Tag Archives for " Playing Guitar "

Tips For Learning How To Sing While Playing Guitar

Being able to play guitar and sing is one of the most coveted skills out there. Most popular artists do both, which means you’ll be more likely to gain popularity as a musician if you’re able to sing while playing the guitar simultaneously. Teaching yourself to sing with a guitar can be difficult, but thankfully there are some things you can do to make your learning process easier. Here are some tips on learning how to sing while playing guitar:

Find the Root

The first step to learning how to sing with a guitar is finding the root of the chord you’re strumming. For many beginners, this can be a difficult task. We’re often so used to have another person’s voice from a recording to guide us when we’re looking for which notes to sing. When you take away that guidance, many musicians lose their sense of pitch. This is why it’s important to train yourself to find the root of a chord.

If you strum a chord and have no idea which notes to sing, try experimenting with your voice. Some notes you sing will fit with the chord much better than others. This is because when we sing “non-chord tones,” we create dissonance. The notes that sound correct will probably be either the root, third, or fifth of the chord. To ensure you’re singing the correct pitch, find the root on the guitar and pluck the string. If you want to take a look at some of the best fingerstyle guitars, check out this article.

Practice Singing Thirds & Fifths

After you’ve learned how to find the root of a chord with your voice, you can begin to practice harmonizing. Harmony is when we combine different notes together to create texture. If you simply sing the same note an octave higher or lower, you haven’t created any texture. As a singer, it’s important to stack thirds and fifths to create something more complex. The first step to singing thirds is to identify the root of the chord you’re playing.

If your root is C, then a third above will be an E. Likewise if your root is G, a third above will be a B. Find these notes on your guitar to ensure you’re singing the right pitch. To take things even further, you can learn to sing fifths above. A fifth above C is a G, and a fifth above G is a D. If you’re singing with two other musicians, this will allow you to create full major and minor chords vocally.

Use Your Diaphragm

Taking advantage of your diaphragm is important for singers who want to create a powerful sound. Your diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that relaxes when you breathe in air, and contracts when you breathe out. When singing with your diaphragm, it’s important to breathe deeply “into your diaphragm.” Typically, most people breathe very shallowly. Try breathing in deeply and pushing out your stomach as much as you can. Find the right pocket trumpet to master correct breathing techniques.

When you exhale, pull your stomach back towards you. This is how you should breathe when you’re singing. Doing so will give you much more presence. If you want to strengthen this muscle, try breathing into your diaphragm for as many counts as you can, holding your breath, and then breathing out slowly. Since many guitarists sit while singing, their breathing can often be compromised. The more you strengthen your diaphragm, the less your vocal power will be compromised from hunching over your guitar.

Use A Capo

If you’re trying to sing a song and you just can’t seem to hit the right notes, it might be because the song isn’t in a key suitable for your vocal range. This problem is common for women singing songs by men and vice versa because men’s voices tend to be a lot lower than women’s. Capos allow musicians to change the key of the song they’re playing without having to mentally work out the new chords. On piano, changing a key requires shifting the chord progression up or down a certain number of steps.

For example, if your chords are: C, F, and G, and you want to raise the key by one whole step, your new chords would be D, G, and A. While changing keys can be simple, more complex chords make things difficult. That’s where a capo comes into the picture. By putting your capo on the first fret and strumming the same chords to a song, as usual, you’ll have raised the key by one-half step.

Therefore, if your chords were: C, F, and G, they will now sound like a C#, F#, and G#. If you’re not sure which key you should be singing in, simply experiment with the capo on different frets to find a range that’s comfortable for your voice. You might find that only one simple half step will solve most of your vocal range problems.

About The Author

Hi there!

I’m Natalie. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use my music blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world.

I’m owner of MusicalAdvisors.com
Contact me: Natalie.MusicalAdvisors@gmail.com

I Made A Mistake Today… Did You?

So what mistake did I make? Well, I make plenty every time I play my guitar… do you?

Fact is, when you’re playing guitar, bass, or any other instrument…

For that matter, with nearly anything in life…

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not progressing.

Sound harsh?

Well, that’s my take on it, and I’m sticking to it.

Neils Bohr once famously said:

“An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”

Nobody pops into this world perfect, and anything you try to learn takes time and hard work, right?

So the faster you make mistakes trying new things, the faster you’re going to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Don’t expect yourself to be perfect the first time you try something… whether it be playing a new chord, or improvising a solo, or trying a completely hair brained idea.

Now, as you get better at what you do, ie playing guitar, the real secret to success here is to recover very quickly from your mistakes, or even better, make something new and unique from them.

Some musicians have perfect, or near perfect performances.

One place you see this type of performance is from orchestras: they practice the exact same thing over and over until it literally is perfect note for note.

With playing guitar, by and large we’re in a much more fluid environment… in fact, improvising is often the name of the game.

So that means you’re going to make mistakes; however some simple tricks can help you mask your mistakes so nobody else notices.

One trick I use if I hit a wrong note is to simply turn that note into a ‘passing’ note… ie keep going right on past through the mistake note until you get where you need to be.

Perhaps that destination note is the root note, or one of the perfect harmonies (a fourth or a fifth).

Practice makes that transition smoother, and mistakes less frequent. Remember, we’re aiming at perfection, not at mistakes, but the only way to get there is to embrace mistakes along the way.

Thankfully, some things help hugely in reducing the number of mistakes you need to make. Learning your scale, and the relevant chords in the key that you’re playing in is a great place to start.

Understanding the basic theory that is going on in the song is also valuable, as it provides a framework for you to work from when you’re improvising.

Knowing the scale and the various harmonic intervals tells you what notes will work in a solo, and gives you “safe” notes to resolve on.

In my Unlocking I IV V guitar lesson, I go through these concepts. If you’ve already got a copy of that lesson, you’ll know what I’m talking about – if you haven’t yet, you can grab a copy of my Unlocking I IV V lesson here.

Whatever you do, please DON’T sell yourself short by telling yourself you can’t play guitar well.

Henry Ford once famously said:

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”

Chew on that one for a few minutes…


Here’s a short success story about Unlocking I IV V:

“Hi Jonathan,

I have indeed watched your DVD’s and I found them very helpful. I’m almost 65 years old and have been strumming the guitar since I was about 14 years old.

I’m mostly self taught with a few instructions from family members who play, but never any formal training. Your lessons have helped me understand exactly what is going on with the fret board and  where to find my notes. Although my fingers don’t work as well as they did when I was young, I still enjoy trying to play my favorite tunes.

Keep up the good work.  Wish I would have had you around 50 years ago.  Thanks again.”

Jerry Matney

Click here to get the Unlocking I IV V Guitar Lesson