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Everybody Talks - Neon Trees

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ronws
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I love this song. And it's such a simple chord progression. I - IV - V, with a III # minor 7 for the turn around chord. But I don't care. Simple things please me.

So, blame this on Owen. He suggested the Zoom H1 portable recorder and I used it for this. Saved as a wav so that I could massage a little bit in Audacity. I really like the quality of this little thing and just had to do something with it.

"Everybody Talks" by the Neon Trees

https://www.box.com/s/nfc624fughif6csfd6dg

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Ron - the mix is dominated by the acoustic so your vocals are drowned out a bit in places. Can you tweak this or are they both recorded to the same track?

I had to look this song up on YouTube as not heard before - would say difficult to offer much useful feedback due to the volume issues but could hear that you had a problem in a couple of places with the slides he does being slightly flat although that seemed to be less of an issue further into it. You got the energy of the performance right - had I heard the original first I would have thought it wouldn't work acoustically but you pulled it off.

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That Zoom H1 sounds like a pretty good personal recorder. I have a little digital recorder but the mike sounds worse than the old cassette recorders. It's good enough to practice with but not good enough to post anything recorded on it.

You do get a little quiet in places. On the slides I believe you were losing the sound before the slide was finished.

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Good job. Mostly there. This would be perfectly well received sung live in a casual situation but it could be polished up.

I agree with ElWin that things cleaned up later in the tune. But you are expected to also give a good first impression. That is part of why we warm up.

Perhaps you need a longer or slightly more energetic warm up. Do you warm up your full voice, or perhaps sing a few tunes as part of your warm up? I think you could benefit from that.

Besides that I feel like your normal ronws tone may not be the best approach for this song. I could just be hooked on the original, but I want to hear more boom/dopeyness. Your lower notes have the perfect tone for this and then I think your larynx raises too much on the middle and high range for this song. Just a thought. Of course the tone you used works great for other songs, but one tone will not work for all songs, IMO. But like I said...I could just be wanting to hear the original.

I tell you this pretty frequently but you also need to work on your pitch accuracy. or is it pitch precision here? I dont know...Anyways, Go phrase by phrase, slowing them way down and nail down every single pitch. Then gradually speed back up to the original tempo being sure the pitch stays as accurate/precise as it was when you sang it slower and had time to fix each note. Also, to borrow a trick from Rob Lunte, Lucianno Pavarotti, my high school band teacher, and who knows how many other musicians, hear the note in your head before you sing it and it will come out better. That includes more accurate pitch. In the context of a song full of rapidly changing pitches, that is easier said than done. But once you develop the ability it's like you are imagining what you are about to sing the way you want it to sound, in your head, a split second before you sing it. I find it really helps. The hardest part for me now is remembering to stay focused on doing it through the whole song. Realistically I tend to reserve it just the parts of a song that I am more likely to not sing in tune.

Hope that helps. I should really learn this tune as well. One of the better pop songs of my generation.

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When recording a song on whim it is expected for there to be some mistakes and many can be overlooked. I should have asked how long you worked on the song Before recording it. That does make a difference. Some of the others work on a song for a month before even attempting to record anything and still they can be pitchy in places.

Some would not even think of posting the first day of learning a song.

For first time out of the box, Not to bad. There are some things to be smoothed out. Some of those things were already mentioned.

You could play with a few different rhythm patterns on the guitar and find one that is better suited to your singing style. There can be a big difference in feeling of a song when you change to a single accoustic guitar as a rhythm section.

And a COVER is your interpretation of a song, in your voice, in your style, with your spin on the words and melody.

A wise man told me that.

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Thanks, M. I am reviewing all advice given to me. Placement of the H1, for one thing. I had it sitting on the computer desk and yes, that makes it technically closer to the guitar than to me. So, I guess, the fact that you can hear my voice at all is a testament to my volume.

