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Frustrated with my band.


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O.K. here's my little rant.  Thanks for letting me vent.

 

Well, out of frustration, and with zero tact,  I just told my band that " I don't want to be in the band if the vocal harmonies are consistently out of tune. 

I'd finish my commitments but" yada yada.   

I'm concerned about how we're sounding, with upcoming gigs booked after a long break. 

Fact of the matter is I've been  frustrated enough with a few areas of the musicianship,  etc, that I have been considering finishing out the Summer season and re-evaluating.  But for some reason I couldn't keep my mouth shut tonight.   I have mixed feelings, as the gigs were very fun, and the bandmates have become good friends, etc.   But they resent my occasional blunt suggestions.  I can't seem to consistently keep my constructive criticism tactful and positive.  

I'd welcome any input from fellow H.C. musicians. 

 

 

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On 3/3/2022 at 3:21 AM, Stopmakingcents said:

O.K. here's my little rant.  Thanks for letting me vent.

 

Well, out of frustration, and with zero tact,  I just told my band that " I don't want to be in the band if the vocal harmonies are consistently out of tune. 

I'd finish my commitments but" yada yada.   

I'm concerned about how we're sounding, with upcoming gigs booked after a long break. 

Fact of the matter is I've been  frustrated enough with a few areas of the musicianship,  etc, that I have been considering finishing out the Summer season and re-evaluating.  But for some reason I couldn't keep my mouth shut tonight.   I have mixed feelings, as the gigs were very fun, and the bandmates have become good friends, etc.   But they resent my occasional blunt suggestions.  I can't seem to consistently keep my constructive criticism tactful and positive.  

I'd welcome any input from fellow H.C. musicians. 

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I really don't.  I've been trying to decide if I want to confront "my" band, not really my band, but the band I'm in, about problems that I see and what to do to fix them, and I'm not subtle or tactful myself, either.

Maybe start with some positives, and then ease into the "what we need to fix" part?  One thing I have learned is that some musicians just can't sing harmony, and shouldn't even try.  And some who CAN sing can only sing a part that comes naturally to them.  In other words they can't learn a part and consistently sing it if isn't a part that they instinctively feel.

Maybe suggest a night for singers only with acoustic guitars to work on vocals?  And record the process and listen back.

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On 3/3/2022 at 2:34 PM, New Trail said:

....

Maybe suggest a night for singers only with acoustic guitars to work on vocals?  And record the process and listen back.

^ THIS...

Tact is valuable when dealing with musicians [and their egos].

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I've been there, and I feel for you.

I wish I had some advice. When a band is working, it's hard to quit it. Plus the next band might be as bad, or worse in the same department.

Singing on pitch is hard, and requires long hours of practice. Singing long notes over a reference note might help. That is if one is willing to put the work in.

Good luck

 

Notes ♫

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Posted (edited)

RE singing on pitch I'm not a natural, to say the least. But some are and don't need to work at it. I'm good at hearing a part and cue'ing someone in but singing's just not my thing, a long time ago I decided the local music scene didn't need one more crappy singer so I leave that to others. It's a treat to be in a band with good harmonies though. One oldies band I play with does a great job on Poco songs.

I fully empathize with being frustrated with a band and struggling to be tactful with suggestions. I have to open my mouth when they butcher chords because "aww that's good enough" or "no one will know the difference". Not a fan of redneck reharms of David Alan Coe songs! lol. It's also hard to keep quiet when someone repeatedly has trouble with the timing of something, when they could fix it just by playing along with the record on their own time, practicing with a click, or just learning how to count. Another bone of contention is when other guys have different ideas of what constitutes a groove. Not  in the ranting mood right now but oftentimes I can rant on and on (maybe there needs to be a seperate rant forum?lol) I try to remember I have issues of my own that others are nice enough to work around, being hard-of-hearing.

I also empathize with being conscious of who you're associated with. If it gets to be too much there's always the solo option, as a way to tread water until you can find a band situation you're happy with. What I like about playing solo is, if the music sucks you know it's your own fault and you have total control over making it not suck. But there's nothing like playing with a good band. It's safe to assume that everyone that posts on a Backstage with the Band forum, feels the same way.

