How Can You Make A Rock Vocal Sound Better?

Admit it... you were expecting a magic answer to this one. You were going to get advice on what plug-ins and effects can turn an ordinary vocal into that of a true rock god. Or goddess.

The key fact about rock vocals is that they are an established musical form. If someone invents a better way of doing vocals for rock... well they will be some other style of vocal, and not true rock.

So you have to look at the defining parameters of the style. Just as you wouldn't record hip hop without an MPC60 or the like, and you wouldn't record country music without a Fender Telecaster guitar, then you shouldn't record rock vocals without a Shure SM58 microphone.

And that's all you need. You don't need a fancy preamp - just plug it into your mixing console, set the levels and record.

Now if you really want to get better rock vocals, what you need is a great rock singer. You could of course fire your current singer and get a better one. Might as well fix the drummer while you're at it.

Or you could get your singer some voice training. Rock vocals demand great control. They might sound out of control but there is a hell of a lot of precision work going on in that there larynx. The art is to sound loud and aggressive while letting the mic do most of the work, and developing the muscles and tissues of the throat over a considerable period of time. Even the great rock singers took time to develop. (And many over-developed too quickly leading to surgery to correct serious problems).

One technique that is used all the time in rock is the 'fry'. This is where the soft tissues surrounding the throat and larynx are made to vibrate coarsely and roughly. I'm sure you know the sound. I'm sure you know also that you don't have to do this for long before you get a terrible sore throat. Look forward to an infection the next day and possibly a trip to the doctor for antibiotics.

Building up the technique to produce the fry on the regular basis required by rock demands competent instruction. You can do it alone like the ancient greats of rock, but it will be a hit and miss affair - and no-one knows about the rock singers who didn't make it because they shot their voices to pieces before they were ready.

You know, great singing will sound great with any decent microphone and any competent preamplifier. We hear so much about equipment that we forget that the source of so much music is in fact human.

David Mellor, Record-Producer.com

In The News:


New York Times

Charles Bradley, a Late-in-Life Soul Music Star, Dies at 68
New York Times
Charles Bradley, the journeyman soul singer whose beleaguered rasp and passionate live performances turned him from an itinerant worker and small-time James Brown impersonator into a late-in-life headliner, died on Saturday in Brooklyn. He was 68.
Charles Bradley obituaryThe Guardian

all 16 news articles »

Billboard

Dave Matthews Invites Charlottesville Victim's Mother Onstage at 'Music and Unity' Concert
Billboard
In addition to Matthews' band at the benefit concert for "music and unity," Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Cage the Elephant, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Chris Stapleton are billed to perform. Concertgoers ...

and more »

CBS News

The New Season: Music
CBS News
Contributor Bill Flanagan previews some of fall's most anticipated new releases, from pop to classical and jazz: The biggest date of the fall music season is November 10th. That's when Taylor Swift's sixth album, "Reputation," arrives. Swift has gone ...


New York Times

Music Resists the Word: Being The Times's Classical Music Critic
New York Times
Some big issues — with implications for the prosperity of the performing arts in New York City and the overall health of classical music — hovered over the programs that the Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden led recently to open the season of the New ...

and more »

Page Six

Tamar Braxton quitting music to save her marriage
Page Six
“There's a lot of things that are going on in my relationship and me being close to this music industry, and whatever I can do to eliminate all of the stress and problems off of my relationship, I would rather do that.” Braxton and Herbert, 44, have ...

and more »

Salon

During Vietnam, music spoke to both sides of a divided nation
Salon
Music is central to Ken Burns's new Vietnam War documentary, with an original score accompanied by samples of the era's most popular musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, the people interviewed for the film were even ...

and more »

Washington Post

New music director promises NSO a real new beginning
Washington Post
Sure, Gianandrea Noseda can conduct an orchestra. But does anybody want to hear him? You do. That's what the National Symphony has been trying to get across for weeks, plastering the picture of their incoming music director on buses and ad kiosks all ...


New York Times

Rising Star: The Week's 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube
New York Times
Belmonte, a young nobleman, is anticipating reuniting with his beloved, who has been the captive of a Turkish pasha. Listen to Mr. Bliss's delivery of the music's most fretful passage: He manages to convey emotional distress while singing with elegant ...


USA TODAY

Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton reunite at Tennessee music festival
USA TODAY
Chris Stapleton joins Justin Timberlake onstage at Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tenn.
Justin Timberlake makes small Tennessee music festival bigABC News

all 38 news articles »

TechCrunch

Music and Muzak | TechCrunch
TechCrunch
We are facing a firehose. Data spews at us from all angles, inundating us with ideas, culture, and creativity. We produce terabytes of information a year,..

and more »
Google News

Dance Musics Most Popular and Enduring Theme: The Declaration of Independence

It all started with Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" in... Read More

Yo, is Rap Just Another Four Letter Word?

Flaunting any excessive or anti-social behavior is considered brazen. When... Read More

Creating Within Limits

When I first started playing the piano I wanted to... Read More

Independent Music Promotion on the Web: 3 Steps to Success

Let's face it, the wildfire spread of web-based portals designed... Read More

Establishing Your Mix

Now that you've spent hours and days and weeks and... Read More

How to Be in the Moment when Playing Piano

Your best music will always come when you are in... Read More

Taps; Piping Military Honors: A Ceremonial Guide for Highland Bagpipers

It has become increasingly popular for U.S. military veterans and... Read More

Music as Therapy?

Frustrated in a gridlocked?Job got you stressed out?The children have... Read More

Review: Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade

Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed the progressive... Read More

How To Play The Violin

This article gives the essential basics for how to play... Read More

The Didjeridu

In Northern Australia the Didjeridu is seen as a phallic... Read More

5 Sure Fire Ways to Get Radio Play for Your ?Independent? Music!

You have to find radio airplay time if you're going... Read More

So You Want to be President? Learn to Play a Musical Instrument!

President Harry S. Truman, the man in the White House... Read More

Liberate your iPod

When Akio Morita came up with the idea of the... Read More

Interview With Josh Epstein of Vision Music USA

Vision Music USA is a proactive and progressive music service... Read More

You Cant Force Play

A student once asked me; "How come sometimes the music... Read More

50 Cent G Unit

His lockjaw delivery makes him look as gangsta as Marlon... Read More

Quick and Easy Violin Mute

One of the reasons I picked up the violin was... Read More

How to Buy an Electric Guitar Online

With the increased proliferation of online guitar and musical equipment... Read More

Is Your Child Capable of Composing Music? Maybe the Next Mozart?

We've all heard of them. Child prodigies who begin composing... Read More

How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing

Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer... Read More

Do you really need college to learn to play music?

Music courses are a great way to learn about virtually... Read More

RAP Music and Brain Washing Issues

I am not sure if anyone has been watching out... Read More

Review: Medications - All Your Favorite People In One Place

One of the most intriguing aspects of music is how... Read More

Soul Band for a Party

Was the request six months ago, a sixtieth birthday party,... Read More