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  #1  
Old 11-09-2014, 03:49 AM
cantstoplt021 cantstoplt021 is offline
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Default Singing and playing?

I'm a guitarist who is learning drums with the goal of being good at both. Most of my favorite guitarists are able to sing while they play complicated things. I'm wondering if it is easy to sing and drum at the same time (once you're a good drummer that is). Since drumming involves doing 4 different things with each limb you have already taught your brain how to do different things at the same time. I'm assuming this might transfer over to singing as well? At any rate I'm sure it will make singing and playing guitar at the same time easier.
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:26 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Took me over 10 years to really be able to drum and sing at the same time.
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Old 11-09-2014, 07:42 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

It's like anything else. If there's a desire to learn how to do it, you'll get it down. I've been singing and drumming for over 30 years now and it was pretty easy for me to pick it up in the beginning, so if I could do it, anybody can.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I drum and sing at the same time, with breathtaking degree of mediocrity. Please do not take that for false modesty; it is true honesty.

Some songs I need to simplify the drum part to cope, but it's no more difficult than playing guitar and singing.
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I sing and play. In some cases I too simplify the drumming. I do find I have to work at some songs more than others. Often vocals come in ahead of the beat, and that is a challenge especially if you are finishing a fill. Take practice. And there are some drum parts I simply cannot sing along too, at least not yet.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I don't sing well but I learned to do it rather quickly.

Like someone else mentioned, sometimes you have to modify your parts and it's a lot easier to modify drum parts than piano or guitar parts.

The rhythm of the song has a LOT to do with hoe easy/difficult it is.

I spent a few hours trying to play/sing Who Do You Love.....then I gave up.
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Old 11-09-2014, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

As a youngster, I had teachers who would have me sing melodies while playing time over independence exercises (e.g., Alan Dawson's adaptations to Syncopation). Singing vocal parts came pretty easy after that and these days, I do a lot of singing. BTW, this is a skill that will make you more employable.

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  #8  
Old 11-09-2014, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

i was lucky that singing while playing drums came rather easy, to be honest i never even thought about it back when i started gigging in 1980. however that does not mean that i know how to sing, had to do some lessons later in my career. in the mid eighties i had to learn playing to a click track (for prerecorded horns,strings vocals) AND singing AND playing drums that was tough at first, but i adapted. and because i was able to do that my phone rang a whole lot more. the fact that i could consistantly play to a click in a live situation made the phone ring... forget about singing. both are skills worth having no doubt. be patient it WILL come without modifying the drum parts.
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

As an aside, I've found that singing along with a song helps me to "line up" the drum part. Even if it's a song where I'm not doing the vocal, singing along, however monotonously, helps me to find the groove.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
As an aside, I've found that singing along with a song helps me to "line up" the drum part. Even if it's a song where I'm not doing the vocal, singing along, however monotonously, helps me to find the groove.
This is a recent revelation to me. I realized it since in this band I finally got around to taking on lead vocals for a few songs. I don't need nearly as many notes (my version of charting).

Now I'll have to try it for songs I don't sing the lead. Thanks.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

good topic.
i've been playing the guitar for more than 15 years and this thought always occurred to me - not many drummers sing.
don't know if it's harder or what...
i just started playing the drums about a month ago - the thought still crosses my mind. and every now and then, if i'm playing something really simple, i'll be able to sing the chorus of the song.
otherwise, i won't even bother.
i'm still learning foot independence.
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

My experience is that...at least for me....not many things I try to do come easy. What I have learned through playing guitar since 1975 is that most of the bumps I encounter can eventually be hurdled, but it takes practice.

I don't have natural musical ability, and there are many others I have seen that took to singing and playing much faster than I did.

So with that in mind, singing and drumming is another a learned skill that I have taken on, but I had to play through them numerous times to get everything dialed in...I don't change the drum track to accommodate the singing. I like the challenge.

For those folks that feel like it is a struggle, you may be in the same boat with me, but I can tell you that you will get there with practice and persistence. You might not have the voice of Paul Rodgers (as I do not) but you are a very valuable commodity if you can chime in on a good deal of backing vocals and some lead vocals.
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2014, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I too was fortunate that singing while drumming came very easily. My list of songs that I sing lead on has grown to over a dozen due to the fact that I have the highest, and broadest, vocal range of anyone in the band. My band plays a mixture of Motown Funk and 60's-90's "One-Hit" Classic Rock, with a lot of 3-4 part harmonies and multi-layered vocals.

