find a wide range of songs that are both easy to play and easy to sing. Make a list of 10-15 songs and then break this down to 2-3 songs that are the easiest for you to play as well as sing.
Try a few songs and see which ones for your voice the best. You will find that your voice won’t be suitable for all the songs. Experiment a bit to see which songs are the right ones for you. A song needs to be comfortable for you to play.
As you get better, you can try songs with more complex arrangements.
If you wish to learn simple songs you can check out my list 15 Famous Easy Guitar Songs With 3 Chords For Beginners chords or tabs included
Play The Song Slow At First
When learning to play a new song, you shouldn’t start at full speed. Take the song and slow it down till you can play all the guitar parts without making any mistakes. Then increase the speed until you reach the original speed of the song.
Once you have the music down, start adding in the lyrics. Say the lyrics at a slow pace as you play the song. Don’t try to do any of the complicated strumming patterns. Strip the song down to a basic 4/4 beat with all downstrokes till you have the lyrics down.
Once you have this try adding in the full strumming pattern and then speed up the song till you can play it at full speed. Once you have everything down practice it several times at full speed. Play it until you don’t make any mistakes.
Try Different Keys
Everyone has a unique voice. Some people have a wide range and can sing in most keys. Many singers don’t have this ability. If you find one key difficult, try singing in a different key.
This is easy to do with a capo as you can move it up and down the fretboard to a new position. If you find a song hard to pay, use the capo. Try various keys until you find a vocal range that works for you.
You should experiment as much as you can with musical keys. This process makes singing easier as the music will fit your voice. You won’t have to struggle as much to sing on pitch. The capo is your best friend so use it often to be a better singer.
Master Rhythm Guitar
To sing and play guitar at a high level you need to master rhythm guitar. You should have a good chord knowledge and know songs in all the twelve keys. You need to be proficient at playing chord progressions.
You need to understand the basic major, minor 7th, minor 7th, and other simple chords. These are the songs used in most popular songs.
If you can’t play rhythm guitar, you won’t be much of a singer. Try easy genres such as blues as that is the foundation for most music. If you can master blues, it makes things easier.
Blues is a simple chord format and the singing isn’t that difficult. Start with that and add new genres as you get better. Country and pop rock is also easy to sing and play.
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Take the song and break it down into components before you add in the vocals for the track. Learn the guitar parts in the song and master them. You can do this with some visual aids.
There are programs that will play the songs for you as music notation or tablature notation. This can help you follow along as you learn the song. You should write the song down.
Place the chords over the words so you know when to change. You want a smooth transition between the chords. The software can be a big advantage to learning songs. Use technology to help you learn as it can save time.
Take Vocal Lessons
For some guitar players, you may need vocal lessons. Not everyone has the natural ability to sing. If you don’t you can learn to sing.
You may not end up as the greatest vocalist but you will be a competent one. Many guitar players that sing don’t have the strongest voice but it works for their music.
A good vocal teacher can show you the basics. If you try and do this on your own, you end up making mistakes that the teacher can correct.
Try and find a vocal teacher that also plays guitar although any good teacher will do. If you struggle with singing, find a good teacher to improve your skills.
Record Yourself Singing The Song Without Guitar
Try to sing the song without the guitar. The guitar can be a crutch when learning to sing. Try to sing on pitch and in time without the guitar. Make sure you record the voice to examine your singing voice for the song.
Take your guitar and play over the vocal track. You want to look for areas of the song where you sang off-key or where it sounded bad. Analyze these areas and correct them. Once you have a good vocal track down, add the guitar in.
Make sure both tracks fit together and that everything in time. Recording yourself and analyzing the results. This will make you a better guitar player as well as a singer.
Know When To Sing As You Change Chords
Guitar players struggle with singing because they don’t know when to sing over the chord. You need to know the structure of the song and where to put the vocal with the chord. Songs have a certain formula you must follow so you need you to know the formula and the chord changes.
