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Use of Harmonizer


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  • Use of Harmonizer

    Daddymack posted in another thread about the use of a "CSN" type of harmony effect on his vocalizer. It got me to thinking how I use mine and I'm wondering how others use theirs.

    I use mine quite a bit but it's not always noticeable. Although my Vocalist Live II sounds great, I feel that overuse can make us sound cheezy. I only use three part in two songs out of hundreds- Love the One Your With and Black Water...that's it.

    I use the "high" harmony all the time but keep the effect very low. Think of JUST being able to hear it and then a little more. I'll  often use it  more on single lines instead of on entire sections. I'm not judging but I just find the three part  Seven Bridges stuff sounds incredibly bad for a solo performer. 


  • #2

    The trick with ANY effect is to know better than to over use it*. I cover a lot of Everly Brothers, so I do use the second voice on those songs, but on much of the material I do that originally had harmonies, I tend to not use the harmonizer unless I feel it adds the correct je ne sais quoi. Needless to say, a lot of my rehearsal time goes into that specific decisionmaking process;  ultimately, I have to listen to what I am doing as the artist, the producer and the audience, and then decide. I tend to side with the audience a lot

    Many songs actually sound better to me stripped down to their essence, like Clapton doing 'Layla' as an acoustic number. If the song is a really good song, it can be interpreted many ways. Many times I spend weeks on the fence about an arrangement, and finally decide to leave out the 'glitz' factors, so that on other songs it becomes far more effective.



    *this took me a while to realize, though. But even when I play electric, I plug straight into the amp, and add a little reverb if it is available. I have owned pretty much every kind of stomp box made over the last forty+ years, and although I kept a few (for side gigs where I know they will want specific sounds), about the only ones I really like are delays...I have 3

    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley


    • #3

      I looked at my digitech and asked myself, what do I really use out of this...so I got rid of it, and got the delay pedal and the voice dubbler that I use to thicken vocals on choruses, etc. that's it. So far, so good.





      • Potts
        Potts commented
        Editing a comment

        rodclement wrote:

        so I got rid of it, and got the delay pedal and the voice dubbler that I use to thicken vocals on choruses, etc. that's it. So far, so good.




        Hmmm. What are you talking about? I like the sound of it.

    • #4

      Good thread.

      I like those but choose not to use one.

      Most of the ones I've heard are used well and not abused. I think it can add to a set and give some extra "authenticity".

      I don't like using one because I'm already sing harmony on Gwen's stuff (and whatever other band I'm sitting in with). My acoustic solo thing is the only outlet I have for singing the way I want to...playing with the tempos, holding a note longer, bending it a different way....(or whatever). I have the freedom to sing anyway I want to, but with the harmonizer I don't. You have to hold everything steady.

      ....lots of pedals and related stuff spring '17



      • steve mac
        steve mac commented
        Editing a comment

        I use a TC Helicon Voicelive Play GTX which is a guitar/vocal processor. I also use it as a mixer and play backing tracks through it. Vocally it works on the idea of presets for various songs ie to make your voice "sound like" the original artist by adding a bit of doubling, harmonies, pitch correction, delay, reverb, etc etc. and following specific forums for the unit it appears that there are lots of folk out there who are using it just as intended and changing (done with foot pedals) just about every song.

        I, on the other hand, am way too lazy  for that and have created four presets that I can use over the course of a two hour set that cover all of my bases and that includes one that mutes the microphone.

        My go to which I use for 90% of the songs has 50% pitch correction, touch of spring reverb, hint of close single voice doubling, with one higher harmony which comes in as required at about 3/4 of my lead volume. I tend to use the harmony instinctively and almost certainly never in the exact same place everytime I play a song. Sometimes just the last two words of a line, sometimes the whole chorus.

        When I first got it, like everyone else I guess, it was full bore with everything, but now almost week by week I reduce the levels. I do however have an Elvis preset which has delay/reverb and full harmonies for when I feel the need.

        As I am almost always playing an acoustic guitar the guitar effects, of which there are considerable including amp sims, are a bit wasted on me and I tend to just have a bit of reveb and thickening on it.

        It can also be used for recording but so far I have not spent the time to make anything decent with it, but I have heard others who have.

        Cheers Steve

    • #5

      Been a while since I've been around.

      Reading the posts above, I guess I use the harmonizer more than most. When I had the Digitech VL4, I mainly stuck to one setting, and toggled harmony by foot. I was always aware that less is more, and used the harmony sparingly and at a lower volume. I agree with most of you on this. I have heard a guy or two with a new harmony pedal go off the deep end.

      Since I got the TC play GTX a little more than a year ago, I utilize it more. Still mindful of the less is more concept, but I was able to program each song with auto preset changes, and automatically toggle the harmony on/off through MIDI commands, no more tap dancing, or cramping feet. Since I'm using Sonar to play my backing tracks, I just added a MIDI track to the song file to send the commands.

      Like Steve, I use the TC unit as an audio interface and mixer, the audio tracks come from the laptop through USB, and the USB also carries the MIDI commands to the TC. My guitar and mic goes through the TC, and everything is mixed and sent to the PA through XLR.

      I am using many of the presets, depending on the song. I also automatically change presets mid-song for effects on guitar solos.

      I'm lovin' it!



      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment

        Welcome back, Mike...

    • #6
      This may be slightly off-topic, but other than harmonizing I've been really wanting to try the TC Electronic Mic Mechanic - autotune, compression, delay, etc in one pedal?!?!?


      • #7
        I've been using the harmonized function on my TC GTX quite a bit the last 2 nights and it works great! Best harmonizer I had had this far.. people are digging it here as well I can tell when harmonies kick in for well known hooks their faces light up when they hear it!