Guitar/Singing to the guitar

Singing to the guitar

Anyone can sing

I don't know how well you can sing yet. It may be the most natural thing in the world for you. Maybe your mother already sang with you, or you had a good music teacher or even sing in a choir.

I don't need to tell you much about singing. There's always room for improvement, but that's not the point here. This is more about the basic tips for beginners. You can also have your voice trained properly (although this is not necessary in every case), but the subject of vocal training offers enough material for a book of its own. However, not everyone wants to become a pop star. For many, it's enough if you sing for yourself just for the fun of it.

Nobody should be too quickly persuaded that they can't sing. As long as you can speak, you can sing.[1] At most, you lack practice. Not being able to pick out pitches or not being able to sing something exactly is not a sign of a lack of talent, but a lack of practice. You can learn to recognize scales or intervals and sing them correctly, and even sing notes from sight.

Sing the notes of a major chord with root, major third, fifth and octave (i.e. the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 8th notes of a scale) Too difficult? Try singing the hopefully well-known children's song "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens. You see, you can do it with the first four syllables!

The best way to learn to sing is to practise it over and over again, and also to deal with topics such as pitch, intervals and rhythm. Usually it's simply because people want to be able to sing well, but don't want to LEARN to sing. (This also applies to playing the guitar, by the way).

=How can you sing to the guitar? If you sing and play the guitar at the same time, it's easy to get confused at the beginning. What can you do?

Known simple songs


Start with simple and familiar songs where you don't have to think about words and melody. Songs that are so simple that you can sing them without concentrating. Use songs where there is always a chord change on a certain word so that you don't have to concentrate too much on it. Or songs that you know inside and out so that they are automatically rewound.

Simple songs that you can't memorize are less recommended. However, they are always better than having to deal with difficult lyrics, chord progressions and rhythms at the same time.

At the beginning, don't choose songs with complicated tone sequences or rhythms, and none that are too high or low. The simpler the better.

You should not disdain children's songs and folk or Christmas songs for practicing if you know them by heart. They may not be the style of music you are aiming for, but they are a good way of learning playing technique and practising singing along to the guitar.

Humming along


Even just humming along to the melody will bring you closer to accompanying yourself on the guitar. And even if you have the impression that your own voice is not suitable for the stage, you should still practise singing along to the guitar. You are much more likely to develop a natural feeling for melody, rhythm, dynamics and speed. And you can more easily empathize with the singer you want to accompany.

Simple chord progression


Another method is to only choose songs that have a consistent chord progression. You first practice this chord progression until you know it inside and out. When this chord progression then almost happens by itself, you have enough concentration left for singing. Of course, you shouldn't choose chords that are too difficult. It's better to start with something easy.

Simple strumming patterns


You start with simple accompaniment patterns. With a simple strumming pattern, the arm moves up and down so evenly that the rhythm is set, similar to a conductor waving the baton in a choir. Only when you have mastered the simple strumming patterns and have experience with them do you start singing along to more difficult guitar accompaniments.

Speaking rhythm


When you learn a new song, it helps to say the lyrics in the right rhythm beforehand. Good choir leaders have all the singers say the lyrics in the right rhythm. If that works well, singing is much easier because you only have to concentrate on the music because the rest is already there. Since not everyone has a choir director to hand, you can also use a CD or MP3.

Let the music play


If you have problems remembering the lyrics, rhythm, melody and chord progression, it helps to simply let the song play in the background. This takes the strain off your brain if it loses track.

However, these songs must also be in the key you want to play them in; they must not be too fast. Here are a few tips:

  • Many guitar textbooks have CDs with practice examples.
  • Some music programs can play original pieces more slowly and even change the key.
  • MIDI files are often also available as karaoke versions, where you can also display the lyrics with a suitable program. You can also often adjust the speed and pitch. It's worth taking a look at the freeware for guitarists.

Listening to music


It is worth collecting the songs that you can use for a certain guitar level as audio samples and listening to them at every opportunity. To do this, you can create song collections and burn them to CD or save them on an MP3 player. However, as a beginner, you will need the recommendation of a guitar teacher who knows which songs are suitable for which level. You can find a few suggestions in the song examples.

If this doesn't work straight away, the following applies: Template:Remember.

General tips for singing


Sing at every opportunity


You should make a habit of humming a melody regularly. Especially when you are alone, you can make good use of the time. Even humming along quietly when the radio is playing in the background is a good idea.

The vocal chords are attached to muscles, and these can and must be trained.

