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Looking for singer suggestions

Alex Wilding 19 Sep 12 - 06:08 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 12 - 06:18 AM
Alex Wilding 19 Sep 12 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,matt milton 19 Sep 12 - 07:00 AM
selby 19 Sep 12 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,Niamh 19 Sep 12 - 07:31 AM
Alex Wilding 19 Sep 12 - 07:33 AM
BobKnight 19 Sep 12 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,matt milton 19 Sep 12 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,matt milton 19 Sep 12 - 09:21 AM
Arkie 19 Sep 12 - 09:56 AM
Alex Wilding 19 Sep 12 - 09:57 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 12 - 10:07 AM
The Sandman 19 Sep 12 - 10:51 AM
foggers 19 Sep 12 - 04:07 PM
Bert 19 Sep 12 - 10:45 PM
GUEST 20 Sep 12 - 04:16 AM
Paul Davenport 20 Sep 12 - 04:25 AM
Alex Wilding 20 Sep 12 - 05:26 AM
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Subject: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Alex Wilding
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 06:08 AM

After several years during which I took the wooden flute as my main instrument, I finally admitted to myself that I was never going to make it fly. I did get reasonably good, but I was always running in treacle. A few months ago I picked up my beautiful acoustic guitar again, and she sang back to me. So I have returned to somewhere near where I started in amateur music, which is somewhere in the folk-blues line. Not that I want to compare myself with the following luminaries, but in that genre of John Fahey, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Martin Simpson…

Anyway this means that I have to start singing again, at least a bit, which brings me to the problem that I have a really rather crappy voice. A friend once kindly did say that if Tom Waits can get away with it, then perhaps I can. Not, again, that I want to compare myself to closely to Tom Waits.

So in search of ways that I might make my limited vocal talents in some way work, I'm looking for suggestions: white, male, acoustic folk-blues guitarists whose *singing* cuts the mustard. Who should I be listening to?


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 06:18 AM

Alex, firstly I dont think you should give up the flute.
secondly you should be listening to singers you like,
Bob Dylan does not have a great range but he sings certain songs well,MISSIPI JOHN HURT IS ANOTHER
however one can improve THE voice, and improve ones range with a number of exercises,
BREATHING EXERCISES WILL HELP BOTH FLUTE AND SINGING, here is one for the diaphragm, take a deep breath release slowly repeat the deep breath[checking you are using your diaphragm, then release quickly.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Alex Wilding
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 06:30 AM

Yes, MJH has been a favourite of mine for many years. A version of My Creole Belle is in my regular repertoire. But in his own way, he sounds totally black!

Back in the day I listened to Bob D until my ears overflowed. I still quite like him, but I'm hoping to find a few less famous examples.

Thanks for the suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:00 AM

"So in search of ways that I might make my limited vocal talents in some way work, I'm looking for suggestions: white, male, acoustic folk-blues guitarists whose *singing* cuts the mustard. Who should I be listening to?"

I'm not sure what you asking. Do you mean you want reccomendations of white male singers who were really good, or white male singers who made the best of their idiosyncratic vocal "talents"?

There's a simple answer to your predicament though: get some singing lessons.

And at the same time get some recordings done, or some video up on YouTube, and get some honest opinions about your range.

While it's great to be constantly improving your voice, there's equally nothing wrong with just finding a vocal range you're comfortable in and sticking to it. Worked for Leonard Cohen, Roy Bookbinder, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and others.

I mean I am now capable, thanks to singing lessons and practice and stuff, of actually singing a quite impressive range (he says, modestly) and getting up quite high, with a decent amount of power and control. But at the end of the day, I don't personally particularly like the sound of my voice up there, when I've heard it on recordings. I actually prefer the sound of my voice down low. I feel it's more "me". It may be less "impressive", but it's what I like.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: selby
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:11 AM

May I suggest that you sing into a tuner and find what key you are comfortable in and then work from there Singing in a key that is not fight for you makes you sound ten times worse
Keith


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST,Niamh
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:31 AM

Agree with Keith - find your right key - make sure you're singing songs that suit you - and get a singing teacher to assess what it is you need - i.e. your breathing, your posture, etc. Online one-to-one lessons at reasonable price are available - with me anyway - if you're interested.

n.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Alex Wilding
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 07:33 AM

"Do you mean you want reccomendations of white male singers who were really good, or white male singers who made the best of their idiosyncratic vocal "talents"?"

The second. Actually I don't think my range is much of a problem. It's not athletically impressive, but I have from G, to D' with reasonable comfort. Like Matt, the higher I go the less I like it. And heaven forfend lest I should find somebody to try to "copy". But I am interested in white, male, blues-influenced singer-guitarists who have found ways of making a perhaps limited voice "work" for them.