Yes, it is the anti-thesis of what we are supposed to do here. Owen said it well. We are to give a good first impression. Even if that first impression is to take a month. Or longer. I have listened to this song for a few months now. When I recorded what you hear, that is the fourth take, though I had tried the song a few weeks previous, just or giggles. First, the guitar went out of tune. Second, I botched the melody. Third, I botched a lyric. Fourth down and go for broke.

I did expect critiques even though my intent was just to have some fun on our Independence weekend. Playing with the H1. You can hear my wife cough in the background. I woke her up from a nap when I was doing this and she turned up the tv. I am in the other room and singing loud enough to wake a sleeping person. :lol: And drown out the tv. :lol: :lol:

Owen said I needed to work on pitch accuracy. And that he has been constantly telling me that. So, I have been reviewing the recording to see where I was off pitch. And I will have to go through all the recent posts to catch all the times that he told me to work on my pitch accuracy and I missed it. Evidently, I have not been reading carefully enough and need to pay more attention.

He also said that maybe my voice isn't right for this song, or maybe, vice versa. He may be right. I don't sound like the original singer. Problem is, I guess, I don't care if I do, or not. The only thing that concerns me is pitch accuracy. It's like telling a girl her thighs make her look like a hippo. So, I will spend the next week and 50 reps of listening to this to see where I went off pitch.

Indredible insights, even as he mentions he has not learned the song.

But I have learned my lesson, maybe. No more impromptu recordings. Even for fun on a holiday weekend. I should keep such goofy things to myself and really only submit recordings that have been thoroughly worked over and then, only songs for which my voice is a close match to the original.

Which means I would never be able to do something like Ronnie James Dio did with "Dream On." For his version is nothing like the original. Which is okay for him but not for me.

Now, to review the recording again, so that I can hear where it is I went off pitch. That's what bugs me ... I hate being off pitch.

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Ron, are you being sarcastic or serious? Seems like I pushed you the wrong way, I apologize. I have to remember to respect that you refuse to perceive singing as work. Nothing wrong with a fun impromptu rough recording, if the goal is to have fun. I did enjoy listening to it.

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Good stuff. Would be a great song to nail at a karaoke club. Are you sure you are not a fellow bari? The only critique I have is to try to swell the slide i the chorus at the end of the slide. Love the song bro.

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"When recording a song on whim it is expected for there to be some mistakes and many can be overlooked. I should have asked how long you worked on the song Before recording it. That does make a difference. Some of the others work on a song for a month before even attempting to record anything and still they can be pitchy in places.

Some would not even think of posting the first day of learning a song." From my earlier post.

That does not mean that we should not post the first draft of a song. Just that we need to concider the amount of work that has been done at the time of posting and the equiment used.

Some of those who get high praise for their polished, post production, orchestrated efforts would also get comments about pitchiness or timing issues if they had posted their very first effort that was recorded on a dictation device with no way to seperate the music from the voice.

The only reason that ROBERT PLANT sounds resonant and boomy is the fact that you never hear his voice without reverb and echo added in the mix.

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Ron, are you being sarcastic or serious? Seems like I pushed you the wrong way, I apologize. I have to remember to respect that you refuse to perceive singing as work. Nothing wrong with a fun impromptu rough recording, if the goal is to have fun. I did enjoy listening to it.

What I say or do has consequences.

It was your intention to tell me what you know and think about this recording on this day.

To start over, completely from scratch, as a singer. Everything from how to warm-up to how to learn a song.

For myself, I like these off the cuff recordings as a checkpoint more than the studio perfection you and maybe others were wanting. We have an industry full of crap singers fixed by tech and editing. What can you do on any given day, regardless of state of being? Are you on pitch then? Can you perform a piece you have heard but not have spent years perfecting? How good are your skills, basically, as a singer?

And i was just having fun.

But I have "learnt" my lesson, maybe. Don't post things for fun here or even as a gut check. Others will take the post seriously. Only post seriously, only post something studio quality (minus autotuning, at least grant me the pride in that I do not use it and I am sure you are saying, "well, ronws, that much is obvious.") Do like the industry does. Massage that vocal track into stellar. To do anything less that studio perfect shows that you just don't care enough to be serious.