Put your teeth apart


The sound forms on the vocal cords. But the sound has to come out somehow. If you can't get your teeth, lips and tongue apart, any sound will literally get stuck in your throat.

Dumpling not


Many beginners fill almost the entire mouth with their tongue. Everything then sounds very compressed. The tongue should be very loose in the mouth for the vowels A, O and U, the jaw should also be loose so that the air and therefore the sound can escape outwards unhindered. The tongue is lifted slightly for I and Ü, and slightly less for Ä and Ö. But it must become loose again with the vowels A, O and U. The jaw should always drop straight down.


To do:
use English terms

Don't try to sound foreign


Don't alienate your voice. This usually sounds ridiculous and artificial. Sing in your normal voice. If you don't have an accent in your normal English, don't use an artificial accent when singing just to sound like a certain singer. Don't imitate anyone, you are an original yourself!

Take deep breaths


You can't get a sound out without air. Especially at the end of a long line, you need to have enough air so that even the last syllable sounds full and round. The easiest way to achieve this is with abdominal breathing. The diaphragm sinks down and you have enough air for a few sentences. Pay attention to vocal pauses and use them to catch your breath.

Many beginners mangle the last syllables in a verse or fail to reach the higher notes because they simply don't have enough air to maintain the vocal pressure until the end. Nothing needs to be squeezed, but it shouldn't be like a deflated balloon running out of air either. Speaking of the balloon: if you let it beep, you have a good comparison. You don't have to blow the balloon up to bursting point, but if there's too little air in it, it sounds too thin.

An exercise

To practice abdominal breathing, breathe in slowly and deeply, with the abdominal wall bulging outwards. The shoulders are not raised and the chest is not raised extra. This would allow a little more air to get into the lungs, but this extra air cannot be used for singing.[2] It is important to practice this slowly. It can be helpful to initially count to 3 when inhaling, later to 5. Then hold your breath for a moment, and finally exhale slowly and evenly. You get a better feel for exhaling if you exhale on an "f", "s" or "sh". Later you can also practice this with vowels. You will find that you get on better with some vowels than others. The abdominal wall automatically goes back in and becomes flat again when you breathe out. The diaphragm does not have to strain to do this. It is important to relax during this exercise. The exercise can be done in any position, but experience has shown that relaxing is easiest when lying on your back with your legs slightly bent. In this way, you can keep extending the time you spend breathing out on a hissing sound or a tone. After a few weeks and months, some people manage to breathe out slowly and evenly for over a minute. At some point, you stop looking at the clock. Since this exercise simultaneously improves breathing and the oxygen supply to the body (and not least the brain), you can simply keep practicing it, just for fun.

Sing loud


At the top of your lungs or from the bottom of your lungs. Be brave and don't always think about what others might think. If you can't do it at home, then look for free spaces where you can sing to your heart's content.

Sing dynamically


If you manage to sing loudly, the next step is to practise playing with the volume. The aim should be to get a good sound both quietly and at normal volume and with full vocal input.

Pay attention to your pronunciation


The lyrics should be understood. Even with rock songs, punk and heavy metal, it has never hurt a band if you can understand what they are singing. This also includes a bit of pronunciation training. Tip: There is a simple exercise that can improve pronunciation enormously. Take a wine cork or something of the same size and put it between your teeth. Now speak or sing a text and try to speak clearly and not mumble. This makes the tongue and jaw and the entire mouth and throat area more flexible and pronunciation improves significantly.

Sing on a vocal tone


For beginners, the tone often breaks off too early and is also too short in detail. Try to imagine singing whole sentences (up to the end of the bar) with only one tone on the vowels, which is only modeled by a few consonants. If you've ever heard a bagpipe, you'll get an idea of such a tone that doesn't break off. Especially towards the end of the verses, the tone often has to be held longer and still sound clear.

Pay attention to the beat

4/4 time conducting

Playing the guitar helps you to play and maintain a proper 4/4 or 3/4 time signature. You can practice the beat patterns anywhere without a guitar (e.g. on the seam of your pants) to keep the beat. You can also learn to conduct a 4/4 beat so that you can keep a 4/4 beat even if you don't have a guitar to hand. Small inaccuracies can be forgiven, but the 1 must come on the 1 - not earlier and not later. A 4/4 time signature must remain a 4/4 time signature under all circumstances. Don't insert rests that aren't there and don't simply shorten the note values.

Find your pitch


Everyone has a pitch at which they can produce maximum volume with minimum effort. This is usually the pitch at which they speak. From this middle pitch, you sing lower and lower and try to find the range at which your voice still sounds good. You then try to do the same for the treble. In this spectrum, there is a range of the voice in which it is easy to sing softly, but still sounds good. And there is a range in which you can sing particularly loudly and still clearly and distinctly. These ranges vary from person to person. This can help you to find the right songs in the right keys for you.

