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hitting lower notes
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hitting lower notes

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Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 133
Topic starter  

im a big time johnny cash fan and i like singinging his songs very favourite one is folsom prison blues, and im able to generate sound like j cash, but i cant get low in that part "on down to sanantone", i mean the last line......any advice on how to hit lower notes with enough sound.

" Take what you can from your dreams and make them real as anything " - Dave Matthews.

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64

I've got the same problem - I'm a Tenor, but I wish I could sing Bass! Don't try to push to get those low notes... there's a few songs I sing with my band where I have to sing down to A - I can hit that note, but it's real quiet. To compensate for the lack of volume I get real close to the mic when I sing that part. The other option would be to capo it up, but I'm not a big fan of changing the key of songs.

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 186

Odds are if you can't hit the low notes now, there's not too much you can do. The voice generally deepens with age, even past puberty, but I'm not sure how old you are. It's generally a lot easier to improve range on the higher side of things. That said, if you can hit that low E in Folsom Prison Blues, just not confidently, warming up will help. Try singing for a few minutes in the interval of a fifth or so around that E. Sing scale fragments or whatnot. The other thing, which might not be much help, is to sing earlier in the day. Many people find that their ranges shift upward throughout the day. When I wake up I can generally sing a low B (a fourth below the lowest note in Folsom Prison Blues), but by 11 pm I struggle with a low D or E, gigs in the morning?


Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 113

the reason your voice is deeper in the morning is because your throat is so relaxed, its actually bad for you to sing when your throat is that relaxed, but hell, there are worse things. I'm a Tenor and in the morning i can hit a low F, but i can barely hit an A later on once im warmed up, try not talking for the day before your gig, smoke em if you got em, and down some whiskey, that should keep your voice nice and gravelly :)

Zacharias Wolf

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

And if all else fails, use a capo to change the key. Singing low takes a wide open mouth and lots of air flowing through it. Especially if you arent used to singing that low. I have a hard time with Fulsom too


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 724

One thing that may help is to practice while singing into a mic with a monitor. I know a fellow who is a tenor but he sings bass in a quartette. He can't do it without an in the ear monitor.

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

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 371

...the reason your voice is deeper in the morning is because your throat is so relaxed...

I thought it was just my imagination that my voice sounded better in the morning! That's interesting to know.
I guess if I want to hit low notes at night, I should rest before I sing and maybe have a couple shots to relax :D

Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 15

You know, I actually sing bass (well, I AM a bass), and I find that if you want to hit the super low notes, the last thing you want to do is push at it, because it hurts and strains the voice. I would just say relax the voice and get REALLY close to the microphone.

Oh, and a funny story, I was learning Fulsome Prison Blues with my guitar teacher, played it and and sang in the original key, and we ended up lowering the key about two steps so I could REALLY hit meh low notes. :D

Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 34

That particular part of the song (San Antone) is difficult for most people.

Have you heard the live version with June Carter singing it. She really stuffs it up!

Don't let your voice drop into your throat. Keep it above the top lip.

Perhaps sing the whole song up a tone or two?