The biggest issue I have is focusing on smooth movement to moderate the "vibrato" that my drumming effort causes in my voice, particularly when singing falsetto. I use a headset microphone which adds a few more challenges for me, and the sound engineer.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2014, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I'm just a background singer, but I continually practice singing techniques to improve... finding the perfect pitch and tone, knowing when to jump to the O-voice, breathing, head, chest, gut voice.. etc. there's always lot's to work on. Then add drumming into the mix. A few things I picked up on;
- I use a mic positioned to the side of the hats ; a bit up above my mouth so it forces you to keep good posture and belt it out.. you can't sing if you are crouched over and compressed... (thanks Levon Helm!)
- if you know the drum part down cold it helps; so you can kind of autopilot the rhythm and the voice just falls into place.. you don't have t worry about meter getting thrown off etc. but it takes practice.
- record yourself and listen for areas that need improvement
- background OOhs and AAAhs are much easier to get started with rather than tackling lead.. baby steps!
- try Gary Chesters book New Breed Vol. 1 for improving limb independence and vocal independence.. it asks you to 'sing' melody lines (or rhythms) as you play various combinations.
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  #15  
Old 11-10-2014, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I have sung in every band I have been in. Most of the time, the drums sort of go on "auto pilot." I have been doing it for a very long time, so I do not remember it being a problem. Peace and goodwill.
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  #16  
Old 11-11-2014, 12:08 AM
cantstoplt021 cantstoplt021 is offline
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Cool, sounds like it's something that isn't impossible to do. I'm still trying to get independence so I'll worry about that before I start trying to sing at the same time. Interestingly since I've started working more on drum independence over this last month or so, it seems like singing and playing guitar is easier even though I haven't been really working on it
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Over the years I have sung a few songs here and there.

Since August I have not had to travel up and down the East coast anymore and am able to do a band project at home. So, since September last year, I have been working with a very patient and understanding guitar player who has been helping me develop my singing.

I am doing most of the singing in the band, and in February we found a bass player and he is doing about 20% of the singing.

I still need a lot of work with the vocals. But, every once in a while I surprise everyone including myself, and am able to pull off a song pretty well. Learning new songs is coming easier and faster now too.

The songs that are easier to do, are ones where the singing is on the beat and are not a challenge trying to get in too many words in a short space or where the phrasing makes no sense. Songs that are hard are ones where the vocals come in at a different beat of the song. On these types of songs, I cannot disassociate my drumming from the vocals, even it is a simple beat.

Recently, I found that I am able to play fills easily and sing at the same time. It happened last practice, all of a sudden I was able to just sing through the fills without even thinking about it.

When I play drums without singing, I am usually engaged more with driving the band, adding color, accenting and telegraphing many of the changes. I feel like my attention is taking in all of the band at once. But, when I sing, I am playing more simply and I play on automatic, and I am not listening to the others in the band as much as I am my singing.

Perhaps, like playing fills easily, I may eventually be able to drive, accent and telegraph easily. But, this much singing is new for me.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

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Originally Posted by evolving_machine View Post
Over the years I have sung a few songs here and there.

Since August I have not had to travel up and down the East coast anymore and am able to do a band project at home. So, since September last year, I have been working with a very patient and understanding guitar player who has been helping me develop my singing.

I am doing most of the singing in the band, and in February we found a bass player and he is doing about 20% of the singing.

I still need a lot of work with the vocals. But, every once in a while I surprise everyone including myself, and am able to pull off a song pretty well. Learning new songs is coming easier and faster now too.

The songs that are easier to do, are ones where the singing is on the beat and are not a challenge trying to get in too many words in a short space or where the phrasing makes no sense. Songs that are hard are ones where the vocals come in at a different beat of the song. On these types of songs, I cannot disassociate my drumming from the vocals, even it is a simple beat.

Recently, I found that I am able to play fills easily and sing at the same time. It happened last practice, all of a sudden I was able to just sing through the fills without even thinking about it.

When I play drums without singing, I am usually engaged more with driving the band, adding color, accenting and telegraphing many of the changes. I feel like my attention is taking in all of the band at once. But, when I sing, I am playing more simply and I play on automatic, and I am not listening to the others in the band as much as I am my singing.

Perhaps, like playing fills easily, I may eventually be able to drive, accent and telegraph easily. But, this much singing is new for me.
Keep it up! You now have become at least a double-threat. Theoretically, if I was a band leader, rather than hire a drummer and a singer, if I can get both in one person, then I don't have to hire that extra person. It will only help you.

