Here's a chance to ask a vocal coach any questions about any technique used on there own record.
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VoiceCouncil Forum → Posts by James 'LA' Lugo
Here's a chance to ask a vocal coach any questions about any technique used on there own record.
Click here for mp3's:
So all my buddies have been doing it, so I just took the plunge. Bought a sweet web cam/mic and set up an IChat account and did my first live voice lesson with a girl in New Jersey. It was frikkin' COOL!
Thanks Voice Council.
Thanks Darrison, this place makes me question what I teach and if I'm missing the boat somewhere. I've studied under countless teachers over the last 20 years and the simplest teachers had the biggest impact on me and maybe it's just the way my brain works or doesn't work.
I started working with Nate Lamm about 7 years ago and he forever changed my life and his teaching is simple and fundamental. It has had a deep and lasting impact on how I sing first and formost and then how I teach. For me, my singing always comes first, if I'm on pioint vocally then I teach better. Kind of like the analogy of the crashing plain, the mother puts the oxygen on herself before the baby. The belief being you're no good to your baby if you're dead. I'm no good for my students if I'm not in good voice. I don't know where I'm going with this I just wanted to put it out there, if this is all confusing and makes you feel alienated it doesn't mean you can't get it or become an awesome singer. You'd be surprised at how little some GREAT singers know about singing!
I've always found for me it's just a matter of mental approach. If I think darker sound I get darker sound. Nothing real earth shattering about the way I do it. As a session singer I'm put in situations where I have to make the client happy and sound like what they want and I just visualize the sound in my mind and ear and my body takes over and does its thing. I just get out of the way and let it happen and it always does, that's what I teach. Not very exciitng and not nearly as interesting as most others approaches but I've found it works for me. Keep it simple. For me, anytime I'm thinking placement, laryngeal position, where am I resonating, soft palatte or anything else that gets my mind engaged and away from the moment I'm doomed. And this is in no way to discredit anything any of these other coaches are teaching, this is for the guy reading this post and going "what the hell are they talking about, I just want to rock and sound cool. I didn't get into music to think like a brain surgeon, I got into it to party and see the world". If you are feeling that way don't feel bad, you're not alone. Everytime I read a post on this forum I wonder how I've made it as far as I have with as little as I know, and that's no lie....
James...OMG!!!!!!!!!! Bwaha!! Yeah you were a lady killer then too eh
The 80's and early 90's were crazy for me for sure! Saw the world from behind an SM58 and Les Paul. Amazing I made it out alive, for me I had to get clean and sober because the years on the road took their toll and thank God I did because I'm 44 and sing and scream better then ever and still look young. I see guys from that era that I am friends with and some look really rough. My voice was genetically pretty tough and could always take some abuse but the combo of partying and little sleep nearly killed me.
I'm working with a major label dark metal band right now and the singer is struggling vocally, he also stays up all night drinking Jagermiester (sp?), smoking weed and hangin with the chickies and his voice sounds like shit and he's letting his band down.
Yeah and as far as technique goes I think live you need to go beyond technique sometimes. To me singers that are always in perfect control are sometimes like watching paint dry. If you think of some of the all-time great rockstar singers they would go outside the box on stage.
The other thing is touring is a weird thing; chicks, partying, lack of sleep, sleeping sitting up, shitty food and one minute you feel like the king of the world the next you wonder why you didn't marry the girl in 12th grade because you're so lonely on the road. For anyone who's never been on the road it's not what you may think, it's not always fun being a singer in a band. Everyone is tearing it up killing brain cells and your throat hurts as you wonder if you're gonna have any gas tomorrow because you have a radio show to sing acoustic at 7am and your meeting the brother of one of the Clear Channel investors at 1pm and he wants you to sing Happy Birthday to his dughter at her party and then you have to drive 4 hours to Boise to do a show opening for a big band who's manager is interested in you guys jumping on the European leg of their stadium tour in the summer and you better blow them away tonight because your band depends on you but all you want to do is be sleeping on your mom's couch while she makes you soup and tells you it's gonna be OK there's still time to go back to Community College...lololol This is in no way autobiographical! You gotta love rock n roll.
