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Something I have noticed on cover band setlists.


Gruupi

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I read the ads for bands looking for singers and cover band setlists in general, both here and other places. I find it a bit funny when I see a list of songs where the vocal range and style is almost impossible for one person to sing. You can almost see that 3 or 4 instrumentalist each picked their favotite songs and listed them with no regard for any individual singer. Some of these ads will say they strive to play exactly like the record too.

 

I have seen bands fronted by a really good guitar player and the singer is just an afterthought, this usually doesn't go over too well. I have been guilty of suggesting songs before when the singer wouldn't have been able to pull it off. I guess we don't think that we don't need to just have a singer get through the song, they really need to be able to project and feel it. That's why good singers are in such demand and you really have to build the band around the vocalist. I can't sing a lick, and am jealous, as much as I would like to call the shots I have learned this doesn't really work.

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The conventional thinking is there has to be one `front` person who does most or all of the singing, I never thought this was such a great idea but, even the industry encourages that setup. If more people can sing you can expand the setlist, give each singer a break and keep the listeners` attention.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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The OP is correct. I guess I'm guilty of it too. Looking for a singer who can do it all.

 

I think I should be happy with just finding a singer that can last the night in what ever key makes them comfortable. And sing on pitch the whole time.

 

But yeah, they need a break.

 

It's mainly my own laziness. I can sing but I'd rather not. I do my 5 or as many as 10. But that's it. I'd rather sing back up and concentrate on my guitar more.

 

Sounds lame, huh?

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It kind of depends on what you're doing.... obviously our thing is 80's covers, and we try to nail them like the CD, and they cover a wide range. 4 of us sing lead vocals. We have a girl singer, our guitar player tends to do the really high stuff as well as hair band type stuff, I do most of the rest of the guy stuff, and our bass player does a few. We try to pick who will do the best job for the song. I think the variety of lead singers enhances the show and keeps it interesting. We are equally qualified for "lead" or "front man" duties, so it works well.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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I sing, but at the moment all the singing in my present band is done by the guitarist. We're not afraid to change keys.

 

I've been changing keys to suit voices since I started playing at the end of the 50's.

 

However, it's a fact that some riffs/runs just don't either sound right or play right when taken to a different key, so it's a choice of either using a capo or playing the original.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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In the band I was in, it was a requirement that we all sung. Not only for three part harmonies, but also for lead in different songs. Different vocal ranges meant we could play pretty much any song.

 

We did drop down a half step in tuning, but we were performing six nights a week. We needed to give our voices a bit of a break. Also a lot of the original versions of the songs we covered, were dropped a half step anyways.

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Personally, if it`s a drastic key shift I`d rather just cut the song (given a preference).

 

I'm with Skip. Sometimes when we transpose a key to fit into the singers range, it just doesn't work anymore.

 

But occasionally it becomes something completely different too.

Jeff Yonker (AKA Chonk)

Marketing Director

Etavonni Instruments

www.EtavonniInstruments.com

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Has been said already, but ...

 

(1) You must build your set list around your vocalist(s).

 

(2) Because of (1), you really have to find your vocalist(s) before you start building your set list.

 

 

When I was young I was in a band that started with guitar and bass (no vocals). We had a great time jamming out all the cool Zep tunes.

 

Tried finding a drummer next. Imagine that: it's hard to find a John Bonham who's willing to just jam in some dude's basement! :o

 

Well, we finally did find a drummer (once we started doing originals).

 

Then we started looking for Robert Plant ... :freak:

 

Needless to say that project went nowhere fast.

 

Fortunately for me the next project I joined was put together by someone who knew a thing or two about putting together a successful project! First person recruited: lead vocalist.

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yeah we have a guy and a girl and sometimes shift keys if needed

Of course changing key is always an option. Unless you do it like Craig, though (drop tune a half step), it's a pain if you ever have to hire a sub. Or worse yet replace a band member. (Bands never have to replace members, do they? Naaaah! ;) )

 

[edit: Was I dreaming or did I once do a show with a guy who used a pedal to change his key? Played it in the original key but it came out in the key the band was playing.]

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The conventional thinking is there has to be one `front` person who does most or all of the singing, I never thought this was such a great idea but, even the industry encourages that setup. If more people can sing you can expand the setlist, give each singer a break and keep the listeners` attention.

Having gone to hear some local bands who have a lead singer who only sings and is the only one to sing all night for 4 hours, I can atest to "listener fatigue".

