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bass singers in rock music

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benny82
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I'm always looking for bass singers in rock music to give me something I can learn from. The reason is, I found out that, if someone is the same voice type as me, I can basically exactly copy them in terms of shaping of the embechoure (hopefully spelling is correct) and vowel shadings and learn a lot from it. If I try to exactly copy someone that has a different voice type I usually shred my voice. Of course this is not to become a copycat, but you can really learn a lot about technique by exactly copying some famous singers.

So does anyone know of bass singers in rock music? Until now I've found the following singers that I can pretty much almost copy exactly in terms of technique and also get very similar to them in sound:

1. Ville Valo (HIM)

2. Jyrki 69 (The 69 Eyes)

3. Alexander Veljanov (Deine Lakaien)

There's also some singers that people told me were placed low, but after trying to copy them I have to say that they are most probably low or even medium baritones and not basses, which are:

1. Geoff Tate (Queensryche)

2. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

3. James Hetfield (Metallica)

4. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)

5. David Bowie

6. Peter Murphy (Bauhaus)

7. Robert Lunte

8. Axl Rose (Guns & Roses)

There are also singers that I can copy but I am not sure if they are basses because they don't push their voice towards their limit, so it would be cool if someone knew a song where they are going out of their tessitura, these are:

1. Nick Cave (& the Bad Seeds)

2. Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy)

3. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

Finally there are guys like Phil Anselmo, who is most probably a bass, but not really a singer. He is rather a "shouter" in my opinion.

Would be great if there were some more...

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I would say that ville valo is the closest as you can get to a bass singer in rock/metal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aLENlWltJE

please go to 0:16-0:25 ;)

Yes, he's basically my main influence up to now. Would be really cool if there were some other basses.

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First of all:

1. Geoff Tate (Queensryche)

2. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

4. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)

High Baritones ;)

3. James Hetfield (Metallica)

5. David Bowie

7. Robert Lunte

1. Nick Cave (& the Bad Seeds)

3. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

Standard Baritones... but I'm not sure about Robert.

8. Axl Rose (Guns & Roses)

1. Ville Valo (HIM)

Low Baritones.

Rest of them, you can probably check on The Range Place.

Secondly,

There aren't many low voices in Rock music, but you can try:

1. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)

2. Peter Steele (Type O Negative)

3. Neil Fallon (The Clutch)

4. Alex Band (The Calling)

5. Warrel Dane (Nevermore)

Thirdly,

If you want a serious challenge, try to emulate good singers. I don't want to sound offensive, but low voices, generally don't sing very well. So... get some low tenor... Bon Jovi for example. Lower key of his song for about... you are bridging on d1, as I remeber? Bon Jovi is bridging on f#1. So, it will be 2 and half steps. After this just... start singing ;) If you can emulate his setup, than you can claim victory. Of course, for Queensryche songs it will be one step, for Metallica half etc. Why do this? Passaggio for each voice is different, so it's better to sing at the same register, as vocalist that you are emulating. Good singers didn't sing above their limits, because it never sounds good ;) (Except very good vocalists, who are singing maximum one step higher than theirs voices... two, if song is easy).

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Geoff Tate, high baritone? Have you actually heard "Silent Lucidity"?

I'd almost accept Axl as a dramatic baritone but he gets such low pitches on "Shackler's Revenge." If you have not heard that song, it's on the album, Chinese Democracy.

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I'm always looking for bass singers in rock music to give me something I can learn from. The reason is, I found out that, if someone is the same voice type as me, I can basically exactly copy them in terms of shaping of the embechoure (hopefully spelling is correct) and vowel shadings and learn a lot from it. If I try to exactly copy someone that has a different voice type I usually shred my voice. Of course this is not to become a copycat, but you can really learn a lot about technique by exactly copying some famous singers.

