Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: September 19, 2019

How to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time in 5 Tips

how to sing and play guitar at the same time

How to sing and play guitar at the same time is something every singer and guitar player wants to do eventually. Singing and playing guitar at the same time can be challenging especially when if you’re a beginner guitar player. You may get mixed up on the timing of the lyrics versus the timing of the chord changes. Here are a few tips on how to practice singing and playing guitar at the same time. 

1. Learn the guitar part first

When first learning a song, you should try and learn the guitar part first. Try practicing the guitar part along with the song. This will give you a good sense of when chord switches happen and when to strum in relation to the lyrics. Playing just the guitar part along with the song also helps you focus on just one aspect, so you don’t trip up on singing, too!

 

2. Use simple strum patterns

Some songs may require difficult strum patterns, but when you’re trying to sing and play at the same time, it may be beneficial if you play a simple downstroke strum pattern that is timed with each beat. This will give you a great idea, again, on when to strum and when to change when it’s appropriate without bogging you down with a complicated pattern. Keep it simple first, and then increase the complexity as you learn.

 

3. Clap along

Singing and playing guitar at the same time means having independence between the singing and rhythm. Guitartricks instructor Gary Heimbauer talks about developing this independence by clapping along to the beat of the song while also singing. Another great way to do this is to also strum with some muted strings. You can lightly hold the strings and then strum so you’re not causing any of the strings to vibrate. This practice technique really helps you understand the beat of the song and gets your muscle memory in tune with the rhythm so that you don’t have to think about it so much when it’s time to also sing.

You can check out Gary’s entire lesson on singing and playing guitar at the same time below. In the lesson, he’ll show you how to do this by learning the song “Happy Birthday.”

4. Practice slowly

Practicing slowly is not only a great way to learn a song, but it’s just a great way to practice, period. If you practice the song super slow, then you’ll more easily understand the intricate ins and outs of the song. Once you master the song at a slow pace, then you can speed it up to its normal tempo. If you try and practice a song at full speed, you’ll most likely trip over yourself. 

Practicing and learning a song super slow also helps when it comes to learning the lyrics, because if you go slow enough, you can think about when the lyrics come into the song in relation to when you strum a chord or change a chord, etc. 

 

5. Focus and think about syllables

Syllables are the individual sounds that create words phonetically and it’s important to know exactly when each word is being said in relation to the strum or chord that is being played. That’s all we’ve been talking about in this blog post if you had not noticed. Learning how to play and sing at the same time is all about learning when certain syllables of a word are sung and playing the correct notes or notes at the same time. This means listening to the song a lot and really think about each word, and each of the syllables in the word. 

Sometimes singers stretch out the word and play entire different chords on different syllables of a word. You want to fully grasp the lyrics and the music so you can recreate it. 

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