Although, if I may say so, Bert Jansch could not sing for toffee. I say that with great respect, as it was wearing a couple of his LPs flat that informed my first explorations of the guitar. But I have seen people who did not know his work start to look very uncomfortable indeed once he opened his mouth.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: BobKnight
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 08:27 AM

Sing as much as you can to strengthen your voice. For each song you sing there is an optimum key that will suit your voice, find it. Remember that if you're performing in public, especially acoustically, the key you feel comfortable with while singing in the house may not project. Try it a bit higher and keep your head up so you're hitting the back of the room. So many people come along to sessions and seem to be singing, head down,to the back of their guitars - result, mumble, mumble.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 09:20 AM

"Although, if I may say so, Bert Jansch could not sing for toffee. I say that with great respect, as it was wearing a couple of his LPs flat that informed my first explorations of the guitar. But I have seen people who did not know his work start to look very uncomfortable indeed once he opened his mouth."

I dunno, I think it's debatable with Bert where basically having a gruff unpapologetically non-technical and "conversational" type of singing voice spills over into just not hitting notes.

With Bert it varies album to album. On his debut, my favourite, he hits most of the notes and the ones he doesn't I think is just simply part of his chosen style, delivery. Some other albums, he's clearly just plain off and he either couldn't be bothered to record or was unaware of the fact. I don't think he's ever so painfully off that it's unbearable though.

His voice did get a bit strange and mannered sometimes. He sounded almost a bit like a kind of baritone-ish version of Morissey on some of his albums!


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 09:21 AM

Anyway, here's some recommendations based on what I can make out of your taste in music:
Dave Van Ronk, Roy Book Binder, Duster Bennett, Gordon Smith, early John Martyn (first two albums), Simon Prager, Dave Evans, Nick Drake (check out "Family Tree" album for his less-known blues playing!), Ian Anderson (not the jethro tull guy, of course), early Ralph McTell.

And in terms of contemporary younger guys out there:
Mr David Viner, Duke Garwood, Michael Rossitter, David Broad, Serious Sam Barrett, Pepe Belmonte, Jack Day, Jason Steel.

All of the last lot are British, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Arkie
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 09:56 AM

Listening to a singer should be a 'pleasing' experience. That does not mean the singer should have a great voice. I would rather listen to Louis Armstrong than Robert Goulet. Goulet has a great voice, but to me is a boring singer. Listen a while. Enjoy the voice. Then move on. A good singer, in my mind, connects with the song in a way that the listener also connects with the song. The emphasis is the song. The singer communicates the song. I get the feeling that some singers think of the song as a vehicle for showing off their voice.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Alex Wilding
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 09:57 AM

A cornucopia, Matt - thanks.
If there is nothing there to fire me, then I'm barking up the wrong tree.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 10:07 AM

"Who should I be listening to?"
Yourself maybe.
Take your inspiraion from anywhere; in the end if it works for you, it's bound to work for others - move yoself and you can move the world
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 10:51 AM

yes Alex it is usefuL to listen to oneself, might i suggest you contact jim carroll by pm, he is familiar with Ewan and Peggys'. vocal exercises which are useful


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: foggers
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 04:07 PM

I agree that getting some vocal coaching is a good idea. If that is not going to work out for you, check out free You Tube clips on "speech level singing"; this helps you to just find and develop your natural voice. I agree that recording yourself is a good tactic as well; it will help you to spot bad habits to iron out. And then get yourself out to a few friendly singarounds and sessions in order to try it out!


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Bert
Date: 19 Sep 12 - 10:45 PM

If your voice is not quite what you desire, you could try working on your microphone technique. Look what it did for Adam Faith.


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:16 AM

be yourself

a range from G to D suggests baritone ! but dont force it nor too technical

make the most of what you have and sing what you enjoy.

You do have a capo and a tuner?

maybe use family chords of the keys of G or D

Drop the bass string for a 6 string D chord

capo neednt pass the 6th fret to find the singing key

However a range of 5 notes could be a problem so gently try to extend it.

an octave range and possibly beyond.

All the best


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 04:25 AM

I've never seen a Mudcat thread like this! Every single reply to an important question bang on the mark. Every comment lucid and considered and above all – helpful. Is this the start of something new?


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Subject: RE: Looking for singer suggestions
From: Alex Wilding
Date: 20 Sep 12 - 05:26 AM

Yes, I'm pleased by the help - thanks everyone. But to "Guest":
the G, (with comma) to D' was meant to say (in terms of the guitar) "from the G on the 3rd fret of the bottom string to the D on the 3rd fret of the second (B) string, i.e. an octave plus a fifth.
I understand that the classic classifications are based on a two octave range - trust me here, you don't want to hear me try that. Back when I was in my twenties, before I accepted that I just don't have much of a voice, I tried to increase the range, but the fact is that F (1st fret bottom string) and below only yields a weak croak, and anything above the D I mentioned (top string open up) produces a vile screech.


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