How to Play Guitar and Sing

For many (including myself), it seems like some people are just able to play an instrument and sing at the same time like it was nothing.

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Like they have two brains or something. One brain that plays guitar (or another instrument) and the other brain that sings. In some cases this may be true, but for someone like myself who started out as a guitar player and then learned to sing, I had to figure it out.

When learning how to sing and play guitar at the same time there are several easy steps you can follow that will make your life a lot easier. This is assuming two things:

A) You already know how to play guitar and

B) You already know somewhat how to sing (or are at least working on it)

The first thing I want you to consider (which I talk about in my video here) is a drummer. A drummer has to think in different rhythms all working together at the same time. He may be hitting 1/4 notes on the down beats of 1 and 3 with a kick drum, while hitting the snare on 2 and 4 of the beat. But at the same time, he may be keeping an 8th or 16th note groove on the hi hat. We can learn a LOT from this when trying to apply our singing while playing.

First: Learn your guitar parts so well that you don't have to think about them. Then (like I demonstrate in this video here) start thinking about where the vocal melody/lyrics hit on a particular beat. It may sound intimidating at first but it really isn't. Start with just one line of a song. Memorize where the vocal hits are in the beat (or where they are in the beat in relationship to where the guitar parts hit on the beat).

Little by little, you will become more and more comfortable with where both of these hits fall much like the drummer. The more you do this, the easier it gets.

I lay out more in this video and add a little bit about my singing lessons to help you have a better understanding of how it works.

Thanks for checking it out.

Ken Tamplin

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My husband bought me a

My husband bought me a guitar 3 years ago for Valentines day. I was shocked to discover that I was able to play it almost immediately and even more shocking to find out that it isnt as easy for others to play and sing at the same time like i can. I guess some people just have that natural ability

It seems it's different for

It seems it's different for everyone.

I also found it easy to play guitar and sing at the same time right from when I first started - but when I switched to playing bass in my band it took a huge amount of effort to learn to play bass and sing.

I was just watching Bjork on the Colbert Report on Tuesday talking about her new album Biophilia and she said she couldn't play guitar and sing - even if you're not into her music you'd have to agree she's a very accomplished musician.

So I'd say to anyone that if you're finding it difficult, you're in good company, and stick with it - it get's easier with practice!

Playing Guitar and Singing together

It took me ages to get the hang of it. There really is no substitution for breaking the process down into small parts. Absolutely nail the lyrics first, then the chords, then gradually intertwine the two starting with humming the song, and building up to the words. The process is far more involved than that, and a book subject in itself. The one on this site is a big help:

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