Play Guitar & Sing at the Same Time

Many people want the ability to play guitar and sing at the same time. For me, this is pretty much the most fun aspect of guitar! 

For many people who follow my lessons, this is a big part of what they want to be able to do, so I've created this lesson and blog post to help you out.

1. Song choice is crucial, try not to be precious (rhythm but also voice timbre) 

Choose songs where the strumming matches the rhythm of the words with no syncopation (no irregular or complex rhythms). As a guitarist, there are typically going to be a larger selection of songs that you can play than you can sing. Here are my song recommendations with tutorials links to get you starter;

2. Start with single strums of each chord

If you’re totally new to this, don’t try and sing over barre chords or a new riff that you’re still learning. Strum once per chord, then strum to the pulse of the beat of the song, working up to the full strumming pattern gradually over time.

3. Use a capo to change the key to suit your vocal range 

You can also use the transpose feature on sites like ultimate guitar to lower they key. This will appear to change all the chords in the song, but the resulting sound of the song will be the same. Often, bands tune down by ½ a step or even a full step to make the higher notes easier for the vocalist to reach. Research, learn and practice learning songs in different keys so that you don’t get caught out. 

4. Get the guitar playing automatic, and think about your singing 

This is a basic principal of how you do two things at once. One of the two things must be EASY., automatic, effortless, while you think about the other. For most people, the thing to make automatic is the guitar playing. Then your mind has more free space to think about the singing, when to breath, pitch of voice etc.

As you start to increase the strumming, you may notice things start to fall apart. This is likely due to contrasting rhythms between the guitar and the singing. 

5. Realise this will take as much dedicated practice time as anything else

Singing and playing guitar, even without an audience, is basically performing. It’s just a fact that it takes more practice time to get something to performance standard. You must learn to be ok with this and accept.  But remember, it can take lesson than 20 hours to MASTER the basics.