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Robert
May 20th, 2010, 12:14 PM
I have a good ear for harmony and pitch, but my voice is not trained very well for singing.

How do you singers recommend a "vocal newbie" gets the right training?

I would love to front my own band, playing all the guitars and doing the vocals! :dude

The problem for me right now is my guitar playing is about million miles ahead of my vocal abilities....

Any tips or suggestions appreciated.

Katastrophe
May 20th, 2010, 12:26 PM
Some people can sing naturally, and others require voice lessons. In an old band, we took voice training, and it worked great. Our other guitarist brought a guitar along and transcribed vocal melodies and harmonies on the guitar, so we knew what each part was.

Basically, lessons consisted of warm up, scales, and practicing tunes that we liked to sing. Having a coach there to point out the little sharps and flats was great.

mainestratman
May 20th, 2010, 01:46 PM
Just over a year ago, I decided that relying on other people in order to make music was more hassle than it was worth, so I picked up my acoustic and just started singing along to songs in my range.

I performed a few open mics, got lots of positive feedback, and just kept singing... in the shower, in my car, whenever.

I'm not even remotely close to being Sebastian Bach or Pavarotti, but it works for blues. :-)

hubberjub
May 20th, 2010, 02:16 PM
Record and listen to yourself. The voice you hear in your head is nothing like what you sound like to others. Take lessons for a few months. All you really need to learn is proper breathing technique. That makes a huge difference.

Eric
May 20th, 2010, 02:41 PM
Record and listen to yourself. The voice you hear in your head is nothing like what you sound like to others.
Very true. You need to get used to hearing your own voice on a recording, so playback is critical. I guess that alone won't help you get better, but it will help you come to terms with the voice you have.

vroomery
May 20th, 2010, 04:07 PM
There are about 5 thousand ways to go about learning to sing. Here are a few important points that I've found are almost universally true.

1) The more you sing, the quicker you will improve. Just like others have said, sing in your shower, car, practice room. It's just like playing your guitar. The more you play the better you know your instrument. You start to notice little things about how it should feel when you reach certain parts of your range.

2) Even though it seems tedious and unnecessary, vocal warm ups make all the difference in accessing the difficult parts of your range. I have a CD with a few basic warm ups (played on the piano) that I listen to almost every day in my car on the way to work. In the last 6 months I've gone from being comfortable hitting a G to being comfortable hitting a Bb and I attribute much of that to this warm up CD. 2 other warm up tips I use all the time are to warm up in the shower (because of the steam) and to eat something before you sing. Something about the contracting of the muscles in your throat helps your voice warm up quicker.

3) Listen to a recording of your voice. Much like guitar, besides pitch, the most important thing that can change the sound of your voice is tone. It's really hard to hear the tone of your voice because of the way it resonates in your head. Listening to recordings helps with this very much.

4) Never underestimate the many benefits to be had from taking proper vocal instruction. I wouldn't take lessons from anyone that doesn't have a masters in vocal pedagogy unless they have uniformly good reviews from his/her students. Bad vocal advice can hurt your voice in the long run. It's very important to protect your instrument.

This is a link for the CD I use to warm up. It's crazy expensive so I just downloaded it from a torrent. I know this isn't legal or moral, but charging that much for a product is absolutely ridiculous.

http://www.singingsuccess.com/

mainestratman
May 20th, 2010, 07:56 PM
I guess that alone won't help you get better, but it will help you come to terms with the voice you have.

:beer:

That's been one of my biggest problems singing.

wingsdad
May 20th, 2010, 09:43 PM
Good advice particularly hubberjub, katastrophe & vroomery. The techniques katastrophe describes were what I learned a lot from working with a co-writer who was an ace with constructing harmonies. I find a piano or keyboard is a much better aid than a guitar for identifying intervals.

But no matter how your voice sounds, pitch-wise, tonally...it's about breath control & techniques.

Here's a link to a book/CD course that's very good. I got it for my daughter years ago on recommendation from her HS Choir teacher. Even though she's got a natural ear (pitch, harmony) developed from being immersed in music since she was about 4 yrs. old, singing in school & church choirs, etc., she wanted proper technique. And while she got that from her teacher at school, she wanted something she could practice with at her own pace, at home.