Edited by pinkfloydcramer61
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I have a good ear for pitch, as the saxophone is not in tune with itself, and each note requires a different amount of pressure on the reed to play it in pitch. That means I need good ears.

I know about proper breathing and breath support, because sax and vocal breath support are identical.

The problem was muscle control in my voice box. That took years and gradually got better the more I did it. The effort was worth it, I enjoy singing. And I don't have to look for a singer in any band I'm in.

Notes ♫

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I was in a 5-piece band with a woman I would later marry and 3 other musicians. After a couple of personnel problems that kept us out of work for 3 months one year, we decided to form a duo.

Since I also play drums, bass, guitar, and a few other instruments, I bought a 4 track Teac A-3440 reel-to-reel tape recorder and started doing backing tracks, mixing to cassette. That was 1985, when digital and MIDI came around we embraced that instead of tape.

Mrs. Notes plays guitar and synth and is an incredible singer. I play sax, wind synth, flute, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and am a decent singer.

37 years later, we are still gigging. Except for the COVID unemployment drought, we have always been gigging as our main source of income. In fact we have to block out vacation times, telling people we are already booked then, or we wouldn't get a vacation.

We joke and tell people that the only band that has been together longer than we have is The Rolling Stones.

Mrs. Notes and I got married many years later, we have no problems, we both have strong work ethics, love what we do, and get along like very best friends. It's like I won the life lottery.

Notes ♫

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On 4/1/2022 at 7:27 AM, Outkaster said:

The problem with bands is little things become big things and your patience eventually runs out because things don't improve or can't get any better.

which is why you have 'personnel changes'...:wave:

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On 3/3/2022 at 5:34 PM, New Trail said:

Maybe suggest a night for singers only with acoustic guitars to work on vocals?  And record the process and listen back.

The "Circle of Fear" can go a long ways toward tightening things up. If that consistently fails, it's probably time make some changes or live without the harmonies.

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Singing harmony is not intuitive for everybody.  Sometimes people can get better with work, but some people just can't do it.  I know a singer who's good by herself---I was in a musical play with her and she did great on her solo song---but absolutely could not sing harmony with one other singer.  Could never find the harmony note; she went all over the place.  Just something in the way her brain or ear was wired, which was a shame. 

Harmony vocals can really set your performance up a notch, but no harmony is better than bad harmony.

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On 3/3/2022 at 3:21 AM, Stopmakingcents said:

...I just told my band that " I don't want to be in the band if the vocal harmonies are consistently out of tune...i'm concerned about how we're sounding...

After re-reading this post I would say that having no harmony vocals at all is better than bad harmony vocals. Maybe pick songs that don't have harmony vocals. So, no Eagles, Fleet Foxes, or Crosby, Stills & Nash.

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3 hours ago, badpenguin said:

there are plenty of 'vocal harmonizers' [I have 2...:wave:] ...but the 'effect' of doing 3 or 4 part harmony live is always pretty impressive. I have been in a few bands over the past 50 years that could pull that off, and it was always one of those 'skull-tingling' moments when the 'flow' is on.

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I'm in a duo with my wife. We do 2 part harmony, and sometimes, I'll sequence the parts we can't sing on an appropriate synth voice. It fills it out.

We'll sing the melody and what we consider the most important harmony part and sequence the others.

Since Mrs. Notes and I wend duo, we never-ever have any personnel problems (we both have strong work/play ethics) and except for the COVID vacation, we have never been out of work.

I got lucky.

 

Notes ♫

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On 6/6/2022 at 7:06 PM, daddymack said:

there are plenty of 'vocal harmonizers' [I have 2...:wave:] ...but the 'effect' of doing 3 or 4 part harmony live is always pretty impressive. I have been in a few bands over the past 50 years that could pull that off, and it was always one of those 'skull-tingling' moments when the 'flow' is on.

I was in one band once that only had one rehearsal and only one gig, but the three of us vocalists just jelled on harmonies like no other band I've been in.  We didn't work on any vocals at all.  We just all sang a part.  It was pretty amazing.  That band was formed as a sub for another band I was in that had to cancel.

I've spent loads of time working with folks who can sing lead vocals okay, but who can't hear a harmony part, and can't sing a harmony part when it's shown to them.  At some point just move on and play songs without harmony.

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