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Don't Stop Believin' - Not done yet, input welcome

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gno
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A couple notes on this - For the past month up until last thursday I've been recovering from a vocal strain, so I wasn't singing. During that time I decided I would try to tackle one of my all time favorite songs - Journey's Don't Stop Believin' and started working out / recording all the backing tracks. Friday I started vocalizing. Saturday I printed out the words and started working on singing the song. I recorded Saturday night and it was a total mess. Bad pitch, wrong pronunciation, etc. Sunday I worked on it some more and I re-recorded it. It has improved, but I've got a ways to go - especially the beginning and the end - I'm ok with most of the middle parts.

I'm planning on lightening up the beginning - it just doesn't sound right to me so "heavy". Also, the ending is bad and I need to work on it quite a bit. Especially the very last E5 - I need to add some balls to that note - it is really wimpy. Do I need to add twang here? I'll probably be working on it and re-recording it or parts of it over the next few weeks.

http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10370969

All input welcome. Thank you!

Geno

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Right on, Geno. I think you nailed it. Pretty amazing considering you are on a recovery track. I wish I could be "injured" like that! I didn't think the intro sounded too heavy. Seemed to have the right weight to me. Likewise, I thought you nailed the ending as well. I was so into that tune that I started singing along, and so I had to run it again to check your performance a little better. I assume that you did the harmony vocals as well (?). Those were spot on. Great stuff! Did you always have that kind of range, or is it somenting that you developed with training? I've managed to stretch a little, but I seem to have hit a wall with my exercises. What phonation are you using on the high end? It sounds like a well developed head voice with no hint of falsetto. I can hit notes in that in that range, but only by applying what I would call "reinforced falsetto". I know that's not a clear definition, but that's what it feels like to me. Depending on the vowel, some such notes in that range sound reasonably full, and others have that girlish timbre that just doesn't cut it. Maybe I just need to give it more time and effort. Any insights would be appreciated. Again, an awesome performance. Thanks for laying that on us.

Doug (aka, Rexinator).

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I really liked it, Geno. I don't really think you need to change anything. But perhaps most of us are our biggest critics? :) F.ex. I like your version more than mine. Just compare the very first line in the song in your take to mine: http://www.box.net/shared/cq3hc7q4u6 (I've isolated just my first few lines in the song). I'm not sure I like my sound there. It's too twangy or something. I would like to understand what the two of us are doing differently in terms of technique, because I'd rather be closer to your sound :)

Perhaps your larynx is lower than mine? Do you really work on singing from a yawn a lot? Perhaps I should do more of that. Are we both using curbing? And do you use a condenser mic? I'm recording with my stage mic, Sennheiser 835. Perhaps if I'd change to a condenser mic, I'll be much happier with my sound, I don't know. If I get a condenser, what am I likely to experience in terms of sound difference?

I don't think it's ONLY because we're two different people with two different voices, because I kind of like how my voice sounds on my "Bed of roses" I posted here a while ago, but I don't seem to be able to like my sound on "Don't stop believing much". But again, I really liked your version! :)

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I found an interesting Chris Keller video where he's teaching a girl to get a Whitney Houston-ish type of sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H__nwMClsxY. I think it's extremely interesting in relation to our Don't stop believing discussion. The key things he stresses for that sound is A) using a fairly strong hold/cry/glottal compression and B) a fairly low larynx.

Also, my dynamic microphone seems to make me sound more full WHEN I'm recording than when I play it back and listen to it. Does that happen to you, Geno? Maybe it doesn't since you're using a condenser mic, I don't know. So perhaps it's a good idea to be slightly overly dopy/yawny when recording because it will sound thinner when played back. I'm gonna record again and make these adjustments and experiment :)

Although I must say that this is cool for clean tenor songs, but for more raspy, rock type of sound, you'd want more edge/bite to the sound and then it's probably time to raise your larynx some more. So high larynx for rock and low for pop, I guess :) Geno, perhaps your low larynx is making pop easier for you but raspy rock on very high notes a bit tougher?

You know that I'm expecting an extremely detailed response from you now, Geno, don't you? ;) Seriously, you're one fine singer, a great musician, and you're also very knowledgable on the voice, so you're a true asset to the forum. Rock on, brother!

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Doug - Thanks for your comments. My voice is all done recovering. Anytime I strain myself I always wait a long time to let it heal. I used to try to vocalize "through" the injury, but that only prolongs it. If I was still singing in a band that would be a different story!

