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Monday, October 26, 2009

Guide To Great Vocals

Most young artists and bands take vocals for granted. They'll concentrate on improving their skills on guitar playing or drumming, but don't spend much time on the very thing that most listeners key on. This is true especially for background vocals, which usually have the least time spent honing them than any other part.

But all vocals are equally as important. A single bad background vocal can badly taint a song no matter how well it's played. Here are a number of items to concentrate on that can really make a difference to a band's vocals. You'll find more detail in my book How To Make Your Band Sound Great.
  • Remember the 3 P’s – Pitch, Passion, Pocket. You need all three for a great vocal.
  • You’ve got to hear yourself to stay in tune. You’ll most likely sing sharp if you’re not loud enough.
  • Avoid alcohol, dairy products, tea, coffee and cola before a gig. All will make it more difficult to sing.
  • Choose the best key. Better to change the key than hurt yourself.
  • Take care of yourself. Gets lots of sleep and drink plenty of water.
  • Rehearse harmonies without the band first. It’s much easier to learn parts that way.
  • Phrasing is everything in background vocals. Concentrate on attacks and releases to stay tight.
  • Pay attention to background vocals. If they don’t sound good, then neither do you!


Unknown said...

Thanks, Bobby! Also, I'm amazed at how many vocalists don't have a clue about how to use a microphone! They treat it like a prop, swallow it, ignore it, or even use a microphone that is completely unsuitable to their vocal style or the environment, resulting in feedback, distortion, and unintelligible vocals.

Bobby Owsinski said...

So true, Orrin. Legit singers are usually taught mic technique somewhere along the line, but not so in rock and pop music. Just another fundamental skill that's frequently overlooked, unfortunately.


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