Finding easy songs to sing while playing bass can feel hard at first. This is in big part because most bands don’t have a singing bassist. As a result, basslines are often syncopated to the vocal line, and thus hard to play while singing.
Thus, I decided to make a list of some easy songs for any singing bassists out there who are just starting out.
I have made sure that all these songs both have a non-demanding vocal line and a simple bass groove. Most importantly, they have little or no syncopation which makes them significantly less demanding.
Singing and playing bass is not learned overnight, and there’s a good reason few take on this role. If you feel up to the task though, take a look at this list and pick a song that suits you. This is about as easy as it gets, and is thus the perfect place to start for singing bass players.
1. The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
- Genre: Punk
- Tempo: 178BPM
- Release year: 1976
- Pro: Only 8th notes while singing over an easy bass riff.
The Ramones are known for their incredibly catchy and simple songs.
“Blitzkrieg Bop” in particular features a bass riff that is particularly easy to play while singing. This is because you are only playing 8th notes while you are singing. You will also be playing a short lick in between vocal phrases.
The chorus only consists of 8th notes for the bass and a non-demanding line for the vocals. At 178BPM it is relatively slow for a punk song, but it could feel somewhat fast if you are just starting out with bass. As long as the tempo isn’t an issue, this is a simple song and fun song to start out with.
2. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock N’ Roll
- Genre: Rock
- Tempo: 94BPM
- Release Year: 1981
- Pro: Slow tempo. Vocal and bass parts line up intuitively
If you want a slow song that still packs a punch, try “I Love Rock N`Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts instead.
While it will be hard to sing with the ferocity of Joan, the vocal line itself is fairly simple. The bass line mainly consists of a dun-dun-stop, dun-dun-stop pattern, which naturally lines up with the vocal line. This means there is little syncopation between the bass and vocals, making it a lot easier to do both at once.
The “So come and take your time and dance with me” part will take some practice, though. It features a bar in 3/4 time with a bass fill and thus makes for a small challenge once you get the rest of the song down.
Aside from that, the song is in a very forgiving tempo of 94BPM. This means that it will be easier to play and sing in time, and easier to notice when you are messing up.
3. Credence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
- Genre: Rock, Country-Rock
- Tempo: 90BPM
- Release Year: 1969
- Pro: Basic bass groove
“Bad Moon Rising” by Credence Clearwater Revival has an incredibly basic groove. It consists of a simple half-note pattern of D-A-G throughout most of the song. It is thus a great song for playing bass on autopilot while you focus on singing.
What makes it different from the other entries on the list is that the vocal line is somewhat syncopated with the bass line at times.
However, due to how basic the bass groove is, it still makes sense for a beginner to opt for this song. This is because playing the half-note bass line is similar to clapping your hands in time while singing. If you can do that, you are not far away from being able to sing and play bass too.
Thus, this is a beginner-friendly of introduction to why playing bass and singing at the same time is hard. It is an easy song, but at times it will require you to master two rhythms at once.
4. Blink-182 – All The Small Things
- Genre: Pop-Punk
- Tempo: 149BPM
- Release Year: 2000
- Pro: Mainly 8th notes, simple vocal line
Pop-punk is generally simplistic and catchy in nature. This makes the genre a gold mine for finding easy songs to sing and play bass simultaneously.
“All the Small Things” by Blink-182 is an amazing song for this, as the song has 3 different parts that all work well for this purpose.
The bass line is played in the key of C and mainly consists of straight 8th notes, as well as some sustained whole notes.
The verse consists of a simple vocal line that lines up well with the bass groove. In the pre-chorus the bass plays sustained whole notes which is easy to sing over. The “nana-nana-nana” chorus might seem difficult, but it is never syncopated to the bass line, making it far easier than it appears at first.
5. Bowling For Soup – 1985
- Genre: Rock, Punk-Rock
- Tempo: 120BPM
- Release Year: 2004
- Pro: Simple vocal line that lines up intuitively with the bass groove
Similar to “All The Small Things”, “1985” by Bowling For Soup features a chorus that consists of repeated bass lines on the bass. The vocal phrasing lines up well with both this groove and the guitar. This makes the chorus feel natural to play and sing at the same time.
The verse has a bass line similar to that of “I Love Rock N`Roll”, but with 8 notes, rather than quarter notes.
It’s easy because the bass and vocals take turns rather than playing at the same time. This means that you will be singing and playing the bass without having to think about the interplay between them, which is a lot easier than doing both at once.
6. Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)
- Genre: Indie-Rock
- Tempo: 117BPM
- Release Year: 2004
- Easy because: Repetitive 8th notes bass line and simplistic vocal line.
For something slow, yet upbeat, try “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire.
It has a slow, repetitive, and easy bass line which makes for a great starting point. Furthermore, the vocal line consists of simple phrases in both the verse and chorus.
As a result, this is a song that is similar to that of “Blitzkrieg Bop”, in terms of the interplay between the vocals and the bass. However, this could be a more fitting song if you are more into indie-rock or want a slower song with an 8th-note groove.
7. Learn To Fly by Foo Fighters
- Genre: Rock
- Tempo: 136BPM
- Release Year: 199
- Pro: Common groove that can be played on autopilot.
Learn to fly by The Foo Fighters is slightly more challenging than the other songs on this list. Instead of 8th notes, “Learn to Fly” mainly consists of a “dun-du dun-du du du” pattern that is commonly seen in many genres of music.
When straight 8th notes are starting to become second nature, this song is thus a great next step.
There is some syncopation between the vocals and bass in this song. The best way to overcome this is to play the bass line a lot till it is second nature so that you can play it without thinking. I also provide further tips in my article on how to play bass and sing and the same time.