Back in the day out with Warrant, circa 87'
I think Tate's voice started it's decline after Operation Mind Crime. It started to darken and he started to drift into singing safe and covered land. Saw him live then and to me his voice was no longer compelling or urgent, not that it ever was all that much to me (always a Bruce fan for that style). Same thing happened to Journey after Escape. 20 months on the road and Steve was never the same. I studied with the same coach as he did during that time, Gina Morreta in Miami.
Years on the road can take their toll. I did a stint in the early 90's playing guitar in Dokken after Lynch left and those guys use to party with Queensryche... Whoa. I've seen videos!!!! Don use to crack them out about 3/4 of the way through a bottle of JD and we'd trip out watching them. \M/
At least they can say they had fun.
p.s. And on another note, you guys must hate me, I'm like the only guy on this forum that's not into Geoff Tate. But you gotta admit it's pretty rock-n-roll. ~
I don't have time to go into detail about this subject because I'm starting a session but I love this topic. Split resonation usually accurs at F# above middle C with tenors. It's where half the sound stays in the mouth and the other half goes behind the uvula into the nasal pharyngeal cavity. The technique to staying connected first and formost is approach, think of it as one voice. For me, I always think down and I move down into my split resonation, it allows me to stay grunty and heavy in the register. I never feel the feeling of singing higher there, always down. I slightly tighen my belly as I drop my jaw and hit that mofo like I'm being chased by a pack of wild opera singers...lol
Good luck and good post.
I think for me I go along more with Bruce Lee, he felt that any structured technique would be flawed and make a person vulnerable and also make them perform the same as others did which would in turn give the opponent the opportunity to use it against him. He use to say he taught 'the technique of no technique'. That's pretty much what I believe and what I'm about. There are aspects of different style of teaching that I use and aspects that I don't but at the end of the day not everything always works with everyone and you must be open and flowing to move your voice and thinking as things occur. Some days I warm up with standard stuff and some days I lie on the floor in the dark and sing to 'The Best Of Earth Wind And Fire'. You have to find what works best for you. Some people only study a set way of thinking and do great but that wasn't the case for me, though I will say Riggs has done wonderful work and is a good man.... and he laughs at my jokes.
Brett Manning is cool.
Any help would be desired. She will be following this post.
Singing is my "passion" as well... But I find I have to disagree with you on your posts being of "no importance".... I have read many of your posts, and they have assisted ME !!!
I don't make many posts here myself regarding technique, etc., as I'm certainly no instructor, nor would ever profess to be - just here to learn to perfect my voice.
Enough said about that subject.... Listened to some of your recordings as well ! Awesome Tunes, brother !
Thanks Nightprowler, I think we're myspace friends? Oh man I just lost my mind and bought the final Wagner U47w that will ever be made:
This is the mack daddy of all U47 repros. I should have it by Christmas. If anyone on this board lives near LA and wants to come by my studio and check out some mics just call me.
Hey guys I feel like I'm forcing something here, I think I'm craving some high end mic discussion on this board and I just need to let it go.
For me, my passion is singing, producing music and coaching singers in the studio as they track records. My approach as far as just pure voice coaching goes is so simple and in such opposition to most of the complex techniques I read here from the coaches that I never feel like I have anything of any great importance to add so I stay off the threads for the most part and just read them.
Anyway, it's 11pm and I need to stop typing and get some sleep.
I think it depends on what you're going for. Every big budget national release record I've worked on in LA in the past 10 years has been a high end mic on the lead vocal ala 251, 47, 67, C-12, VM-1, 87, C-800 etc.... Now in a dense rock mix it doesn't always matter so much and a lot of screamer are using SM7's, I know Nickelback uses a NTK and Tool uses a Soundelux U195 which are both inexpensive mics both of which I've owned and sold over the years, the U195's cool but I hate the cheap top end of the NTK but Mr. Kroeger thinks it's suits his voice and that's what matters.
