If you can't sing and play

This post is meant as encouragement for all those here who are of the view they can’t sing and play guitar at the same time. I know exactly how you feel as I used to feel exactly like that. My voice isn’t good enough. It’s too hard. etc.

What inspired me to make this post is I’m recovering from covid and have lost my voice temporarily due to all the coughing and sore throat.

Now that I’m well enough to pick up the guitar and play again, it’s just not the same without being able to sing.

When I first started playing I was told it was harder to sing and play, and back then it was. But I accidentally became a singer and have never looked back. Now that it’s gone for the moment, I really how much more enjoyable it is to play and sing than to just play. And how much my memorizing of songs, which chords to play and where, is tied to my singing of the song.

Justin has a lesson that covers it well.

For me it was a bit easier than what Justin goes through in that lesson, your mileage may vary.

If you are sitting on the fence, thinking it can’t be done, hope off and join the rest of us singing and having fun, you won’t regret it!


This assumes you can sing in the first place!!


I hear ya Tony (no pun intended). It’s others that will have to listen to me that will regret it… :wink:

Kidding aside.
I’m still a work in progress, but I was motivated by another member and I don’t regret her pushing me. Actually, I thank her for giving me a push.
I still don’t sing great, but I for sure find it enjoyable to even try to sing as it just adds a dimension to playing guitar that is almost a must have dimension. It adds the melody.

I couldn’t agree more Stewart. But I can think of at least two rockers that I like their music much, but I don’t care for their singing voice. I don’t think they can sing. Their famous and rich, I’m a poor working man. It’s worth a try and nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I figure in the end. If folks don’t like how I sing, they don’t have to listen to it and can leave if they want.
Or perhaps, they’d like to chime in and sing it for me, or with me and make the tune better.

Myself, I’m gonna continue to try.
If I can.

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I’m still figuring out how to sing and play. I had some singing lessons as a kid, but that was ages ago, and today, hitting the right notes, or even their vicinity, is more like throwing dice in a tray and hoping for the best^^ But if it does work, even for a moment, it feels really, really good, like I’m in the zone or something. And even if I’m off, and I can hear I’m off, it’s still fun because it makes playing more real, somehow.

For some songs, I find it quite difficult to sing and play at the same time, especially with fingerstyle. It feels like I’m doing two different melodies at the same time, and until I find the complete shape of the song, I cannot do it. Does that happen for you as well, or is it just me?

I don’t have any skill or confidence in my singing, and it is hard work learning to sing and play at the same time.

I thought I would just go without it, but after working on it just a little, even though I would not inflict my singing on even my poor dog, it is enormously fun.

Why not sing a bit? You don’t have to sing for any one but yourself, who cares if your voice is off a bunch? It is fun, it definitely rounds out so many fun songs to play on the guitar. What is to lose? You might enjoy it, you might get better at it.

An example of a song I am learning to sing is “So Long Marianne” by Leonard Cohen. The chords are a nice set of progressions, the strumming is a relentless “12&3&” at 180 bpm for 6 verses, 6 choruses, and 6 bridges…:scream:
Lovely as it is, no one wants to just listen to the guitar alone, egad. The song is where the melody and emotion live, it makes the song special. If I don’t sing it, why play it?

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Yes, that is it. Or at least it is for me^^ I dunno if that changes when I can play the melody over the chords someday, but for now, yes!

Singing makes you a better player. You will learn so much by doing so. It helps with timing, phrasing, melody, harmony, and singing is what makes a song a song. Do it and list your tracks for everyone to hear. You may think you don’t have a singing voice, but you just never know who you may inspire.


Some songs will be great as instrumentals, but there likely will be some songs that you want to play that don’t. It’s a big world of music, so play what you like, but allowing vocal melodies will open a lot of fun territory and allow some exploration of music you likely grew up with.

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It absolutely happens to me as well. Much of what I play is fingerstyle. There are many songs now that have been easy for me to learn to sing. But there are other songs that took quite some effort to work out the singing part.

If the vocals are syncopated, that’s where I struggle. In learning to sing Margaritaville, which I strum, it took seemingly forever. The vocals don’t come in until the 5th eighth note (or thereabouts) and I had to work and work on that to get it to where I could sing and strum it at the same time. Damien Rice’s older chests, fingerstyle, was also quite difficult to learn to sing (and to learn to play)

Not everyone has the same type of voice and I think everyone should embrace and celebrate their own voice and style, but most people can learn to sing
I think if I can anyone can - my CAT once slapped me around the face for singing…
(talk about a harsh critic!) but I improved, and obviously still can’t sing like Adele, Mariah Carey, Nina Simone etc, but she eventually tolerated me :laughing:
and besides, it so much fun. Just go for it, I reckon…

Hope you recover soon Tony :slightly_smiling_face: :hibiscus: :sunflower:

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My goal is that the dog doesn’t leave the room when I sing…

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If you can harmonize with that hound I’m truly jealous!

:laughing: yep, I know how that feels too :rofl:

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My dog harmonizes with the fire trucks. Now that we are not in the city, we miss her howl. I cannot compete with that.

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You may well be right and I may well be able to but not having anywhere to practice is the issue for me, as there is no way that I will be practicing at home. My other half would fall about laughing!!

Stuart, I don’t know if you are living in an urban or rural environment. I started to use the time outside with the dog for some singing practice, best time, when it’s raining or stormy conditions and nobody is out. Good option to go all in then and go to the limits. Have to admit, my dog isn’t sure, if everything is ok with me. SMILE (can’t add emoji for some reason)


Can sometimes be bad for your throat…



Ooo I really have to start doing it…but only when the cat is outside…no joke

I should just start with simple sentences during some blues shuffle or something like that Let’s see if I can find some new inspiration soon :sunglasses:



Laughter is good for the soul! You can say it is for her own good.


I was really fortunate in that case. When I started playing my first song all the way through, my wife started singing it and that encouraged me to play it more and then after probably 50 or 60 times of her singing it I chimed in on the chorus quite by accident and the light went off in my head that this is an obtainable goal. She’s not been able to stop me singing since then. :smiley:

It was a real eye opener for me and I talk about so others who assume they couldn’t possibly sing might realize it’s actually an option for almost every one. The people who are tone deaf amounts to between 2 and 5 percent of the population which means of the guitar players it’s less than 1% of the overall population. So find that inner canary, it’s wants to be free!!!

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Yep, I know the feeling, like really… but laughter IS good, much better than slamming doors etc. and I’m sure they’d get over it eventually.

I also sing when I walk the dog, and in the shower (let loose! it’s almost expected to sing badly in the shower right?) and when I’m driving (I pause when I stop at traffic lights :grin:) and when cooking, cleaning, hanging out washing, mowing the lawn and stuff - people will just think you’re REALLY happy :grinning:

Like I said, I still can’t sing like Adele, still have bad days and not-so-bad days, still trying, but definitely improving… Just do it, I reckon, if you WANT to. You don’t HAVE to :sunflower: