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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
Topic starter  

Hi all,

How's your singing going? Any good? Working on it?

Over the last week or so I've been attempting to add some singing practice to what I laughingly call my routine…. It's been a fascinating exercise. Voice is often quoted as the number one instrument, and it would seem that way when you consider the effect that a good singer can have on the listener. And there's no doubt that it can make a huge difference to the impact it can have on your own performance. It can allow you to tell a story, it can take the pressure off your guitar playing always having to provide enough interest to hold centre stage, and it can greatly improve the fun you can have with it all.

But, to be honest, it's another instrument to learn and there's a lot more to it than just opening your mouth and hoping that you have some sort of instant natural talent.

So I've started working through a Teach Yourself book and CD. In the first week the improvement was very encouraging. To go from complete rubbish to starting to noticeably gain some control and accuracy was much quicker than I'd imagined. Basic things like working out what my voice range was and how to match that to the key and scope of a song, plus doing a few simple scales and exercises gave a pay off with pleasing speed. But it also gave me a glimpse into the road ahead and how much work I should put in if I wanted to become even reasonable.

One moment rather summed it up. I'd had unexpectedly good results singing scales, over a wider range than I thought that I possessed, and had also done a fair job of singing a few simple traditional songs as I strummed along. So I decided to take the next step and record one of the same simple traditional songs as a rhythm backing track, and then try recording the singing as a separate track. What a reality check that was! Disaster! I had almost no idea when to come in, couldn't tell when the next chord change was coming (even though I had played them myself only a few seconds before) and so on. I ended up with a track that was a mixture of terrible singing (all the control vanished) and a lot of laughing and swearing. It was totally awful in every respect. So obviously there's a lot of very basic timing and listening exercises to be done yet.

So where are you all at? I'm sure we'd all like to sing along as we play, but are you deliberately putting any work in? If so how? And if not why not?

Cheers,

Chris


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(@citizennoir)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1248
 

Hey Chris :D

I have noticed your 'new' interest in singing lately.

Well, back in the band days, I was 'forced' to sing, as I was the only one that could while playing.
No, I couldn't really sing at all.

I have worked on it quite a bit since then, as my sound shifted to a more acoustic thing, and singing became more 'important'.

I can honestly say, I have NO natural singing talent.
What I have so far is very HARD EARNED!!!!

I never had any lessons or took any courses or books or anything.
I just kept singing along to songs on the radio til I could pretty much hit the same key time after time.
My range expanded. As did my technique.

The only problem I have is my voice is easily strained and takes forever to recover.
Do you know how I can strengthen up any...?

The thing I found really funny when I was leaning to sing and finding my voice, struggling with control,
was that when I was playing and trying to sing, I would usually sing really muted - kinda under my breath.
Then, I would open my mouth more and give it some volume and all of a sudden....
I'D BE SINGING!!!!
And it SCARED me to death to hear my own voice sound SO GOOD. LOL
It would invariably make me mess up in my playing and I would go back to 'singing' under my breath. LOL

I think it's funny that I found that I would rather have people hear me sing terribly than to have them think that I could actually sing.

That's half the battle - getting over that fright.

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
Topic starter  

That's half the battle - getting over that fright.

Ken

I reckon you're right there Ken. :) That was an interesting point about singing under your breath too.

There's quite an ingrained feeling of "I can't really sing" that has to be overcome. I hadn't really thought about it before, but sitting down at the keyboard and belting out "doh re me..." scales almost seemed to give me 'permission' to open the mouth, turn the volume up and give it some stick! It was surprisingly liberating. :D

Not sure about building the strength up. I did notice that after the initial enthusiastic bursts that I could feel the effects in the throat - a bit of soreness, tiredness, etc. Reminded me a bit of the early days of building up callus, finger strength etc.

I must try more singing along to the radio etc as you suggested too. One of the good things about a voice is that you've always got the instrument with you, and you can play 'no hands'. 8) So I can sing and type, sing and drive, etc. I just need to get into the habit.

Cheers,

Chris


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(@citizennoir)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1248
 

Yeah, I figured it would just take more and more until the strength builds up, it's just sooo frustrating when it happens.
And like I said, takes weeks to recover.

If you are going to sing to the radio and such, remember to sing in your own voice.
Don't try and sound like the singer.
Just try and nail the key with your own voice.
It's also good for working on harmonies.

If you're struggling with a song, a lot of times, try lowering or raising the volume.
For me, different keys require differing volumes.
Some I need to sing quieter - others I need to belt out.

You sound like you're getting quick results, and that's great!!!!
My way only took 15 years.