For me, I have had the privaledge of having an extensive mic locker for many years and working at studios like; Conway, Paramount, Westlake, Enterprise, The Village etc... So my ear is in a different place perception wise then a guy who walks into GC never making real records and sings into a SE mic in the store and says it sounds great. Mics that are designed to be sold in loud music stores are voiced for the WOW factor meaning mids are scooped and top end is extended so it sounds good in a loud music store at 4 in the afternoon. That voicing will make the singer not sound natural and can be very dissapointing when you get home and actually record with t.
These are pics from my studio in Hollywood in preparation for various recording sessions:
My new U67, made March 1964. All original no mods. Jeff Buckley stood in front of it.
With that all being said many bands use 100 dollar dynamics and get great results but the question originally was how do I capture my voice in it's entirety.
p.s. I beta test and do shootouts and write reviews for nearly every major mic manufacturer and internet site. I have sang into and have recordings of every mic on earth if there's something you want to hear contact me and I can see if I can get you some files. Good luck.
PPS. If you have a chance check out this thread:
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much- … files.html
Go to post #212 for files.
It takes $$$$, trust me. I have the best vocal sound I've ever had in my studio:
Neumann U67>Neve 1073>Urei 1176 = 13K
Here's me doing an acapella this morning for a movie track.
The 67 and 1073 were the ones used on Jeff Buckley's 'Grace' record.
The cheaper Guitar Center stuff is always hyped and geeked out. Though I have been using a TLM49 and it's not a bad mic. Good luck.
I wouldn't look to an inernet forum for that answer, ask an ENT. I hope everything is ok man.
For me getting the grit has always been a departure from vocal technique. I scream because that's what I feel and hear in my heart when I do it, not some technique. Technique for me can be a limitation, thinking of all singing in terms of the fundumental X's and O's can be very mind narrowing and pull a singer further away from their goal.
I'm one of the guys in LA who's known as a guy who teaches screaming, which honestly I don't really view myself like that but I'm viewed by others that way. In all my years I've consistantly had my lowest success rate with teaching people to scream with people who try to intellectualize it and 'figure it out'.
Open mouth, drop jaw, think down, sing out, unload on world... Sounds primitive, well screaming is primitive. I was Axle's roomate when Appetite came out, that guy was f*ckin' insane, his inner rage came out on tape, that's what you are hearing.
I don't know if any of this helps you man. Good luck and keep singing/screaming!
I use to do that stuff as a kid as an inhale not an exhale, kinda like Prince. You should email Ralph from the Atomic Punks he's the best in the world at that scream. Tell him I sent you.
Okay! Thanks! I'll try smearing my words a little for an effect and see what it sounds like. I'll be somewhat slow getting to that, because I am still trying to learn Pro Tools............:)
Step away from the computer...:)
Hey man nice work.
Voice is full sounding, sometimes though you want the voice to compress more and narrow to cut through dense mixes. Sometimes the tighter a rock singers voice gets around G and higher the more intense it actually sounds because the guitars take up such a huge part of the sonic pallet that if the voice is to big it can get crowded. One of my mentors and best friends is Michael Wagner,
about 4 years ago at sushi he told me, 'the key to making a great rock record is to figure out how to get the guitars as loud as humanly possible in the chorus, that's what makes the record rock'. One way is to tuck the lead vocals in nicely. Some of the greatest records have singers with tight top ends; Zep, ACDC, Soundgarden etc... Listen to Givin' The Dog A Bone, Whole Lotta Love and the tune Superunknown (listen to how low in the mix Cornell is in the chorus, perfect example), all are great examples of this concept. Bigger isn't always better, think Bruce Lee.
My only other thought was be careful of singing to clearly, sometimes the best part of rock singing is the smear of words; Elton, Plant, Jagger etc... Over enunciating can be the straight ticket to a day job. What the hell was Curt saying??? lol
Peace buddy, sing with vigor you sound great.
Email me and we will set up an excact time and day to talk.
James, I'll call you Monday. Will have to figure out the time difference from India to California, hehe.
Whoa, India. Glad to hear you bringing the rock there.
Not sure about the time difference but you can call me pretty much anytime on Monday. I haven't been posting so much around here lately, works been intense but this thread has sparked something in me, I really want to see you get your voice going to its full potential.
