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Advice, Comments, welcome...

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derek_r
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Just posted an introduction in the Welcome thread and figured I'd follow it up with a couple of examples of my singing.

I've never felt that I can sing at all, but have sometimes had to make do in various bands over time. But I'd like to have a go at getting a little better over the next few years with a view to being able to play some solo acoustic gigs when I get too old to rock'n'roll!

I don't believe I can carry a melody unless it's made up only of chord tones and even then am very pitchy. And I know my breathing leaves plenty to be desired. My range is very low (e2 to d4, if I'm using the nomenclature correctly - bottom E string of a guitar to the D on the third fret of the 2nd string in my language) . I've been goog, gugging and moon, mumming for several months now but other than feeling the benefit of warming up havien't noticed any difference/improvement.

I like blues, rock'n'roll, soul, singer-songwriter stuff. Favourite singers would include Ray Charles, Frankie Miller, Lowell George, John Fogerty, John Lennon and so on. But with my range I usually end up singing Johnny Cash songs :)

Anyway, here are a couple of clips. I'd welcome advice, and if people think there's any hope at this age then I'll invest in lessons, DVDs, programmes etc as required.

Long Black Veil:

An original:

Thanks in advance

Del

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I really like your voice, and your original song :D

"Anyway, here are a couple of clips. I'd welcome advice, and if people think there's any hope at this age then I'll invest in lessons, DVDs, programmes etc as required."

definitely yes ! training and programs will give you better control of your voice, it will give you keys, to unlock doors, but before that, it will give you glasses so you'll be able to see that you've got doors to unlock, lot of doors :)

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Cool songs. Delivery reminds me a little of Ray Wylie Hubbard.

I think you can do similar stuff. Even include some storytelling bits. Hubbard does it with "Redneck Mothers." Arlo Guthrie did it with several songs like "Alice's Restaurant" and "The Significance of the Pickle."

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Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to listen and comment.

Ronws, you're spot on with the Ray Wylie Hubbard reference. I'm a huge fan of his (his concert video on Youtube is probably my favourite YT vid.) along with many of the other singer-songwriters from Kristofferson through Guy Clark, Steve Earle and so on. Also a good hit on the story-telling reference, too - many of my originals are story-based.

All of which means I'm probably not looking to be able to scream or belt out rock songs (although the occasional Little Richard would come in handy with the band) but would still like to get more control and accuracy in my voice, better co-ordination between what I hear and what I can produce, nicer tone, improved tuning, the ability to sing more complicated and melodic melodies, and maybe even an extra note or to in range.

Was messing about trying to sing in (I guess) head voice earlier - notes up there on the top E string of the guitar - E, F#, A etc - and it all sounded very much like a cat being strangled, no tone or weight or power. Be nice to get some resonance and control there, too.

Anyway, early days and I appreciate the comments. :)

Kind regards

Derek

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You can make money out of strange sounds. I had read the bio of Saul "Slash" Hudson. He met a guy named "Izzy" Straddlin. Izzy had a tape of a band he was working with. And he heard this high pitched whine, similar to what it sounds like when a tape is about to break, being stretched across the heads. Then, he realized that this whine was in tune to the music. That was his first introduction to the sound of Axl Rose.

:D

Even just staying in your range, you say you are seeking better control of what you have. And that is best achieved by proper management of the exhale, while singing. Most people blow too much air too fast. And there are plenty of ideas on breath management that sound like a strain and for some people it is. But, essentially, you want whatever motion or slowing down of motion that is necessary, to come from the belly, for lack of a better word. Right now, don't worry about terms like intercostal, abdominus rectus, oblique abduction and adduction. Just breathe with the belly.

Don't "breathe" in. Let the intake happen. Relax the belly, and the air will get drawing without effort. On exhale, you are slowly bringing the abs in. And the speed and pressure can and will change as needed, depending on what you are singing. Breathe management should be mobile and agile.

And here's the other thing. Do not think of the note as being in your throat. That is just a tone generator. The actual note is above that. And tuning your voice is more about getting out of your own way than anything. You are not going to aim the note, you are not going to push the note from the throat. You are going to let the note get to where it needs to be. A sympathetic vibration or "feeling" where the soft and hard palate meet.

So, how do you let the note get where it is going? Vowels. They are linked to the height of the tongue. Rather than worry about the exact height of the tongue in centimeters or "closure of the buccal opening," think of vowels. pure vowels. The ah, ee, oo, eh, and oh sounds. Everything else is a dipthong (changing vowel sound in one pitch.)

The higher you go, the taller the vowel should be. So, high notes should sound like ah, regardless of how you are articulating the words of the lyrics. Lower, you can use eh, mostly. Also, experiment every so slightly with different heights of the jaw. You don't need to clench the teeth and you don't need to sweep the floor with your whiskers. It's kind of like a tunable whistle, there will be a sweet spot.

When you find this sweet spot, you have the sound moving back and forth and doubling itself (resonance) creating massive volume and a cushion for the folds themselves, which actually helps to regulate the pressure at your vocal folds.

Sounds technical. Anyway, play with it, find the sweet spot, watch the pitch wobble and strain go away.

And no, I am not a singing teacher. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

:lol:

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This one is typical of the story songs that I like to do. There are some really beautiful and moving versions of this tune on You Tube, whereas mine feels all gruff and growly and dark. I'm not sure if I'm singing the melody too low or if it's simply the tone of my voice that makes it feel so.

Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt Cover)

I just recorded it directly on an old digicam and then snuck in a second guitar via Audacity, just to try and distract the listener a little :rolleyes:

Again, any comments, advice, directions welcome.

