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How to make your voice hoarse for rock music lead vocals


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I don't know the answer. Do you? 1. Sing your ass off at the upper limits of your range for a week, 6 hours a day. 2. Smoke 4 packs of Picayune (uh... sorry, that's a Louisiana cig, I guess... uh, Camel, non-filtered) a day for 20 years. 3. Drink a half gallon of Jack Daniels before the gig. Seriously, is there a way to do it without damagine your vocal chords? This song I mentioned on the other thread about the Beatles song... thanks, Tedster! ... [i]Rock And Roll Music[/i]... man, Lennon just sounded awesome on that record. What a great rock and roll voice he had! Delbert McClinton, Bryan Adams, John Lennon, John Kay, Joe Cocker... they just make me sick! Friggin' naturally hoarse voice. Here I am trying to sing rock and roll and I sound like Englebert Humperdinky. P.S. I guess you can permanently damage your vocal chords. Is it hard to do or fairly easy? If I sing at the high end of my range for lots of songs, I start to get hoarse, for sure.

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I sing live quite a bit. There are a few tricks to the hoarse voice sound. 1. For god's sake, DON'T SMOKE. You may get a hoarse voice for a little while, but you will have no stamina and no longevity. 2. I find using a good condensor mic helps a lot. They're better at picking up the little "gravelly" nuances. It's also important to be able to hear yourself well. You don't always have to scream as loud as you can. 3. Plenty of water and cough drops in between songs. They really help in preventing the damage. 4. The most important thing is to sing a lot and really listen to yourself. Think of it like working out. Nobody goes into the gym on the first day and benches 500 lbs. Push yourself just a little further each day. Overdo it just a little bit. Scream at the top of your range for a minute. The next day, see how sore you are. Take a day off if you have to. Record it. Get used to the feeling in your cords when you're making the sound you want to hear. You will discover just how much energy to put into it without blowing out your cords. 5. I'll say it again, cough drops and water. When you feel any soreness or dryness, take a cough drop. Which reminds me... can anyone recommend a good sugar-free cough drop? I think I'm getting a cavity. :(
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I'm one of those who have the natural gravelly voice. I can have a soft clear voice as well, but to me it doesn't sound near as good. In bands, the blues, the Allman Bros., the Joe Cocker and such were my songs. I always kept a cup of cut lemons nearby when I played a gig. Slide one in the mouth between or during songs and chase it with some water. I picked up this trick from watching Gregg Allman in a small bar during his salad days between ABB incarnations. Its a little tough to get used to, but you're done with it quickly, as opposed to a cough drop which lingers, can get swallowed, spit out on the crowd, etc. Just my two cents, BD
"With the help of God and true friends I've come to realize, I still have two strong legs and even wings to fly" Gregg Allman from "Ain't Wastin Time No More"
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Duke - you should warm up your voice before going to the extreme of your range. That will help prevent horseness. Also, try fresh lemon as stated before, or look in the frozen section for some Minute Maid 100% Pure Frozen Lemon Juice. No sugar, no preservatives and a few drops on the tongue will massage those cords. You need to defrost it in the fridge for a day or more before it's ready. Great stuff in hot tea, too. Honey also seems to help my voice. I can't tell you how to get that gravel, it may be genetic. There's a blues guy here that you would swear would not have a voice after the first song, but he goes all night with this I-can-barely-throat-it-out sound. Some of my favorite Led Zepplin songs are the (deceptively) simple acoustic numbers like "Thank You", which I worked up last summer. It's always a crowd pleaser. Talk about vocal range. I still can't consistantly hit the G in the line: "For you to me are the o-only one", so I've taken it an octave lower as it is in the rest of the song.

He not busy being born

Is busy dyin'.

