Singing and playing?


Senior Member
Leaving the melodic/pitch element aside for a second I think we should all be able to sing anything we play. The pulse, subdivision and "melody" should all be things that we can express freely in one way or another.

The vocal line is just another layer of the rhythm, so while it will certainly take some practice I don't think it should be any harder than learning any other new type of rhythmic coordination, and will probably be really good for you in the long run.


Platinum Member
I sing background vocals in both my main bands. I usually double the vocal melody one to two octaves down, although I can go well into the tenor range to add "oohs" and "aahs". I have no ear for harmony at all. I also have a cookie monster growl that is totally out of place in both bands' styles, yet they keep asking me to do it as it "adds texture". I think the texture is the bits and pieces of my throat that have been scoured away over the years...

While I'm not altogether comfortable with doing BGVs, I think it adds something to the band dynamic when all three/four/however many of us are belting it out in the chorus. Gets the crowd keyed in and amped up with us.

If a song seems too difficult to play and sing along to at the same time, I either (a) work out how someone else can pick up the vocal, or (b) practice the crap out of the drum part until I don't have to think about it any longer.


Silver Member
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.[/quotet]

The headset is easy to work with, but once in a while it slips and as others have said you cannot move away to cough. I think, the headset is good when your first starting to sing.
I started singing while drumming in my first band when I was 16. I’m from the era where you could make a decent living playing covers in clubs full time and I spent years on the circuit. I was the lead singer from behind the kit for a few months but that didn’t work so well visually, so we got another drummer and I moved out from. Doing that led me to learning to play guitar and write songs. I now have an original band that gigs fairly regularly. On a whim, I decided to try playing kick and hi hat with a tambourine in top while playing guitar and singing. After a little practice, it worked out surprisingly well. I’ve done a couple of smaller gigs that way with a multi instrumentalist (my daughter) and have another coming up soon where we will have a bass player. I’m quite sure that the limb/brain independence I developed at 16 has served me well over the years.


Silver Member
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.
Last night had practice with the band and I sung using the shure beta 56A (not the beta 56, do not know the difference). Yeah, big difference and improvement, from the headset mic (thanks Bo). The stand is solid and have a counter weight on the back. The only issue is trying to get the correct position for singing and playing the harp.


Silver Member
Hi. I wanted to share something about singing and effects. I wanted to have some vocal 'help' so i bought a voicelive2 a couple years ago. Clearly the device is not made for a drummer with the buttons, however you can use a midi solution to solve that problem. It will require another purchase though, a MIDI Solutions Event Processor (about $130) and a device you can hit with a stick such as a Alesis Sample Pad or Akai MX8 (about $100), (or any pad device that generates midi-notes). You will need to mount the pad device and will still have to press the presets before you start to perform a tune to set the right patch/preset, but you will then be able to use your sticks on the pads to control harmony on/off, steps, doubling on/off, voices, etc. Just some food for thought. ;)

My 2 cents on mics: I have a couple of Shure headset mics I've played around with as well as various types/brands of cardioids, but I always have come back to a unidirectional Shure 565SD I have have since the 70s. (BTW, the problem I found with headsets is that you cannot back way from them)

... and my 2 cents on stands: When using a dynamic mic i have always used a boom along with an 18" gooseneck the allows the use of the mic without a bar in your face. It make a true overhead. (I found that K&M has the most stable stand and boom, however you have to pay for what you get.)

As others have said, stick to quality for your stands and find a good mic that fits your voice and placement and they can last almost forever with care.