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Vocal Distortion - Grit/Edge/Rasp...

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vocalpower
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Hi folks

Understandably, this is one of the most questioned topics for contemporary singers. I will try to give some general guidance. However, it is really important that when you are trying to apply advanced techniques like this that you do so with some guidance with a good vocal tutor.

No. 1 Rule - If you feel ANY strain or discomfort, you are doing it wrongly!!!!!!

As you are probably aware, the initial tone production is caused by the airflow which is interrupted by your vocal folds. ALWAYS, your voice production should produce a clear tone. If it doesn't, it may be that you are constricting your voice, have some inflammation to the vocal folds or suffering from an infection.

To compare this - even the most extreme guitarists all have the same initial tone production. Remove the cable from guitar to amplifier and each will have a very clean 'plinky' sound which is low in volume. What happens next in the guitar player's world is that they add amplification (resonance for vocalists) and distortion or overdrive using external processors BY CHOICE. At all times, the initial musical source is producing a PURE, CLEAN TONE.

Same thing for us singers. The initial sound must be pure and clean and any coloration is applied AFTER THE INITIAL SOUND is produced. How is this done? In two ways. Either; 1) the use of constriction using the false vocal folds, or, 2) the vibration of the soft palette and constriction of the pharynx. To fully explain and (more importantly) demonstrate this, I will post up another video soon. What I want you to take away from this little rant is that distortion/edge/rasp or whatever badge others may wish to give it, is an effect which you CHOOSE TO APPLY (in the same way that a guitarist would stomp on his/her overdrive pedal) AFTER your initial sound is produced.

Keep it clean :)

Tony

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Personally, I'd like to see a pro describe in as many ways as possible the difference between singing with a rasp and singing with distortion. I can do distortion pretty easily, but I end up grating my vocal chords far too often when trying to sound raspy.

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Hi Morid

It may feel unusual when you first try it but should not feel uncomfortable. As mentioned earlier, it's best explored with a good teacher in case you start practicing wrong technique. It seems as though a lot of people can do a 'full on' distortion (like a metal scream) but adding a bit of edge/rasp to the singing voice is more difficult (understandably). In the early stages, I feel that it is essential that you get some feedback from a good teacher to confirm that you are in fact doing it healthily. Don't be dismayed, it's an advanced technique to master but not difficult with the right guidance. If it feels wrong, it is wrong. Not a great answer, I know, but as I said the technique needs to be verified!

Tony

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tony I just wanted to say this must be one of the most anticipated vids on this forum ;

we've all watched and appreciated the ones on your site (as well as your singing clips)

so we have (I know I do) a lot of faith in what you will be demonstrating.

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Thank you sir. My original plan for my vocal program has literally become a bit of a beast (production wise). I may have to release it in two stages otherwise I'm never going to get the thing finished :) I'm particularly looking forward to sharing the techniques for adding 'colour' to the pure sound. I will be addressing different varieties and styles of rock vocal production from simple 'edge' to full on metal screaming!

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