 

...Bob Dylan

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It's kinda like whistling...you've got to get it for yourself...no one can really teach it, at least I don't believe. I couldn't do it. Then one day, I heard a buddy do it live...not on record, and it was like a light went on, and I knew how to do it. I'd always liked that sound...my favorite was Johnny Winter.... "ROCK AND ROOOOOLLLLLLLL" You know...and all of a sudden I could do it. I don't as much nowadays as I did when I was younger, but a couple of years ago I went back and jammed with some ol' rock and roll buddies and it was still there. I use it now and again on Creedence tunes (Fogerty is one of the best at that IMHO). Love it. "737 comin' outta the sky..."
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Duke, Trying to get hoarse at the top your lungs will get you hoarse but do more damage than good. Practice the craft. Most people don't have that great Joe Cocker thing but you can work on it. Just do it with reasonable volume and make sure you use proper breathing & rest if you start hurting. It'll take a while but it'll finally come around. The other thing is to make sure you work in the right key. It may not be the same key you normally sing in.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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My tried and true method is simply not talking at all for an hour or more. This works especially well late at night, so hopefully you have something to record on at home. Method number two: VoicePrism with the modeling card.
No matter how good something is, there will always be someone blasting away on a forum somewhere about how much they hate it.
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One method I heard about--can't verify it as true, but it wouldn't surprise me--is what Hall and Oates (supposedly) used to do before a concert: Grab one of the hotel pillows, jam your face into it, and scream your ass off for a few minutes. Hop around a little, too, maybe. I tried this, shortly after I heard about it, and...it worked. For me, at least, there was no temporary or permanent damage.
I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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LiveMusic, I think good answers from your question can come from opera! Here's what I mean-each vocal part is catagorized typically for a "dramatic" or "lyric" voice. Now those are most of the best singers at any given time on the planet. A lyric (melodic) voice can increase it's intensity to create more emotion rather than resorting to artificial means by trying to be what it's not. Therefore pick your material to suit your voice rather than vice versa. Steve Perry, for example, has not only a great lyric tenor-he can also pack a strong punch via his vocal technique, regardless of how we feel about the genre he sings in. P.S. For my voice to sound more "rock & roll", a small diaphram dynamic ala sm57 works well at making my clear voice more gritty.
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I know one guy who used to smoke cigars before recording or going live, but like the other guy posted, I wouldn't recommend it either. I think Paul McCartney screamed for a month before singing "Helter Skelter" to get his voice gravelly.
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Duke - great question, as always. Most of this "sound" comes from the singer, but it can be accentuated on a recording by overdriving the limiter. This gives the track more "grit" on the louder syllables. It's best to go for this sound during mixdown rather than tracking, because you want to be able to adjust it after the fact. What's wrong with Englebert? ;)

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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[quote]Originally posted by Brian Peet [b]The most important thing is to sing a lot and really listen to yourself. Think of it like working out. Nobody goes into the gym on the first day and benches 500 lbs. Push yourself just a little further each day. Overdo it just a little bit. Scream at the top of your range for a minute. The next day, see how sore you are. Take a day off if you have to. Record it. Get used to the feeling in your cords when you're making the sound you want to hear. You will discover just how much energy to put into it without blowing out your cords.[/b] [/quote]This is some really good advice. When I was younger I would try to do anything to get the sound I wanted out of my voice. Now I've learned that you can do a great many things with your voice and still take care of it. My point, don't do things that will damage your voice for a sound, there are other ways of getting the sound and you'll have more control of the raspy sound learning the healthier ways. You'll know how to bring it in for more emotional effect and then gradually take it out so that it doesn't become annoying. Basically, it's like anything else. Just practice, it'll come. Namaste Jedi

"All conditioned things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence."

 

The Buddha's Last Words

 

R.I.P. RobT

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All of the advice on how to train your voice is good. Just curious, though... is there any kind of vocal effect that makes a dramatic difference? That makes your voice gritty or raspy that actually sounds real? Pretty soon, they'll probably have dial-an-englebert, dial-a-bryan-adams.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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