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Vocal style help
Old 25th September 2007
  #1
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Vocal style help

Hello again gearsluts. I'm hoping someone with vocal coaching will chime in here. I'm recording a singer now whos voice does not resonate in a big way and when he tries to push notes to make up the lack of resonance, he goes off pitch. We have tried different things for the past couple of days and actually found today that when we lower the mic around and below his chin, he's able to find a resonant tambre that is much more pleasant. Anyways, if anyone has any suggestions for other things to help out in this style of singing (singing down in the mic), let me know. It will be greatly appreciated...
Old 25th September 2007
  #2
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jmikeperkins's Avatar
The first suggestion, DON'T PUSH TOO HARD, TRY AND RELAX. BE AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE. I have worked with a number of singers who go off pitch when they push too hard. They also go off pitch when they think too much and become too self-conscious while singing. It hard to be more specific without hearing the voice and or watching the singer, but if the keeping the mic lower works, then do it.

J. Mike Perkins
Old 26th September 2007
  #3
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Windtaken's Avatar
 

putting it below his chin was a good idea. now try moving him farther from the mic and see how that affects things. if it's good then damp up the room a bit more to clean up that extra reverb.
Old 26th September 2007
  #4
Gear Head
 

Im a singer, I know the feeling, sometimes you just cant be on your A game. Just make sure hes comfortable, make sure its just you and him, no outside pressure. DO NOT PUSH IT, if its not happening, rest, drink water, try again. Ask him how hot or cold he wants the room (if its too hot hey may have a tendency to go flat). Have him warm up before he records, and most importantly make sure he listens to his recordings over and over so he can study what hes doing wrong. you can coach him all you want, but he has to hear and figure it out by himself. He has to be hydrated, and if he has a day job, make sure he gets plenty of rest before recording. reverse psychology doesnt work too well on singers lol, so you arent gonna get him to do it right by telling him he sucks, etc.

-Thetics
Old 26th September 2007
  #5
Gear Head
 

that last bit came out wrong, im not accusing you of telling him off lol, i was just adding a point, Ive known quite a few engineers who tell singers stuff like "aww cmon my grandma can do better than that" and it just doesnt work. singing isnt like plucking a string (no disrespect to any musicians). Anyway, just thought id clear that up.
Old 26th September 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windtaken View Post
putting it below his chin was a good idea. now try moving him farther from the mic and see how that affects things. if it's good then damp up the room a bit more to clean up that extra reverb.
If you put the mic "below chin level" and he is singing DOWN to the mic he is probebly constricting his airflow. In fcat, he will definitely be constricting his airflow.

You want the mic higher if anything so he will sing with his head or chin slightly elavated.
This opens his airway and good vocals are all about support and moving air.

Many people make the mistake of thinking they should sing downward and focus their sound lower because the sounds are lower.
It is lke they are mimicing the classic comic face of a bass singer.

The other common effect is to hunch up their shoulder.
Also, very bad.
Old 26th September 2007
  #7
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Windtaken's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
If you put the mic "below chin level" and he is singing DOWN to the mic he is probebly constricting his airflow. In fcat, he will definitely be constricting his airflow.

You want the mic higher if anything so he will sing with his head or chin slightly elavated.
This opens his airway and good vocals are all about support and moving air.

Many people make the mistake of thinking they should sing downward and focus their sound lower because the sounds are lower.
It is lke they are mimicing the classic comic face of a bass singer.

The other common effect is to hunch up their shoulder.
Also, very bad.
He's still supposed to sing level (not down) but moving the mic down to get less head and more chest resonance then moving away a little so the head isn't so off axis.
Old 26th September 2007
  #8
Here for the gear
 

Try Different Monitoring

I've heard of an alternate monitoring techinque where the singer does not use headhphones, rather they monitor through speakers and the phase somehow becomes null.

I've always wanted to do this but haven't quite got the details of how to do it figured it out. Sortal like a low, background monitoring guide track that can be removed once the primary vocal is in place.

The idea has always intrigued me because with me (as a singer) I like to hear myself in the mix but still hear the actual vocal tones that I'm attemping to marry to the backing tracks.

Tanglewood
Old 26th September 2007
  #9
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vernier's Avatar
A great singer will sound good, no matter what, and there are tons of 'em out there. But a singer who struggles, will always be struggling to be what he/she can't be, which is a great singer.
Old 26th September 2007
  #10
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redrue's Avatar
 

Better for his head to be tilted down a little than up which can
cause a singer to put major pressure on the throat. If tilting the
head down a little opens up some resonance then that's the
right direction... Also - A voice coach once told me: before you make
a sound pretend your about to bite an apple... made all the difference
in the world... opens the airway back and up into that resonating nasal
cavity... you might also tell him to take a breath like he's about to scream
but then only to sing just slightly above speech level.

All this takes practice, practice, you know. Trying new techiniques
or trying to refine them in the studio while attempting 'keepers' can
be enormously frustrating...

best of luck,
Old 26th September 2007
  #11
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The lack of resonance comes from your singer, singing BELOW the pencil (as my vocal coach Melissa Cross would say in this situation). Click here for the link!

