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learning to love one's own voice

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Jersey Jack
(@jersey-jack)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 189
Topic starter  

I've taken singing lessons recently and made great progress. I'm confident now that with the right song and some practice, I can stay on pitch. I've even sung in public a few times recently with my band, and no one walked out!

But I have a real problem with the sound of my own voice! I can hit the pitch and hold the note, and my expressiveness is good, but tonally--man, it sounds to my ear like crap! Let me qualify this: In my head--not on a recording--the sound is fine, but when I hear a playback....Yikes! :oops:

I've been told by many people that the following two points are generally true, but they don't seem to square with one another:

1. The way one hears oneself in one's own head is not accurate because the sound is shaped by internal resonances that are not present to listeners; hence the recorded voice is the real thing;
2. Many excellent singers hate the sound of their own voice on recording--some even when performing live. My voice teacher said that I should judge the quality of voice by the FEELING (vibration, freedom of breath, breath support), NOT by the SOUND.

If the recording is the real thing, aren't we fooling ourselves by ignoring this sound and allowing proper sensation to determine whether or not we can or cannot sing? :roll:

It's awfully hard--especially for someone like me, who is just learning to sing at a ripe old age--to trust sensations and the opinion of others (really, who's going to say you suck to your face?) over the palpable evidence of one's own ears!

So, I want to gather some opinion: How many of you really like the sound of your own voice on recordings? Did you always like it, or did you come to like it? How does this happen? How long does it take?

Do any of you continue to dislike your own voice? Have you managed to achieve a certain faith that it really doesn't sound the way it sounds to you?

Thanks,
Jersey Jack


   
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jwmartin
(@jwmartin)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1435
 

Well, I don't sing (at least when people can hear me), but I agree with you on hating the sound of my voice on recordings. Even things as simple as my outgoing voicemail message doesn't sound anything like what I hear in my head. I remember the first time I got an answering machine and recorded the message, I played it back and I sounded just like a cousin of mine, nothing like what I hear when I talk.

Bass player for Undercover


   
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coleclark
(@coleclark)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 417
 

if you suck your band will tell you...oh yeah they will... :P

my speaking voice i hate, but my singing voice is a lot differnt and although i get annoyed at the mistakes i made i quite like the timbre because i realise how much progress iv made since i started, i still find it disconcerting...but not unlistenable


   
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TwistedLefty
(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

i love my voice, others might not... don't really care. It's not like i can get another one. :mrgreen:

#4491....


   
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geoo
 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

I think some of it has to do with us trying to sound like the musician we are covering. In our heads it sounds pretty close but you dont have the same equipment as the person you are covering and its not going to sound exactly like them. Lately, I have been focusing more on trying to sound like myself and then making the songs I want to cover sound like my style, rather than me sound like them. I'll let ya know how that works out. Another thing is that it allows me to be more confident in what I am singing because I dont have the added pressure of not sounding like Jonny Lang, Keith Urban, etc etc.

Just my thoughts.

Jim

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


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

I've been getting happier with my voice recently - I've been really working on taking the nasal sound out of it (not easy when my speaking voice is the same) and making good progress. The trouble I have now, as I discovered on Tuesday when I did a couple of songs at an open mike-ish thing, is that I can't tell what I'm doing when singing through a mike. They haven't got monitors, so the speakers are set either side and just a little behind the performer, and angled slightly so they can hear as much as possible without generating feedback. Everyone else seems to manage just fine, and the last time I did anything through a monitor I don't remember it being much different. I couldn't hear anything but the bass of it, and I could tell if I was in tune or not through the feeling of the vibrations in my chest/throat more than by ear :shock: Apparently I did OK, I was just a bit quiet... and there was me thinking I was a bit too loud and trying to tone it down a little. :roll: :mrgreen:

Without a PA, the only thing I can think of is to listen to the guitar through headphones at a volume that almost, but not completely, drowns out my voice, so that the balance between the two seems about the same as the other night. In theory that should be pretty much the same, so hopefully it'll be close enough for me to learn from. Any other suggestions are welcome (Any other suggestions that don't involve spending money that is, I am as skint as skint can be at the moment, and with Chrimble coming up too :roll:)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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joefish
(@joefish)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 75
 

I know the feeling. This is my greatest struggle right now (sometimes can be very depressing). In my head, I sound like George Harrison, but on recording... more like Ringo Starr (some folks have actually told me I have a Harry Chapin sound). It took a long time for me to even stomach the sound of my singing voice on playback. The good thing it has shown me though, is where I need to work on refining my voice. I'm flat, nasaly, pitchey, and boring, but I know what it feels like when these events occur while I am singing and hopefully I can work on correcting them. I have found that if I sing "correctly", breathe right, annunciate, my vocals sound acceptable. So I start there.

