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  #1  
Old 01-05-2016, 09:42 PM
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TBman TBman is offline
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Default How would you go about teaching yourself to sing?

I just want to be able to carry a tune a bit, maybe sing some of those old time blues songs just for the fun of it when no one is home except me and the dog,
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:08 PM
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same...............
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:58 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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For first steps try singing into your tuner, if it has a microphone input. Play a note on the guitar and watch the tuner, then sing that note and watch the tuner.

Establish your comfortable range from low to high. Find a range of different vowel sounds. Practice singing each semi tone in your range in tune with each of your vowel sounds.

Practice singing intervals, play the interval on guitar and then sing it, again watching the tuner. 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths and octaves.

When I first tried doing this I was frequently half a semi tone flat. My lower range was, and still is, less accurate than my higher range so I try and pitch songs as high as is comfortable. Read as much as you can about singing, especially the bridge between chest and head voice.

Listen to singers you admire and try and copy their sounds. Do you like a hard throat sound or a soft throat sound? Can you get a vibrato into your voice.

A loving voice to a child is different to a commanding voice to an army. Can you do both?

Commit any songs you sing to memory. Don't sing from paper or electronic text.
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:24 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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I don't think I ever gave it much thought. I just sang. Now, playing (fingerpicking) and singing at the same time confounded me for a good while.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:09 AM
Pualee Pualee is offline
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If you can tune a guitar by ear, you can learn to sing... you just have to listen and correct

One thing that will throw me off... I may practice at night when my family is asleep... I'll sit in a corner of a room and sing quietly. But then when I play out, it sounds terrible...

I've changed from a quiet intimate corner of a room to a social hall, with no mic, and lots of people creating background noise and absorbing the sound. I now have to stand lean back, breath deep and raise my voice significantly.

I've found I really just need to listen, and practice in the same way that I want to perform. Try to reproduce whatever it is you want to do - whether it is sitting on the front porch, or performing with amplification.

Singing scales while playing them on the guitar will help you learn intervals, but I think that is counter intuitive. Your voice is more expressive than the intervals. Just find the starting note, and sing the relative pitch changes
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:19 AM
Archtop Guy Archtop Guy is offline
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Find some songs you like, sing along with recordings, practice (sing) every day.

No worries, if you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:30 AM
Tomahawk Dean Tomahawk Dean is offline
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The only way I can carry a tune is in a "bushel basket"!!! Where I live, in the middle of "no-where" in the north woods of Wisconsin, even the wolves leave the area when I sing. I enjoy singing, though, either with recorded music or with my playing. What I've found is that I need to know the song on my git really well so that I almost don't need to pay attention to it. Then keep the song in my head and just "go for it and belt it out". Initially, I would sing along with the chords and be very monotone during the duration of the chord. Being I don't play anywhere but in my own home, I don't really CARE what I sound like. I just KEEP IT FUN.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:09 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Step 1. Learn how to play the instrument - i.e. your voice.

The voice is a wind instrument like a trumpet or a saxophone - you donlt just "blow" into either, but you are off and on your way when you know how to blow raspberries into a trumpet or blow air across a reed.

The voice isn't an instrument to be played quietly - you need to understand how to open up the tubes, and to inflate the airsack (you lungs).

One or two lessons with a singing teacher will show you how to do both.

I doubled my volume and my accuracy in about 3 or 4 lessons.
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  #9  
Old 01-06-2016, 09:43 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I just want to be able to carry a tune a bit, maybe sing some of those old time blues songs just for the fun of it when no one is home except me and the dog,
Take a deep breath....

There's essentially two things you need do to train.
1. Being able to pitch your voice reliably, ie sing in tune.
2. To produce a good tone, with enough power.

If you can't sing in tune, begin by trying to hum single notes played on the guitar. If you're an adult male, I suggest starting fairly low, on 5th or 4th strings. Some men (basses) can get below A, but most men have a comfortable low note around A. It's probably somewhere around your normal speaking pitch.
You can do it both ways: play a note and try and hum it; or hum a note and try and find the same note on guitar.

There's two ways to help hear your voice more clearly:
1 (hi-tech): use a mic, some kind of amp (or PC, iphone, etc) and headphones.
2 (lo-tech): sit (or stand) facing the corner of a room, as close as you can get. (Well, as close as you can get while still holding a guitar... a couple of feet should be OK.)

Start with your low note, and work your way steadily up a scale (you know how to play a scale, yes? ), until your voice starts cracking. This will establish your range, which will help you choose keys to sing songs in (ie so their lowest and highest notes fit within your range).
As you practice more - especially sing with more power - you should find your range will extend, especially at the top end.
Try to sing chord tones too. Eg, strum a chord and see if you can tune your voice to each note in it in turn (within your range). Pick individual strings to check.

That's all about learning to pitch - to match your voice to what you're hearing. The other thing is learning to produce a good sound, treating your voice as a musical instrument rather than just something to talk with.
Breathing is the secret to a lot of that, as well as relaxing your throat and chest, opening your mouth, and being able to feel which part of your body the tone seems to be coming from - it will seem to resonate higher up your body the higher the pitch.