No - I didn't always have that range. I joined the forum about 1.5 years ago. I couldn't believe everyone on the forum was a fricking tenor! I bought KTVA video and proceeded to add more than an octave to my range. Now I'm having fun recording all these songs I never thought I could sing!

Yes - I did the background vocals too and everything else on the recording. Most of the song I'm singing in Curbing with a little Overdrive here and there (those are both what Ken Tamplin would consider Chest) The very high E5 at the end is Head. But it is too falsetto-ish at this point. I'm trying to learn how to sing this better like how jonpall sings in this range.

Geno

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jonpall - Thanks for your comments. That take of yours is different from your previous takes, no? Again - your's sounds really good. On that take it sound like you flipped into neutral for the B4 whereas on your previous takes you stayed in curbing? I think we are pretty close. I'm staying in curbing for the B4 like you were doing it before. The more the song gets "into my voice" I'm able to sing it lighter but still in curbing.

The beginning of the song is intimidating to sing and listen back because Steve Perry's tone is burned into everyone's memory. It is a bitch to try to emulate him, although Steve Augeri pretty much nailed it. I think Perry spreads a lot of the vowels either in MLN or Overdrive. Like "City Boy" - I had to go to Overdrive to make "Boy" sound better.

As far as the larynx goes I think mine is high. Comparing you and I, I was thinking we were pretty close. Seems like Steve Perry has a deeper tone than me and was thinking he may have a lower larynx position.

I am using a large diaphram condenser - a Sure KSM27. It is very transparent. Your recording sounds good - I think your mic is a good one. The biggest thing I found is not the mic but the room. A bad room can destroy my voice no matter what mic I use. I use a SE Reflexion filter to take out the influence of the room. Yours sounds good to me, but it's hard to tell because I don't have anything to compare to.

You can sing the axl rose stuff way better than me. It just sits in your voice perfectly.

I just downloaded the KTVA stage 3 and now understand glottal compression. It is the same thing that the guy in the video was teaching the german girl (but taught in a different way).

I got to get ready for work now - More later!

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Geno,

you didn't understand compression before? WTF :) To my ears, you emulate Ken's technique/vowel modifications perfectly. For the life of me I can't seem to get that sound.

I have nothing to add other than great job as always.

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This, folks, is how it is done. I really can't hear anything that needs fixing, Geno. Absolutely well done. My only question is why you aren't releasing albums. Really. Ya'll keep doing this and I'm going to have to record a version, if only for myself.

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Thanks Ron!! I started working on this song last Saturday and recorded that day and then again on Sunday. This was really hard for me to sing as it wasn't at all "in my voice" although Sunday was a big improvement over Saturday.

Here are notes from this week so far: Monday I had that feeling in the throat after you've cried. It felt like that all day long. And it was because the song was almost all really high and strong curbing, and my muscles weren't conditioned for the song yet (I think). So I rested my voice Monday. Tuesday started my KTVA Stage3 excersises - felt great. Wednesday the same - excersise only. Today after the excersises I practiced this song again. Man - I feel so much stronger and in control. The song is a lot easier for me to sing now.

Here are my thoughts on this: If you do strength training you know that you have to put at least two days of rest inbetween working out the same muscles. With voice, you normally don't have to do this. But with a new demanding song I've found that putting a day or two of rest in, the muscles have a chance to strengthen. Anybody else do this? Once it is "in your voice" you really don't have to build any more strenth and your coordination is there. And maybe it's good for the mind too - you don't have to think so technically and you can concentrate on the phrasing and emotion.

I'm going to take another stab at it this weekend. I think it will be much more "in my voice" by then. I'll post the results.

Ron I'd love to release an album someday, or at least sell the MP3's. Thanks for asking because I keep on pushing it off. I've got a bunch of originals already recorded. Lately I've been having fun doing these covers songs. I'd like to put these covers on the CD too but I've got to get copywrite permission.

You should record it too - it's a fun yet difficult song (for me anyway). It's one of the greatest Arena Rock songs ever recorded.

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It sounded awesome! I also loved your vibrato - it spun very nicely and was really ear-pleasing to say the least. I also really liked how your tone lightened up at the end of "Everybody wants a thrill".. it just seemed to fit very well with the dynamics of the up and down of the melody.

About the E5, check out this video around 7:37.

Arnel slips into it for a split second but leaves it in order to catch the ending. The performance is tuned a half-step down I believe but it's only half a tone down (this is a fairly early-in-the-day performance) and it sounds so full. It's as if his tone is completely the same as the previous pitch despite the pitch changing. Just thought it'd be something worth seeing since you're working (it's literally already aced though) on this song.