Those are the consequences of my actions.

And now, I must spend at least 50 repetitive hearings trying to find the pitchiness you are talking about.

That's what I did the last time someone told me I got pitchy or went into falsetto. On a song I covered, someone critiqued and said I went into falsetto. I listened to my cover over two weeks, I don't know how many times but it was at least 50 listens. I could not find where I went into falsetto. I asked him no less than three times, where it was I went into falsetto? Don't have to use the timer number. Just which lyric, as it was a simple song. He refused to answer and then sent me a scathing email telling me I do not know what I am talking about and I need to shut up.

I did not report it to admin.

That's because it is easier to not answer the question rather than to admit a mistake.

It's not that I am discounting your ideas about warm-up but warm-up does not fix pitchiness, in my opinion. Faulty sound production, that produces pitchiness and I simply must find where it was that I was pitchy and fix that.

And you have decided that my voice does not fit this song. "The regular ronws tone" thing. Kind of a test fit. I wil keep it in my set list. If it flops here, it will be a hit everywhere else.

:lol:

But you also said, to begin with, it was good enough for casual, which is what I was aiming for.

Now, I must listen some more to it to find where I was pitchy.

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Ron - Nice Job. The energy is right and so is the intent. We all have small pitch issues - I have plenty myself.

I like the sound that the H1 gives you - there is some nice compression going on there. The recording quality is good.

To fix the balance between the guitar and voice you could position the H1 closer to you mouth like Owen suggested. Or try to multi-track it somehow. If we all had Mac's we'd have Garage Band built in for free, with which we could multi-track.

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Thanks guys. Thanks Geno. And I am trying to find the pitch issues on this song. I am not saying that I do not get pitchy, ever. But I am trying to find it in this song, especially as pitchiness was mentioned again, by you, while commenting on this song.

I mean, I get it guys, I should not do this, again. When I know the rules of the "game," I can play.

But I really am trying to find the pitch problems in this song, in particular.

I am also trying to determine if a pitchy thing is systematic or just a problem of a particular song or is a matter of a performance not well-rehearsed.

So far, no one has said anything like, "flat on "overdose"" or something like that.

I still have my older recordings and I can hear where I am pitchy on something. Like my old cover of "Holy Diver." I was flat in the first chorus and tuned up after that, for example.

But no one, as yet, has been able to help me find what was pitchy in this particular song. Again, I am not rejecting advice on how to cure pitch problems. I am not rejecting that I can be pitchy, as we all are, as you pointed out, Geno.

Just trying to find where I was pitchy in THIS song.

Excellent post, MDEW, by the way.

I have already listened to my recording 10 times, not finding the pitchy, so I am not sure another 40 times is going to help me.

You guys are totally right on about placement of the H1. Euipment and placement thereof does make the difference. It saves in mp3 or wav. This time, I saved in wav so I could import into Audacity and I put a little compression on the track. An experiment, really. And I should have prefaced the thread with that.

But now you guys have me wondering where the pitchy spot or spots were in this song. Is there anyway ya'll could help a brother out? Just point to a lyric or something. I mean, I was wanting to sing rock and rollish, kind of bluesy rather than legit, so to speak. So, inflections are probably different than what I would do, elsewhere.

A little bit of creak, which may translate as a little bit of crap, as may be.

Or, I just sound wrong on this song or this song sounds wrong for me. Or I just sound wrong, in total. :lol:

I mean, sure, it was a bit of a goof for me but if I can learn from it, that's cool, too.

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Here is what I hear. First verse words ending in "ion" I really don't know if they are out of pitch but something is "OFF" about them. Other than that your guitar is going out of tune. That can also cause your voice to sound out of tune to others. It may be that the note you are singing is out of pitch relative to that out of tune string ringing on the guitar. Some of the slides sound "unfinished" if you listen very closely you can hear the final note of the slide. It is there and appears to be in tune to me but the volume is low and you have to listen to hear it.