Seth Riggs Book & CD Singing Course (http://www.amazon.com/Singing-Stars-Complete-Program-Training/dp/0882845284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274409132&sr=1-1)

marnold
May 20th, 2010, 10:25 PM
If you are planning on doing the 80s metal type thing again, I'd suggest an extraordinarily tight pair of trousers.

bcdon
May 20th, 2010, 11:19 PM
The problem for me right now is my guitar playing is about million miles ahead of my vocal abilities....

Any tips or suggestions appreciated.

Robert, we know you can shred. So all you have to do is scream along. I'd buy the album. ;-) :dude

sUoWZ_zcPpE

otaypanky
May 20th, 2010, 11:52 PM
I always loved singing, since I was a little kid. But I didn't try singing out until the early 90's. I'm surprised and a bit disappointed in a way when after goofing around with guitar for 46 years that I sometimes get compliments from folks on my singing. LOL But it does take time, at least it has for me. I took a few lessons back when I started singing out, but just a few. It was too much trouble getting into Manhattan when I lived in NJ back then. But I remembered a few key pointers I got from my instructor. A few years later I was given a nice compliment from a friend who I consider a very good singer and harp player. He said I was starting to sound like myself. I think prior to that I had a very affected voice. Relaxing and working with what nature gave you will give you your own signature sound. Just like when you pick up the phone and hear hello. Chances are you instantly know who it is. Like when you hear one note and you know it's Albert King. I'm so thankful now that I have gotten into singing. I always have 'my instrument' with me. No tubes, no biasing, and I can do it in the car, anywhere. Have fun Robert, I'm sure you'll have a ball :happy

Katastrophe
May 21st, 2010, 07:06 AM
If you are planning on doing the 80s metal type thing again, I'd suggest an extraordinarily tight pair of trousers.

I'd add to that spandex. It'll help with the high notes!

hubberjub
May 21st, 2010, 08:05 AM
If you are planning on doing the 80s metal type thing again, I'd suggest an extraordinarily tight pair of trousers.

Amazing advice. Disregard my previous post.

mainestratman
May 21st, 2010, 09:04 AM
bcdon.. THANK YOU for the "pick-me-up".

I miss Metallica.

Jimi75
May 21st, 2010, 09:33 AM
Here's my tip.

JUST DO IT! THROW ALL CONSTRAINTS OVER BOARD!

The voice comes with the time. Especially for self written material there's no one in the world who could interopret it better than you. That's why guys like Clapton and Knopfler started singing their own material. Sometimes the authentic feeling you can put in songs weighs so much more than a perfectly pitched voice.

Generally and this counts also for covers, it is the best if you understand the song, its message, and if you can interpret and express that. It sure takes some time to be able to do so, but hey, you are a guitar expert, a super photographer, a marathon man, founder of the best forum on the net, there's nothing you can't do Rob! Good luck with your plans! Looking forward to hearing the first takes. I am sure it will be very good. :AOK

Robert
May 21st, 2010, 10:01 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

If Bob Dylan and Uli Jon Roth can do it, so can I! :D

Eric
May 21st, 2010, 10:13 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

If Bob Dylan and Uli Jon Roth can do it, so can I! :D
Also, you might want to consider going cookie-monster on all of the vocals -- even if your voice was horrible, nobody would be the wiser. ;)

jpfeifer
May 21st, 2010, 10:56 AM
Hi Robert,

I'm the same way with singing. I always thought of myself as a guitar player who backs up other singers, who are the real vocalists. I've always hated my own voice.

Over the years I've started in small steps to bring my vocal chops up a little. I started out by singing harmony parts behind the lead singers, which i still do. But I've improved my voice from just doing this.