Imagine if you penned the original songs and sang them, and had them become hits....then you'd be the guy hiring and firing within your band because they can't get rid of you! You'd be Phil Collins or Don Henley ;)
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Bo,

Thanks for the words of encouragement.
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Well there's singing and playing-and then sounding good singing and playing. My brother is a great guitarist but he's deaf to the fact-HE CAN'T SING!!!!I've always thought I sounded pretty good (especially in the.shower) but years of kids yelling hush daddy, hush daddy taught me otherwise lol, so yes I can sing just I'm terrible. Wish my brother would figure that out and it's ok to suck, nor should one quit singing just because they are terrible-just not in public LOL (have some manners son).
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:20 AM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I'm a good singer as front man but horrible trying to sing behind my kit. I can't do it.
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Never had a problem playing and singing, my folks taught me guitar and how to sing in harmony so moving it to the kit wasn't that hard. Main problem is getting the mic into a comfortable position.

Nothing like giving yourself a thick lip when you catch the boom arm and the mic hits you in the face :). Biggest hint tilt boom arm downwards!!!

Being able to sing in harmony as well as play an instrument makes you a useful acquisition
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
Never had a problem playing and singing, my folks taught me guitar and how to sing in harmony so moving it to the kit wasn't that hard. Main problem is getting the mic into a comfortable position.

Nothing like giving yourself a thick lip when you catch the boom arm and the mic hits you in the face :). Biggest hint tilt boom arm downwards!!!

Being able to sing in harmony as well as play an instrument makes you a useful acquisition
This is the position I used.
Now I have a Shure Headset, much more practical, I don't have to bend toward the mike anymore. I only do some backing vocals, no big deal, but each time I needed to concentrate on the vocals, I tended to slow down ; with the headset I don't have to think about.
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:36 PM
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This is the position I used.
Now I have a Shure Headset, much more practical, I don't have to bend toward the mike anymore. I only do some backing vocals, no big deal, but each time I needed to concentrate on the vocals, I tended to slow down ; with the headset I don't have to think about.
I have been tempted to get a headset, I have to do a lot of backing vocals but have the old school method down to a fine art. The main reason for not using a headset is we say way too many inappropriate things between us on stage and I'd be stupid enough to leave the headset on :)

I've still got a goose neck attachment somewhere that I used for years so you can dangle the mic infront of your face. God knows where that's gone!
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Way back when I was a kid, in our first band we were all pretty much learning to how to play, and singing while drumming came easier than the the guitar or bass player. Back then, we pretty much split it up equally between us, with the others all singing backup. So i learned from the get go.

Flash forward 35+ years, I sing lead on some songs, and background on alot of the the others. My drumming does become more basic when I'm singing, tho I've worked recently on doing fills while singing. I absolutely love singing harmony, almost more than singing lead. And it really works better having someone out front singing the lead most of the time...
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:19 PM
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For a couple years I didn't have to sing a note and it was awesome just playing drums and letting the accomplished vocalists do the work. Now, our new guitarist doesn't sing backing so I had to try and step in.

I have learned,

1) I can't sing/play backing on Don't Stop Believin because of the beat.

2) I have trouble holding long notes while playing aggressively because my voice falters/wavers as my arms are flailing and squeezing my lungs/diaphragm.

3) I have trouble immeadiately finding some notes.

4) Recording vocals is much much easier than doing them live.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
I have been tempted to get a headset, I have to do a lot of backing vocals but have the old school method down to a fine art. The main reason for not using a headset is we say way too many inappropriate things between us on stage and I'd be stupid enough to leave the headset on :)

I've still got a goose neck attachment somewhere that I used for years so you can dangle the mic infront of your face. God knows where that's gone!
I've been floating back and forth between headset and regular mic on a stand. I have a ProCo PowerMute foot switch next to my hi-hat pedal to turn it on or off when I'm not using it.

But I admit, I prefer the mic on a stand approach with the mic in a static position, because then I can control my volume by being able to move closer or away from the mic. When you have a headset on, and you want to go from a whisper to a scream, it's difficult on a headset unless you also have a compressor in-line to level out your dynamics.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

I'm an ok backing vocalist, which just came gradually over a number of years, at least in part due to needing to build my confidence. There are still plenty of songs where I can't do both to a level I'm happy with, but that's fine.

My top tip for helping mic-placement is to get an XLR cable with a right-angled connector at the mic end. Otherwise that cable loop can get caught on a stick and I end up launching the mic stand over my kit!



I'm too self-conscious to contemplate a headset! But don't let that stop you :-)
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:04 PM
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I've been floating back and forth between headset and regular mic on a stand. I have a ProCo PowerMute foot switch next to my hi-hat pedal to turn it on or off when I'm not using it.