It may be a matter of the recorder being closer to the guitar than to your voice.

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Ron - I listened again - on the notes that count the pitch is pretty good the whole way through. There are just some "pick up" notes here and there that are not "in the pocket" pitch wise. But this is common with pop singing and a lot of that is accepted - especially with a live version. My opinion is that it is up to the artist to determine how perfect those notes need to be as it is sort of a stylistic choice. In Opera pitchiness wouldn't be tolerated, but this isn't opera.

That said, a couple things could be tightened up if you want - one example I found was at 00:17 - I think the word is "sorry"? It sounded like the note should have been a B3 but it was more of a C4? Don't know the tune so I may be wrong. Other times it seemed that the onsets of some notes were off a bit, then you tuned them in quickly. That again is kind of a stylistic choice depending on how "perfect" you want your performance to be. Some of us want a tighter performance and others have more tolerance.

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Thanks, Geno.

And I can critique myself, as well. At least stylistically.

I am using different vowels than the original. Certainly a different vocal weight. My slides ramp up faster.

The beginning sounds weak, to me, as I compare to the original. Owen could be right, this could be the wrong song for me, regardless of how fun it was.

You're right, Geno. The word "sorry" is a slide in the original and I divided it into two notes, I think. I played this in the key of D (for those who care about that.)

And yes, what is perception means something. It doesn't matter what I did, what others hear is matters. That's not sarcastic. That's reality.

Your last sentence is a thought I came to before reading your post.

So, my other big mistake? Playing to the wrong audience, as it were.

Could I get away with this at an open mic? Sure. Different audience.

The audience here wants something tight, something that fits, especially if you have heard the original. Something that is ironed out and as free of flaws or sound defects as possible. And that is not a bad thing. It's a different audience.

If this performance of this song is better suited to goofing off and having fun, that is where it should stay. I am not saying that anyone here is humorless. There are plenty of times I laugh, usually at myself. :lol:

I like the way Liam, even if he is highlighting something of his, just picks up a guitar and busts one out. I have always like that thing, even as a kid, in the park, seeing some guy twanging a guitar and singing to whomever passes by. Different audience.

And I really do appreciate M's points. If you hear me off pitch, it doesn't matter what the reason was, it is something that I need to fix. Such as the guitar going out of tune, which it did on the first take (which was promptly erased.) And a guitar going out of tune can certainly lead one out of tune or one sounds out of tune because now one's voice and the guitar are not matching. I could be singing the right note, which felt right to me, but it does not sound right because the guitar is not right.

These are all things I can fix. Including paying attention to the audience.

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I started to add something earlier but changed my mind. I've changed it back.

You have a sonically unique voice (we all have our own issues with timbre). Think of Neil Young and Christopher Cross. Nothing wrong with having a unique voice we all do. Your voice does have a quality to it that may make it appear "out of tune" on first listening. It may be that the blend between the music and your voice is not compatible.

Not that your voice is not compatible with the song but with the accompaniment.

Bon Scott and Brian Johnson would not have had the success that they achieved without the SOUND of AC/DC backing them up. I have heard Brian Johnson singing JOHNNY B. GOODE and believe me it was a train wreck. But the main problem was because Brian was "TRYING" to sing it straight. AC/DC were sounding more like Chuck Berry and it did not work. Had they played Johnny B. Goode the way that AC/DC would have written it, the song would have been Awesome.

The voice of Sammy Hagar just did not fit with the Music of Van Halen(My personal opinion, I realise this).

The point is that it may be beneficial to find a style of guitar playing that fits your unique voice.

Perhaps a strum of the chord and let it ring while you are singing. Use the guitar as accents and movement instead of full on strumming.

Hopefully others will get the gist of what I am saying and be able to express it better.