Then I started taking a few songs that I really like and singing them as the lead singer in our band. The more you do it the better you get at it. The biggest thing that it takes is shear nerve. You kind of have to psyche yourself up for it and just go for it. Sometimes you will suprise yourself, other times you will humiliate yourself, but you have to put your voice to the test and see what sounds good. Voices are kind of like amps. They have a different tone when you push them hard, verses playing them quietly. Some voices sound good pushed, others sound better with a more breathy softer tone.

It helps to practice at home with your acoustic and record yourself singing some songs that you connect with. THen listen to yourself and see how you like your own sound. Try a few different styles and see what works well for your voice.

Right now, I'm playing with a Beach Boys tribute band and doing a lot of the high falcetto parts. It's really fun, and very challenging to keep these in tune while doing the guitar parts, but it's loads of fun. In the process it has strengthened my falcetto sound a lot more just from having to cover these parts and stretch my capabilities.

Good luck! --Jim

bigoldron
May 25th, 2010, 11:25 AM
I'm a fair singer at best. I just wish I could sing and play at the same time. Not that I'm that great a player either, just not good at multi-tasking I guess....

sunvalleylaw
May 25th, 2010, 11:44 PM
I have not sung much on my own (they make me sing a little bit in our acoustic jam) but did in an acapello 4 part group in college. There, we were taught to listen for pitch by plugging one ear with a finger. Does that help one hear one's self? I guess it would help one to hear pitch, but not tone so much. Any thoughts?

I am enjoying the posts, as I would love to sing more.

deeaa
May 26th, 2010, 12:59 AM
Plugging the ear by any means helps you hear the sound through your own skull/jaw bones, which _may_ help you hear the pitch better. Depends on the style&such. It doesn't help as much if you sing high&heavy style, better with lower vocals.

Tone2TheBone
May 27th, 2010, 10:17 AM
I'm a fair singer at best. I just wish I could sing and play at the same time. Not that I'm that great a player either, just not good at multi-tasking I guess....

Same here. I can sing and harmonize pretty well but I cannot sing and play at the same time. My brain is not wired for that. With practice I probably could though I guess.

thearabianmage
May 27th, 2010, 10:27 AM
I've been trying to learn to sing for 4 years now and after practicing and researching techniques and speaking to (incredibly hot) vocalists at the Institute, who can bloody wail!, everyone emphasises warm-ups to the Nth degree.

Warm-ups, then breathing techniques (intake, output, control), then posture/position. There are a million other things people say, but from my own experience, these are three big'uns. . .

This is a great thread, by the way. Loads of awesome advice! :AOK

sunvalleylaw
May 28th, 2010, 02:01 PM
Ok, warm ups, breath techniques and posture, and just singing. Maybe recording one's self. Sounds good.

What about picking songs in your range? I can stay with Eddy Vedder on his mellower stuff before he starts howling. Though I play lots of Neil Young, I cannot reach his range and have to sing an octave down. Back when I sang four part, I could sing bass parts or baritone, but usually was assigned bass. It is overall more natural, though I have to reach for the really low notes. In baritone, I have to reach for the high end of that range.

deeaa
May 28th, 2010, 02:54 PM
Warmups work well - I never do those but they would be great. Breathing is important - at least not doing it all wrong is :-)

Howling is a good word...muchos easier to get high when you howl as opposed to trying to sing. Baby bawling all the way...makes it easier.

By all means find songs that are good for your range. From your description I'd assume songs like 'Born on the Bayoy' in C would be work...of Pearl Jam, try 'Elderly Woman'...Beatles: Hide Your Love Away...you'll find good ones. Grateful Dead's country rock songs are suitable too for 'mid' voices.

I'm naturally a bass, but I find myself singing female high voices even now and then...it comes with just lots of use.

thearabianmage
May 28th, 2010, 02:56 PM
What about picking songs in your range?

Picking songs in your range note-wise is a good idea, although you can always transpose a tune if it's too high or too low ;)

But you should always try and expand your palette - practice many songs, in many different styles. :AOK

deeaa
May 28th, 2010, 03:00 PM
BTW Neil Young's Heart of Gold is a good tune not too high.

Mind you, usually when you *think* it's too high it isn't. Neil's voice is just very tinny and sounds high - but it really isn't. Chances are, you sing it like you're trying to _sound_ as high as he does, and actually singing way higher.