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2852
 

I've always sung, ever since I started to get into music at around the age of 9. One of my problems with enjoying new music is that the thing I love to do while listening to music is to sing...

With that said, I'm not a good singer by any means. I don't have any problem staying in tune or in time, but my vocal tone kinda...sucks.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

As a very small child, I used to sing along to the radio all the time. All the way through school, I was in the choir - even a choirboy at church. Then I hit puberty.....and my voice broke. I don't think it's ever been mended!

I've always sang along with the radio though - a friend of mine told me a few years back he'd seen a lot worse than me on TV. I could do passable imitations of Lennon, Joe Cocker, Ian Hunter, Dylan and Bowie - but I never had a singing voice of my own, it seemed thin, reedy and nasal to me. I have worked at it though...quitting smoking was a big help, all of a sudden I wasn't gasping for breath half-way through a line! Now I try and get the voice to begin from the diaphragm rather than the head (I've seen a couple of posts lately that mention "head voices" and "chest voices.")

But what's most important is to believe in what you're singing - to me, anyway. Sing with conviction and you're half-way there.

About three years ago, I finally had enough confidence in my guitar playing to post a self-written song. Didn't bother with vocals at all - didn't think anyone would want to hear them. Not twice, anyway! When I did get around to vocals it seemed people did actually think I'd got a voice, albeit it's usually compared to someone else. (Dylan, Jakob Dylan, Ian Hunter, Bowie and Lou Reed, amongst others!) It got to the stage where I thought, "Hell with it - they're my songs, and I'm going to sing them!"

BTW, while I've mentioned Ian Hunter already, this quote from him seems fitting here....

"I can remember one night trying to explain to Paul Rodgers (NOTE - Mott and Free were label-mates at the time, on Island Records, about '72 or so.) why I existed in music. He just couldn't understand it, and he wasn't trying to be funny, either. Like a lot of people, he thought 'If you're not a great singer, why do you try to sing?' I felt that if I had something to say, there was no reason why I shouldn't say it."

So if you've got something to say, SAY IT LOUD!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@steve-0)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1165
 

I'll be completely honest and say that I think I have a pretty decent ear and I've always thought that I can usaully sing in key but I'm definitely not a lead singer. If I joined a band that expected me to sing back-up I think I could do it, I would need a little more practice and ALOT more confidence to be a lead singer though.

Steve-0


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(@kcfenderfan)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 473
 

Many years ago, I was a first tenor in high school choir. As of the last 10 years or so (due in part to a moderate deviated septum), my voice has really gone down hill. I seem to have a lot of sinus drainage which I believe is part of the problem. When my wife and I first started dating, I would sing to her accompanied by the radio or a record album (see, I am old) on the old stereo I had. Only years later did she tell me what a good voice I had then. I am trying to get the courage to start singing again, though I doubt it would be first tenor. Probably second tenor or baritone. Maybe someone will ask me to sing so-lo in their band. That is so-low that nobody can hear me

Thanks for letting me ramble in your post, Chris!

Jim-Bone


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

When I attempt to sing, the tom cats throw boots...........................

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@causnorign)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 559
 

For me singing helps me keep in time. Unfoutunately my voice is horrible. Guess I should stick to tapping my foot.


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(@eirraca)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 220
 

I sing with the radio although I don't listen to it much. I tend to sing at home a lot with my cds playing and I do pretty well with tune and time. Whether I sound good or not is another story. I have trouble when I'm singing a song and then the singer belts out something that I'll never be able to do lol...like Rob Halford. I'll have to figure out something else when it gets to those parts.


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(@rgalvez)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 718
 

In mi case, my profile says it all...I am mainly a singer...I studied singing lessons...and I compose songs, but always with a partner (a keyboardist or a guitarist), but since it's so difficult to have them when I want to (because of limited shedules due to our jobs), that's why I turned to guitar....I have been playing chords for almost ten years..and I joined this cool place to advance in the instrument.


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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1689
 

I used to be a better singer than I am now. I was forced to sing in the church choir as a kid, sang in the chorus in several musical theater productions, and even did a year in a swing choir (modern terminology is "show choir", daughter always reminds me) in early college. I was never a lead-type singer, but a reasonable alto in a chorus. However, as I have sung less and less over the years, I have lost any range or control I ever had.

It's interesting to hear that significant improvement is possible with some concerted effort and practice.

My problem is, I'm too shy to venture to sing even around the house in front of my family. Heck, I can't even bear to listen to myself.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

I mainly sing to irritate people around me.


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Just listen to my recordings ....... Ummm ... yeah, I don't sing very well. I don't let it stop me though. I like to sing, I just don't have a very good voice.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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