Many excellant singers don't like the sound of thier own voice...this is true. John Lennon used to hate the sound of his voice and would always hit up Mr. Martin to tweak it somehow. Overdubs and reverb helped alot.

Anyway, that's my two-cents from the new guy. Twisted-Lefty is right, got to love what you got, it's not like we're going get a new voice anytime soon.

==================
Pat
joefish
SilverBox

"Music so wishes to be heard that it sometimes calls on unlikely characters to give it voice".
Robert Fripp


   
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Jersey Jack
(@jersey-jack)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 189
Topic starter  

I should say that I'm starting to not hate the sound of my voice. The process is slow, however! I've been recording myself constantly, on the theory that the more I listen the more acclimated I'll get to the sound. It seems to be working.

Don't laugh, my one single assurance that my voice doesn't really suck is the fact that the band members keep coming back! Though I never, ever, get compliments on my voice, they do often suggest that I should sing a particular song, and they show no reluctance to play in public with me singing. And I sing well over 50% of the material.

My wife says I'm good, but, then, what would she say? My voice teacher says the same, but it's in his interest to say this, no?

The point: With no compliments other than those whose compliments are suspect, and with THAT SOUND always coming back to me from the recordings, I find it hard to develop confidence.

By the way, I do find that I sound better on recordings when I sound worse in my own ears--when I adopt the low larynx "dummy" voice (as my old teacher used to call it). :shock: Funny.

Jersey Jack


   
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benpari
(@benpari)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 34
 

me and one of my friends recorded this crazy death metal screamo thing that I wrote and we used the first vocal take, which we came up with the lyrics while we were screaming(it basically consisted of screaming BOW DOWN, and stuff like that, it was horribly cliche).

anyways after listening to the recording I actually liked my crazy screaming voice a lot. Who knows about my real singing voice, I am tone deaf(ouch >_>....).....

it also really hurt my throught which is bad, so I definetly dont plan on making a career out of it


   
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pearlthekat
(@pearlthekat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1468
 

post a little clip so we can tell you whether or not you sound sucky...


   
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Jersey Jack
(@jersey-jack)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 189
Topic starter  

Okay, no shame at my age, I guess! Here's my voice:

http://www.myspace.com/jackaxcelson

These are very rough recordings that I made a few months ago. I can do a bit better now, but this will give you an idea of what I'm up against.

Be gentle....

Jersey Jack


   
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cnev
 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

Jjack,

You're definitely to tough on yourself. That's pretty good, maybe a bit nasal here and there but that's your voice not sure how much you can change that.

On the whole pretty good keep it up.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

Haven't listened yet Jack (no sound on work comp, keep forgetting when I get home :( ), but if you're struggling to remove a nasal sound like I am, there's a couple of things that I've found that might help. I've picked these tricks up from various sources around the net/local singers/etc., and they seems to be working for me. Make of it what you will :)

The nasal sound is caused by not opening your throat enough, apparently. First, the quick and easy fix: you can tip your head back when you sing, Oasis-style, which lessens the constriction at the back of your throat. At the very least make sure your head is level, not looking downwards. That means only glancing at the fretboard, or looking down your nose at it. The second is to drop your tongue as you sing. This is definitely not an easy fix - I've been doing it for a month or so and it's still difficult to do, however, it's worth it. You know when you try and stifle a yawn, so that others don't notice? Feel what you're tongue is doing when you do that? That's the feeling you're aiming for, just not as much. You'll know how much because you'll not be able to pronounce anything if you do it too much, as your tongue won't move if it goes too low :mrgreen:

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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pearlthekat
(@pearlthekat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1468
 

i got gypped (spelling). i didn't hear anything nasal...


   
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Jersey Jack
(@jersey-jack)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 189
Topic starter  

Thanks to all for listening and commenting. I feel a bit better now. 8)

(Hey pearlthecat: Not noticing the nasality, is good, right? Can I count your response as a thumbs-up?)

My wife is now accusing me of trolling for compliments! But, really, I posted my vocals only because I was asked. I meant this thread to be about learning to live with the sound of one's own recorded voice--e.g., do we all come to appreciate the sound of our own voices eventually, or do we simply come to terms with the fact that the bad stuff we hear coming from recordings is in a different way no more accurate than the good stuff we hear in our own heads?

But since I've already stepped forth, any other comments about my voice would still be appreciated! :wink:

Best,
Jersey Jack


   
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