Home VOCAL DEMONSTRATIONS for the Bold!

Cover - Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
Hi All,

This is one of the covers I have been working on for a while. All feedback welcome :smile: .

Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine



I recorded the video on the iPhone and the audio through the two condenser mics via the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4.
- Vocal Mic: Rode NT1-A
- Guitar Mic: some cheapy that came with the stand it is in.
- The 2i4 piped the audio into the Reaper DAW on my PC.

On the vocal track and the guitar I added:
- Compression
- EQ
- Reverb
I don't really know what I am doing with this stuff but I basically just picked the presets for acoustic vocal and acoustic guitar and then tweaked them a little bit.

For those trying to sing and play guitar, this is a good one to do as it is pretty easy to play.
Am7, Em, G for the verse and Em7, Dm7 for the bridge.

I did two takes, this was the second one.

Regards,

Scotty

Comments

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    Hi Scotty,

    very good rendition of this very, VERY hard song. It takes a lot of breath control if you want to sing it like Bill Withers. You found a very good way through the song. Kudos, mate. Here and there you missed some notes in means if pitch. But I am pretty sure that with some more practice you will fix this soon and nail the song.

    I am not a native english speaker so I am uncertain about some vowels:

    "Ain't, sunshine, anytime, ...".

    I have no experience on that but for me it sounds like you are using some twang on purpose. Have you tried to open the vowels some more and to place it more forward and open? - But really, I am no expert on that in any means since I have no understanding of any english dialects. I am wondering since you sound on some vowels more open and forward placed. For me, and this is for sure my personal opinion, this sounds a little bit warmer.

    Very good demo on this VERY hard song.

    Kudos,
    Doc
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    edited April 5
    @doc_ramadani,

    Hey mate, thanks for taking the time to listen and give some feedback.
    Yes the "...I know, I know... " part that goes on for about 7 bars and he does it all in one breath, and manages to keep it interesting, building the tension. It is pretty hard to pull off in any sort of convincing way. So I modified that a bit to make more doable for me. I stuffed it up in the second take, as I went higher a bit to early, but there were less errors over all in the second take so I went with that. Also I didn't quite support that big "...away" near the end, well enough and it fizzled off at the end.

    Pitch is something I have struggled with, especially being able to articulate a melody. Like I can sing the root notes of chords, but when it comes to melody I find it hard to know if I am signing a note that is the actual melody or just a note that is in key with the chord being played. If the artist is singing I can sing along ok, but take away that melody guide and I struggle. I am getting better at this, and actually being able to hear the notes better now, like in a phrase where different words are different notes. But it is a work in progress.

    Also I couldn't do the phrasing exactly the same as Bill as I find it difficult to play and sing at the same time. He lets some words ring out more than I do, which does make it more interesting. I find it hard to let a word ring out when the guitar has moved on... it would be great to get better at this. Its like I can focus on the vocal and loose the guitar timing or the guitar and loose some expression in the vocal.

    Just listening back to it a couple more times and I see what you mean on the vowels with some being more restricted. I hadn't noticed this, thanks for the tip, I will work on it :wink: .

    So for reference here is the great Bill Withers:


    I also took some inspiration from Luigiano Paals UK X Factor audition. He does a huge version of this song, it is just awesome. He's got such a big voice, and he builds up the tension in the song to a big finish. (song starts at around 1:35 sec mark)



    Regards,

    Scotty
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    edited April 5
    Good morning, Scotty,

    yes I know - Pitch is a beast. When I started on my 48th birthday I already was a trumpet and guitar player for more than 40 years. I thought that pitch shouldn't be an issue for me. Not even close! :bawling: It was a HUGE issue for me. For me, it turned out to be a hearing, an intonation issue and the lack of being able memories clearly. I was surfing through the chords and singing SOMETHING - but not the correct notes. Nowadays it is better but far from perfect. I would call it decent.

    What helped me:
    1. I started to do ear training on a regular base (daily). I use the program https://www.tonegym.co/site/index for that. I do it 10 minutes a day. Mostly in the morning
    2. I learn songs phrase by phrase. I pick my guitar and identify note by note. Then I sing the melodies slowly while playing them on the guitar.
    3. When I think I have the melodies and intervals clearly in my head I practice the songs with an App called "Anytune". But it is available for macOS and iOs. You can import tracks and select loops, change tempo and pitch. I loop the different phrases, slow them down and practice the different phrases. Here I pay special attention to the vowel placement, vowel mods and the placing.
    I never thought how demanding it is to REALLY learn a song correctly. It is very time-consuming. Totally different from learning a song on the guitar since the vocals are by far not as repetitive as the guitar. On the guitar wie might change the strumming or picking pattern but the chords normally remain the same - even when played in another voicing.

    For the vowels, I have a suggestion, Scotty. And it might help you to get that more opened and warmer sound that you like. Try this:

    You are singing "Sunsh(ah)(eeeeeeeeeeee)n", try "S(ah)nsh(aaaaaaaaaah)(eh!)n". "An(ee)t(ah)(eeeeeeeeeee)m"-> "An(eh!)t(aaaaaaaaaaah)(eh!)m", ....

    Stay longer on the "AH" vowel and go then for a short "EH", not "EE. Pure "EE" sounds often small and squeezed. In general I would try to sing more "AH"-ish than "EE"-ish. I always had this problems and always have to remind me on that.

    Actually I am recording an original where the verse lines start with the word "Maybe". It sounds really bad when I sing "M(AA)(EE)B(EE)". But when I sing "M(AA)(EH)B(EH)" it sounds okay.

    Record yourself, record yourself, record yourself and pay attention to the parts that annoy you the most. It is really worth to look at these things closely. You will notice that it becomes second nature to replace vowels one day.

