What about a different bassline? I find there is normally something which can fit both me and the song.
On the other hand, it does add variety if you don't have every instrument and every voice being used all the time on every song. Sometimes I will stop playing (or use a different approach, like something chordal, which puts me in guitar or keyboard territory). I also find it useful to sometimes get someone else to lead on the vocal, especially if it is a song that I know they love and sing well.
Interesting. I definitely find it easier to sing backing vocals. However, I am defining that as opening my mouth and just letting whatever wants to come out into the room. Trying to sing a specific part is definitely more challenging.
And as for others who lead their group on bass, what about Mark King of Level 42? How did he play like that? I can't even manage half the notes he does!
Hi. I've been to a wedding where the worship leader was a female bass player/vocalist. However I think she kept it pretty basic. I think my friends wife does the same thing. Probably not the most common set-up, but it works well when done right since you can be at the front of the stage and interact with the congregation.
However, like JORN says, I don't think everyone is Sting. I think I tried singing and playing once or twice and if it's something really complex and where the bass accents don't match the vocal accents, it gets really tough.
Practically for me, I have a bit of movement when I play the bass. Probably because I have smaller hands and so when I play more than something basic that takes me up and down the neck, I move around a bit. Add on top of that I like to get some head-bopping in like Motown, so "feel" the groove more on songs that really need that tight bassline. So this makes it much tougher to keep the mic in front of my mouth. Not sure if a wireless or headset would resolve that issue, but with just a mic (directional, dynamic vocal) on a stand, the volume kept going up and down. I found with guitar, my body was much more controlled.
Not sure if anyone else has struggled with that. Most of the vocal worship leaders that play bass I think have a more subdued/stiff style (physically, not musically). Not a bad thing, just an observation.
FWIW as a guitar player I tend to be very physically involved, and that makes it hard to keep anything like a consistent volume with a mic on a stand. Thinking about it, if I do sing (and I have started to, thanks to the curious phase our church is presently going through) I will hold the mic and move about, rather than sing at a particular point in space.
I'll have to see if I can get me on video sometime. It is a bit hard to say what I do because, somewhere in the demands of listening to God, listening to the music, singing, leading the congregation and directing the band, a lot gets delegated down to my subconscious and, if I stopped to observe it, I would probably fall off!
I try and feel the groove with my whole body rather than concentrating it all in the head; in my head, I feel a bit like Abe Laboriel:
I also find that I use my whole body to telegraph my intentions. Slowing down? Ah, that will be why I'm leaning back. Coming to the end of a song? Ah, that explains why I'm using the bass neck like a conductors baton to beat out the last few hits. I'm not running up and down the stage but I think I'm probably safely out of the subdued / stiff category.
Thank you so much all, this is very encouraging news that there are so many of us out there. I am taking all of this to heart. I currently play bass in our worship team, but am feeling a calling to do more and become the worship leader at some point when our church plants another church. I haven't seen Fr. Stan before, so I will have to look into those videos.
I too find it more difficult to play the "riffs" while singing, even though, i have been playing for many years. But I have not had much opportunity to sing and play at the same time. The most difficult point at this time is that our worship leader sings in the same key I do, so I find it hard to harmonize with him. So I find myself singing the same parts as him. We both have agreed, this isn't so bad, since our worship team is small, and lacking on voice talent at this time. So it beefin's it up a bit.
You bet brother! It is my favorate thing to do now a days :-)
Paul McCartney. Not a worship leader, but a band leader nonetheless. And a gentleman to boot. Just a thought.
I used to do it occasionally. I still do when I am leading and "Ancient of Days" is on the set and we do not have another bassist. But just that one song.
To me it was the same as leading from an acoustic 6 string. Since I walk the bass on that as well, there was not much real difference. The problem I faced was I was so familiar with the bass lines and concentrated on singing on key that sometimes I forgot I was playing the bass.
Do you guys have any songs that are ONLY accompanied by bass (or bass and percussion only) for at least part of the song? I wrote one called "Praise the Lord" back in the late 90s and more currently we have been doing our own rendition of Joel Chernoff's "How I Praise You" with only the bass and a simple back beat drum part for at least the first time thru. Usually the rest of the band comes in on the 2nd time thru.