But I admit, I prefer the mic on a stand approach with the mic in a static position, because then I can control my volume by being able to move closer or away from the mic. When you have a headset on, and you want to go from a whisper to a scream, it's difficult on a headset unless you also have a compressor in-line to level out your dynamics.
Exactly the reason why I haven't gone to headset mic. I get loud on some songs (typically the ones where I have to sing higher) so I back off the mic so as to not overdrive it....
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:48 PM
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I've been using the headset. I did experiment a little using a mic stand where I had this boom attachment that holds the harp. But, I found that the stand I have shakes so much I cannot find the notes on the harp fast enough. So, on tunes where I play the harp, sing and drum, I just play the drums one handed and hold the harp in the other hand. We did a gig, and someone videoed me doing this and I really look like some crazy homeless one man band person. Anyway, I have to find a good microphone stand, mic combination.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:20 AM
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I'm an ok backing vocalist, which just came gradually over a number of years, at least in part due to needing to build my confidence. There are still plenty of songs where I can't do both to a level I'm happy with, but that's fine.

My top tip for helping mic-placement is to get an XLR cable with a right-angled connector at the mic end. Otherwise that cable loop can get caught on a stick and I end up launching the mic stand over my kit!



I'm too self-conscious to contemplate a headset! But don't let that stop you :-)
Or just use a Shure Beta 56 mic. It sounds great on the voice despite what their marketing tells you ;)
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:22 AM
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I've been using the headset. I did experiment a little using a mic stand where I had this boom attachment that holds the harp. But, I found that the stand I have shakes so much I cannot find the notes on the harp fast enough. So, on tunes where I play the harp, sing and drum, I just play the drums one handed and hold the harp in the other hand. We did a gig, and someone videoed me doing this and I really look like some crazy homeless one man band person. Anyway, I have to find a good microphone stand, mic combination.
It’s amazing how much a good solid mic stand costs these days, especially when what it’s holding is so small!
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I've been floating back and forth between headset and regular mic on a stand. I have a ProCo PowerMute foot switch next to my hi-hat pedal to turn it on or off when I'm not using it.

But I admit, I prefer the mic on a stand approach with the mic in a static position, because then I can control my volume by being able to move closer or away from the mic. When you have a headset on, and you want to go from a whisper to a scream, it's difficult on a headset unless you also have a compressor in-line to level out your dynamics.
I used a headset mic, singing leads and backing vocals, for 3 years. Looking back it was horrible trying to control volume, and had many an instance where I would end up clipping. My performances suffered. Since going to a boomed SM58, the band has expanded the number of songs that I sing lead on significantly.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:35 AM
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I learned a couple of Neil Young songs when I was first starting to sing. Rockin' in the Free World and Down by the River. They fall into my vocal wheelhouse and almost nobody notices when you hit a clam.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:57 PM
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Took Bo's advice and ordered a stronger mic stand and a shure beta 56. I am looking forward to not looking like a crazed one man band person when singing, drumming and harping. Is "harping" a real word? Sounds like something my old girlfriend used to do.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

A trio I play with has been really pushing me to sing more. I used to do just a couple novelty songs, but I'm doing a couple more lead vocals now and joining on harmony sometimes. I was thinking about buying a headset, but I hadn't thought about losing the ability to move away from the mic while playing.
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:44 PM
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PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is online now
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Yup, I sing and play drums. I sing BGV's usually a 5th above the melody.

Here's a video of us playing this past January.

https://www.facebook.com/gray.burche...5284457612982/

Sorry for the poor sound quality.
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

The main issue with playing drums and singing is similar to the issue of playing guitar and singing. Proper singing position and technique tends to be sacrificed. When drumming all the movement that is required to play the parts has a tendency to undermine the support you need for your voice. Nature of the game.
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Old 05-15-2018, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJD View Post
The main issue with playing drums and singing is similar to the issue of playing guitar and singing. Proper singing position and technique tends to be sacrificed. When drumming all the movement that is required to play the parts has a tendency to undermine the support you need for your voice. Nature of the game.

I agree with this; however, so much "working drummer" playing is pretty simple that nothing is really sacrificed (not much anyways).

With that said, I still agree with what you said here.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:04 PM
BruceW BruceW is offline
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Default Re: Singing and playing?

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Originally Posted by Forcer View Post
I'm an ok backing vocalist, which just came gradually over a number of years, at least in part due to needing to build my confidence. There are still plenty of songs where I can't do both to a level I'm happy with, but that's fine.

My top tip for helping mic-placement is to get an XLR cable with a right-angled connector at the mic end. Otherwise that cable loop can get caught on a stick and I end up launching the mic stand over my kit!



I'm too self-conscious to contemplate a headset! But don't let that stop you :-)
I have that very same adapter for my vocal mic, lol. Got a 25' cord with a right angle for my snare mic, too...hate having them sticking so far up in the air, to get whacked inadvertently.
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