Voices differ. If you sing many a tune at the correct pitch...it may sounds lower than the original just because your voice is much more bassy.

street music
May 29th, 2010, 07:10 PM
I'm enjoying this thread, I too want to start singing more and I just feel that voice is much worse than my guitar playing , which is really just strumming along . I have several songs that I love to sing along too but just haven't recored my self. I use to sing in grade school and church but I just seem to stay back away from the mic when I'm playing with others.

deeaa
May 29th, 2010, 11:05 PM
One more thing came to mind: do NOT sing off-key. I can't think of anything more detrimental for voice than singing off-key.

What I mean by that is that if you sing without being assured of the voice, quite tentatively and maybe even wavering a bit, you're bound to be stressing the voice and 'singing too much'.

So start with really simple melodies, or just one note or two, long legatos. Play for instance just open G and A and sing to that just wooo...oooo...or something. Pick two notes you know well and aren't too high.

But BE SURE of the note. Be so sure you can set aside the guitar and wait a while and then be able to belt out the same woo-oo in exact pitch. And when you're sure of the note and it isn't too high, you CAN really belt it out. Imagine you're not singing, you're yelling at some young punk trying to steal your car or something :-) 'Heeey Youu!' but exactly in tune.

Unless you're really constantly producing sound the wrong way, this kind of natural-pitch yelling should happen easily and when you learn the notes and can hit them with exact accuracy and conviction, you could do that all day and not strain your voice.

Only and ONLY when you can do that no problem and make a sound loud enough for neighbors to hear, it's time to go onward to more notes - play simple patterns and find out how far up or low you can go and STILL retain the very same voice level and conviction. The very second you hit a note that's even slightly harder to sing with conviction, fall back. I suggest playing for instance whole notes in 9 notes rotation, start from G first, 9 whole notes up, I usually just sing 'this sounds stupid' divided on those nine, next start the same from G#, then A, and so on. Now if the A riff suddenly gets hard to sing revert back to G# and do that a few more times.

At best I used to be able to sing from dropped D on low E to something like 8th fret on high E string like that and no falsetto yet, but these days I struggle to go so low, something like F is lowest I can sing OK.

pes_laul
May 30th, 2010, 08:34 AM
One thing My choir director taught me on how to improve range was to play on a piano (or guitar doesnt matter) middle C and keep going down half steps till it gets uncomfortable. Then do the same thing again but keep going higher until it gets uncomfortable. If you keep doing this it will build your range up and before you know your range will improve

sunvalleylaw
May 30th, 2010, 09:15 AM
One thing My choir director taught me on how to improve range was to play on a piano (or guitar doesnt matter) middle C and keep going down half steps till it gets uncomfortable. Then do the same thing again but keep going higher until it gets uncomfortable. If you keep doing this it will build your range up and before you know your range will improve

Thanks Kris, that is a good one. And one can do that and make sure they are hitting the note like deeaa says. I am going to do that.

deeaa
May 30th, 2010, 09:40 AM
One thing My choir director taught me on how to improve range was to play on a piano (or guitar doesnt matter) middle C and keep going down half steps till it gets uncomfortable. Then do the same thing again but keep going higher until it gets uncomfortable. If you keep doing this it will build your range up and before you know your range will improve

Yep that's what I meant, only IMO it's better to sing several notes' runs, just change the starting point always a step (or half) higher.

That's because if you just keep going lower and lower or vice versa, it can be pretty exhausting. If you do the same going like 'la la la la la' and then the same a tad higher, you get to 'rest' the voice because you also sing already familiar notes in the same run, and then the highest may slip out correctly easier than constantly just straining higher.

Katastrophe
May 30th, 2010, 09:43 AM
You know, I just figured out my range -- tenor.


























































Ten or twelve miles away.:what

deeaa
May 30th, 2010, 09:55 AM
Amazing as it may seem, I have no clue except naturally I'd be bass. How do you figure out what is your range?

pes_laul
May 30th, 2010, 10:05 AM
Yep that's what I meant, only IMO it's better to sing several notes' runs, just change the starting point always a step (or half) higher.

