Learning how to sing while playing guitar is a step that every guitarist or musician considers at one point or another. Singing and playing guitar at the same time can be challenging, but in a good way. Learning this skill will make you a better all around musician and will help both your singing and guitar playing. Plus it is incredibly fun!
If you enjoy singing along to music in the car, or playing along to your favorite songs on guitar, imagine the best of both worlds!
It isn’t going to be a piece of cake that’s for sure. You’re basically playing two instruments at once. Some studies even suggest that playing an instrument helps our brains stay healthy! Imagine the benefits of combining the complexity of two instruments, guitar and voice.
Why learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time?
You already know that learning to play guitar is a great mental exercise. Learning to sing while playing guitar will only increase your skill level in both guitar and singing. Your musical voice will improve, just like your guitar playing will.
Practicing slightly above and outside of your comfort zone is the ideal place to get the most out of your practice sessions. Learning to sing while playing will dramatically improve your rhythm guitar playing.
I can’t sing and play guitar at the same time
Learning to sing and play guitar is tough at first. First you need to assess where your skill level is at. What kind of guitarist are you? If you’re a solid rhythm guitarist and can play various chord progressions with ease, you probably have an advantage.
If you’re a wicked lead guitarist, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to pick this skill up with ease. If you’re a beginner guitarist, it’s certainly a good time to start learning, but you will be challenged more so than a seasoned guitarist.
I can play guitar but can’t sing
Pick an simple song you know well, I’ll include some below. Find a song that you can play in your sleep and then start humming along. Learn the lyrics, then start singing along.
Can’t sing and strum at the same time
It takes time to build up the coordination to be able to sing while playing guitar smoothly, in rhythm. Practice is key. I’d recommend finding a simple song that only has four chords. Only strum each chord once, instead of matching the count. Strum the chord once and then focus on singing.
Slow it down as needed, but after a while you’ll be able to match the real tempo of the song. Once you get there it only takes a bit of practice to add more strums per chord. Continue practicing until you can match the songs beat for beat and match the strumming pattern.
Easy songs to sing and play guitar for beginners
Don’t jump into a complex song. You might think wonderwall is an easy song. It might be easy for you to play on guitar, but we’re doing something new. Wonderwall is easy to play by itself, but I’ve found that its strumming pattern is difficult to match while singing along.
It took me a few weeks of playing guitar and singing to get wonderwall down. If that tickles your fancy then go for it, but, initially, I’d recommend an easier song.
Aim for songs that are four chords in 4/4 time. A simple time signature will make you life easier.
What’s the easiest song to play on the guitar
Last Kiss by Pearl Jam (originally by J Frank and the Cavaliers) is hands down the easiest song you can begin with. Maybe not the most exciting but the fundamentals are rarely exciting.
This song is perfect, Em, G , C and D is the chord progression. The lyrics are also simple and flow well with the guitar.
Start by strumming each chord once, then sing the lyrics, switch to the next chord and repeat for the whole song. Once you get that down, move onto strumming each chord four times as they do in the song.
Once you can successfully play the whole song through try playing and singing along with a recording of the song.
After you’ve gotten Last Kiss by Pearl Jam down, your options open up MASSIVELY! From here I’d recommend finding easy songs that you enjoy and want to play. If you can play Last Kiss you can play a ton of other simple songs. Each one you learn will help you move up to the next level of complexity.
Some songs that are easy to sing and play guitar for:
- Swing Life Away – Rise Against
- Hurt – Johnny Cash version
- Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People
- Free Fallin – Tom Petty
- Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
- Last Kiss – Pearl Jam (J Frank and the Cavaliers)
Practice makes perfect. Experienced guitarists are going to have a tough time at first when they start singing along. But it is no different from learning the basics of guitar. Start simple and work your way up!
How to sing and play guitar riffs at the same time
Playing guitar riffs while singing is much more difficult. MUCH more difficult. I think it has to do with chords becoming easy patterns for our brains. Most seasoned guitarists can play all basic chords without thinking twice, but riffs might be another story.
Songs that have chords are asking your brain to play familiar patterns and sing along with them. Riffs on the other hand, are always a little different. So you need a certain riff to become as ingrained into your fingers as chord patterns. Once you get there you’ll be able to sing along while playing the riff.
I’d recommend the same basic idea when learning chords and singing. Pick a simple riff and get it down pat, then start singing along. Reduce tempo and simplify as needed.
A good transition drill might be to play a chord song such as Last Kiss by Pearl Jam, but instead of strumming, pick the strings individually. A sort of blues vibe.
How to sing and play bass guitar at the same time
Singing and playing bass guitar is a little different, but the principles are the same. You can even start with the same songs as if you were playing a six string guitar. Bass guitar might be a little more difficult for your voice to follow as notes are less complex than chords (chords also help cover up your voice going out of key).
Once you’ve gotten the basics down, start getting slappy! Add some flair to your bass lines. Singing and playing bass guitar is challenging but not as difficult as playing guitar riffs while singing.