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Highway to Hell - from suggestions

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ronws
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I took jonpall's and Thanos' suggestions very seriously. And combined with bob's supertwang that brings in a rattle. And was inspired by Mike's grit on the Judas Priest songs.

Jonpall, you said I should strive to sound more evil and, for a while, I couldn't. I was also having difficulty twanging as hard as Bob could.

So, I also remembered that Bon Scott had a naturally high voice and that, with twang, I could configure to match approximately the dimensions of his resonating space.

Then along came what I thought was misfortune. I have been suffering from allergies for about a week, now. Dry air blowing down and bringing mountain cedar and cottonwood. My upper end was weeking and spotty, at least the way I usually sing. So, it forced me to concentrate on twang. Really concentrate. And twang so much, I could get a comfortable distortion rattle that didn't hurt or tire me out. Most importantly, I was twanging to maintain where I was. Today, I took some medication to relieve the inflammation from allergies, which is what I think was thinning out my top end. And found that my twang was strong enough, now, to sustain some distortion that was managable.

So, I re-recorded, in one take. Columbia eq, track volume adjustment, and compression.

And, per Thanos, I hit the last high note dead on the money. And I did it so loud that even with the mic two feet away, I overloaded it and that's why the volume sounds reduced on that one note. That's not me backing off the note. That's full power to make your ears bleed.

So, thanks to you guys for your advice. I've certainly enjoyed working through the suggestions you gave and I like some of the tones I can get, now. And thanks to Mike for being inspiring.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8750209/Highway%20To%20Hell%20-%203.mp3

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Ron, you got it buddy!!!

Despite the overloading microphone and overall audio quality I can hear that you are twanging away really well and getting really close to Bon's vocal tone. I love hearing our singers making personal strides and this is definitely one for you Ron. I look forward to more clips in the near future dude!

Keep Rockin'!!! :cool:

p.s. Didn't that last note make you feel like a rock star? ;) That scream was UP THERE Ron!!!

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Great performance Ron - I was hoping you'd re-do some of your clips with your new findings.

I loved your tone with all the twang and meanness and both the high note and the one before

(where you sing "woh") sound killer.

Your voice sounds more stable than ever and the only 2 spots I think your voice slipped a bit are

"leave me be" and "taking everything" - forgive me if I'm wrong.

Your "gruff" or rattle makes the top notes sound powerful and convincing, there's a huge difference between the past clips and this one.

Well done buddy, soon you'll be a master of acdc songs.

Keep it up,

Thanos

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Thanks, guys.

Thanos, you could be right. I didn't distort on every note but I might have had one or two sound weak. Leave me be was actually quite strong with a lot of rattle. Don't need rhyme was actually my weak note, here. Taking everything sounded kind of awkward. I should have used the tongue more for word formation instead of gutteral and labial stops.

I've noticed that this stronger twang that allows me to rattle also resonates better. I am producing more singing volume with the same air pressure as before. So, maintaining breath support, it can sound "louder" and "meaner".

Mike, yes, that note is way up there. And it order for it to sound fitting and have just a little distortion and sound like a scream I went at it full throttle. That's about the loudest note I've ever sung and it's way louder than anything I could do at a low note in the baritone range. And your distortion, Mike, was an inspiration. For you to get that mean sound and do it comfortably means there had to be a way.

And perpaps I was having a mindset against much distortion. My aim was to always hit the cleanest note, which is not necessarily what a song needs. Now that I can do an interesting vocal effect, like distortion, I could even sacrifice a high note if I can't do that note the way I want to. While range is good, what is important is distinctive sound and having the right sound for the song.

When I have sang this song in the past, I am usually singing it clean, mostly in overdrive, I think. And on recordings, it would give me a hooty sound, not unlike some of Brett Manning's performances. Even I can see that. Which one of us should be insulted?

I think this recording is the closest I've come to reproducing Scott's sound and it's what I had in mind when I mentioned that one day, I was twanging enough to get that sound and then shifted mid-song to how I normally sing it. And then I couldn't reproduce that.

There's still some covering or modification going on. "Livin' easy" is still pronounced as liv-en eazeh.

With track volume, I try to find the right balance, I don't want so low you can't hear the voice but not so loud it overpowers the accompaniment. My aim, in fact, is to have the volume match so that it sounds like I am actually in the band and we recorded it live, in studio. But, I have noticed, just listening again now, that I have the track volume a little loud on this. But maybe that will be okay in order for others to better review.

Nothing about this performance hurt or was tiring. It was all quite managable. I will say that I have been working on supertwang for some time now and really having to do it while my voice was messed up from allergies helped me to "overtrain" so that when I got some relief from the inflammation, I was twanging where I needed to be get this configuration and a distortion effect that doesn't hurt at all. In fact, I'm more likely to get a dry, scratchy throat from just breathing hard during heavy exertion.

One thing I am truly pleased with in this recording is that I was able to do Scott's 1/4 tone on the last note on the word, "hell." That has eluded me for some time. I could hit half tone or whole tone but, in the studio recording, he ended on a 1/4 tone, again part of the "devil may care" attitude of this song. To me, it's harder to purposefully detune a note for an effect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, Nik. The song felt comfortable when I did it. I'm still going through theories as to why my voice was going out for a couple of weeks. I thought it was allergies. Then I thought I damaged myself. Then I thought perhaps I had muscle strain that was not allowing me finer control, like I usually have. I don't know. I just know my voice is coming back and I like it.

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that's great :)

I don't know how it feels for you but I had a similar problem before

I wasn't able to get a good tone out, I just didn't get into singing, as much as I tried

so I ignored music and singing for 2 weeks and tried again and suddenly it was better than before

even easier to control the tone

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that's great :)

I don't know how it feels for you but I had a similar problem before

I wasn't able to get a good tone out, I just didn't get into singing, as much as I tried

so I ignored music and singing for 2 weeks and tried again and suddenly it was better than before

even easier to control the tone

That's exactly it. It's like, one day, it finally starts coming back, even brighter than before, with resonance for days. Almost as if the voice was rebuilding itself better than before. Which can happen with muscles, at least. The training effect of a new and consistent exercise can produce sore and stiff muscles. That might have been what I had. Some soreness which I would probably ignore, as I have a high tolerance for pain. And stiffness would explain partial loss of range and tone. The muscle tissue actually tears itself and breaks down. And rebuilds stronger and denser, not bigger. That is, you don't grow muscles cells. The muscle cells grow stronger and denser to meet the demand.

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