    But all this said, that was a very convincing demo and remember that we are very picky here in the Forums to offer our friends the best advices to help them to grow.

    Take care, Doc

  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    edited April 18
    @doc_ramadani,

    That is some really solid advice mate. Just doing the "Sunsh(ah)(eeeeeeeeeeee)n", as I read this and emphasizing the ah vowel I can hear the difference. I love the detail so I will be experimenting with this for sure.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Regards,

    Scotty
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    edited April 5
    Hi Scotty,

    you're welcome, mate. Ask every "EE" if it wants to be an "EH". :) And ask every "AH" if it wants to stay longer. :)

    And thank you so much for having become such a valuable member of these Forums and offering your help to other students. People like you make these Forums such a great learning environment. Thanks for that.

    Doc
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    @doc_ramadani,

    Great rule mate. I will add that to my song practicing/learning checklist.

    Oh you too kind mate... :blush: lololl, tis great to have the opportunity to contribute, and hopefully people can find something of value in it, I have certainly benefited from the enormous value generated by others here :smile:

    Scotty
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management Posts: 3,978
    codeowl said:

    @doc_ramadani,
    I have certainly benefited from the enormous value generated by others here :smile:

    Me too, Scotty, me too.

    Doc

  • FretlessTheBardFretlessTheBard 2.0 PRO Posts: 92
    Nicely done, mate!
  • RandyBRandyB 2.0 PRO Posts: 375
    Nice job, Scotty! I think the critique you’ve received from Marco is spot-on and really can’t add anything meaningful to it.
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    @FretlessTheBard, @RandyB, thanks for listening boys and for the kind words :wink:
  • skv123159skv123159 Member Posts: 88
    @codeowl
    Loved it
    I can sense the happiness and postivity and this is a cool
    Keep singing
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    @skv123159, thanks for the kind words mate :wink:
  • MatsyMatsy Pro Posts: 168
    Great work, I like your tone!

    I feel like I need to add this to my repertoire of songs to try.
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    @Matsy,

    Thanks mate. Yeah this was the first one I could sing and play half convincingly. There were some tricky parts in the melody that it took me a while to get though. It was only after I had been doing the daily workouts of scales for some time and had the breakthroughs of lifting soft palate to move up in pitch, and offsetting larynx in a lowered position, that I started being able to identify and replicate the different notes in the melody. Before this I would not be able to tell, (when it was just me singing against backing music or myself playing) the difference between a note that was in key with the music, and the right note of the melody, as both notes would go with the underlying cord, but one of them didn't sound like the melody.
    As you can hear I sill haven't got this perfect yet, but at least now it mostly sounds like the song I am trying to sing :smile: .

    Regards,

    Scotty
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,284
    @codeowl
    Hey Scotty just got a chance to finally listen. I thought it sounded great. Nice work man!!
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    edited April 18
    @sjonrokz4u,

    Hey mate, thanks for the shout out, great to hear you liked it :wink: .

    Regards,

    Scotty
  • JwalJwal Member Posts: 122
    That was awesome Scotty! There were a very minor spots (a word here and there) that were slightly off pitch but overall sounded really good. Your resonance is so nice, those higher notes sound so clean and your articulation like on the "I wanna leave-a-your thing alone" and the "whe-uh-eeh-uh-ehn she's gone" very nice! Can't wait to hear more from you.
  • codeowlcodeowl 2.0 PRO Posts: 304
    @Jwal,

    Hey thanks mate. Yeah there is a couple of pitch areas in it I am working on, where I sing different notes to the melody (not on purpose :neutral: ). For some reason I sing it with Bill and I can get it right, but when I sing it with just the guitar I really struggle to get that part right. It is the "... and this house just ain't no home..." part. There are three times that part of the melody happens in the song. The last one I am doing different as an artistic choice, but the first two I just get wrong. I am using different chord voicing than the original as it is easier to play, also I am using all 7th cords as well as they sound nice... maybe this is throwing me off... I am going to try slowing right down and focusing on singing the correct notes. I have always found it hard to sing a melody when there are a number of different notes in a sequence and they are not the root notes of the chord. Also I am going to start some ear training. Doc's suggestions of opening up the vowels have made a big difference to the tone and I have been doing it this way since getting that feedback. Once I get the melody right, I will post another version of this using Doc's suggestion:
    Stay longer on the "AH" vowel and go then for a short "EH", not "EE. Pure "EE" sounds often small and squeezed. In general I would try to sing more "AH"-ish than "EE"-ish.


    Thanks for the encouragement mate :wink:

    Regards,

    Scotty
  • Claude77Claude77 Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 209
    @doc_ramadani Marco, you can't immagine how important was for me to read this:

    "What helped me:
    I started to do ear training on a regular base (daily). I use the program https://www.tonegym.co/site/index for that. I do it 10 minutes a day. Mostly in the morning
    I learn songs phrase by phrase. I pick my guitar and identify note by note. Then I sing the melodies slowly while playing them on the guitar.
    When I think I have the melodies and intervals clearly in my head I practice the songs with an App called "Anytune". But it is available for macOS and iOs. You can import tracks and select loops, change tempo and pitch. I loop the different phrases, slow them down and practice the different phrases. Here I pay special attention to the vowel placement, vowel mods and the placing.
    I never thought how demanding it is to REALLY learn a song correctly. It is very time-consuming. Totally different from learning a song on the guitar since the vocals are by far not as repetitive as the guitar. On the guitar wie might change the strumming or picking pattern but the chords normally remain the same - even when played in another voicing"

    I never realized it and that you have to learn a song note for note if you want to solve any pitch problem and control it.

    THANKS A LOT

    Claudio
Sign In or Register to comment.