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Guitar - General/Singing and playing at the same time


Hi Lynne,
I've been playing for the past 7 years now and to be honest I've just played and never attempted singing while playing.

I just thought I ll try singing while playing, but I am not able to sing when the riff that I am playing and the lyrics have a different tempo / flow ( don't know if I got it right ). For example - I can strum Bob Dylan's Knocking on heavens door and sing as well (actually anyone can) but when the riff becomes complex for example Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride and Joy, I struggle.

I read a lot of articles on this and most of them suggested memorizing the two parts i.e. singing and playing separately and then try to combine the two .

I know there is no substitute for practice and hard work, but just wanted to know the right approach to achieve this and apply the technique to any song.

Thanks. Waiting for your reply

Hi, Arjun--

The usual approach is to learn each part separately and then try to put them together. It helps to break the song into small sections and practice each section separately.

If it is the difference in rhythms between the vocal part and the guitar part that is giving you trouble, you might try tapping the guitar rhythm while you sing. For example, the guitar lick for "Pride and Joy" is just a basic shuffle beat. If you can tap that beat and sing at the same time, then it might make it easier to add the notes to the guitar rhythm.

Hope this helps you!

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Lynne May


Any question relating to guitar playing: scales, chords, music theory, arpeggios, soloing, chord progressions, key signatures, buying a guitar, guitar tabs, writing guitar music, musical styles including rock, blues and classical. I can no longer answer questions as to the value of a guitar. Please do not flag your question as "Private", as this prevents other readers from benefiting. I will no longer answer "private" questions.


I have played guitar for 30 years. Fifteen years of that time I spent traveling nationwide as a performer. I have owned and operated May Music Studio in Washington state for the last 20 years. I also teach piano and drums. Recently I have started a website which provides absolutely free music lessons:

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Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts

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