 

Even the one band who claimed their singer was "the guy with a million voices". Nope. Sorry. Every song sounded the same. Got to the point where I was looking forward to the break music between sets.

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Let the singer(s) pick the songs...nothing worse than listening to a band do a song when the lead singer is doing it just because someone else likes it or it's a request and you can tell the singer isn't happy about doing the song...also let the singer(s) pick the key or you'll have them losing their voice if it's too high and screwing it up if it's too low...you've got to love the song and feel good about singing it or it just won't work and the audience will not be too thrilled...IMHO
Take care, Larryz
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We play everything (almost always) a half step down and sometimes a full step down because of the singer. :rolleyes:

 

Why is that any different than altering part of a song because the guitar player can't play the lead note for note or because the bass player can't play the bass line as recorded? The singer isn't always the limiting factor...

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None of the singers I have worked with have been shy about asking for a song to be in a different key. I take it for granted that this will happen. I'll sometimes tell them, "look, instead of Ab, let's do it in G or A" if the guitar part calls for ringing open strings... not too proud to use a capo, just am not in the habit of it!

I agree with Duff that the singers are not always the limiting factor. Often, the limiting factor is "time to practice" even if the musicians are talented and experienced.

We currently have a bassist who is pretty limited, although he has improved a lot. Not sure what to do about it in this church band context.... were it a professional gig, then it's a different scenario! In the meantime, just help him play simple parts properly, and not get lost in space.

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Having multiple lead singers can help if you have singers that are really good. But I have to think that there are a limited supply of good singers in any town and it is a rare band that has two or more that can conviningly sing lead. Those bands that do usually have a pretty good following. More often than not I see bands with no real strong lead singer.
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In my current situation there are 3 very good girl singers, and one good male singer, all of whom know most of the songs we might do, and who do very nice harmonies. Sometimes they toss vocal lines back and forth, which I love. I would love to join in the fun, but they don't really understood that such things are possible... YET, anyway!

 

In that sense, we are truly blessed.

 

That doesn't mean that I don't play with good INSTRUMENTALISTS on the side... I'm not married to these people!

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In my current situation there are 3 very good girl singers, and one good male singer [...] we are truly blessed.

I think Gruupi was talking more about bar bands. I would love to be in a 10-piece band with 4 members who only sing. (Think: Mamas & Papas.) But such a band would have to play for 4-piece pay, because the bars aren't going to shell out the kind of money a 10-piece should cost.

 

Currently 3-piece power trios are popular (because they cost less than a standard 4-piece), as are one-man-shows (usually during the week).

 

In this "do more with less" setting, it helps a lot to find instrumentalists who also sing lead, but if they're really good vocally they can usually make better money doing solo shows. So, like Gruupi said, it's hard to find a (bar) band with more than one great lead vocalist.

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Having gone to hear some local bands who have a lead singer who only sings and is the only one to sing all night for 4 hours, I can atest to "listener fatigue".

 

Even the one band who claimed their singer was "the guy with a million voices". Nope. Sorry. Every song sounded the same. Got to the point where I was looking forward to the break music between sets.

 

I completely agree. I get bored sick of listening to the same singer over and over and I don't care who it is. One of the main reasons I love The Beatles is because of the multiple singers. The same goes for the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, 311, Pink Floyd, B52's. Heck even Queen had Freddy Mercury but both Brian May and Roger Taylor took time on lead vocals to break up the monotony of hearing Freddy sing every song.

 

A band may have one great singer but everyone in the band ought to be singing a few songs to break up the monotony. Even someone who sings like Bob Dylan for a song or two would be a welcome break from a single lead singer.

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A band may have one great singer but everyone in the band ought to be singing a few songs to break up the monotony. Even someone who sings like Bob Dylan for a song or two would be a welcome break from a single lead singer.

 

Bob Dylan's vocals are some of my favorites.....especially Hwy 61 Revisited and Blood on the Tracks....

Take care, Larryz
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We do Love Me Two Times in G. That was a change done for vocal reasons. I've always felt the song doesn't really work that well in G. Not only is the "trill" a little awkward while also barring for the G but it loses some of its "feel". However, in the original key our singer just couldn't get comfortable with it and nobody seems to notice. We also do a modified version of Sympathy for the Devil in G. I guess G is his natural key.
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I try to use the original key whenever possible but I favor A Am F#m E and G...It really depends on the song and my vocal range...for me Hotel California is Am...any higher strains my voice...as I get older the higher notes strain my vocal chords...I know guys that tune down a half step and lower every song a little just to make it easier on their voice...
Take care, Larryz
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