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07/03/09 + sAMsKi
just after a bit of advice about live vocals, as i have started 'singing' more in my sets.
i have an sm58 and a CB mic that i use live. i also have a magaphone that i am considering using. i have tried lots of effects to try to get the sound i want but not really happy yet. essentially i want to be able to sing loud / hard with some effects (maybe a touch of distortion / delay / filtering) to give me a more forgiving sound - but also spooky whisper stylee. it doesn't help that i am not the best singer but i would be more confident if i had a sound i was happier with. something a little more forgiving.
in particular when singing my cover of black sabbath's black sabbath i want to be able to let rip but also sing a more whispering style...through my sm58. it generally doesn't sounds how i want it to. i looked a little at the TC Helicon VoiceLive2, which might be ok if i can twist it to make a more mental sound. i have also used my electro harmonix HOG to give me a low-end octave shift but the artefacts for vocal use are a bit annoying. i will record some backing vocals on the track, which will help, but i would still like a better vocal sound from my mic.....hmmmmm........any suggestions?
Recent blogs: ooh la live...
Jul 03* + clawback
Like anything vocals take practice--years of it. Some people are naturals, but some naturals never find their own voice. That is the most important thing: finding a confident and singular voice capable of expressing all you want to express. Take your time to find it.
My best tips are:
Woodshed like hell. Record. Listen.
Workout. Keep the instrument in shape. Do yoga, cardio, something fun. I can't overstate this point.
Sing in front of the mirror.
Relax and relax again. If you find yourself building tension when you sustain notes let it go an let the note carry itself. Try 'hard' stuff without funny faces.
When you sing along with the radio, whether its beyonce or chris cornell watch how fun it is to match perfectly all of their nuances.
Exaggerate your mistakes when you make them. Make it fun and laughable. Integrate imperfection into the practice of perfecting.
Send your voice to the back wall of the club with ease. Project. When you practice stop sometimes to see if your talking voice projects more strongly than your singing voice.
Sing scales and warmups.
Don't take to many suggestions at once. Find one angle to work for a few weeks and then switch it up.
Don't fuck with too many pedals or pedal settings. Get a nice pedal with delay and maybe a lo-fi/megaphone/grunge effect and you will be fine.
07/05/09 + sAMsKi
woweeee - amazing tips clawback. wicked!
i have long thought i should get more serious about singing, and that doing so would ultimately address a lot of the problems I have with it. this has confirmed that and inspired me to try to shift things up a gear or two.
07/05/09 + Fredo
clawback, man... GREAT advice!
I'd like to add a bit too...
Where you place your voice is very important for safety. I agree that the voice should be natural, but I think some folks will have developed some nasty habits! For example, when I meet new people and have conversations I always come away hoarse. Why? Becuase when I'm nervous I have a habit of speaking from the back of my throat and trying to project too much. This is actually very destructive and I've had to learn to change this.
So... one thing that's important is to make sure you can feel the sound buzzing around your nose area when you sing. If you feel it in the back of your throat, and if you feel like you are getting hoarse if you sing for a while, take a ten minute break and say a bunch of words that start with m or n. Really feel the sound in your nose. This is a safe place to have your voice. Obviously it shouldn't always be there, but this should sort of be the resting point when you sing. You can move it around for expressiveness and emphasis.
Strengthen your vocal folds (vocal chords) by doing dynamic swells. That means when you sing a note you start very softly and then swell it in velocity. This will absolutely strengthen your "instrument"
Relaxation is so key. Do not worry about hitting notes on pitch at all. Just worry about how they FEEL when you sing them. Obviously it's important to sing in key, but I had been making a mistake by listening for the pitch and trying to place it as if I were playing a violin or a piano. The voice is vibration! The way to tell if something is in pitch or not is truly by the feel of it's vibration! You'll know when you find that sweet spot as it suddenly feels almost a bit effortless and it's a really pleasurable experience! For so long I really didn't get enough enjoyment from singing because I was worried the whole time that I was pitchy, so stressing out! And that stress can absolutely be heard in the voice. Finally I have begun to feel when a note is right, and the pleasure is immense.
Here's a recipe for a gargle that is VERY EFFECTIVE to do just before singing, as well as after, or if your throat is a bit unhealthy you can do it up to 6 times a day:
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon karo corn syrup (or whatever syrupy sweetener you prefer)
Mix all this in a tall, warm glass of water and gargle silently (making no vocal sounds) for 10 minutes.
Find a place where you love to sing! For me halls, train stations, really echoey places are lovely. My singing teacher has warned me that it's not great to do this, because you get used to hearing your voice bounce around you, thus distracting you from learning the FEEL of the notes, but it gives me great pleasure, and that is one of the most important things to find!
I have a bunch of voice exercises which I could record and send to you if you'd like.. Let me know.
Jul 05* + clawback
Also cool down. Many people forget to do this. The way that has worked for me is sing an 'oscillator sweep' of sorts by starting in the falsetto range and with complete portemento drop to your lowest note. it should sound like a bomb dropping. this massages your throat at every point you may have stressed.
Also develop visual or kinesthetic cues that make you relax. sometimes i close my eyes and imagine i'm stevie wonder. I know that may sound horrible but it allows me t oblock all visual stimuli and come right back to the voice. Stevie's amazing but he is also pitchy at times--but he never loses the whole performance. it is like a mantra. this happens in a moment for me and no one notices i am going into another world .
another great thing is auto-tune. use your auto-tuned sessions as guidelines to improve your pitch. that is what YOU sound like with improved pitch!
07/05/09 + Fredo
holy shit, dude... auto-tune is the devil! Voices aren't made to sound that "perfect". Pitchy is not a problem in my opinion if it feels right. Don't you agree?
07/05/09 + clawback
i say leave the sparkling imperfections in. i have used autotune as a creative device and also as a way to touch up clashing harmonies, etc., if i can't go back and record them. it was there i learned of the doubling exercise is referred to earlier.
cool. thanking you both for your help...!
i know it will be a long slog to become a decent vocalist...but it's something i am up for. let's see how i get on
thanks again for the GREAT tips! x
07/06/09 + jas040
the finished work should be the desired result. if it's not then something went awry. regardless of which tools you, as the artist, decide to use for any given project, the overall texture and feel of the piece is ... paramount.
as for singing... DO RA ME FA SO LA TI DO practice your syllables.
hey clawback...when you said "Get a nice pedal with delay and maybe a lo-fi/megaphone/grunge effect and you will be fine.", did you have anything in mind? keen to know what you would recommend...
07/06/09 + jas040
sAMsKi said: "sage................"
also of particular note are the resonances. by adjusting the gravity of your face and system. remember, practice makes perfect.
07/06/09 + clawback
i use the tc-helicon voice pedal on stage. very nice pedal. one thing i would change about that pedal is the action on the knobs. inavariably my xlr cable slips by the patch knob once per show and goes straight to the monster vocal patch.
07/07/09 + sAMsKi
cool...this one? link or the v1? or a different one from their range? Am thinking of going to a shop and testing a couple...if that's still possible these days
07/07/09 + sAMsKi
p.s. none of this means i am ignoring your sage words on how to sing better...in fact i am going to go for it along the lines of what yo said. just want to sort my mic / live sound as well.
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