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Alex™
09-18-2009, 08:09 PM
Ok, my band currently need a singer - Now i'm not the best singer by a long shot - but seeing as the only other person who isn't drumming or full on can't sing at all is the other Guitarist, and he is screaming we need someone to sing vocals live etc. Because the other Guitarist can't switch between clean vocals and screams easily.

So, anyone have any tips that may help? No i can't afford vocal lessons either, before you mention it :P

Sosaku
09-19-2009, 03:40 AM
I used to be a horrible singer but after working on it for a while I'd say I'm pretty decent now. Here are some tips and tricks that I used which helped me out.

1) Stick your finger in your ear. Seriously put a finger just inside your ear and you should be able to hear yourself much better.

2) Using the above finger technique try just humming in tune. Alot of hitting the right notes is using your breath correctly.

3) Like any other muscle in your body your voice needs excercise to get better. Singing high notes will be very difficult at first and maybe even painful to do. But keep practising and it gradually gets easier and easier.

4) Have confidence. Having the confidence just to sing loudly was a big part of learning to sing for me. It's not just a psychological thing but also a technical thing since to reach certain notes you have to sing louder. i.e. pushing more air through your throat.

5) Find a level that feels natural to you. I naturally have a very low voice so I started out by trying to sing very low songs. Stuff like Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed etc but I eventually found it much more comfortable to sing higher. So now if I play songs on guitar I'll move the capo up a few frets to make it easier for me to sing. So find the range that works best for you.

6) Drink Lemon. Drinking some lemon juice just before you're about to sing helps tighten up your vocal chords.

I'm not by any means a professional singer and I never took any lessons so maybe someone else out there would be able to give you some better technical advice. One thing that worked very well for me being in Japan was going to Karaoke. I started off super embarrased and unable to sing anything but eventually built up my confidence and ability to where I've earned a bit of a reputation as a karaoke king. :cool: haha

Rustbukkit
09-19-2009, 08:01 AM
Good advice from someone who's been there and done that.

Put an ad in your local paper or radio station looking for "A SINGER" ... it's really that simple. Singing is just as important as playing any instrument. Finding a singer who can play an instrument as well and do them both proficiently is a aVERY rare thing... don't count on finding someone multi-talented. Conversely.... don't try to add more problems to the mix by trying to make a singer out of yourself or any other member of the band who isn't already proficient in the art of vocals... it will never work.

Long story short.... hire yourselves a singer. Hold auditions and be stern about who makes th the cut... period!! Trying to make singers out of musicians will rarely give you decent results.

For those of you who have a "decent" voice but are not "Lead" vocal material... stick to backups. The best advice I can give where vocals are concerned is this - DON'T let ego's get in the way of what's best for your music!! So you're bass player always fancied himself as a singer but couldn't sing his way out of a wet paper bag.... DON'T let him sing.... PERIOD!! This goes for any and all members!! If they can't hold a note, they will only make you sound terrible while playing live ( as well as during recording ).

You really have to be firm on vocals. Find someone who's vocal range and talents match your style. If you are doing covers, make sure to only pick songs that your vocalist can do justice and stay away from songs out of their vocal range.... and be HONEST ABOUT IT.

You'd do well to risk "hurting their feelings" at the beginning by telling them they can't pull off the vocals, rather than to let them go on stage and humiliate themselves (as well as the rest of the band) in front of a crowd.

For those in the band that can sing to some degree... work on back-ups and contributing to song writing where vocals are concerned.

BTW.... sticking your finger in your ear won't get you anywhere.... trust me. You can't stop playing on stage to stick your finger in your ear to make sure you're in tune... that's what mon's are for. You either have it or you suck. ;)

BasketSnake
09-19-2009, 11:03 AM
YouTube - a-ha scoundrel day(Live) King of vocals

Sosaku
09-19-2009, 04:46 PM
BTW.... sticking your finger in your ear won't get you anywhere.... trust me. You can't stop playing on stage to stick your finger in your ear to make sure you're in tune... that's what mon's are for. You either have it or you suck. ;)

That's why it's called practice. Perhaps not everyone has a monitor they can stick in their ear to help themselves sing. I suppose practicing guitar with a metronome won't get you anywhere either? And it's definatley not a case of "You have it or you suck" You can learn to sing just as easily as you can learn to play an instrument and just like any instrument it takes time and practice to get good at it.

Not sure I can agree on A-ha being the king of vocalists either. Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke and Jimmy Page would have to be my personal selection.

Rustbukkit
09-19-2009, 06:59 PM
That's why it's called practice. Perhaps not everyone has a monitor they can stick in their ear to help themselves sing. I suppose practicing guitar with a metronome won't get you anywhere either? And it's definatley not a case of "You have it or you suck" You can learn to sing just as easily as you can learn to play an instrument and just like any instrument it takes time and practice to get good at it.

Not sure I can agree on A-ha being the king of vocalists either. Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke and Jimmy Page would have to be my personal selection.

Good point about it being called practice Sosaku. Just so you know, I wasn't trying to make any personal attack or anything. ;)

In my experience the ole "finger in the ear" trick is usually reserved for those odd moments where you can't quite find the note due to surrounding noise elements from the rest of the band, or when the note being attempted is slightly out of one's vocal range. I thought that you were implying that it's a good way to learn to sing in general, in which case I would still disagree. Sure you can get away with only using the mains as a reference, but if the band isn't using mon's for vocals at the least, then they are already setting themselves and the singer back from hearing the clarity of the vocals and allowing the vocalist to improve in general.

I'm not sure that your metronome vs. vocal training analogy is the best example, but I do see your point.

While I agree that the voice as an instrument can be trained and honed over time, some people (actually most people) simply can't and never will be able to sing well. Thus, you either have it or you don't (or suck)... imho. In my opinion, anyone can learn any instrument. How WELL they learn and exceed at that instrument is a totally different thing. I can teach just about anyone to play a basic four-four beat on a drum set (given enough time)... but that doesn't mean that person will ever be able to go any further with the instrument or ever call themselves a percussionist or drummer. They either intrinsically have it or they don't. No amount of training or practice can ever make up for what people lack where talent is concerned... if it could, people wouldn't pay so much attention to those in the arts are talented. It's what makes musicians/actors/artists/etc. such a desirable commodity and celebrity. That's what I'm really trying to say by stating you either have it or you don't.

All your other advice given is solid in my opinion, we just have differing opinions on a few minor things. ;)

I'm with you on A-ha not being the king of vocalists though. Then again... art IS subjective. Uhhmmm.... come to think of it, I don't even understand how that video posting is even a helpful response to ir0nmaid3nfan's question...lol. :confused:

Cheers! :)

To ir0nmaid3nfan, my old singer wrote a small guide to helping with vocals a few years back on his blog. I'll see if I can dig it up and re-post it here for you. He has some similar tips that Sosaku gave, as well as some more in-depth lessons and info on how to better train your voice.