As with anything, you'll find youtube lessons - a fairly random selection:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VnuioNLvNU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA4h4ZfNWcM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdIF2irWHBI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5hS7eukUbQ
blues scale:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seXRgOqrGGc
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:21 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Learning to sing isn't all that much different than learning to play an instrument: practice, practice, practice. However, just like learning an instrument, the practice has to address and correct problems. When I was younger I had no gift for singing in tune. I remember trying out for the chorus in 6th grade and immediately being rejected. In my teens I started playing guitar and quickly concluded that if I couldn't sing, the whole guitar playing thing felt like only half a hobby.

I barely could afford guitar strings back then so I certainly couldn't afford singing lessons but I kept plugging away. Now I'm not a singing teacher. I've never taken a singing lesson. But I think there were some things that worked better for improving my singing than others.

First, you have to listen to yourself with a critical ear. By this I mean you have to listen and determine where you're going off the rails. You need to determine if you leave notes sharp, flat, or are you all over the place. You have to understand what mistakes you're making. So like I said, listen to yourself with a critical ear.

So how do you do this? For myself, as cliche as it sounds, singing a cappella in the shower was helpful. The small space lets the sound reverberate off the walls and hit your ears. You really do hear yourself better. Sing songs that allow you to hold notes for a longer period of time so you can practice finding the note and not leaving it flat or pushing your voice too hard and shooting past the note and going sharp. For myself, I remember "Old Man River" being useful for this purpose.

Singing in the car helps too. Just be sure not to have the music so loud that you can't hear yourself over it. If you can't hear yourself, you have no idea if you're hitting the notes correctly or missing by a mile. I used to keep the volume on the low side in the car so I could just about hear the music as I was singing.

Another trick, if you're not in a small space, is to cup a hand behind one ear. This lets you hear your voice without the sound waves traveling through your jaw. This was especially helpful if I was singing along to music that was playing in the background.

So all that covered singing on pitch, but there's more to singing than singing in key. The other thing I had to figure out was my range. Range is a tricky thing because it isn't always constant. As our vocal cords loosen up, our range increases. As we age, our range changes. Vocal cords need to be warmed up at both ends of the range. It helped me to find a single song that let me work those ends and I would sing that song in the car on my way to whatever venue I was playing that night. The song that worked for me was Jim Croce's "Lover's Cross."

Lastly, find your own voice. A problem I had, and one that I know others have had, is a tendency to mimic the artist who played the song you're performing. When I was in my teens I was able to mimic Cat Stevens pretty well. Over time, I found myself doing the same thing with other artists. If I was playing a Dylan song, I'd sing in Dylan's style. If I was singing a Croce song, I'd sing in Croce's style. It was a bad habit. I didn't want people to think of me as a singer impersonator. Eventually I fell into a style of singing that worked for me but it took a really long time to stop myself from mimicking the style of others.

So that's what worked for me. I hope some of it is helpful to you. The bottom line, however, is it's doable. Good luck.
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Last edited by jim1960; 01-06-2016 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:23 PM
Mtn Man Mtn Man is offline
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The best advice I got was to sing along to the radio, CD's, etc. whenever you're listening (especially in the car). Sing along with everything. You'll probably find there are certain songs that you're able to sing pretty easily, and others that you really struggle with. This probably has to do with range.

If there are certain singers you really like, listen to them and try to sing along and match their phrasing, etc. I'm not saying you should try to rip off their style, but there's a lot you can learn this way. Do this enough, with a wide enough variety of material, and you'll begin to get a feel for what works for you and what doesn't. Now you're on your way to developing your own style, but it will be pleasant to listen to because you'll be building on a foundation of good music.

Most of the best players/singers I know spent hours and hours and hours with their record players/tape decks/CD players dissecting and learning from other players, until they eventually found their own voice and style. Just like you learn how to speak by listening to your parents, family, friends, etc., you can naturally learn music the same way.
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2016, 08:25 PM
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TBman TBman is offline
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Sheesh, you mean I have to sing in key? LOL, thanks for the help everyone, I'll give the suggestions a try next time I'm home alone
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Barry

Originals:
Dark Air *** The Stone Path


Covers:
Star of the County Down

The Foggy Dew

Ciuil Amuigh

Avalon L2-320C, Larrivee OM-05, Guild D-120c, Gibson J-45, Martin D-16GT and others
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2016, 05:41 AM
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You've gotten lots of good advice already. Listen to good singers, imitate. Record yourself for self evaluation. Sing along with everything, including commercials. Finish your notes musically, don't just stop them. Develop a vibrato. Keep moving on to more difficult pieces.
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:03 AM
jasperguitar jasperguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanron View Post
For first steps try singing into your tuner, if it has a microphone input. Play a note on the guitar and watch the tuner, then sing that note and watch the tuner.

Establish your comfortable range from low to high. Find a range of different vowel sounds. Practice singing each semi tone in your range in tune with each of your vowel sounds.

Practice singing intervals, play the interval on guitar and then sing it, again watching the tuner. 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths and octaves.

When I first tried doing this I was frequently half a semi tone flat. My lower range was, and still is, less accurate than my higher range so I try and pitch songs as high as is comfortable. Read as much as you can about singing, especially the bridge between chest and head voice.

Listen to singers you admire and try and copy their sounds. Do you like a hard throat sound or a soft throat sound? Can you get a vibrato into your voice.

A loving voice to a child is different to a commanding voice to an army. Can you do both?

Commit any songs you sing to memory. Don't sing from paper or electronic text.
====

What a great idea ........... thanks for this one ...
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