That's because if you just keep going lower and lower or vice versa, it can be pretty exhausting. If you do the same going like 'la la la la la' and then the same a tad higher, you get to 'rest' the voice because you also sing already familiar notes in the same run, and then the highest may slip out correctly easier than constantly just straining higher.
Yeah Like in choir when we were doing voice test to see who were tenors, baritones etc. We would do like a Sol Mi Do dealio then go up or down a half step with it and keep going both ways.

Audiofan
July 15th, 2010, 08:50 AM
Hi Paul!

It can be intimidating to take the plunge into singing.... You can first practice at home, singing and playing along to your favorite tunes. That's how I started.

Once you get going singing live and practicing in a band setting you will find that if you don't use the right technique or warm ups your voice will strain and suffer.

Hence, I present to you vocal health 101- an article a good friend of mine wrote...

http://en.audiofanzine.com/vocal-technique/editorial/articles/vocal-health-for-singers.html

I know, it seemed easy to hear all metal singers screaming etc. but you will not believe how much voice coaching goes on there.....

Good luck!

Brian Krashpad
July 19th, 2010, 08:29 AM
Amazing as it may seem, I have no clue except naturally I'd be bass. How do you figure out what is your range?

The way I've seen in done in musical theatre is that they get a piano or other keyboard, and pick a scale and have you sing it along with the piano. If you can get through that, they move up in upper registers with more scales until you get to where your voice breaks, and they make a note of where that is. Then they go back to where they began and go downward, again until you can't hit the note. That literally is your range, and I guess the keyboard is divided up into the various named ranges like bass, tenor, alto, soprano, etc. so they compare where your voice can't hit notes to the established named ranges, and put you in whichever you're closest to.

That's what it seemed like they were doing anyhow. I did some googling and found this comparison of ranges:


Soprano
High female voice, G3 (below middle C4) to F6 above high C6 although anywhere above high C can be included.

Coloratura
A singer, usually soprano, who sings ornamental passages in music - C4 to F6 or G6 above high C6

Lyric Soprano
Warmer middle sound - Bb3 below middle C4 to high C6 or D6

Spinto Soprano
Usually a thicker sound with more edge and volume but with the same range as a the Lyric Soprano

Dramatic Soprano
The loudest and lowest with cutting power - low Bb3 or A3, to a pushed high C6

Mezzo-Soprano
Middle female voice with dark quality, Low A3 or G3 (below middle C4) to at least high C although it is not uncommon for high A6 or Bb6 to Eb6 above high C6.

Alto or Contralto
Low Female Voice, low C3 (below middle C4) to high C6 or up to high A6.

Tenor
High Male Voice, C (an octave below middle C) up to high C or D (or above).

Countertenor
Highest male voice, also called alto, often falsetto - (see Russell Oberlin distincts True Countertenor from Falsettist YouTube clip)

Heldentenor
Poweful dramatic tenor voice

Baritone
Middle Male Voice, low G/F an octave below middle C to B, F or G above middle C (just below the Tenor high C).

Bass
Baritone - More like a bass than a baritone, lacks the low bass notes

Bass
Low Male Voice, low E (or lower) an octave below middle C to E, F G above middle C.

Basso Cantante
High bass voice suitable for solo singing

Basso Profundo
Deep bass voice encompassing about two octaves above C below the bass staff

Source: http://www.vocalist.org.uk/vocal_range_key.html

For the record I have no idea what my range is either.

deeaa
July 19th, 2010, 09:17 AM
Ok, so what is the guitar low E? Is that the low E as in piano as well? That is the lowest I can go with natural voice now, and I recall some singing teacher saying I am bass. Used to be able to go dropped D pretty easily but no more.

From there on, hm, I don't know really how do I find the correct C's and whatnot on the guitar...probably even less on a piano. LOL.

Brian Krashpad
July 19th, 2010, 03:37 PM
Ok, so what is the guitar low E? Is that the low E as in piano as well? That is the lowest I can go with natural voice now, and I recall some singing teacher saying I am bass. Used to be able to go dropped D pretty easily but no more.

