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wolverine1190

Singing Feedback/Help singing "gritty"

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Hey everyone,

Alright, this is tough for me to do. I'm pretty self-conscious about my singing due to the fact my roommates and some of my family are constantly telling me how horrible (and they don't hold back to describe the length of this horridness) of a singer I am. In fact just a few minutes ago I was asked to "never sing again" by my roommate. Needless to say, it makes me very uncomfortable with my voice, even though about 85% of the other people I know tell me I sing well and have complimented me on my voice multiple times.

I'd like to think I can hear pitch well, as I am a musician (I play guitar) and study music as well (I'm just about finished with a music minor). I make no claim of being a great singer, I'm decent at best, but I'd like to get better. So first off, I need to know if I'm even on pitch (or somewhat close) when I sing. So here's a clip of me playing/singing. Please ignore the guitar mistakes. I already know some of the issues with the singing, but please, leave feedback about what you hear so I can find out if I'm hearing the same problems you are. (and no, I'm not whisper singing, it just sounds breathy because of the compressor on the iphone's microphone)

http://soundcloud.com/wolverine1190/plush
(please ignore out of tune guitar haha)

Part 2... From what I hear, the singing in the above link isn't "horrible". It's not great, but alright. So assuming this is true, I have another problem. I hate singing clean like that. I love singing dirty and gritty. When I do that, though, my pitch is ALL over the place (this is probably why I get negative responses to my singing sometimes). I know how to sing with dirt safely (I love metal and do screaming and can do it properly), I just can't keep on pitch. Listen to the clip below and you'll hear how {censored}ty it sounds:

http://soundcloud.com/wolverine1190/plush-ick
(one step higher than the previous link)

^^^ horrible. So, I guess my question is what do I do to get better with the dirty singing? I'm assuming it's all breath/support related, but direct feedback from you guys would be great.

please, give criticism but don't be too harsh. I know I'm not a great singer but I'm trying to get better. That's why I'm here. Thanks in advance for any help.

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I think you sound decent, man. Not horrible at all. You definitely have potential, you just need to refine your technique a bit. The clean vocal version sounded a lot better overall. I think you should practice using your clean voice for the time being and get it better first before working with grit and rasp. Another thing I noticed in your singing is that your voice "bottoms-out" on the low notes, I think you should put a bit more support in your lower notes. For the higher notes, I think you need to raise your soft palate more, which will add more presence to your voice.

And If you need tips with grit and dirty vocals then I would ask for staticsound's input. He specializes in 90's grunge and rock vocals.

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I may not be the guy who has the answers but I will offer up my 2 cents anyway. This is what I hear. On the first clip it wasn't "horrible" as your friends (?) are saying. Are there issues? Some, but nothing monumental. Pitch was ok and it sounded not too bad, other than the guitar being out of tune and making me work to decide if it was you or the guitar...lol. There is a little work to be done there but that is just a training thing. You don't sound bad only a bit untrained .

On the second clip where you added some grit it got a little tight. I think what is happening is that when you want to sing with a bit more rasp and grit you are clamping up. Pinching. You sound tight and the air is restricted so you aren't getting good support. It sounds like you are singing through your throat. This is probably because of poor technique. So all you are doing is trying to mimic or impersonate a sound rather than actually singing it with technique. This is causing tension and restriction as well as a lack of air flow or good use of air. Well that is my simple version of events smile.gif

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I second the suggestion to talk to Static about grit and that side of things. He is the man for that. smile.gif

I'm only listening to the clean vocal example you posted, and not the grit one, because if you've got problems when learning to sing, adding "affectations" to your voice won't really help those basic problems.

So, listening to this vocal, your voice is fine. The tone is quite nice...maybe a TINY bit nasal or throaty at times (but not in a gritty or purposeful way)...

You're ok in terms of basic pitch. No glaringly obvious out of key moments.

Your diction is understandable, but the words and way of singing sometimes verge on lazy / lethargic.