For example, blues songs are usually I, IV, V or 1, 4, 5. These are the chords of the song. You need to know where the chords go over those changes. Write out the lyrics and have the chords over where they need to go and practice the changes with the vocals.
Coordination of the rhythm and the voice is hard but you will get it as you practice. Listen to songs in certain styles to see how the match chords to the lyrics. Many songs follow the same formula and chord placement within the lyrics. By knowing those formulas you’ll improve as a singer.
Here is an example: Amazing Grace in the Key of F
F Bb Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, F C7 that saved a wretch like me.
We play F on the word Amazing, then switch to Bb on sweet. We stay on Bb, till F, over the word sound. We play F till we get to me, and pay C7. The chord land on certain words which establishes the rhythm and feel of the song. Look at the changes and know what chord goes over what word.
Hum The Melody As You Learn The Song
Another thing you can do is to hum the melody before you even learn where the chords go or when you play them. Just hum but don’t sing the lyrics. Take the example “Amazing Grace” above and just hum the first line. This will help ingrain the song structure into your head.
Do this with any song you want to learn. Take the first few lines of the lyrics and hum them in your head. Another way to do this with a guitar song is to hum the main riff of the song.
The riffs are often played over the vocals so learn how they go by humming them. Once you have that, play the riffs. After you can play the riffs, add the vocals on top of the riff or chord being played.
Create A Simple Song
Another way to learn how to sing and play is to make something in your head that is simple. The example below will get you started. It ‘s very simple and easy to follow.
I went to the store to buy some bread
I went to the store to buy some bread
The prices were too high
So I went home to Bed
By practicing this it will help you learn real songs. Create a simple song and use a bit of a rhyme in the lyrics. Now you want to put chords to it and sing the song. Where you put the chords is up to you.
Try a few variations and see what you can come up with. It’s sometimes easier to write a simple song than it is to learn a real song. Once you can create simple songs, learning real ones isn’t as difficult.
Memorize All The Lyrics
One reason guitar players trip up with a song is that they never master the lyrics. You master the guitar part so master the lyrics as well. Take the time to learn the lyrics before you even play the song.
If you can’t memorize them, try writing them out several times. Look for how the lyrics go together. This is often done with a rhyme that pulls the song together. Know how this rhyme works.
Some songs repeat the line a couple of times. This is common in blues music and quite easy to remember Here is a made-up example:
My mama left me, oh the other day
My mama left me, oh the other day
My baby did and left me
Nowhere for me to stay
For complex songs, you will need more memorization and those take extra time to get down. Break the song up verse by verse and memorize those. The chorus is usually the easiest if the song has one, which most do.
Tackle the song lyrics in chunks and you’ll master the vocals.
Practice The Song Dozens of Times
To play a song, you must practice it many times. There is no way to master playing and singing if you don’t take the songs and play them all the time. You will memorize the lyrics and get the rhythm of the song down if you dedicate time to practicing the song.
Try to dedicate at least 15-20 minutes to practicing your songs at each session. The more you practice the easier it will be to get the lyrics and the chords into your mind.
Change The Song To Match Your Style
In some cases, you may need to change the song to suit your individual style. You may want to take parts out or add them in. Some songs use parts of older songs.
The lyrics and rhythms are changes to suit the style of the player. This creates an original tune. An example is Crossroads by Cream which comes from the song Crossroad by Robert Johnson. The lyrics are different and the blues style has differences from the original.
In other cases, you may need to change the key of the song to make it fit in with your voice. Changing the song can add more variety. Many artists do this when they cover songs so you may want to think about it.
Another way to do it is to take a popular song and turn it into another genre for variety. For example, take a pop song and make it reggae.
These tips will help you master singing and playing guitar together. This skill is difficult to learn but most players can master it. Give the process the time it needs. Proper vocal lessons help if you can’t sing.
A proper coach can help you master areas of singing that give you the most trouble. Master rhythm guitar and then apply the lyrics to the chords. Take your time and you’ll soon find that you can sing and play at the same time.
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