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How to sound younger

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by kartiste, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. kartiste

    kartiste Guest

    Hi guys. I'm starting a band to cover early Beatles material - a long sought dream - and I've run into a big problem. I'm a baritone, and - big surprise - I'm having a hard time hitting some of the high notes. It's not very frequent when I'm practicing by myself, but when I get with the drummer and guitars [I'm the bassist], I find that I have to push my voice more, which fatigues it sooner, which makes it more difficult to hit those highs, and pretty soon I have to drop an octave, but then my voice - or what's left of it - gets lost in the mix. This is VERY FRUSTRATING. Before conceding defeat, I'm looking around for some technological help. I've become aware of the TC Helicon Voicelive and its cheaper brother, the Quintet. Perhaps one of them could shift my voice up an octave, help it to cut through the mix, maybe even give it more of a youthful character. Has anyone been down this path before? Advice please!!
  2. vv-tim

    vv-tim Guest

    Are you really dropping an entire octave?

    That's a huge drop, are you sure you're not just singing a lower harmony?

    And an equalizer might help you cut through the mix better than a pitch shifter.

    Why don't you just sing in your range (start with the lower harmony and keep to it) and keep your voice strong and project above the other instruments?
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    If you do try a pitch shifter, let us know how you like it? The concept is valid. Maybe you can find a dedicated hardware box(Even an older used one.) for stage use?

    I often pitch-up my voice to "do" younger... Just a percent or so - certainly not an entire octave - just to "up it" a bit.

    And, indeed, a little EQ notching of your lower registers can help, too...

    Practice will help with your natural range, as well. Take it up(Or down.) easy, though. If you're straining, you're trying to do too much too fast.

  4. kartiste

    kartiste Guest

    >Are you really dropping an entire octave?

    Oh yes. The lead part is where it is - sometimes falsetto.

    >Maybe you can find a dedicated hardware box(Even an older used one.) for stage use?

    What would be a brand/model to look for?
  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    There are methods to singing falsetto... Where is Frankie Vallie when you need him???

    Seriously, maybe a singing coach, even for just some "tip"s would be a good idea? Again, NOT straining to get there is the key along with being able to properly stretch and to recognize your limits...

    Brand/Model? Been too many years... Just got back from a l-o-n-g weekend of mostly driving... Other's certainly may chime in. I'll think about it -- brain is fried. There was "THE" brand..? Just can't come up with it... Try a search for "pitch change" - "time stretch", this sort of thing. Not Lexicon - though they may have something? The "other" one? Like maybe you can get something new for 200 bucks that will be fine or something that once cost(5 years ago) 3000 for 300. Worth a look-see. Of course TC Electronics make software AND other boxes, too... Sounding as natural as possible, electronically, is the goal. Lots of things out there that "do it", but - good enough for your pruposes, for a reasonable price, may be a toughy.....?

  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Check out the Antares hardware boxes. One of my clients has their "Vocal Producer" (dedicated rack unit). Not bad for $500.00,
    but you need to use it sparingly. I did notice that if you try to use too many of its features at one time, the pitch-shifting developed more artifacts. I also wasn't very impressed with the Mic Modelling function. They hype it up as if you can plug in a 58 and out comes a U87...not gonna happen!
    I got the impression that your intended use will be live...? Anything with digital processing is going to have a certain amount of "latency"...the time delay between your "realtime" voice hitting your ears and the processor hitting your ears. This can be very distracting in a live environment onstage. You will probably have to keep the processor "on" all of the time, and switch presets to vary the effect, even if the "effect" is your "natural" voice. Also, this will need to be patched into the channel insert, as opposed to feeding it from an Aux Send on the mixer (the Aux might work, but your goal is to transform the voice, not blend its' processing with it,dig?)
    I recently hit the Big 5-0....I wish that other things in life were as easy to change!! Good luck to ya!
  7. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I was singing beatles song for a while too and ran into the same problem- their songs are really high! Am a baritone too and the best solution to the problem is to transpose the songs down a tone or so- just enough so you can still sing them but not too low that you lose the energy- case in point, try Ticket to Ride in G instead of A- if its still too high go to f# or even F- Not even Mccartney sings long tall sally in g anymore- he brings it down as well- there is nothing wrong with transposing the songs down a bit- its sure a lot better than any half assed electronic so call solutions- they never work quite right.
  8. kartiste

    kartiste Guest

    I want to respond to others when I get a chance, but right now to maintiger (Xavier): Transposing down is undesirable for several reasons - it means I (the bass player) and the guitar player(s) will have to transpose their parts, too. Quite often this means the part just won't play right with a new fingering (such as, landing on that open E on the one of the third measure of All My Loving becomes ... what, an octave up? Buy a five string? Detune all instruments temporarily?).

    Also, my rhythm player is a fanatic for playing it exactly as the original, to the point of studying instructional DVDs showing exactly how John or George did it (which was highly innovative in many cases) - he'd shoot me if I mentioned transposition. And transposition means The Beatles Complete Scores (with tablature) becomes drastically less useful.

    Transposing is alright if you're going to be faking it, like playing standards, but we're trying to be more faithful. I watched the McCartney Concert in Red Square (2003) on A&E last night, and his band made no pretense of playing everything perfectly note-for-note - he could have dropped some of them, I'm not sure. I guess we don't feel like we have that license.
  9. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    If That's the case and you can not transpose for the reasons you expounded on, you do indeed have a big problem. I also was playing around with some guys on a beatle band I and I did John a couple of shows and it totally blew out my voice- could not even imagine singing paul's part! the guys in that band were also fanatic about singing in the original key- hey, I don't understand it myself, as I'd rather transpose and sound good, but different strokes for different folks is in effect here. its hard to be a beatle-
    if you can't transpose I have no other useable suggestion other than find a good voice coach- he/she might help you find the right technique to get to sing those songs- Its hard though- I've had plenty of lessons in my time and could not handle a whole night of singing john without totally blowing out my voice- that's why I did not pursued it. In your case though, looks like you really really want to do this thing so I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us posted if you do find a viable solution.
  10. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    It's really weird...there's a Beatles' "tribute band" here in Florida. I USED to mix their shows and call lights for them. They had that same attitude about the way they performed the songs. NO transposing, every bass and guitar lick had to be exact, and woe to the vocalist who missed a cue or note. I thought that they were a bit too anal about the whole thing. Maybe that's the status quo for those types of groups...
    I agree with Maintiger. The digital stuff out there is really not there yet...there are still plenty of issues with sound quality, control ergonomics, etc. I can't believe how far "pro audio" has come in the past 20+ years, but it still has plenty more to go...
  11. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    I was pretty damned impressed with Uncle Paul's Red Square performance! Might have been in a lower key(Fooled me!?), even "nailed" the "screams" in Hey Jude, far as I'm concerned - amazing!(The guy is what..? 92, now?)... Bravo! Must have taken the Dick Clark "Look young forever" correspondence course? In my opinion, one person who deserves every dime he's made(And I hope he keeps making them) - though I have no idea why he bothers(Guess he needs the bucks......?) - this concert thing is alot of work!

    And, Kartiste,, while I agree it may not work, if you can spare the bucks, give the "box" thing a try anyway and let us know how it goes -- maybe you can just rent a nice box locally to see/hear? Try anything to save your voice...

    Teddy G.
  12. Fozzy

    Fozzy Guest

    Have you thought through why you need to push your voice when you're with the rest of the band?

    Is this performing live? If so how loud is everyone playing and what level do you have in your foldback? Do you need more of your voice in your foldback? Are you trying to adust level by singing louder when maybe you should have the sound engineer adjust the mix instead?
  13. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    the fact is that the beatles songs are just freakin' high- those guys could do it! I've read that paul does transpose some of them down now, but teddy is right, he is just freakin' great! besides, he's earned the right to do whatever he wants...
  14. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    If you're trying to sound like the Paul and John, a pitch shifter is not going to help you. And to be honest, a vocal coach may not help you either. A good coach, over time, can help you even out your range and extend what you're doing now somewhat through proper technique. But, bottom line is, your range is your range. A coach may help you sing higher notes, but there's something called tessitura. It's where your voice sits best naturally, more than likely you're there now. If you constantly push that upper range you're likely to cause vocal abuse that may result in permanent damage. If that's worth it to you, keep goin'. If not....
    Change the key, Change the tune, Change bands, or change vocalists. or you may want to make sure your insurance covers vocal nodule surgery and a few years of vocal therapy.

    You make the call.
  15. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    Try an Antares Auto Tune and use input settings that make no sense whatsoever.

    If it can make Cher sound like a cyborg with its nuts clamped in a bench vise... it can do anything.

    It's probably why Madonna still has a career (and about x number of other burned-up vocalists out there).

    (ducking under cover and raising his shield)
  16. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I've extended my useable range over the years through technique about 3-4 semitones and though I am a natural baritone I am now comfortable in the second tenor range- but second tenor mostly does not cut it with singing john or paul in the original keys. Ican do a few songs allright but a whole night of that its just a great strain for my voice. Songs like no reply, ticket to ride have great energy in the original keys but if you don't have the range it blows your voice out- and mind you , I'm talkin' 'bout John parts. could never even imagine doing something like long tall Sally or other of the paul stuff...

    Phils is right- if you are out of range you are out of luck and transpossing its the answer...
    I do know how picky the beatle bands are though, so I sympathize.
  17. kartiste

    kartiste Guest

    Thanks to everyone - I appreciate all your responses. I wish I could rebut the ones that tell me there's no free lunch, but the fact is, I wasn't really expecting magic. I will certainly be more insistent to get adequate foldback level. I'll try notching EQ. I might even transpose some where it's not so critical. I'll see if I can get some vocal coaching. And, alas, I'll just have to not do those that don't "work".

    This leaves electronics. I think I'll still press ahead. Looks like the TC Electronics Voicelive can be had on Ebay for around $600 or slightly less, if you're patient. I've just started to look for the Antares Auto Tune - found one that went for $320. Since I really can't afford to pay full retail, I usually don't bother the music stores locally. Maybe I can find somebody that owns one of these, to try out...

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