James, I think I understand what you mean. But at the moment, when I sing high, all I'm thinking about is to keep the voice out of my throat and not exhale too much. I suppose, once these things become more second nature with constant practice, tonal considerations would be the next step. Many thanks for the comments
Vats, be careful of falling into the thinking of 'it will be there when my voice develops'. That is not always the case. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Meaning you need to sing and practice with more depth, intensity and weight to achieve more depth, intensity and weight in your voice. I tell you this from years of singing and coaching. People aren't able to bench press 400 lbs by working out with 100 lbs, it doesn't work like that. The body adapts to whatever work load you give it, that adaptation is the progress we hear on a daily basis. If you want your voice to have more balls you need to will it by singing with more balls.
I am not harping on you I'm just trying to help you out. Again, this is just been my experience and opinion so take it with a grain of salt just like everything else written on this site.
Call me Monday if you want to discuss this matter further, my typing sucks and I'm running out of finger chops...lol
cell: 818 259 0190
Nice job man. Gotta get a deeper tone, more chest. It's a sweet blend but to much head for my taste. I ran lights for Kansas back in the day, heard the tune a few million times. lol
Think down and hunker in when you go up. Don't let the tone lift. Don't be to polite on the hook it loses its ergency and no longer speaks. Don't sing it like your performing for a bunch of vocal coaches, sing like a rockstar!
Great work man
Jamie and Robert both offer books, vids and CD's. The fact that you're searching is wonderful man, keep it up.
Honestly SLS is not always best for metal, IMO. I know from personal experience.
I'll preface what I'm about to write with:
1. That I am friends with Seth and love him, (he has always been very supportive of me)
2. I have lectured with him many times
3. Studied his method inside and out and took lessons from a level 5 instructor
To me, SLS is to soft and heady for metal and creates bad habits by extending the head voice down which is the kiss of death for metal. SLS is for people who want to learn to skateboard, singing metal is like doing back flips 10 feet in the air off a pool lip! It's apples and oranges.
So here's my story, about 8 years ago I started a record, we tracked all the drums and bass at a studio and while tracking I laid a scratch guitar and vocal. The vocal was me in the control room using a 57 with click bleed. We had a falling out with the producer and went looking for a new one, with little money. A killer LA rock producer fell in love with the project and my voice. We worked on the record for 3 months all the while using my scratch vocal as a reference. As we started the record I decided to study with a coach to get my voice as badass as possible for vocals.
I went to a top SLS instructor for 3 months, he changed vowels, got me singing in the 'Mix', honoring my bridges yada yada yada.... The day came when I started vocals so I came into the studio with all my new found knowledge of singing, got behind the mic to show the producer how I had improved. He stopped the tape midway through the first chorus and he said and I quote "what the hell's wrong with your voice", remember he had been listening to the scratches for months and knew them inside and out. I started to tell him how I was working on some new stuff, he cut me off mid sentence and told me to grow up and stop f**king around and sing! There you have it, 5 grand of lessons later I learned my lesson.
I am not writing this as a coach I'm writing this as a metal singer.
I know there are many SLS instructors here and I don't write this as an insult I just think it has it's place and most SLS instructors I know don't claim to be very good at teaching metal, hell a lot of the LA instructors send metal guys to me because they just don't understand the sound.
Again remember this is just my opinion. YMMV.
Tell your student to do Skype lessons with you James. If you don't kbnow how to set it up, I'll give you a hand;)
I think I'm gonna do that Jamie. I'm shifting over all my teaching to Studio B at Vocal Asylum, leaving Studio A open 24/7 for recording and composing. I just remodeled Studio B, bought a new G5 and am picking up a pair of ADAM studio monitors this week. I'm also move into a new house on Friday but when the dust settles in a few weeks I'll hit you up, maybe you can walk me through setting the room up nice for Skype. It's time to step it up.
Thanks guys for all the help and encouragement.
Who's the guy or gal to call? No SLS.
Please email me asap.
I know for me the more I searched the more I grew. Sometimes you'll learn what works for you and what doesn't. Keep up the good work and sing with intention! \M/
VoiceCouncil Forum → Posts by James 'LA' Lugo