So does anyone know of bass singers in rock music? Until now I've found the following singers that I can pretty much almost copy exactly in terms of technique and also get very similar to them in sound:

1. Ville Valo (HIM)

2. Jyrki 69 (The 69 Eyes)

3. Alexander Veljanov (Deine Lakaien)

There's also some singers that people told me were placed low, but after trying to copy them I have to say that they are most probably low or even medium baritones and not basses, which are:

1. Geoff Tate (Queensryche)

2. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

3. James Hetfield (Metallica)

4. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)

5. David Bowie

6. Peter Murphy (Bauhaus)

7. Robert Lunte

8. Axl Rose (Guns & Roses)

There are also singers that I can copy but I am not sure if they are basses because they don't push their voice towards their limit, so it would be cool if someone knew a song where they are going out of their tessitura, these are:

1. Nick Cave (& the Bad Seeds)

2. Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy)

3. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

Finally there are guys like Phil Anselmo, who is most probably a bass, but not really a singer. He is rather a "shouter" in my opinion.

Would be great if there were some more...

Serj Tankian (System of a Down, Serj Tankian) is definitely a lower voice. I don't really like the way he approaches higher notes but I like his tone in the lower ranges.

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Geoff Tate, high baritone? Have you actually heard "Silent Lucidity"?

I'd almost accept Axl as a dramatic baritone but he gets such low pitches on "Shackler's Revenge." If you have not heard that song, it's on the album, Chinese Democracy.

Tate is decently low in SL but I don't know if he has any power down there.

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I've got one you haven't heard of.

http://youtu.be/-TpTfoo7hD0?t=16m3s

Oo... wow, great band. Thanks for sharing ;)

Geoff Tate, high baritone? Have you actually heard "Silent Lucidity"?

I'd almost accept Axl as a dramatic baritone but he gets such low pitches on "Shackler's Revenge." If you have not heard that song, it's on the album, Chinese Democracy.

Ronws, of course I heard ;) Both Axl and Tate, all albums of theirs bands ;) Tate has low notes, no doubt about it, but the problem is with power of his lows. They are weak compared to standard baritone. Just listen Hetfield or Anselmo, both have more powerfull (and comfortable) lows, than Tate.

Axel when was younger, he was dramatic baritone. Bridging into head on d#1, and into flageolet configuration on g#1. Nowadays he is bridging on d1 and g1, so i can say, that he is now bass-baritone (That's why he has so much problem with his older songs. Too much singing on edge of his head, he he).

Serj Tankian (System of a Down, Serj Tankian) is definitely a lower voice. I don't really like the way he approaches higher notes but I like his tone in the lower ranges.

High Baritone. Listen to his tessitura, and power of low notes ;)

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Axel when was younger, he was dramatic baritone. Bridging into head on d#1, and into flageolet configuration on g#1. Nowadays he is bridging on d1 and g1, so i can say, that he is now bass-baritone (That's why he has so much problem with his older songs. Too much singing on edge of his head, he he).

What kind of bridging do you mean? Depending on the intensity of the song I bridge at different pitches. At a lower volume I have to start the thinning at around A3 and I am in "pure" head voice at E4, in whistle at A4.

If I'm singing "medium-mass" I start bridging at around C4 and am in "pure" head voice at around F#4/G4, whistle voice at E5.

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Maybe try Jace Everett? Country/rock, the singer of the theme for the series true blood if you know of it. When I heard your acoustic him cover I immediately thought of bad things by jace Everett aswell as the wild rose with nick cave and Kylie minogue

good luck

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What kind of bridging do you mean? Depending on the intensity of the song I bridge at different pitches. At a lower volume I have to start the thinning at around A3 and I am in "pure" head voice at E4, in whistle at A4.

If I'm singing "medium-mass" I start bridging at around C4 and am in "pure" head voice at around F#4/G4, whistle voice at E5.

Benny, i'm talking about changing registers, not changing relations between CT and TA muscles.

Two very different things and should not be combined ;)

It's changing of timbre and it's separated from activity of muscles. In other words, i can always hear changing of your timbre and it's always on the same pitch. No matter of "mass" use.

