Bassist's Guide to Singing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Since the topic of singing comes up again and again, I wrote this to help out the aspiring vocalists on TB.

    A Bassist’s Guide to Singing

    Sing? I’m a bass player, why should I sing? If that is the case, there’s no need to fret. You can do it. Maybe you’re not forced into singing. You just want to expand your musical abilities by picking up some vocal skills. In either case, singing improves your value as a musician, and it will improve your overall musical abilities.
    I’m not writing this because I am a great singer, because I am not. Singing did not come easily to me. I wasn’t endowed with natural talent. But because of this, I really had to learn to sing. I had to take a deep look into how to sing, and how to improve. Because of this ordeal to my self esteem, I have a better understanding of how to sing than those who sing naturally. I still have room to improve, but I can sing in pitch and get compliments now and then from someone other than my mom.

    How a sound is made
    You’ve probably heard it hundreds of times how the voice is an instrument. That’s because it is. Let’s take a look at the voice as an instrument by comparing to our favorite instrument – the bass.
    The vocal chords are like the strings on your bass. Like strings, when they vibrate they make sound. The breath is like your plucking fingers. When you pluck the bass string, it will vibrate, thus making a sound. Your chest, nasal cavities, and mouth are the tone woods on the bass. The woods in the body and neck resonate to enhance the sound of a vibrating string. In much the same way as the type of wood affects the sound of the bass, various parts of your body also affect the sound of your voice. The lips, tongue, palette, etc. are the fretting hand. The fretting hand controls what note you play, while the various doodads in your mouth determine what words or sounds you make.

    Elements of Singing
    I look at singing as 5 parts.
    1) Vocal quality – The timbre and tonal characteristics of your voice. This is what separates Barry White and Axle Rose. They can both hit the same note, but each will sound different. It is the thing that will make you unique as a singer. Some say this is something that you’re born with, others say it can be developed. I say, it can be developed but only to a limited degree. You’re pretty much stuck with what you got and have to learn to make the most of it. If you only have one bass, you’re going to have to learn to pick in different places to affect the tone coming out of the amp.
    2) Range – This is the highest note you can scream, and the lowest note you can growl. All of us are born with a limited range, but you can extend it through training. You don’t have to have an amazing range to be able to sing effectively. But, you do have to know the limitations of your range and how to work within them.
    3) Pitch – The notes that you sing. This is the most important aspect of singing. If you don’t hit the notes, then no matter what your range or vocal quality it will sound bad. If you don’t think pitch is important, next time you jam with your band, play ½ step lower than what the rest of them play. Even if you don’t have amazing range or great vocal quality, you can still hit a pitch. In your most limited capabilities, you can still do the most important thing right.
    4) Articulation – The words you say and the sounds you make. Sometimes you don’t care if people can understand your lyrics, but you should at least try to make the tone it makes articulate. However if you do, this is a crucial aspect of your singing. In the same way you can slop the notes of a bass together, you can also slop the words of a song to some Hamburglar robble robble. The problem is that neither sound good. A phrase in music or lyric should be understood and clear. Otherwise, it’s just some jumbled mumbled noise, on bass or voice.
    5) Rhythm – The timing of your singing. A singer who is off time, is as bad if not worse than a drummer who is off time. A singer who doesn’t come in at the right time, or cannot time their phrases in sync with the band will throw the whole band off and confuse listeners. As a performer, it’s crucial to come in at the right time, cut out at the right time, and sing along to the beat. The singer has to follow the beat as much as the bass player does.
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Getting Started
    Now that we have the fundamentals of a voice, let’s get into singing itself.
    The first thing to do is get an idea of what you have to work with. Find out what your vocal range is. Like I said earlier, you don’t have to have an amazing range to sing effectively. However, you do need to know your range. Find out the highest note you can sing without sounding like tortured cat. Find the lowest note you can sing without sounding like your father when he gets out of bed. Somewhere in between those ranges of bad sounds is your singing voice. That’s what you got, so work with it!
    The next thing to do is to identify your vocal quality. Do you have a throaty voice or a smooth one? Do you have lower timbre or a tone that cuts through glass? Identify this and you’ll get an idea of what kind of material your voice is suited for. Even though I’d love to sing like soulfully like Marvin Gaye or gravelly like Howlin Wolf, I’m stuck with something sounds like more like Barry Manilow or Frank Sinatra. It doesn’t mean that I’m stuck doing show tunes, but it does give me an idea of what kind of sound I can make and how it will fit in with the rest of the band.

    Basic Vocal Technique
    I’m not going to delve into the intricacies of vocal technique. We all have different physiology, so, what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another. A vocal coach comes in handy for this. They can work with your individual voice and body type to get the most of it. Please don't discount vocal technique. In the same way that improper technique could damage your hands or affect bass playing endurance, it can also affect your ability to sing as well as how long your voice will last.
    The first element is posture. The breath is like your plucking fingers. In the same way you don’t want to restrict the ability of your fingers to move, you don’t want to impede your breath. Stand or sit straight up. Puff out your chest so that your body’s resonating chambers are open and ready to fill with sound. Raise your chin up so that the throat is not constricted in any way. The flow from your chest to your mouth shouldn’t be impeded in any way.
    The next element is projection. Sing from your chest, not your throat. Singing from the throat will not only reduce your projection, it will also tire your voice out faster. A lack of projection will also affect your ability to sing in tune. Singing from the chest is not difficult to do. As one vocal coach told me, sing the way a cheesy radio announcer speaks. If you do that you should feel something in the back of your throat, as well as vibration in your chest. To see if you are doing this right, put your hand on your chest, about 2-4 inches from the bottom of your throat. If you can feel vibration in your chest when singing a lower not at low-medium volume you are doing it right. If not, you are singing from your throat. Play around with your voice until you can get this right. If you can’t do it on your own, find a vocal coach to help you do this. Also, use your mouth to improve projection. Sing with your mouth open.
    Your mouth is a wah-pedal that changes the tonal characteristics of your voice depending on how open it is. Play around with opening and closing your mouth in various ways to see how your projection and resonance change.
    Another element is breath. Remember to breathe! It’s amazing how amateurs can sing without breathing. If you don’t breathe, you have nothing to make your vocal chords vibrate. Relax your abdominal muscles, and breathe from your ribcage. If you’re tense, then it becomes hard to breathe. Relax and let your body do the work it takes to breathe.
    An often forgotten element of proper technique is confidence. It's not so much a technique as it is an attitude. Either way, confidence is key to effective singing. If you don’t have confidence, all the other elements quickly become negligible. In that same way that not fretting with enough strength results in buzzing strings, not singing with confidence will result in poor vocal tone. Singing is a challenge to your self confidence because you only have yourself to blame when you don't sing properly. You can’t blame it on your instrument. Well actually you can, since you are the instrument. The best way to improve your confidence is to improve your ability and to be prepared as a singer. Relax, and be sure of yourself.
    Pitch and articulation are other elements of technique, but I’ll get into that in later sections.
  3. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Being able to sing in tune is the most important thing you can do as a singer. Even if you have a voice that sounds like Freddy Mercury, if you are out of tune, it will still sound like crap. Your first and foremost job as a singer is to sing in tune! It doesn’t matter if you are a lead singer or backup vocalist, you have to sing in tune.
    Once you get all the elements understood, you have the basic building blocks to singing in pitch. As a bassist you already have musical knowledge, so you’re a step ahead of the average beginning vocalist. Music theory is great because it can apply to all instruments. Take what you know about the bass, and apply it to singing. It’s that simple.
    You also have a great tool to aid in learning to sing – your bass. So let’s use the bass to be able to sing in pitch. All you need to be able to do this is to be able to tune your bass without a tuner (i.e tuning via harmonics, 5th fret, etc.). If you can’t do this, take some time off and work on your ear using your bass only.
    Find a note that you are comfortable singing on the bass. I find ‘C’ to be a good place to start. Play the note on the bass and then sing it. It might take you a while to find a good starting note. Move up and down the fretboard until you find a good place to start. Once you found your spot, sing along with the notes you play on the bass. Each time that you hit the pitch, pay close attention to things going on in your body. How does your throat feel? What kind of shape does your mouth make? What does your chest feel like? Since the voice is not a visual instrument like the piano where the notes are laid out, you have to pay close attention to what your voice is doing. BTW, singing is a great way to improve your ear.
    From here play a chromatic scale, and sing each note as you play it. Hold the note on the bass until you hit the pitch. After you’ve hit the pitch go to the next note. Take note of the changes in your body when you go from one note to another. This will help you to be able go from one note to another when you don’t have a bass handy to match your pitch to. Really comes in handy when the vocal monitors blow up mid gig. After you’ve done a chromatic scale, play a major scale and sing along with those notes. Then go into a minor scale.
    After you’ve gotten your scales down, work on your intervals. Play the notes of a major chord and sing along to the root, third and fith. Do the same for minor chords, 7th chords, and minor 7th chords.
    If you’ve gotten your scales and chords intervals down, you can challenge yourself by working on harmonizing. Play a C on the bass and sing the third (E). If you can’t get the 3rd by ear, play it on your bass and match the pitch. Once, you’ve gotten one harmony down, challenge yourself by playing a scale on the bass, while singing the harmony note to each note played on the bass. After you’ve mastered singing the third, try other harmony notes like the 5th, minor 3rd, 6th, etc.

    Articulation is what makes one note or phrase distinct from another. Vocals are unique because articulation not only involves notes, but words as well. Obviously timing within phrases is important, but the actual vowels and consonants make a difference as well.
    Here’s some basic things that help develop articulation. Using the exercises in the previous section and modifying them, we can improve our articulation and pitch at the same time. When you’re practicing pitch, sing the various vowel sounds. A common exercise used by opera singers is to sing “may”, “mee”, “my”, “mow” and “moo”. So sing a scale using just the “may” sound, and then do it with the rest of the “m” words. Then sing scales using a combination of the sounds.
    After you’ve gotten the various vowel sounds down, try using different consonants. First use soft consonants like “m”, “r”, “z” and “f”, and then try hard consonants like “b”, “p” and “d”.
    After you’ve gotten that part down, work on articulation of phrases. Do that in the same way that you learn a lick on bass. I won’t go further in that, since you guys already know how to do it on bass. If not, find someone to help you do that on bass first.
    Faraday and Joe Louvar like this.
  4. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Ok, we’ve done the boring stuff related to scales and technique. Now it’s time to move on to something practical – singing songs.
    The most important thing in singing a song is pitch. The next important thing is timing. The one thing that can throw a band off more than anything is coming in at the wrong time. Talk about a groove killer. But as a bass player, you’re already familiar with locking in with a drummer and complimenting the guitar/keyboard player/etc. Apply that to singing and you shouldn’t have a problem. If it is a problem, listen to a song and get a feel for the song as well as certain points of a songs like when the chorus starts, or a riff that identifies the beginning of a new section.
    One of the keys to singing a song effectively is adapting your voice to it. Your particular vocal range should fit the song. In the same way you don’t learn Teen Town as your first song on bass, don’t start out singing the first side of Operation Mindcrime. Sing simple songs that don’t require much range. Songs by the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, or Bob Dylan are songs that don’t require much range to sing effectively. If you have a higher timbre, songs by the Ramones or Motley Crue are easy places to start too. If you want to improve your singing rhythmically, you can’t lose if your start out singing James Brown.
    Another thing to pay attention to is how your particular voice fits in with a song. A voice that is in the low to middle range could get lost easily in a sea of distorted guitars. A voice that is high can get lost in a barrage of crashing cymbals. The voice is another instrument that needs to mixed properly with the rest of the band to make a song work. Listen to the band, and then fit your voice with them. If your voice doesn’t fit, see if the band can make adjustments to accommodate. Many times it is easier for the rest of the band to change their key or arrangement than it is to alter your voice.

    Many of us are confident standing behind the bass, but lose it when it comes to standing behind a mic. As I said earlier, if you don’t have confidence, then you will have a hard time as a singer. There's a reason why many singers are egotistical - they are confident and pay alot of attention to themselves.
    Making eye contact is essential to engaging the audience. If this is hard for you, look above the audience, or an object within the audience. You may find it easier to sing to a table or glass than a person. Also, depending on the stage, if the lights are shining directly on you, it makes it hard to see the audience.
    Of course, practice. Nervousness is a function of preparedness. If you're prepared, you're less nervous.
    Most of all, get over yourself. Seriously, nobody is paying attention to you as much as you are. Even though singers tend to be the focus of attention, you'll find that you are paying attention to yourself the most. When you pay too much attention to yourself, you become self conscious, which leads to doubt or pompousness. Focus on the music and how your voice fits into the big picture.

    Microphone Technique
    Using the microphone is an overlooked element of singing. There was a time when I couldn't sing with a mic, but I could sing just fine in an acoustic situation. After years of practice, I can sing just as well in either situation. Part of it was relying on biofeedback (i.e. feeling in the vocal chords, chest expansion,etc.) as well as what I hear in the monitors. The rest of it was learning to use the mic.
    I for one don't agree with eating the mic. You can't articulate your words and phrases when a grill is pressed against your lips (plus if things aren't grounded properly, you can get one hell of a shock). I used to do that until friends told me that I sound like I have a ham sandwich in my mouth when I sang. Take a look at any good vocalist, and you'll see they they rarely "eat the mic". Eating the mic is equivalent to ham-fisted playing on the bass - plenty of volume but no articulation. Eating the mic makes up for lack of projection from your voice. If you project well, you can sing further from the mic and still get all the volume you need (assuming the soundman is taking care of things).
    To add more bass to your voice, sing closer to the mic. To take off some bass and increase the highs, sing further away from the mic. A good place to start is about 2-3 inches from the mic. If you can't be heard, ask the soundguy to help out.
    For lead vocals, singing closer to the mic is needed. If you are singing backups, sing further away from the mic (4-6 inches away). Of course this all depends on the mic you are using as well as your voice itself.

    Singing and Playing the Bass at the Same Time
    OK, this is the thing that you guys are probably most interested in. You’re not gonna give up bass for singing. Plus being an egotistical singer is an anathema to our wise low-end nature. But for whatever reason you gotta sing, and play bass. So here’s some tips.
    - While you are singing, try to stay in one position. Reduce the amount you go up and down the neck. Doing this will reduce the amount you will look down to see what fret you are hitting as well as the likelyhood of moving to the wrong note.
    - Work on your plucking hand. The plucking hand is what locks in with the drummer, provides the pulse, and pumps the groove. Missing with your plucking hand is more noticable than missing with your fretting hand. Practice plucking eighth notes, quarter notes, syncopated plucks, etc. If you are a finger picker, while you are singing along with the song on the radio in the car, tap out the pulse of the song with the index and middle finger of your plucking hand on the steering wheel.
    - Memorize some generic patterns with your fretting hand. Learn patterns for funk, rock, blues, etc. The patterns should be moveable, i.e. a pattern played on the E and A string can be moved to the A and D string, and a pattern played on the 3rd fret could also be played at the 5th fret. From there it's just a matter of learning the changes of a song and adjusting those patterns to them. The advantage of singing along is that you'll know when the changes are coming.
    - Use your vocals to cue your bass playing. The other tips are to help with independence, this one is for interdependence. Use a note or word to trigger the note you are going to play on bass. For example, when the first word of the chorus is sung make a mental note to play "X". Practice this and let your vocals and bass work together. It's sort of like how the two hands of a pianist work together. It will also make remembering bass lines and lyrics easier because you'll have another thing to associate them with.

    Now, you have the basics of singing and ideas on how to develop it. So go and sing!
    GlennRH, CatSquare, lakefx and 2 others like this.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    If you have any questions or comments, feel free.
    Joe Louvar likes this.
  6. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    WOW. Thanks a lot for writing it! Sticky?
  7. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    +1, ive posted in a few threads about singing, and you always respond, definately sticky worthy. :bassist:
  8. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    jive1 is my new hero.

    I've been forced into singing recently. I love doing it but need basic pointers, just like I've found here! I'm auditioning for a new gig that has TONS OF HARMONIES and being able to add to that is just icing on the cake.

    Well done!
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Y'all know any Waylon or Merle?

  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI

    Sticky! Sticky! Sticky!

  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Fingerpickingood likes this.
  12. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    i just wish i could figure out the whole "singing from your diaphram"
  13. i think the diaphram thing is not letting the air your using to sing with come from your stomach, otherwise it sounds too heavy and bashful. it seems like he's talking about using a light sorta voice
  14. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The diaphragam is a membrane below your lungs. What it means is that you want to sing from your lungs, not just your throat. Let the air flow from your deepest bowels all the way to your mouth and you'll get a rich sound and good projection.
  15. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I have to learn to do backing vocals..this tutorial will help me do something other than to just fret ;)
  16. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I just recently starting taking my backing/lead vocal duties seriously, and this really helps someone who's even on their way. Thanks for taking the time, jive.

    Also, what I've found helpful with learning to not eating the mic and mastering your dynamics is practice with a HOT mic. Crank the gain, the feedback from you singing too close will help you learn not to do it. I also got help with controlling my dynamic levels using a hot mic, makes you more aware of the volume levels of your voice.
  17. Considering that in my next band I'll probably be both thunderin' and spielin' at the same time, this thread will come in very handy. Thanks for making this a sticky.
  18. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Voice is possibly one of the hardest things to use properly especially when there is poor monitoring and the room you're in is filled with smoke.

    If you ever lose your voice, sound raspy, or are experiencing any discomfort or burning when singing or afterwards, you're doing something wrong and seriously need to look at remedying it before you do potentially permanent damage. It's not something to fool around with... :meh:

    BTW, I'm a speech pathologist. If anyone has any problems or questions, please feel free to post or PM me with questions. I don't have the time to tonight, but I'll put up some do's and don't's as well as some diaphragmatic exercises. I'll look through Jive1's posts above as well and see what I can add, if anything... The bits I read were very good, but I think I need to go and get some glasses. TB is killing me anymore! I have to practically close one eye to read long posts... I look like this: ;) :help:

    -Big Joe MS, CCC-SLP :bassist:
  19. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    First, what voice is: Voice is created by air passing through the vibrating vocal cords. The vibrations creates a buzzing that resonates throughout the throat, mouth, and nose. When we change the shape of this chamber different sounds are made.

    The diaphragm is the muscle at the very bottom of the lungs. By expanding it with inhalation, it pulls downward and pulls air into the lungs by causing a vacuum. When we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and the air escapes. Many people do not utilize their diaphragm properly and rely more on their chest muscles to expand the cavity to bring in air. This works but it is not very efficient and is more work than it's worth. The trick is to getting the diaphragm and your voice to work together like a well-oiled machine. The air comes from the lungs which are essentially like a bellows which is the squeezy thing used to "pump up" a fireplace. If you think about it like that, diaphragmatic breathing is a little easier to understand. It is easier to get the air really moving if you were to use the handles at the base of it as it was intended. It is much harder to use if you try to squeeze it from closer to the tip where the air comes out.

    We're taught to lift with our knees and not with our back. That takes practice. Think of it the same way with breathing and speaking. If your power and strength comes from below (the knees or the diaphragm) and not from above (the back or the chest/vocal cords) you minimize the risk of injury to the higher, less stable parts.

    Using the voice is an exercise. AS with any exercise, it's very important to warm up. Do some neck stretching. Move the head in all four directions and in large and small circles. Massage your throat, neck, and facial muscles. Do some scales to get the cords moving and stretching.

    Some exercises that are useful for the diaphragm: Practice laying flat on your back with a telephone book on your stomach. Watch the book as you breathe in and out. Does it move up and down? If it does, you're on the right track to efficient breathing. If it doesn't, you need to work on it. Remain lying down and try to raise the book up by inhaling deeply. Don't just push out your stomach, make it be the very act of inhalation that raises it up. It should go back down as you exhale. Get used to breathing in this manner. Start adding voicing to the process after you get a good feel for what the diaphragm should be doing.

    If you really want to strengthen it, lean your stomach over the back of a kitchen chair (pad it with a pillow or towel if you have to) and slowly lift the weight of your body back by breathing in in the same manenr you were lifting the telephone book. Don't use an exagerated angle when leaning over the chair. Be VERY careful and don't strain. It's not a good idea to add voicing to this exercise. You're likely to strain with your voice.

    Make sure you are doing things to ensure good vocal hygiene. To do this, you need to stay hydrated...
    Drink lots and lots of water. In fact, the only thing that is good for your voice, is water. Chamomille tea and honey are said to soothe the voice and they do, but tea also has a drying effect and honey just coats the cords with phlegm. We want to get to the point where you don't need relief from using your voice. Anything with caffeine (coffee, tea, soda) is bad. Alcohol is even worse. Carbonation is not good for the vocal cords. Avoid excessive amounts of salt and sugar. Avoid milks and juices that create/promote excessive phlegm. Despite popular belief, candies, mints, cough drops (again, temporary relief that will actually make things worse), and chewing gums all actually have a drying effect and are therefore not good for your voice. Smoking is the absolute worst thing you can do to your body and especially your voice. It is drying and drastically inhibits your breathing. I'm not saying you have to cut this all out completely but the less there is of it, the better off you and your voice are. If you are the full time singer of your group, you really need to watch what you put into your body.

    Get in shape. As said before, breathing is a huge part of your voice. Make sure you are able to breathe easily. If you get winded walking up a flight of stairs, your voice will suffer because your lungs aren't up to par for singing. The better shape you are in overall, the less likely you are to get winded and lose that much-needed coordination between your lungs and your voice because you get sloppy and lose proper form when you're out of shape

    Once your body is ready and you are warmed up and hydrated start with this exercise:
    Say: One by one they followed him home.
    One by one and two by two they followed him home.
    One by one, two by two, and three by three, they followed him home. Keep adding to it as you go on.

    Another exercise is to increase volume.
    Say the vowels (A E I O U) softly, one at a time. Prolong each one for a second or two. Keep the pitch and the volume steady. Start off at a normal, but low volume level (don't whisper, that's also bad for you) and increase the volume slightly as you go through all five. Take a breath between each vowel. Be sure to monitor your tension levels, and stay relaxed. The key is to say them easily but loudly. You don't want to force anything in your vocal cords. Keep that glass of water handy.

    The trick is to getting all of your volume to come from the diaphragm. Don't force it and work your way up to higher numbers. Make sure to take a good deep breath as often as you need to. If you feel like you are running out of air, you're not breathing enough. A good way to see proper ways of breathing ar to pay attention to the breating patterns of news anchors and DJ's on the radio. You should remain nice and relaxed particularly in your throat. Remember the only place that should be exerting any type of force is from your diaphragm. If you start getting dried out, drink some room temperature water. If you start to get tired, STOP. If you feel any pain, burning, or discomfort, STOP and let your doctor know.

    With all of the exercises above, you need to take your time. Be patient. Practice all the time but don't ever push it ir force it. Don't go out of your comfortable pitch range or volume. Get a voice coach if you have to.

    It should go without saying but keep in mind that yelling and screaming are also big no-no's. There is no right way or even better way to do it. If you are in a screaming band you're really doing serious damage to your voice. The big name acts that do it all have big record companies behind them that are willing to get them surgery every so often to remove the vocal nodules from their vocal cords. You probably don't have that luxury. They also tend to become more melodic in their singing (if they can) after they realize the damage they are doing.

    Remember that all of this also goes the same for speaking. Your diaphragm should be the source of all your vocal volume power. We, as musicians, tend to be in noisy environments, especially in clubs and bars where we often have to yell to be heard over the crowd and/or the music. Using our voice correctly at all times, and not just on stage will be of utmost importance to maintaining a healthy and strong voice.

    I'll add more as I think of it... I have a cold and have been in kind of a fog (well moreso than usual). If you guys have any questions or comments, please feel free to post or PM.

  20. Great instruction.

    I've been lucky enough to have a good barritone voice and decent natural pitch. I've gotten a lot more comfortable over the last two years getting coordinated between the two actions (lead vocals and playing tasty bass lines) but, to me one of the more challenging things is when it comes time for the group to harmonize.

    While it's now easy for me to play and pick out a vocal piece that goes with what I'm playing or if it goes against the bassline, I can figure it out OK if I'm singing lead... but if I'm NOT singing lead, and have to pick out a harmony that also goes against the tonal progression of what I'm playing, this still manages to throw me off pretty easily - mostly with harmony pitch - but sometimes in my bass line too! Because I find myself having to think too much about the vocals and that makes my brain hurt. :meh:

    Any thoughts on this? By the way, "Jenny" by Tommy Tutone is a great song to play bass and sing on! Groovy line, and nice midrange vocals.