See the picture with Keith having the pencil in his mouth? I know it seems silly, but put a pencil in your singers mouth. He has to place his sound ABOVE the pencil. Right now he's probably doing it BELOW the pencil. Once he's above it, he'll have WAAAAY more resonance. Make him sing a few takes with the pencil in his mouth so that he gets a feeling for where to place the sound. But check out the "placement" section for more! Good luck!


Btw, sounds like your singer HAS NO CLUE HOW HIS INSTRUMENT WORKS! This aint a vocal STYLE, but a vocal TECHNIQUE problem. He needs to get a good vocal coach and learn how to sing. The fact that he pushes, indicates that he currently has no idea how to do that. I know this sounds clichè, but a vocal coach is really the only thing which could help him.

Now the big question is, will he face his suckiness and do something about it, or bull**** himself like most people? 50% is talent, the rest is persistence (and doing everything in your power to get better). The bands/people/artists who work on themselves, and face their "issues" are the ones who make it, the ones who join the rest of the local bands (where everybody bull****s each other, "yo bro, nice show", "yeah, your show rocked too"), will play crappy bars for the rest of their lives...

Blows my mind that singers even book studio time when they KNOW that they cant deliver. Arent you supposed to figure out whether or not you can sing BEFORE you hit the studio? Oh well, everybody's a musician these days. Thanks to shows like American Idol!
Old 26th September 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrue View Post
Better for his head to be tilted down a little than up which can
cause a singer to put major pressure on the throat. If tilting the
head down a little opens up some resonance then that's the
right direction... Also - A voice coach once told me: before you make
a sound pretend your about to bite an apple... made all the difference
in the world... opens the airway back and up into that resonating nasal
cavity... you might also tell him to take a breath like he's about to scream
but then only to sing just slightly above speech level.

All this takes practice, practice, you know. Trying new techiniques
or trying to refine them in the studio while attempting 'keepers' can
be enormously frustrating...

best of luck,
This is interesting. Just pretend like your biting a regular apple? Is it to get your mind into opening yuor mouth?

For the post below this, I will try this pencil technique with the singer...Thanks for the help!
Old 26th September 2007
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Windtaken's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanglewood View Post
I've heard of an alternate monitoring techinque where the singer does not use headhphones, rather they monitor through speakers and the phase somehow becomes null.

I've always wanted to do this but haven't quite got the details of how to do it figured it out. Sortal like a low, background monitoring guide track that can be removed once the primary vocal is in place.

The idea has always intrigued me because with me (as a singer) I like to hear myself in the mix but still hear the actual vocal tones that I'm attemping to marry to the backing tracks.

Tanglewood
I think what you're talking about is this...

Setup the mic in place to where you're going to record vocals. Then use the mic to record a track without singing, so that it only gets the instruments playing through it. Then flip the phase of that track. Then record vocals. Once you blend the two mic tracks, the instruments should phase cancel each other out.

I've never tried it though so I don't know how effective it is.
Old 26th September 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmikeperkins View Post
The first suggestion, DON'T PUSH TOO HARD, TRY AND RELAX. BE AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE. I have worked with a number of singers who go off pitch when they push too hard. They also go off pitch when they think too much and become too self-conscious while singing. It hard to be more specific without hearing the voice and or watching the singer, but if the keeping the mic lower works, then do it.

J. Mike Perkins

Thanks for this suggestion. He wasnt nailing it with the mic below...We put it back up high and told him to relax and just let it come out of his natural tone of voice and it sounds good...He's just really self-conscious of how his voice comes out naturally and almost tries to get away from it, although it sounds really good...
Old 26th September 2007
  #15
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FMNYC's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
The lack of resonance comes from your singer, singing BELOW the pencil (as my vocal coach Melissa Cross would say in this situation). Click here for the link!


dude!!!! i was also coached by melissa!!!

small world...

FM

FM is all about the bling-bling.
Old 27th September 2007
  #16
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uncle duncan's Avatar
 

I'm surprised no one mentioned the headphone mix. The wrong mix can absolutely kill a singer's performance. The music has to be loud enough for the singer to be enveloped by it, but not overpowered by it. Then, the voice has to sit just right - too loud and he'll sing too soft, too soft and he'll sing too loud.

Sometimes, taking one phone off helps. You could also try making the place really dark. Maybe plug in a lava lamp. Water supposedly strips the fluid off the vocal cords, so the guy's got to be hydrated before he starts singing. Then, during the session, perhaps some seven up or ginger ale mixed half and half with water.

If the guy is also a player, have him hold his instrument. People who are used to playing and singing together sometimes need the connection to their instrument, even if they're not playing it. Years ago, in an interview, Billy Joel said he can't sing in a studio unless he's sitting at a piano with his hands on the keys.

If the guy's inexperienced, and you have to punch in a line or word, have him sing the line before and the line after, so the breathing is right. So many singers punch in a line, but they hold it too long because they're not breathing for the next phrase, and the punch-ins are unusable.
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