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Ron, let me help you out. I too prefer point out problems at specific time stamps/lyrics. It removes the mystery and clarifies the specific problems to be solved That is not yet standard practice in this subforum, which is why I didn't do it in my original post, but IMO it should be. Also, it can come across as too nitpicky. But at least you want have to listen to it 50 times to spot the problems.

sharp parts in bold, flat parts underlined. In order of appearance in the song.

hey baby won't you look my way I can be your new adiction

hey baby watcha gotta say all you're giving me is fiction

So here's an example of something you could practice. You had a tendency to sing that quick A at the end of those lines too sharp, so with focused practice on those sections you can kick that habit. That being said, later in the song you fixed this. So why did it have to happen in the beginning?

I found out

Everybody talks everybody talks - here just you shifted up the melody a whole step, i guess that's okay if that was your intention. Not off pitch just different notes. You did it the same way on the second verse too so it sounds intentional. In which case, relative to your new melody, the "i found out" in the first verse would be flat, not sharp.

it started with a whisper (just the end pitch of the slide was slightly flat)

Mamas always gotta backtrack

All this trash talk makes me itchin

And that was when I kissed her

When everybody's words

All you're giving me is friction

It started with a whisper

Also, generally speaking in the verses, that descending line, you didn't always sing the same pitches since they go pretty fast. That sets you up to sound pitchy, if you are not in control of every pitch. However most of it was on pitch in this version, just different notes from the original. I would only suggest tightening up that part if you wanted to sound more precise and technical.

Okay that covers most of it. Hope that helps.

Seeing as you were often sharp, it might be a smart idea to put on a capo on the first fret, and play it in the original key instead of your version which was a half step down. When a singer is consistently sharp, it tends to signify that the whole song is slightly below their tessitura. Move it up and they can more easily sing it with better pitch. The opposite goes for if a singer is consistently flat.

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Ron - I think you have touched on something here in terms of just picking up the guitar and bashing out a tune. I love to do this but if you haven't got the playing totally sussed then it can be a distraction from the vocal performance. I'm posting this from my phone so can't highlight examples where I thought it was pitchy but will happily do so later but in addition to the guitar tuning issues the rhythm got a bit jumbled up in places so may have pulled focus off the vocals. I actually listened again this morning and I think for the last minute or so of this you really found the right performance (sounded very relaxed and nice phrasing) versus the first verse and chorus. Not sure if that is helpful but sometimes focussing on what does work is better than trying to identify what didn't.

EDIT - Actually Owen has pointed out the main parts I noticed. Basically that first "whisper" and parts of the following chorus sounded flat. All of the other parts where Owen says you were sharp didn't sound as obvious - he may be right - I just didn't hear it. I did hear you singing a higher note than the original in some places but the higher note still seemed to be in the correct scale so for me that's just interpretation whereas a truly sharp or flat note will sound discordant.

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Thanks, Owen, that was awesome and I mean that sincerely. That is the precision I am talking about.

I know it's a lot of work and we're all busy and you and/or others may not always have the time and energy to analyze like that. Brilliant about capo-ing up. I have done just that on other songs because I was wiser on those other songs and knew the original key was too low for me.

Brilliantly spot-on. The articulation can both trip me up and be a saving grace, alternately.

And you are so very right. I have noticed, myself, that I come into a song kind of loose and tighten up later.

Believe it or not, my feelings are not hurt and this is more helpful than you may know.

And M, you are right, once again.

I had a gimmickly thought that I could be outlaw country. Singing like Gretchen Wilson while looking like a really tall version of Graham Bonnett. (Sorry, guys, that probably gave you an image you could have done without.) :lol:

Imagine me singing "Redneck Woman" while wearing my jean jacket with the Harley patches. (stop it, ron ...)

By the way, I just about laughed out loud with the comment of Brian trying to sing "straight" and it was a train-wreck. I could see that happening.

Bon Scott was trying to sing glam and motown before he got with the Young brothers. And he just wasn't getting anywhere. There was no way he was going to sound like Frankie Valli, for example. Or even the guy from Sweet, another influence of his.

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