I think this is actually not bad, man. Not bad at all. If you had a bit more "styling" on this (like adoping a bit more of a style, as if you're acting-singing and not just singing in your own plain voice), got a decent microphone with a bit of reverb, and had more confidence in your voice, together with a good backing band, you'd easily pull this off really well.

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I listened to both versions. Not bad man, needs some polish and better technique, but by no means horrible. Here's what stands out to me, breath support needs some serious work. Sounds like you're breathing shallow and singing from your throat.

As far as the grit...once again, breath support. From the clip, it sounds to me like you're almost shouting to get that rasp, which in turn would throw off your pitch and make you go flat. Doesn't sound like the technique is there.

I agree with Davie. Work on your clean voice and technique before you even attempt the gritty grit grit. Remember, grit is an "effect". More or less just an overlay over your clean voice...if that makes any sense. Keep at it dude. thumb.gif

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Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it a ton. As I suspected you would, most of you mentioned breath support. I've never had any voice lessons or training really, so I figured that would definitely be an issue. As far as the clean vocals go, I guess more practice is all I can do with working on better technique.

Now for the dirty vocals (the part I'm interested in haha): I'm definitely going to work on the clean first before working the dirty. Between tommy and staticsound, you guys nailed it with how I'm getting the grit. I'm definitely tightening up my throat and constricting the air. It's not in a painful way, and that was all I was going for when I taught myself: if it didn't hurt, you were doing it right. But there is definitely much less air flow when I sing dirty as compared to clean. And in response to the shouting as staticsound said: yep, that's kinda there too. I'm not all out shouting, but definitely getting much louder. I read somewhere that singing with dirt is basically yelling onto a pitch, so that's what I taught myself haha.

Do you guys have any recommendations of things to read/videos to watch to fix the dirty vocals technique? I feel like I've scoured the internet and read/seen it all already, but maybe I'm wrong, and I trust your judgement way more than the internet as a whole haha. Not sure if it helps, but I do know how to do screaming, both false cord and some fry. Is singing dirty some middle ground between singing cleanly and screaming, or are singing "dirty" and screaming not really related?

Thanks guys!

EDIT: oh yeah, I guess I should give examples of the dirty sound I'm going for. Some specific examples would be James Hetfield of Metallica, Phil of Pantera (I really like his dirt), and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.

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You sound like you've got a good start, man. Screw the haters.. Just gotta work on projecting and making your voice sound less breathy/restrained.. Sing like you're speaking with a lot of power put into it.

You almost sound like you're singing along to something in the car in a relaxed but still sort of strained tone, rather than singing in a manner that demands attention. I don't know how to describe this any better, it can easily be fixed..

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Thanks for all the feedback, and thanks for the video post staticsound, definitely helpful. I've been working on getting the "gritty" sound to be more open and natural sounding, and found that when it is that way I can feel the distortion happening more on my soft palate than in my throat (similar to fry screaming). I've also noticed to get that to get the dirt in this way (soft palate vs throat) it takes much more pushing from my stomach/diaphragm, aka better breath support, no surprise there. I've definitely got more to work on but I feel like I'm at least headed in the right direction for now. Thanks for helping me get there!

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Start by talking raspy. Get that gritty feeling going and work it into singing parts. Would practice at lower volumes as the mechanics are the generally the same and you'll prevent damage. Doing the talking thing will help you have a more natural sound, as your singing should be an extension of your talking voice in most cases. This will help it be more authentic to you, rather than copying someone else. Though, I'll go ahead and risk saying that singing is essentially acting, and in that, nothing's 100% natural. Practice and nerve will pass for natural in the right amounts.

There's also a more heady scream that doesn't come from the diaphragm. Hard to explain, but it's more like a shrill pinch and happens further up. It doesn't leave you as ragged after either. Examples would be most of your industrial rock folks, Filter "Hey man nice shot" Tool "Hooker with a penis" and pretty much any Nine Inch Nails. Used along with the belting-type grit, you can really vary your songs with all sorts of fun screams.

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That gritty sound thing worked well for me too, most of that I already kinda do to some degree, but the video helped make sense of what I was doing and what I should be doing.

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