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#608668 - 07/30/20 07:33 AM [Off-Topic] 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone...
Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1090
Loc: NYC
Joe V Offline
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Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1090
Loc: NYC
Hi all,

I am first and foremost a guitar player, but over the years I wish I sang more. I've been working on it more lately - the first obstacle being to remember all the words in a song.

That said - though it SHOULD be the other way around, I find that I'm singing to fill the empty spots in my guitar playing when indeed the vocals could and should be the focal point of songs with words. This is clearly because my vocals are the weak point in my performances, the area most likely to have noticeable problems, and the fact that I'm not very proud of my voice...a lot to overcome.

I was wondering how many of you are not natural singers, but began singing to allow yourself to perform solo in a more interesting way, and if you ever bothered with singing lessons and found them helpful. Also - curious if you found any online lessons helpful and worth the money.

Another question - because I'm not a singer, I find that at lower volumes (speaking volume and slightly below), I can hit higher notes. I'm guessing this is my lack of training. Clearly a more trained, powerful voice would be preferable, but in the absence of that - are there any singers out there that find their singing through a microphone at lower volumes comes out better than they could do so at higher volumes ?

As always - thanks in advance for sharing.


Edited by Joe V (07/30/20 07:35 AM)

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#608678 - 07/30/20 08:19 AM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7164
Guitarhacker Offline
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When singing, most guitarists are playing rhythm. Not always but most often. Unless you're playing a unison, it's hard to play a lead and sing something else at the same time.

I simply started by playing along to records and play the guitar while singing.

Regarding the words..... yeah.... you have to remember the words. What will happen as you do this more is that you will have your head in the song with the lyrics and your playing will be on automatic. You will not be thinking about the chords on the guitar. That will be coming from a subconscious level.

You have to sing with confidence. No one wants to hear a singer who sounds like that are afraid to sing. When you walk on stage and there's a packed house, sing like you own the place and the PA isn't working and you need that guy in the back to hear you. Don't strain your voice.... just don't hold it back unnaturally. Regarding mics and volume.... first off... you should forget about the audience. They don't exist. Get into the song.... listen to your voice and treat it like an instrument. If the song needs a soft passage, that's what you do. BUT... you don't sing soft thinking the mic and amplifiers are going to make up the difference. Sing the song the way it should be sung.

Another issue is singing by yourself, you will often hold back. Don't do that. Sing like there's a sold out arena waiting to hear you sing..... let it all out.

Holding back makes your voice weak and you will not be able to stay on pitch. Sing with strength and confidence.

Hope this helps.
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#608687 - 07/30/20 09:28 AM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3741
Loc: WV, USA
bobcflatpicker Offline
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Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3741
Loc: WV, USA
Joe,

Find some people to play with on a casual basis. Most of us are mediocre singers at best. I'm in that category.

Only play songs that are within your range or just a little bit outside on a few high parts. Sometimes you'll hit those notes and sometimes you won't.

As long as you're not playing for money, most people people are pretty forgiving because they appreciate being able to hear live music in a casual setting.

EDIT: If any of the listeners rib you about about not reaching a note, tell them to buy a ticket next time so they can hear someone use Autotune to reach those high notes. LOL


Edited by bobcflatpicker (07/30/20 09:45 AM)
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#608691 - 07/30/20 09:57 AM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4904
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Online   content
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I think you will find that most people hate the sound of their own voice, yet others have no problem with it. I only have to look in a mirror to find one of those people. Just stay within yourself. Write songs in your key and your range. Freddie Mercury, with the insane range and power he had, is dead, and you probably won't fill his shoes. But Herb's advice was absolutely accurate. When you walk out onto a stage, sing like you own the room. Belt it out to the back row. If lyrics are a problem, invest in a teleprompter that sits on the floor like a monitor. They run about $300. They have a pedal to stop and start the scrolling. All you have to do it enter the lyrics. But whatever you do, in any walk of life, do it with 100% absolute take-no-prisoners confidence. Not everybody is Frank Sinatra.

Can Rod Stewart REALLY sing? Mick Jagger? There's a fairly long list of people who are not pure singers who sang in popular bands.

Remember, (one of my favorite quotes) if you say "I can't", you probably won't.
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#608708 - 07/30/20 12:41 PM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 3569
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Online   content
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Posts: 3569
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: Joe V
I was wondering how many of you are not natural singers, but began singing to allow yourself to perform solo in a more interesting way, and if you ever bothered with singing lessons and found them helpful. Also - curious if you found any online lessons helpful and worth the money.

I'm not sure I'd consider myself a "natural" singer, as I'd always sung. Listening to my father and uncle try to out-sing each other in church, I learned it could also be a competitive sport. wink

As a teenager, I joined a church choir for the opportunity to not only sing, but more importantly, get better at singing and playing guitar.

I was accepted as a singer, but when I pulled out my guitar and played, the choir director told me to put it back in the case, and not bring it back until learned how to play it. I stayed with that choir, but joined another choir and played guitar in that one. wink

I took a voice class in college, but honestly, I was too embarrassed to practice as much as I should have, so didn't get as much from the class as I could have.

I've also taken free voice clinics from the local barbershop quartet when they were offered, which were great at reinforcing fundamentals I theoretically already knew, as well as try to sing some super-fun stuff that was way out of my league.

Other things that have been valuable: recording myself, as well as using pitch-correction software. Like everyone else who's heard me, I dislike the sound of my voice.

But listening to recordings helps me hear what I really sound like, which is necessary to get better.

And pitch-correction software helps show intonation problems, as well as "completely missed the pitch" problems.