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Analog - thanks for your comments - I kind-of knew about compression before from this forum, however Ken kept on alluding to it in his first 2 videos. In is 3rd video he demonstrates it. So now I have some good ways to practice it. I think it is going to really help me in the range above C5. I can sing "cleanly" in that range up to C6, but haven't yet developed a good "scream" or "rasp" up there. Ken says that compression is the key, and I've heard that from others here on the forum too.

Stan - thanks for you positive feedback!

Wildcat - Thank you for listening and commenting. That video of Arnel is great - thanks for posting it - that is a nice example and a cool lick at the end. Arnel sounds excellent on that video. Interesting that they lowered the key a half step.

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guitartrek, I think you may be ever so slightly incorrect here. Vocal/chord compression is great, especially in the C4-C5 range, in order to get that mix voice/curbing sound, but compression starts to get less important past C5. Twang starts to be more important, for power, volume and especially rasp. The vocal modes and the vowels, even the vocal effects all start to blend with each other as you get close to E5 and beyond. If you want rasp above C5, try twanging like crazy, but with as relaxed throat as possible (otherwise it usually just won't work, believe me). And lower your soft palate as well. Oh, and reduce your vocal weight.

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Wow, really nice job there! I understand that you want to fix some parts and some stylistic choices even more, even though to anyone else than you it sounds already super great :) That's how it goes, always keep improving :)

Really nice to see that KTVA has provided great results for you, my first weeks have now been absolutely phenomenal and I'm only getting started too! You inspired me more now!

Good luck to you, make a record and hit the stages bro! I think it's time to show people what you've got if you haven't done that yet ;)

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I am using a large diaphram condenser - a Sure KSM27. It is very transparent. Your recording sounds good - I think your mic is a good one. The biggest thing I found is not the mic but the room. A bad room can destroy my voice no matter what mic I use. I use a SE Reflexion filter to take out the influence of the room. Yours sounds good to me, but it's hard to tell because I don't have anything to compare to.

I've normally been recording my voice like this: I use my stage mic - my Sennheiser 835 dynamic mic. And here's the thing - I've almost always sung extremely close to the mic, even touching it. Of course I lower the gain so the recording doesn't distort. I've probably done that to make it sound thicker or something. Do you think it would sound better if I were at a slight distance and increased the gain?

Another thing is that I've always used some reverb. Not too much and not too little. But come to think of it, if I'm "eating" the mic while recording, my voice will probably sound "closer" and the reverb will make my voice sound further away. So it probably sounds like a close voice being heard very far away, which might sound unnatural :) I'm not sure. I have to experiment.

It would mean a lot if you could post your thoughts on this :) That may also mean that perhaps I can wait a bit before I buy a condenser, if singing further away from the mic will improve my sound enough.

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jonpall - I did the same thing with my old stage mics - eating the mic - I used a Sure Beta 58. If you get too close you start getting what's called the "proximity effect", where the low frequencies are accentuated. You can use this to your advantage - the closer you get the more "bass" you get. However, normally you want to record your voice as it really is. You can always boost the lows with an EQ.

A common guideline for recording voice is to stay about 6" away from the mic and using a pop filter in between maybe 2" away from the mic. The 6" distance eliminates the proximity effect. pop filters are cheap and really help get rid of the unwanted problems with plosive consonants. The foam under the mic's screen is not effective.

When I first started recording 6" away it felt really wierd. I was so used to "eating" the mic on stage. But now I'm used to it.

You can certainly use the stage mic for recording - a lot of people do - even on huge hit songs. However, the stage mic is designed to pick up sounds closer to it so as to control feedback on stage - they have a different pick up pattern. This is where the Condenser mic comes in. Condensers are more sensitive than dynamic mics and will be able to pic up more detail - especially 6" away. When I researched mics it seemed a common vocal mic used is a large diphram condenser, which is what I bought. But there are others too like ribbon mics. They all have their advantages.

The amount of reverb used is personal taste and whatever sounds good with the song. You can eat the mic and use a lot of reverb if you want.

Geno

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Wow, really nice job there! I understand that you want to fix some parts and some stylistic choices even more, even though to anyone else than you it sounds already super great :) That's how it goes, always keep improving :)

Really nice to see that KTVA has provided great results for you, my first weeks have now been absolutely phenomenal and I'm only getting started too! You inspired me more now!

Good luck to you, make a record and hit the stages bro! I think it's time to show people what you've got if you haven't done that yet ;)

Opaa - Thanks for your nice comments! I'm glad you are having good experience with the KTVA videos. It's amazing how fast you can progress by following a well constructed workout regimine like his.

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