I understand, that it's popular to use registers as CT/TA relation, but in my opinion it's very confusing, because singers with better technique often thinks, that they are higher voices, than they realy are ;) This creates the cases like "I can sing up to c2, but why for the god sake, i still can't sing like my favourite tenor singers??". Maybe because Tenor will never try to sing on the edge of his head (h1/c2), and he uses these notes occasionally, not as element of their tessitura? Because it would be wearing to his voice?

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Maybe try Jace Everett? Country/rock, the singer of the theme for the series true blood if you know of it. When I heard your acoustic him cover I immediately thought of bad things by jace Everett aswell as the wild rose with nick cave and Kylie minogue

good luck

Yes. Jace Everett fits nicely. I actually did a cover of that song some time ago.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/69231116/bad%20things.mp3

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I'm not sure I'm a fan of labelling rock singers with classical terms in the first place, but evenso you simply cannot judge a singer by his or her studio recordings. The realy difference between a bass and a baritone (even a tenor) singing a G2 is timbre and projection, which can be leveled in the mixing. Hell, I could record a full voice Bb1 after yelling over loud music at a party, and my healthy voice usually stops about an octave above that (if we're talking full projection to dynamically blend with my mid-high range which is pretty essential to the whole labelling in the first place). Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields insists on calling himself a baritone despite having recorded lots of bass notes.

Speaking voices are imo equally tricky to use as measures of fach. We all know and love Barry White as a master of low notes, but I've never heard him sing lower than F2 (on a cover of Billly Joel's Just the Way You Are - and he wasn't exactly sounding like a basso profundo on that even though it was a studio recording). Do link me up if I missed something (especially if it's a live recording).

Now with all the boring caveats out of the way, I can play play along ('cause it's fun). Have any of you guys ever thought about classifying Leonard Cohen? It's absurd considering he never has scored very high on technique, but he's a fun case to me. Started out like a baritone-ish thing struggling with both high and low notes, found his bottom a little later, went through a pop phase venturing into the 4th octave and then plummeted to the bottom of the second octave at some point in the 80's. His voice did get a little rougher as well, but it wasn't wrecked in the same way as Tom Waits (who really does sound wrecked). I suppose smoking might have kicked in at some point (Anselmo as well, Valo maybe?) basically changing the anatomy to lower the tessitura (or at least add resonance down low).

Johnny Cash would be obvious and Lee Hazlewood a similar crossover country guy. Matt Berninger from the National might be fuller than the recordings sound. Till Lindemann from Rammstein sounds heavy on low notes. Come to think of it it's actually surprising to me how few prospecive basses I can remember in pop and rock. Most everyone with a low or dark voice hits reasonable sounding E2-G2's in the studio, but very few give the impression of having that ekstra couple of notes or any surplus power down there.

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Jens has a really valid point there. Production techniques of today really mess traditional voice types up a lot. There are things like "low-mass" singing which makes your timbre much lighter and would be totally impossible in classical music because it has no power without electric amplification.

So the difference between bass and baritone on the low notes is really a matter of power and intensity, not a matter of range. This is quite hard to judge in today's music because especially the very low notes are often sung very softly with next to no power.

Sometimes it helps to look at the C3-B3 octave. Basses and very low baritones can get extremely dramatic and powerful on the higher notes of that octave already and are able to use them within a chorus. Tenors usually can't use them on a chorus for intensive songs, because they can't sing them with enough intensity.

This is also my problem when covering tenor songs. I often get very intensive or dramatic even in stanza, which just sounds odd most of the time.

Of course you should always take live recordings to judge a singer's voice type. But even on live recordings today there are lot's of effects, especially compression which might hide the fact that a singer's low notes are not powerful.

Concerning Villa Valo. On The Range Place there is a pretty long discussion if he is a low baritone or even a standard baritone. But there is absolutely not tendency of him being a bass. A nice example is the following acoustic performance:

You can hear that he has to sing the E2 in a really really low larynx confuguration, losing a lot of the singer's formant. I use just about the same configuration when I am doing a D#2, so most probably I'm around a half step lower than him. But still Ville is the closest match for my voice in hard rock music.

Someone that really seems to have the same voice type as me is the German singer Alexander Veljanov, but he is not a real rock singer.