Find your register limits


If you sing quite low, your chest will vibrate. You can find this out by placing your hand on your chest. In the middle register, your throat vibrates and your head vibrates when you sing high notes. This can also be felt with a hand on your neck and head. When the high pitch transitions to the middle and low pitches, the vocal embouchure usually changes. If you learn to extend these transitions in each register, you can create a smooth transition between the chest, throat and head registers. Furthermore, with practice, you will be able to make better use of your body's resonance chambers so that your voice sounds fuller.

Pay attention to resonances


Some rooms resonate better than others. The tiled bathroom, for example, usually has a good resonance. Scales can be practiced well here. In a certain frequency spectrum, all notes of a scale sound loud and clear due to the resonance of the room, even with little voice. The sound is carried further. If you don't hit the note, it sinks in and you can hear that yourself. This gives you a feel for intervals and scales. If you can't find such a space, I have a tip from choir singers. Some arch their sheet music a little and let it reflect their voice. Or they hold their hand in front of their ear like a cell phone while practicing. (Not too close!) That way they can hear their own voice better and can correct it more easily.

Learn scales and intervals


Familiarize yourself with the intervals of a scale and practice them. A little harmony theory won't hurt either, it will help you with every song. The better you know it, the easier it will be for you to sing. To hit the notes, it helps to play a note on a guitar or piano and sing it at the same pitch. With a little practice, you can hear for yourself whether you can hit the note. The starting note of a melody, a chorus and almost every beginning of a bar starts with a chord tone. When practicing a song, try to find this starting note on the guitar. As soon as you know a little about where the notes on the fretboard are (which is taught here in the guitar course after about the 3rd month, and will hardly take longer than a quarter of an hour with a teacher), you can play the starting note and also a few difficult passages. If you know someone with a good ear, they can help you with this.



A little anticipation of later lessons on solo guitar.

Learn the following fingering!

1st fingering

The fingers that are only one fret apart form a square. In this fingering it's on the left.

Fingersatz Intervalle

Put the 1 (the middle finger) where the index finger normally sits on the C (2nd string from the top, i.e. A string 2nd fret). (2nd string from the top, i.e. A string 2nd fret) and practise the fingering first by moving up and down as you like.

There are only 6 notes. Always start and end your dry practice with the (1).

Singing in


Try to play the following exercise with the fingering you have just learned! If you can already read tablature, it will be easier. If not: it is only the 6 notes you have just learned. You can try to hear them out.

Many people who have already sung in a choir know these two motifs.

The second motif aligns the choir to the key just requested. Here, only chord tones are played in an ascending or descending tone sequence (also called arpeggios). The G7 chord contains both the leading tone (j7), which leads to the root note (1), as well as the sustaining tone (4), which leads to the major third (3). With the two tense notes that want to resolve to the root chord, the chorus is oriented towards the major key.


Sing this on the syllable "La la la" or "Na" or "Do Re Mi Fa So_ | So Fa Mi Re Do Do (Ti) Do_"

Move this exercise one fret further and you'll be practicing D flat major. I don't want to shock you with the five accidentals. (They're not needed for easy playing and singing).

I'll go two frets further to D major. The two accidentals don't look so threatening there. The middle finger is now on the tuning pitch for the D string in the 5th fret.


Simply move the fingering one fret further and try to sing it. You can also try it one string position higher or lower. Just not between the G and B strings. (Remember, they were tuned to the 4th fret, not the 5th).

The exercise may be simple, but without going into the details, you will find it easy to sing a whole scale after the exercise.

The following is only intended for re-singing. We'll learn the C major scale in the first three frets a little later, after you know a few chords. Hopefully you can hear how the simple chorus warm-up exercise above has prepared you for a whole scale.


Sing in a choir


If you have the opportunity, sing in a choir. There are often project choirs that are founded for a specific occasion, but where you have no further obligations afterwards. If the choirmaster is reasonably good, he will be able to teach you a lot.


  1. Only very few people are unable to sing. This could be due to illness, or it could be due to your own complexes.
  2. As a pure breathing exercise for the lungs, you can also fill the lungs as much as possible with additional rib breathing and raising the shoulders, but this type of breathing is more of a hindrance when singing, as you can no longer control your exhalation as well.
  3. In a similar way, the Romanesque tone syllables "Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do" were created from the initial syllables of a medieval chorale during a singing exercise. (see below)