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Friends in Low Places

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ronws
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Thanks, MDEW. And it's not that I am concentrating on songs with low notes for variety or stretching myself, specifically. I just want to sing songs that mean something to me, regardless of how they are keyed. I found the cheat sheet for this in the key of A and was tempted to capo up at least one fret but decided to leave it where it was. I like that my low notes are woofy, like the rough sound of someone going to drown some blues away.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, Herman. Could you point to a specific lyric or word in the song where it was out of tune? That's easier for me to spot than a time location on the counter, depending on what player I am using. For example, time is one thing when playing back in Audacity with the original files. Another thing when played as an mp3 on a file sharing site.

Thank you for your review, though.

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So, I listened again.

1:43 - "in" from "ivory tower that your living IN" - To me, it sounded on pitch but the intonation sounded weak.

2:29 - "Just say goodnight." To me, the pitch was okay for the note but the attack was the briefest sharp.

However, I now notice that I was flat on "honey" in "honey, we maybe through."

Thanks for pointing that out, Herman. And I have been playing it since then and have gotten maybe better.

edited to add:

At the expense of applause or any "good job," I think this helps make my point that singing country music is no less technically challenging than other genres. I have been listening to it and other genres all of my life and can still make mistakes.

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Hi Ron I like the sound of your voice! The one thing that I noticed was the way you did what I would consider a yodel on the word beer. I know Garth does something similar throughout the song like on the word "low" but his sounds like he is adding weight while slowly shifting vowels.

I have been a guitarist for 30 years and that was always a very challenging song for me to play and sing at the same time. So good job man!

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Your countless contributions to the forum aside, here are my honest feelings about this version...

Firstly, and I can't quite put my finger on it, the whole song sounds just slightly off-key to me. Is this in the same key as the original?

Secondly, I'd like to hear more OOMPH! In my humble opinion, this song is supposed to be belted drunkenly and merrily; this rendition sounds like how I'd feel the morning after an awesome night -- reminiscent and regretful instead of friendly, buzzed, and reckless. This might have to do with your phrasing, which sounds way too precise and self-aware for this song (particularly in the chorus) in my opinion. More twang would be great.

- Southerner

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I really enjoyed this. I'm not exactly in a position to give an actual critique considering I'm a 17 yr old student with a little over a year of singing experience, but it sounded phenomenal to me. Only potential critique is those A2s sounded a tad airy to me but once again I'm just a humble beginner. I remember you responded to my post in the vocal technique section and I appreciate your kind words. Haha maybe that JC Superstar show will even end up happening some day :)

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Wow, I missed a lot, being busy with work and life's assorted crises.

Yeah, the lows are woofy and airy. Those are the lowest sounds I can do and they have lousy volume because I am not as low a voice as Garth. I found online a cheat sheet in the key of A, which sounded right but I was originally tempted to transpose up a step to B.

In fact, those low notes are so low in volume, that I had to sing the whole thing kind of soft to have it come out even on the Zoom H1. Yes, I was playing guitar and singing at the same time. The idea is, having been inebriated a few times, I know a voice gets that "woofy" quality, at least for me, though I was stone cold sober for this.

Herman, I was not in the least offended by your critique. Because I did find that other spot that was actually pitchy that I don't think others had yet noticed. "Honey, we may be through." I should have onset "Honey" higher.

Most any time I have received reviews similar to this, it has usually been from me singing too low. Which is another reason my "low" notes are so weak. I am a light tenor, though be definition of range, with no regard to volume or weight, can make notes in the second octave. Otherwise, to borrow from motorcycles, the "power band" of my voice is from C3 to C6.

And Better, though you were giving a "Critique," you actually made a compliment and I am not going to let you take it back. :lol: Phrasing too precise and self-aware. That was actually what I was aiming for.

First recording session was about 10 takes and I could get nothing right, strumming the chords. So, about a week later, I had re-arranged to finger-pick it like you hear in this file. That gave me the rhythmic kerchunk I was looking for.

However, if I had recorded the guitar and vocals separately, I could have used mic proximity and eq tricks to make it sound more punchy and gritty, like the studio album. Kind of like I did with "Silent Lucidity" by QR.

Or, for a single mic recording, get the mic closer to my mouth, like I did for the Johnny Cash version of "Hurt."

But thanks for the attention, guys. Believe it or not, you can't hurt my feelings. I either sound believable in the song, or not. And tone and style are both important to people. In fact, I laugh at myself for singing a few country songs, such as this, from the perspective of trying to get the cleanest italian vowels that I can. I live in Texas but I think the accent drops when I sing.

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I was about to say that the song sounded too low for you but I'm learning myself, so not always sure of my suggestions.

Herman, your suggestions and ideas are as important as anyone else's. Maybe a little more so. If you are not an expert in singing, then you don't have a bunch of terminology. It either works or it doesn't. Pass or fail. And that's just as valid as suggestions to have more or less twang, more or less rasp, more or less "oomph."

My wife is like that. She knows nothing of all "singer stuff." It either sounds good or it does not. But, she is also fair. When I hit a bum note while playing in a club, waiting for a friend's band to set up, she made sure our other friends knew I hit a bad one. "I guess he didn't rehearse that too well." She keeps me honest.

On other occasions, I can't help myself but pick up the guitar and play this again and then, it got stuck in her head.

And it would not be the first time I could do better by raising the key. I did a cover of "Everybody Talks" by the Neon Trees and one bit of advice was to capo up 1/2 step and that made everything work much better, though I sound nothing like the original.

When I did "Peace, Love, And Understanding," (an Elvis Costello style cover of the Nick Lowe song,) I raised it from the key of G to A and it flowed like water, for me.

It took me a while to realize that critique of my singing is a comment of the sound, not me, as a person. With only a few exceptions. Two different people have told me that I do not know what I am doing, or what I am talking about and that I need to learn singing all over again, from scratch.

But these days, I enjoy all comments, good, bad, or indifferent. It's a comment about what I did, not who I am.

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Thanks Ron. I became like this too nowadays. But I know how sensitive people can be about their voice. constructive critique can help us realise what we do wrong much quicker. You're right about the terminology. Some teachers emphasize the mix while other say it doesn't exist and they are all right. I tend to believe in "fake it until you make it" a bit and that another failure brings us closer to success unless we give in.

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I sometimes learn by failures. The lessons are usually stronger that way. Just learning what NOT to do can be a big help.

As for being sensitive about my voice, in the past, I would be contentious but I think it was a general personality trait, not just singing. I mean, when I was a teenager, I would START a fight if I thought you said something wrong about my mother. Actually, I still feel that way. :lol:

But actually, it can be easy to take criticism about the voice. The voice is a part of your body. However, I bet you can take a swing at any musician and get a reaction.

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