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Fingerpicking and singing

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New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

I'm new at this so pardon if I make a mis-statement, but I know our voices sound different in our heads than they actually come out.

I've noticed that what I think is a high E in my head is actually about a G. (?)

So anyways I'm fingerpicking songs like Hey Jude, In My Life, Jet Plane etc. and having a real hell of a time - I'm singing higher in my head to compensate for what it actually sounds like when I record into a mic... but the guitar picking is really throwing me off - it skews my voices downwards.

I guess practice practice practice, but wondering if any of you guys had opinion and thoughts. I can sing while strumming chords, but for some reason it's like because the fingerpicking is note for note that screws me up.

Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 973

I'm new at this so pardon if I make a mis-statement, but I know our voices sound different in our heads than they actually come out.

Welcome to the forum, Verc. I'm sorry I can't offer anything more useful than 'welcome' as your problem isn't one that I'm familiar with. It's true that the voice in our head is different to what comes out, but not normally in the way that you describe. The voice in my head sounds exactly the same as the voice that comes out - at least as far as pitch is concerned. Tonewise, it's a different thing, though. The voice in my head sounds like a cross between Bruce Sprigsteen and Frank Sinatra, whereas the one that comes out sounds more like a cross between Kermit the frog and Miss Piggy. But pitchwise it's fine.
I can even say that I've never met anyone with your problem (although I've met plenty with mine :lol: )
I would suggest practising playing major scales slowly and trying to match the pitch, note by note, but that may be no help at all if your problem has a physiological cause, in which case some professional advice would be worth seeking out.

Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 417

or get your hands on some form of recording device and record what you think is off pitch (ie what comes naturally) and then tone it off against a piano or guitar to see what it really is. i havent had the problem like youve stated but i have had the problem of singing a song and thinking 'hell thats high when i sing it but it doesnt sound high on the cd!' when i recorded myself i found that the song was in C, he was singing an E and i was singing a G, therefore it was still in the same key but was three semitones higher than i had to sing.

i hope that makes sense and/or helps you out :S

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349

Sounds like some interval ear training is required.

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64

I had a similar problem when strumming chords. I always wanted to sing the same note as I strummed on the highest string. It was difficult to sing another note. For example, when strumming a G chord I would sing a G, when strumming an (open) C chord I would sing an E, when strumming a D chord I would sing an F#, etc.

What helped for me was to only play the single notes of the lead melody and sing along to that, and get it perfect before adding the full chords for strumming. This learns you to seperate the meldoy you sing from the chords or notes you play on the guitar.

It's also fun practice to play a melody on the guitar while singing a counterpount melody. For example, try playing the notes C-B-A-G-A-B-C on the guitar while singing the notes C-D-E-G-E-D-C, or E-D-C-B-C-D-E, or whatever intervals you come up with. Singing dissonances such as singing an E over a D note can be pretty difficult at first, because your voice may tend to pull towards the underlying note, but it's pretty rewarding when you are able to pull it off.

New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3

Try singing over just the strummed chords first, people tend to be able to home in on the right note. Once your comfortable doing that then try singing over the fingerpicking....

Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 724

It could be that your playing is outside your vocal range. Your playing in one octave and singing in another.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe

Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 554

I remember singing a song in G, well at least thats what I was playing it in. To me it sounded OK but a friend told me I should use a capo and play the song higher to match my voice.

Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 31

I suggest you find out what the starting notes of your songs are and play it before you begin to play the guitar part. Get it fixed firmly in your head before you sing it. Practice the intro's a few times until you get it right.
If you still have trouble then just pick out the melody on the guitar and sing along with it, matching it note for note until you have it.

It sounds to me like you either don't know the song(s) well enough, or are having touble hearing it before you begin.

These tips should help fix it for you.

General Savage