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joehempel
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I'm not a singer, I wish I could be, but I sound like a donkey getting kicked in the groin.

Here are a couple links to videos that I've uploaded, and if anyone can give me an feedback that would be great! I really hope to improve. I've improved over the past year and a half, but I don't know what else I can do, it still sounds bad. LOL. Here are 3 videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDOPb8nVcNA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8JEXRJaQno

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyn8v2tt3gI

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Hey man,

You could get much better in a short amount of time with a good teacher, I think. You're really not that bad. The main problem I instantly see is that you lack compression (vocal cord closure) in your voice. I think by getting that worked out you could fix other problems easily (such as being off-pitch a lot). Phone/Skype lessons with a trusted teacher are a pretty good way to go. That's what I do. If you want teacher recommendations, let me know.

Josh

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Hey man,

You could get much better in a short amount of time with a good teacher, I think. You're really not that bad. The main problem I instantly see is that you lack compression (vocal cord closure) in your voice. I think by getting that worked out you could fix other problems easily (such as being off-pitch a lot). Phone/Skype lessons with a trusted teacher are a pretty good way to go. That's what I do. If you want teacher recommendations, let me know.

Josh

Joe & Josh: Some practice on long-sustained scale tones will help with the vocal cord closure, and also help center the mental thought of the pitch.

On a separate topic... get a mic for the guitar, too, so the voice and accompanyment can be balanced. Alternatively, put the mic closer to the level of the sound hole. With a little playing around, you can find the spot that gets your voice clearly, and also the guitar, too.

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On the Chris Young video the guitar is plugged in and there is a mix, which is why the mic is higher on that video. On the others it's just from the camera.

As far as the practice on long-sustained scale tones....I have no idea what you mean...any where I can learn the lingo so I can do things?

Thanks!

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Joe, I'll echo Josh's comment. I bought a program and have been using it with Skype lessons about once every six weeks (I won't pimp the program or my teacher here; there are a number of people on this site that could help you). I wish I could do them more frequently but can't afford it :( I've noticed huge improvements every time I've had a Skype lesson, and don't think there is any program that will really get you where you would like to go without getting feedback from someone who can diagnose your problems and help you get them fixed. I've got a few decades of bad vocal habits, both in speaking and singing, that I'm in the process of undoing, but with great help I am and starting to build a solid foundation of technique. Good luck to you.

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"long-sustained scale tones" - If I understand it correctly, and that was exactly what I thought when I heard those clips, you should try singing long notes (long notes like in "And I-IIIIIIIIIIIII .... will always love you-ooooooooooooo). When you do, you'll realize that your voice breaks every now and then. Try to stop that from happening and just sing a 10-60 second long note (any note) with no emotion (so you won't get distracted from your goal) and try to get it to sound perfectly even from start to finish. Then do the same with some other note and some other vowel. You'll see that you haven't got this down quite yet and you need practise. There are lots of other things/exercises you could do to improve your voice, but this would be an easy good start.

Disclaimer: I'm a singer, not a vocal coach, but I've read a lot about vocal techniques. Steven (above) really knows what he's talking about, as do the other pro coaches on this site. Good luck. The basic tone quality of your voice is really nice. Fix the issues we're talking about and I believe good things will happen.

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if i can make a suggestion that has helped me...learn the basics of breathing for singing. there's a ton of help in books and dvd's cd's and youtube posts as well. the one i like is sustained "ssss'" ..check it out and practise it.

you really can be quite good.

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On the Chris Young video the guitar is plugged in and there is a mix, which is why the mic is higher on that video. On the others it's just from the camera.

As far as the practice on long-sustained scale tones....I have no idea what you mean...any where I can learn the lingo so I can do things?

Thanks!

Joehempel: Here is a specific on the 'scale' tones, using your guitar as a reference:

A scale is a series of notes with a specific sequence ascending, or descending. If you play your 5th (2nd to lowest pitch) string open (that is, without fretting it at all) you get an A in standard tuning. Pluck that string and sing the note for a few seconds on 'AH', maybe even 5 or more seconds, whatever you can do comfortably. Repeat a few times.

Then, fret up 2 frets on that same string, and pluck that note. This is B. Sing that note the same way, for the same length as you did the A, and for the same number of times.

Fret up to the 4th fret on that string, and sing that similarly. This is C#. Repeat on the 5th fret, D, and the 7th fret, E.

You have now sung a 5-note scale, with long, sustained tones.

Once you have done this a few times, stand up and repeat the exercise. I play the guitar, too, and its easy to get 'scrunched up' when holding a guitar and fingering frets.

Once you get the scale 'in your ear', you will be able to sing the series of notes without using the guitar so much, even to the point of singing all 5 notes smoothly in a row on 1 vowel, without breathing or breaking between them, by just playing the starting A. Ah works well, and so does 'Ay'.

I hope this helps,

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Stephen, thank you for the suggestion....the only problem I have...and this is a huge problem for me....is I don't know if I'm on pitch with it. I just can't tell. I've been told that this is a really big problem. I can't tune my guitar by ear because of this, and its really hard for me to hear differences in chords when listening to songs. I know there is a change, but you could tell me 1,000 times it's from G to C, but each time I hear it, I'll say something different, unless it's memorized. I'm really leaning toward Skype vocal lessons. I need to look into them.

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Steven, thank you for the suggestion....the only problem I have...and this is a huge problem for me....is I don't know if I'm on pitch with it. I just can't tell. I've been told that this is a really big problem. I can't tune my guitar by ear because of this, and its really hard for me to hear differences in chords when listening to songs. I know there is a change, but you could tell me 1,000 times it's from G to C, but each time I hear it, I'll say something different, unless it's memorized. I'm really leaning toward Skype vocal lessons. I need to look into them.

Joehempel: The ability to apply logic to an auditory experience is an advanced skill. I am not suggesting that at this point. Just singing the scales will help to refine your ability to match pitch.

If I could offer an opinion, having a teacher tell you that you are singing too high or too low during a lesson will be somewhat frustrating. IMO, your situation calls for a bit of more immediate, even visual, feedback, something that you can do at home every day, between lessons. There are several approaches you can take:

Check out a computer program called 'Sing and See', which displays graphically the note you are singing. I think being able to 'see' flatness or sharpness can be helpful for some.

I also know a teacher in New England who uses a guitar tuner for the same purpose. The lights indicate the accuracy of the sung note. Some of the better ones have a needle or gauge that shows the amount of sharpness or flatness.

A third approach is to let the guitar 'sing' back to you. :-) Pluck that A I mentioned in my prior post, and, holding the guitar with the hole right in front of your mouth, sing the note into the guitar. When you are singing close to the note, the guitar string will vibrate strongly, and the note you are singing will sound loudly, coming back out of the guitar. Play around, sliding your voice above and below the note, to hear how the sound gets louder and softer. For this exercise, using the Capo will make the fingering unnecessary.

For each of these, singing sustained tones will be helpful.

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Thank you Stephen!!

I think I'll try that software, that visual representation is exactly what I've been looking for!!

I'll also try singing into the sound hole...the vibrationn being stronger makes alot of sense!

Appreciate the help!!

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