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Thread: How to sing and play more effectively

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyf View Post
    Ditto what One Man said. At my guitar circles I am always puzzled by good guitarist trying to sing in what is obviously not their key (almost always too high). They are good musicians, so I'm not sure why this is not apparent to them. I have noticed though that they almost always play songs in their original key (regardless of the fact that the singer has a way higher voice). I'm guessing this is a "guitar thing". Taking time to find the right key for each song you perform is really crucial. I know it makes the best of my less than mediocre voice.
    I have seen this, too. I've played ukulele and guitar since the 1960s and played professionally for many years. The most likely people to switch keys when they sing are country guitar pickers. Most other people learn a song's chords in the key that was most popular and they try to sing in that key because they learned it in that key... but that happens far more with finger-picking style players than with flat-pickers.

    For the original poster, once you get used to playing the chords in a song, try singing along while you play. If you are having problems, tempo might be the issue, but more times than not, if you are flat it is because you cannot hear yourself as well over the guitar or ukulele. Play a bit softer. You can also play facing a clothes closet with the door open... believe it or not, it will absorb a lot of that sound and you will hear yourself better. I know one guitarist who always records in a walk-in closet for that reason.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyf View Post
    Ditto what One Man said. At my guitar circles I am always puzzled by good guitarist trying to sing in what is obviously not their key (almost always too high). They are good musicians, so I'm not sure why this is not apparent to them. I have noticed though that they almost always play songs in their original key (regardless of the fact that the singer has a way higher voice). I'm guessing this is a "guitar thing". Taking time to find the right key for each song you perform is really crucial. I know it makes the best of my less than mediocre voice.
    That's me. I'll generally play a song in whatever key is easiest for me to manage, but I quite honestly have no clue what key I sing in, so I can't change the chords I'm playing. I've checked out a few videos online suggesting ways to find your range or what key you sing in, and none of them help. It will probably involve singing lessons, but I haven't gotten to that point yet.

    Disagreeing with Down Up Dick. I don't have problems singing when playing, I have problems singing.

  3. #23
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    Sabantien, you may find that they right key for you may vary depending on the song and on its range. I don't sing only in one key, though A and G are my most common favs. C is a key I can rarely sing in. Uke clubs often use music in the key of C and even with a preponderance of females, many of the songs are just too high for most of our voices. Play any song in the written key but experiment with a capo to transpose the song. Keep moving it till you find the spot where your voice sounds good. Do this with a few songs that you think would suit your voice and you can see what keys are usually good for you and then if you want to go capoless, just transpose the song. Sometimes I still use a capo if the right key for my voice would put that song in a difficult to play key (harder or unfamiliar chord shapes).

  4. #24

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    I'm not much of a singer, but I do transpose songs to the most appropriate key for me. I also don't have too much trouble accompanying myself on the uke, so long as I've got the chords and the exact accompaniment sorted out beforehand, because I already play the guitar.

    However, I am struggling with the singing bit. I feel my voice, although mostly in tune, (I think!), seemingly lacks expression. I think it's because I don't have enough technical control, having only recently returned to singing. I'm probably being a bit impatient. Like everything, singing only improves over time!

    I've been really impressed with the singing I've heard on this site. I realise I've a long way to go!

    However, I'm thinking of joining a choir, or singing uke group. Someone said in this thread that joining a choir helped a lot.

    It is possible I'm being too self-critical, though, especially since I've really only just started out. It's not always easy to be that objective! Perhaps rather foolishly, I posted a recording in the Video Discussion section. Really want know whether my own reading of my singing is fair, so if anyone has the time.... I can take criticism.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...Frankie-Laine)

  5. #25
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    I don't have anything of substance to add to this thread, but...I chuckled to myself as I read through the comments; lots of good stuff all throughout. What made me giggle was the old joke that asks, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer: "Practice."

    I've played at playing the guitar for years and never was anything near good. However, I did struggle with the singing component, like many expressed here. I think I sing well, but others may disagree. I don't really care because I like to sing so I will/do. But, I relied on a capo for years to change the pitch of a song because I couldn't change the key. I simply didn't have the skill. The capo was an easy solution and I knew which songs I needed to change to make them fall within my vocal range. This works as a crutch to solve this question/problem when playing alone. It wouldn't work well, for obvious reasons, when playing in a group.

    Just my $.02 worth...
    "Not all those who wander are lost..." J.R.R. Tolkien

  6. #26
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    I'd start with The Beatles, a lot of their songs vocals follow the guitar, plus the rhythms are really easy to follow. A Hard Days Night and You've Got to Hide Your Love Away are great starts! Good luck man!

  7. #27
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    It's a bit like patting the top of your head with one hand, whilst making circles on your belly with the other hand. Initially the brain can't cope with both at the same time, but with practice it adapts.

    Find what key suits your voice, work out the chords, then practice, practice and practice some more. The more you do the easier it gets until both your voice and playing reach optimum together.

    Having said that I've been doing all that for years and I *STILL* wince at myself most of the time! lolol
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  8. #28
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    It was interesting to read my posts from three years ago. Everyone else's too. A lot of comments that people chan g the key to suit their voice, and I do that myself quite often. I think that some people start pushing the transpose button to find chords that are easier to play. But that all is good advise for someone who plays solo. If one is going to play with other people it doesn't hurt to work at being a little more accommodating.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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