Best impression of his style and range is this Frankie Laine cover:

Notice the intensity he has on notes as low as E3-A3.

The highest note I ever heard him do is around C#5, which you can hear in this video, in the "evil laughter" starting at round 6:08

Does anyone know of a singer with a tone similar to him?

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As Jens said, take care with all these classifications on pop, it has no meanning whatsoever.

And even more care when applying it on your own voice. There is absolutely no need to find a "similar" voice in recordings and this is pop, it means the singer is not restricted to a strictly correct technical approach, you have no means to know if the person is tampering in one or another way to reach a desired effect.

One of the "super low" voice on these lists of you guys is almost exactly like mine. And my voice, compared to that of what a baritone and a bass would have, is not nearly as deep, just a bit heavy, but still high. Others are actually higher. Some of the voices you guys list as "high baritones", whatever it means, are actually very deep. Classification done thinking on usefull range is easy, you have "male human" and "female human".

Benny I will rephrase what I said to you in the past, your chest voice is not well ajusted yet, in the state of that recording you sent, doing vocal classifications is a complete waste of time and can lead to confusion.

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Benny I will rephrase what I said to you in the past, your chest voice is not well ajusted yet, in the state of that recording you sent, doing vocal classifications is a complete waste of time and can lead to confusion.

The problem really is that I developed a habit to "lighten" my chest voice, which often ends up in suppressing it. That's because I often cover songs of famous artists and try to match at least closely the dynamics of the song in terms of intensity.

You can even hear that in that "bad things"-example I recorded a while ago and even more in my version of wicked game.

That's why I'm looking for singers, or more specifically, songs that I can really sing 1:1 in terms of intensity, and to use them as training songs.

A nice comparison is the song 'Temple of Love'. This is a really old recording of myself from a time when I didn't even know about the terms 'chest voice' or 'head voice', so I believe this is my free chest voice. But just compare the intensity to the original, it creates almost an entirely different song in terms of dynamics.

My version:https://dl.dropbox.com/u/69231116/08%20-%20temple%20of%20love.mp3

Original:

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Just to add something interesting. What also seems to play a role in terms of "voice type perception" is actually the distribution of voice types.

There was a study that I once read by a scientist that created statistics about the distribution of voice types. The result was that more than half of the male singers were of a voice type in the high baritone/low tenor area. Real basses are very rare (less than 5% of male singers), profound basses are extremely rare (less than 1%).

So the "standard" tessitura of a male singer is somewhere around the A2-A4 area. This explains why often standard baritones like Johnny Cash are already percieved as being "low". I think Leonard Cohen, who was mentioned here, is also a standard baritone.

Standard Baritones can most of the time go down to the Bass-E2 without too much air in it, but they are lacking the "boominess" a real bass can produce on those notes.

One thing that also gets mentioned often is vocal fry. It is often said that if someone sings the lowest notes with vocal fry in it, they don't belong to their "true range" or tessitura. However, you have to consider that vocal fry is the "natural" way to sing the lowest notes. And even the lowest basses will mix vocal fry into their sound starting around C2, that's just natural. It is just that the vocal fry of a bass is much louder and stronger down there than that of higher voice types (I can do vocal fry at a louder volume than my actual speaking voice).

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It's pointless listen to felipe cause he's right. You can basicly Mold your voice through training, just decide on what you want instead of putting yourself in à fach.

Basses are rare because it's not in fashion to sing basso today, most radiosongs are tenor. If you go back in time(atleast here in Sweden most guys singing leads in bands where bassos or very deep baritones).

À bass also matures very late in life so very few Will have developed it before they turn 35 as voices darken with age.

Just train what you want and train it hard and get à teacher, i promise it Will come

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Not completely sure what you meant with that clip benny. You are darkenning a lot like the guy was, but overall its the same, neither with the depth and the ring that should be there in a deeper voice...

This is a guy who does have a deeper voice and that uses power if thats what you want:

You wont be able to 1:1 either. There are too many things missing yet. On the song you just sent, the problem is dynamic choices and phrasing. The original is not quite such a master piece but anyways....