So yes - I've had lessons at every point where I could manage to sneak them in, and I'd recommend them to anyone who wants to get better.

As far as singing soft, I suspect that your vocal chords are just weak, so they can't take too much pressure (yet).

Fortunately, the microphone is your friend!

Also, singing soft instead of over-singing will tend to give you a better sound. So loud isn't always better (but something you'll eventually get).

So sing as loudly as you can and still sound good, and with practice you will be able to increase the volume.

What's going to sell people isn't your vocal range, but your ability to tell the story and emote.

So even when you're singing quietly, you can still "own the room" by making sure you're projecting confidence - use what you can use as skillfully and confidently as possible.
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Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#608747 - 07/30/20 05:34 PM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 04/03/09
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Guitarhacker Offline
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Oh yeah.... regarding the lyrics and how do you remember them. Learn the song like the back of your hand. If that doesn't help.... you can always write them out and use a music stand. I used to write the first few words of each verse... that's all I needed to prompt my mind to remember the rest of the verse.

It also helps to work on a skill called "Faking it" . If you forget the words, don't stand there looking dumb.... make up some s**t right there on the spot. Maybe you will crash and burn and maybe you will soar.... I had one of the band members girl friends comment to me one night....her: " you totally forgot the second verse in that song didn't you?" Me: "yep" her: "if I wasn't paying attention I would have never known it because you faked the hell out of it." probably one of the best compliments I ever got about my singing.
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#608775 - 07/30/20 08:25 PM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 12/20/16
Posts: 926
Loc: Gold Coast, Queensland, Austra...
Teunis Offline
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Registered: 12/20/16
Posts: 926
Loc: Gold Coast, Queensland, Austra...
I’ve always believed you use words as a guide. Chord charts you have to get right. When people asked, I would say it is extremely difficult to learn to sing, learn the words and play something you’re not familiar with all at the same time.

I also believe looking at the fingerboard is a no-no. By the time what you’re doing registers the moment has gone. To play without looking requires a bit of confidence in your own ability.

These days (or just back before Covid-19) I use SongBook By LinkeSoft. Here I have my words and chords simply scroll in front of me as I play. I use them as a simple guide. Doing it this way I can easily tell when I have a lead break or where I am in a song should I lose concentration.

It is great, I can set up my sets and control the start of each song and the backing. It lives on the same laptop as my backing tracks and also where my guitar is plugged into so it’s all nice a compact. Off memory Songbook was less the US$20 for the PC. There are also versions for other devices.

Most of all I don’t worry too much about making mistakes but when you’re using backing tracks you have to stay with them which is the most important part of live shows.

Tony


Edited by Teunis (07/30/20 10:02 PM)
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#608790 - 07/31/20 02:20 AM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1448
Loc: Hong Kong
lambada Offline
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Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1448
Loc: Hong Kong
I've had singing lessons from classically trained teachers. Very helpful, but you have to get a good teacher who has been trained and really knows about the voice. The world is full of idiots claiming to teach singing who either a) can't sing or b) will damage your voice. Not good.

I had the benefit of being a chorister in Oxford from about 7 years old so I grew up with church music. What David said above is really good advice and I know when I do the guitar / singer thing I often fall into those traps.

I use TC Helicon gear to help as well eg subtle autotune, compression, reverb etc., harmonies, backing tracks - whatever to make me feel confident. I also sang in choral groups for about 5 years recently. Having said that, the best feeling is standing up in front of 1000+ people and hearing them cheer you on - just me and my voice.

I have a friend who's a great tenor and I'm a baritone (crying). One time he turned to me and said "The remarkable thing about you is that you never give up". Not kind, but I think he was having a go at me for refusing to let him sing after he'd said he hadn't practiced. Not that he needed to really. I think I grunted something rude back.


Edited by lambada (07/31/20 02:24 AM)
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#608872 - 07/31/20 01:18 PM [Off-Topic] Re: 1. Transitioning from guitar playing to guitar playing AND singing -2. Singing into a Microphone... [Re: Joe V]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5091
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5091
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
I'm not a natural singer either but years ago, frustrated with a few Diva and Divo singers who thought the world revolved around them I decided to learn.

The first thing you need to do is to breathe properly. If you don't, you can ruin your voice and end up sounding like a frog. If you get nodules on your vocal cords, there is a 50/50 chances an operation will fix it. If it doesn't you won't be able to sing at all. Julie Andrews the Broadway/Movie star lost that bet. Tony Bennett breathes properly and he's in his 90s and his voice is still strong.

When you inhale, your chest should not inflate, instead your abdomen. Your navel should move away from your spine. Then as you sing, your abdominal muscles should tighten as if you were anticipating someone punching you in the gut as you exhale through your larynx. Your throat should not be tense even when singing high notes.

This is called breath support and it is the same with wind instrument players.

Then it takes a lot of practice, and I mean a lot of practice. It was harder to learn to sing than it was to learn guitar for me. On the guitar, if you put your fingers on the right frets the right note comes out, comes out clearly and is in tune. It took many hours to develop the muscles to get my voice to do that (I told you I'm not a natural singer).

I'm now in a duo with my wife who is a fantastic singer (and not a Diva) and I sing about half the songs. She sings the most demanding ones though because she has a better "instrument".

Memorizing words is another thing. I think it takes doing it, and doing it without the words in front of you.

I learn the guitar part first then the vocals, then put them together. I do the same when I accompany myself on the keyboard.

I keep a cheat sheet on a computer in front of me so I can glance at it if I trip on the words.

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