Kind regards,

Derek

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Here's another example. This is an original blues. Again, it's a kind of talking / story-telling type of singing but I'm still keen to improve range / technique / pitch accuracy / phrasing etc etc so any advice / comments remain welcome:

Kind regards

Derek

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You can make money out of strange sounds. I had read the bio of Saul "Slash" Hudson. He met a guy named "Izzy" Straddlin. Izzy had a tape of a band he was working with. And he heard this high pitched whine, similar to what it sounds like when a tape is about to break, being stretched across the heads. Then, he realized that this whine was in tune to the music. That was his first introduction to the sound of Axl Rose.

:D

Even just staying in your range, you say you are seeking better control of what you have. And that is best achieved by proper management of the exhale, while singing. Most people blow too much air too fast. And there are plenty of ideas on breath management that sound like a strain and for some people it is. But, essentially, you want whatever motion or slowing down of motion that is necessary, to come from the belly, for lack of a better word. Right now, don't worry about terms like intercostal, abdominus rectus, oblique abduction and adduction. Just breathe with the belly.

Don't "breathe" in. Let the intake happen. Relax the belly, and the air will get drawing without effort. On exhale, you are slowly bringing the abs in. And the speed and pressure can and will change as needed, depending on what you are singing. Breathe management should be mobile and agile.

And here's the other thing. Do not think of the note as being in your throat. That is just a tone generator. The actual note is above that. And tuning your voice is more about getting out of your own way than anything. You are not going to aim the note, you are not going to push the note from the throat. You are going to let the note get to where it needs to be. A sympathetic vibration or "feeling" where the soft and hard palate meet.

So, how do you let the note get where it is going? Vowels. They are linked to the height of the tongue. Rather than worry about the exact height of the tongue in centimeters or "closure of the buccal opening," think of vowels. pure vowels. The ah, ee, oo, eh, and oh sounds. Everything else is a dipthong (changing vowel sound in one pitch.)

The higher you go, the taller the vowel should be. So, high notes should sound like ah, regardless of how you are articulating the words of the lyrics. Lower, you can use eh, mostly. Also, experiment every so slightly with different heights of the jaw. You don't need to clench the teeth and you don't need to sweep the floor with your whiskers. It's kind of like a tunable whistle, there will be a sweet spot.

When you find this sweet spot, you have the sound moving back and forth and doubling itself (resonance) creating massive volume and a cushion for the folds themselves, which actually helps to regulate the pressure at your vocal folds.

Sounds technical. Anyway, play with it, find the sweet spot, watch the pitch wobble and strain go away.

And no, I am not a singing teacher. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

:lol:

Very cool Ronws.

I understand this much better than "Note in the head, Motion in the abs when necessary, nothing in the throat"

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I love "Hurricane Jesus." Don't change a thing on that. Blues is way more about tone than acrobatics. Your voice on that song reminded me of David Lee Roth on "Ice Cream Man." I could never do justice to that song. It's got low spots that I just can't get to. In fact, if I could make a request, it would be cool to hear you cover "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen.

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I liked "Pancho and Lefty", too. Keep that one. You've got a thick voice, like the Van Zandt family. Yet, you've also got a phrasing or delivery that reminds me of Randy Travis. And you could be the next "Randy." Though, if you don't mind, let me advise you not to be naked on Texas 377 in Grayson County. The cops don't like that, so much. :lol:

(Travis lives in my county (Grayson County) and has had some trouble recently with drinking and wrecked cars.)

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Thanks Ronws. You see right through me again, as you did with Ray Wylie Hubbard. Many years ago I used to do a Van Halen inspired version of Ice Cream Man in the band I was in at the time. Have also played a few Randy Travis songs over the years, too - What'll You Do About Me, springs to mind. I knew he'd been a hell raiser in his early days and had heard there'd been a bit of trouble recently but I didn't know what form it took.

Kind regards,

Derek

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Randy's first recent bout of trouble is that he was found in his Trans Am in a church parking lot in Collinsville, Texas. They arrested him for public intox, even though a church is technically private property.

Then, about a month later, he wrecked the Trans Am just outside of Krugerville in a construction area. A passerby driving saw a naked man lying in the road and called the police. It turned out to be Randy, this time, DIU and resisting arrest. There was also a concurrent report of a 911 call from a convenience store / gas station in Krugerville where the clerk reported that a naked man came in wanting to buy cigarettes. (Yes, Randy smokes.) Evidently, not a good night to be naked or drunk, or both.

A month later, his pickup truck was found in a field near a church in Plano but they could not trace the incident to him. More than likely, a friend borrowed it and left in such a predicament.

Anyway, he has a ranch near Tioga. Tioga is famous for one more thing, being the birthplace and childhood home of Gene Autry. They still celebrate Gene Autry Day, to this day.

Anyway, I think you are doing good stuff and should continue. Even if it is only MDEW and I who comment.

I sing rock but I ain't a-skeered of country, neither. I even covered a country song, which got exactly one comment (at least it was a good comment.) Right now, it seems like you won't get many comments unless you are covering a song by Journey.

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Here's another example. This is an original blues. Again, it's a kind of talking / story-telling type of singing but I'm still keen to improve range / technique / pitch accuracy / phrasing etc etc so any advice / comments remain welcome:

Kind regards

Derek

I didn't listen to this until now. :mad: I'm mad at myself. I loved it.

Skeered of country? :o Well Without blues there would never be Rock. Country is a mixture of blues and Irish drinkin songs. If it wasn't for Irish whiskey there would never be Rock so they are all connected. MDEW logic, live with it.

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