From there on, hm, I don't know really how do I find the correct C's and whatnot on the guitar...probably even less on a piano. LOL.

Oh, I have no idea either.

My daughter used to do some acting and I saw the procedure done during the audition/rehearsal process.

street music
March 23rd, 2011, 09:45 PM
Ok, this thread needs some additional help, let's find examples of the vocals and see what each thinks their voice is.

Robert
March 23rd, 2011, 10:28 PM
Found some decent videos here in a playlist - http://www.youtube.com/user/EricArceneaux#grid/user/2D20B0E1A509CA38

Have a look. They guy is an R&B singer.

bleakerthanyou
July 30th, 2012, 03:18 PM
Lots of great answers here. Anything I would have chimed in with has been pointed out by someone else. I've played guitar for 16 years and did not dare to sing a note in front of anyone until about a year ago. As you may guess, it was absolutely terrifying.
I was in a band with a great singer for 5 years, and when our band broke up we decided to stick together and do our own thing. Now I've taught him to play rhythm acoustic and he taught me a couple things about singing.

A lot of people have said it already, but it's really all about confidence. We are all animals after all. If you're terrified and you get up at open mic, the audience can smell that fear. If the people watching have a doubt in their mind about how good you are, it's because YOU put it there. In my opinion, a good player/singer is just someone who practiced properly and knows how to be a confident salesman in front of a crowd.

Another thing to consider is that if you're struggling to play and sing at the same time, play to a metronome and start by making sure you change chords in the right spot. If theres one thing i've learned since I started singing while playing, it's that once you open your mouth and words come out, no one cares what your hands are doing as long as the chords change when they should.

I'm a hardcore perfectionist about nailing guitar parts, but learning to sing and actually singing lead with a band has taught me so much that I wish i'd have realized years ago.

I think everyone in a band should spend time at least tinkering with every instrument in the band. If we all understand each others role more clearly, then it's way easier to stop waiting your turn and just make good music instead.

if anyone wants to check it out, heres a song i wrote for my wife, one of my first stabs at singing lead for the band:

www.soundcloud.com/the-stones-throw/shots-fired

deeaa
July 30th, 2012, 11:47 PM
You've got it man, that's all very insightful!

About the confidence...suggestion is a powerful tool. Much more powerful than people usually give it credit for. Stuff like confidence can be built by self-suggestion. Simply make yourself think you're confident and you can do it, and it becomes a reality. Just like quitting smoking or something - it's all down to how well you manage to tell your brain it's easy to do actually. Just tell yourself you can and you will.

Smoking actually is a prime example of negative self-suggestion...every cigarette company and quitting-aid company wants you to believe it's nigh impossible to quit, and they've managed to get it be 'common knowledge' with their idiotic claims like 'nicotine is more addictive than heroin' etc...

It's all just shaite, it's very easy to quit smoking if you really want to, but the hard part is to deconstruct the years and years of suggestion built by people telling you it's hard to stop, it's addictive, etc...that's the hard part. And it's so easy to give in to those voices when you crave another...

People will believe anything when it's suggested especially over a long time, and it becomes a reality for them despite it might be completely imagination. The whole reason ideas like those forbidden to be talked about on the forum still exist despite they can be easily proven to be nothing but tales, and still people take them for real.

Robert
July 21st, 2015, 09:39 AM
Time for an update to an old thread. I haven't gotten very far in my singing attempts, but I do sing more in the car now, and I think I'm a little bit better. I still feel like it's difficult to hold one note steady in pitch. For some reason, my voice wavers a bit. I'm very good with hearing the notes in my head - intervals, harmonization, chords and all that stuff - I know it inside out, but that's in my HEAD! My voice isn't always following my brain that well.

I seem to have a low register. I can't sing along to that many tunes, because the vocals are too high.

You experienced singers, keep adding suggestions!

If you want to do note exercises, this seems like a useful video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gqsBaHhzmg

Mr Frudua has an entertaining video here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxGcMoWLJLA