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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by JWC, Jun 7, 2001.

  1. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    I know this is a bass forum, but alot of us are singers as well, so I though this post would be useful to some. During gigs, jam sessions, open mics, etc., I sing songs by The Doors, Hendrix, Skynyrd, and the like with fair ease. I have kind of a deep, bluesy, singing voice. But I want to be able to do some Cult and Judas Priest type stuff. When I am alone singing Cult songs for practice my voice cracks and sounds hideous. Can you make yourself a better singer and train your voice to go higher? Or am I stuck crooning? :)
  2. You have to grow your hair longer. The longer your hair gets, the higher your voice will go. [​IMG]
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually this is an interesting question - on the Jazz Summerschool I attend; singing is compulsory - everyone has to do it - even though you come along as a bassplayer, sax or trumpeter - even drummers!

    But it is choral singing - so it's not intimidating - but you get put into sections depending on your range. So male singers are basses, baritones or tenors - tenor is highest range and you might even get counter-tenors! :eek:

    But I have noticed that most of the bass players end up also singing in the bass range (unless they are women!) and I know that my range is pretty low and I can't get up to the top of the tenor range but I can sing pretty low and easily make the lowest notes require for bass.

    So I think everybody does have a natural range, which you can probably increase with lessons and practice but probably not by that much. So operatic basses, don't do tenor parts I presume?
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Funny you should mention that. As a woman who plays bass, I have a very deep alto voice. No way can I hit high notes. I also have a very limited vocal range...maybe only an octave or an octave and a half at most. Maybe that is one of the reasons I like the bass guitar being as I sing in a low range, especially for a woman.

    As for JWC's question, maybe a vocal coach could help you increase your range. If you want to sound like Rob Halford that range might be a "falsetto" for you. One thing you don't want to do is strain your vocal cords attempting to sing out of your range.

    There are also some pretty good books available about rock singing and are written by vocal coaches. Those books have vocal exercizes and breathing exercizes to help you improve.

    I forget who it was who said it...some rock singer. He said, "If you can't sing well, at least sing LOUD."
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    probably lemmy. :D
  6. Cornbread


    Jun 20, 2000
    Lawrence, Ma
    I have a problem singing some songs that have just a few notes higher than my normal range. For instance, I can sing the verse to "When the Circus Comes" by Los Lobos pretty well, but I have to sing one line falsetto during the chorus. It's very annoying because I don't think it sounds natural at all. Even though I sing the correct notes, it's a different timbre. Is it possible for me to somehow learn to sing that higher part in a normal voice, or am I reaching my vocal limit?
  7. sn0wblind


    Apr 20, 2000
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a problem singing everything!!!!!
  8. Sounds like you're having trouble singing with a "blended" voice. Most men sing in their "chest" voice and go up into their "head" voice (falsetto) to sing a high part. Most rock and pop singers use a combination of chest and head voice, a blended voice. A blended voice is the transition area between the notes you sing with your chest voice and the notes you sing falsetto. Once you get get a nice blended tone your voice won't crack because you're able to smoothly transition from chest to blended to falsetto and vice versa.

    So, how do you develop a good blended tone? By singing. There are different vocal exercises you can do to help achieve this. Unfortunately its not something that is easily explained. You really need a vocal coach that can show you basic singing techniques. You'd be amazed at how much you can improve in a fairly short period of time. 10 lessons would give most people a very solid foundation in good vocal technique and improve stamina, power and range.

    BTW, concerning range, the average person can hit 3 octaves (even JO I'll bet :) ).
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    MM, thanks for the vote of confidence, but you haven't heard me sing. What I do is more like croaking than singing. ANd I took a semester of voice. The teacher told me I was the worst in the class. Boo hoo. My excuse is that I've had asthma all my life and Iguess it robbed my lungs of any power or control.
  10. MM, that's fascinating, i've never even heard of blended tone before, let alone tried it. maybe i'll give it a shot when nobody else is in the house to hear my screeches. :)
  11. Funny that you call it screeching because that's what you sound like to yourself when you first start singing with a blended tone. But you get used to it and you come to feel the power and emotion your voice can get.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Isn't this what also causes health problems like nodules on the vocal chords? :eek:

    I think I will stick with singing from the diaphragm as I was taught, thank you! :rolleyes:
  13. If you're directing this at me then no, you're jumping to conclusions because the type of singing I'm talking about prevents you from developing nodules. The goal is to sing without straining. If you're experiencing pain or losing your voice when singing then you really need to learn proper technique. Diaphragmatic breathing is essential to singing properly.

    I've been singing for over 30 years. When I was younger I regularly would develop laryngitis after singing for a couple hours. I took a voice class at college and learned a lot that helped me to sing better but it was more classically oriented and I still didn't learn the techniques to sound like a rock star (which is what I wanted to be at that time). I'd still strain my voice when I'd sing at the top of my chest register for long periods of time. It wasn't until I went and got training from some vocal coaches that were more rock and pop oriented that I developed the techniques to sing in that register without strain or pain.

    Learning to sing with a blended voice isn't essential but if you want to sound like a majority of rock and modern pop stars then it is a technique that needs to be developed. Again, as I said before, it really needs to be taught by a professional vocal coach that specializes in training rock and pop singers. Don't go to a classical voice coach because they use different techniques that while still beneficial may not get you to where you want to go.


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