How to Sing and Play Guitar at the Same Time

Professional singers often play an instrument at the same time as they are singing and can show off both their talents simultaneously. Perhaps the most common instrument that is played while singing is the guitar, but singing and playing the guitar at the same time is a skill that doesn’t happen overnight, but if you are committed to the task, are willing to put in the effort necessary, and have some basic singing ability, there is a good chance you will be able to accomplish the goal.

What you will need to follow this tutorial

In order to sing and play the guitar at the same time, you need to start with a simple song that you know well. It is important to train your muscle memory so that it will be easier to accomplish both playing the song on the guitar and singing the song as well.

Both singing and guitar-playing skills will need to be mastered separately. To do this you will need a guitar that you can hold comfortably, and you will need to decide which song you want to play. Identify which chords are in the song you want to play, and make sure you know those chords.

You will also want to make sure the song is in your vocal range. A metronome can also be a helpful tool in getting the rhythm of the song right. There are many songs that use fingerpicking patterns while singing, but this is a more advanced step. It is important to master a song using chords only before attempting more challenging songs. Also, you should focus on a song with simple lyrics and rhythms when you are first getting started.

make a short and to the point bulleted list of everything that will be needed for this tutorial

Step by step instructions

It is important to know how to sing the song well and also know the chords in the song well. You can work on both of these skills separately.

Know Your Song Well

You will need to master your song by singing it as much as possible, without the guitar. For example, you can sing the song around your house, while washing the dishes, in the shower, perform a cappella for small children and pets, who will likely appreciate your efforts, even if your performance is not perfect. If you are doing a cover of a hit song, listen to that song a lot to help you master it.

You can also practice singing the song while simply holding the guitar. Imagine the position you would hold it if you were on stage. If you plan to stand, make sure you have a properly adjusted strap that will assure maximum comfort while performing.

Know Your Chords Well

Go through your music and write down all the chords in the order they appear in the song. Don’t worry about how long you will spend on each chord at first. That will come in time.If you already know the chords involved, writing the name of the chords, i.e. D, C, A, G, C, A minor, F, will be enough. If some chords are more difficult, draw out a chord chart so you can reference it as you play.

Play each chord in the order it comes in the songs, strumming just a few times at first, according to the measures of the song. If the song is in 4/4 time strum four times and practice switching chords. Make note if certain chord changes are more challenging, as you may need additional practice in those areas. You can use your metronome to help you keep a consistent rhythm.

When you are feeling comfortable playing the chords in the song, count the measures in the song and make note of where the chord changes come. This may be a bit boring at first, but in the long run you will build a stronger skill. As you get more and more comfortable, you can start humming parts of the song as you play, but keep your primary focus on the guitar. If you are too into the lyrics, it can be easy to miss your chord change.

Play small sections of the song and learn to master these separately. It is easier to play just one verse or the chorus of the song rather than jumping into a four-minute song. Don’t worry about how long it takes, or if you mess up. Just back up and try again. Even the best singer-songwriters need a lot of practice to get things right. Once you learn the components of the song separately, you can start to put all the pieces together. Sing the song straight at first without a lot of improvisation, you can go more of that as your skill progresses.


Once you have the song down, it is important to keep practicing. You can continue to play just for yourself or people you know, or you may want to experiment with an audience via videos or going to open Mike’s, or recruiting people or auditioning for a band. You are in charge of how to use your new skill. You may also want to pick a new song and repeat the process. As your skill increases you can start to choose more difficult songs, or you may want to stick with similar music. How much you choose to build your skill is up to you. Not everyone needs to be a rock star to enjoy playing guitar and singing.Music is a great way to relieve stress and build relationships. Did you enjoy this tutorial? I hope you were able to find a lot of good information. Skills take time and patience to develop, even when they are skills you enjoy. It is never too late to embrace your interests.Have you learned to sing and play guitar at the same time? Let us know about your experience in the comments. Where do you want to go with your singing and guitar playing? Do you play covers or write your own songs?

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