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Not completely sure what you meant with that clip benny. You are darkenning a lot like the guy was, but overall its the same, neither with the depth and the ring that should be there in a deeper voice...

That's basically the point. The original singer is darkening a lot, I am just darkening a little. I am missing the ring because at that time I recorded this I knew nothing about twang or singer's formant. You can also hear that the 'core' of my tone is lower than that of the original singer.

This is a guy who does have a deeper voice and that uses power if thats what you want:

Hmm... I don't hear any low notes at all. The lowest seems to be around A3 and it is quite windy in quality (though that seems to be intended because it is a soft stanza).

The sound I'm looking for is basically that of Alexander Veljanov. If I try hard, I can already copy him almost 1:1, but I'm looking for other singers with a similar voice and style that maybe make more use of their out-of-tessitura-area.

You wont be able to 1:1 either. There are too many things missing yet. On the song you just sent, the problem is dynamic choices and phrasing. The original is not quite such a master piece but anyways....

Yep, the phrasing is really difficult in Sisters of Mercy songs, which is why I changed it.

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Ok man.

Do consider that "soft" singing and try to understand what I am saying here. It really has nothing to do with just low range. Usefull low range I have too, I know light voiced singers that have more than I do, and there are deeper voices than mine that do not have the same usefull range on that area that I have. Its just different.

Tonal character is defined on the mid-range, not by the bass or roundess.

Looking at it in this way, will result on the self-imposed restrictions Jens talks about so much, and that I begin to understand why he does so...

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Ok man.

Do consider that "soft" singing and try to understand what I am saying here. It really has nothing to do with just low range. Usefull low range I have too, I know light voiced singers that have more than I do, and there are deeper voices than mine that do not have the same usefull range on that area that I have. Its just different.

Tonal character is defined on the mid-range, not by the bass or roundess.

Looking at it in this way, will result on the self-imposed restrictions Jens talks about so much, and that I begin to understand why he does so...

Yes, in a way I'm limiting myself. I never denied that. This has to do with the "sound-comes-first"-attitude I have in a certain way. For example. I CAN hit notes above my tessitura (which is above F4), but they don't sound the way I want them to sound, so I don't consider them "useful" for my artistic desires.

This is a bit similar to what you wrote in another thread about "not sounding like myself anymore", which was for notes outside of B2-B4 for you. That said, I agree with you that the characteristic sound of a voice lies in the mid-range.

So there is a certain point at the upper end and at the lower end of my range where the sound strongly differs from my mid-range, be it in terms of loudness, roundness, darkness or whatever.

What I am trying for a quite long time now is to transport my mid-range sound more towards the lower end and more towards the upper end. But very often I end up destroying my actual mid-range sound, often to the degree that can be considered "bad technique".

I tend to project this attitude to other singers as well, so to be a real bass you have to be able to hit notes around E2 with basically a very similar tonal quality compared to your mid-range (which should be around C3-G3 for a bass).

Good example is this cover by Roy Khan, who does quite low notes there:

But the sound really differs from the sound you are used to if you think about Roy Khan and for sure is much different than the sound of his mid-range, especially in terms of power and connection.

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benny I dont want to take it further or offend anyone, again. Just consider what I said and think if your technique is already so developed to the point of defining your tessitura already.

Check my soundclick page later if you can, there is a recording of Silent Lucidity that I did a few months ago in there. Do you think its soooo inconsistent to the point of presenting a tonal barrier? I actually like some points in there, considered using it on my own material.

What I said in that thread, was regarding fully trainning and realizing limits that DO exist, and that if I remember correctly I said it wasnt related to range. Dont mix oranges with apples. Trainning is one thing, when trainning you dont tamper, you just improve it. When singing, just do what you want and thats within your technical capabilities to deliver quality. If you have the technique you want, you are doing the material as you want and its within this area of your voice, awesome, but go back to the first post I made and keep he last paragraph in mind if what you want is more technique and more freedom.

Anyways ok, thats it, Ill not bug anymore with this classify people as you will guys :).

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