A hopeful skeptic...

WBTWBT Member Posts: 3
I'm a former lead vocalist gone primarily guitar and backing vocals in my current band because I finally realized that, even when I had impressive range and power, my timbre absolutely SUCKED and wasn't very fun to listen to.

Just to frame my skepticism about the course work here, I was doing the choir thing from a very, very young age, 30 or more years ago, and even now, with most of my high extension and head voice gone from disuse and too much smoking, I am still a sound man's nightmare because of my raw ability to project with power, something I learned wayyyyy back then. They never believe me when we play live, that my mic needs to be WAY lower than the lead guys, because I'll blow the top right off the board when I let loose.

So when Ken's "free" lesson focused immediately on breathing techniques and power, I had to roll my eyes, because this is all stuff I already know, but none of it ever helped me have a PLEASING timbre to my voice.

One thing I noticed as I perused the demonstrations on the singer's forum (which, by the way, Ken, your rendition of "Soldiers Under Command" that brought me here is very impressive), I can hear in the men's speaking voices that they are all natural tenors. One can hear in the pitch of the speaking voice what someone's natural register is, which kinda takes the sparkle out of hearing them bust out stuff like Michael Sweet or (just to grab an example) Steve Perry pitch ranges - fact is, they were BORN with the voice to do that. In the video for "Soldiers", Ken promises that he can teach me to sing in ANY range, ANY timbre, ANY style.

Well I'm a true bass, Ken. You might could call me a 1st baritone. I'm definitely NOT a tenor. My speaking voice is in the same range as James Earl Jones.

At my best, in my 20's, my effective singing range was A2 through G5, and I could extend as low as C2 with the expected loss of power. That was with nothing but the choral training (running joke - "choralitis" - the ability to hit a note with gobs of power and hold it forever, but still manage to sound like CRAP doing it, especially since they didn't teach vibrato in choir) from school and me singing along with guys like Chris Cornell, Axl Rose, and Bruce Dickinson in my bedroom.

So here are my questions:

1) Are there any demonstrations of students like me (basses) doing impressive high range work on your forum somewhere?

2) I'm not asking for miracles; I don't expect to see the notes I used to be able to hit, but can Ken teach me how to sing with a PLEASING tone when I go up, instead of one that sounds like I'm constipated and about to blow a blood vessel in my forehead over it? Because that's really what I sounded like when I went up there (there starting at around E4 and getting worse the higher it went) back in the day, and the only thing that's made it better as I've aged is all that smoking gave my voice a pleasantly gravelly feel.

PS: I'm happy to let you hear what I sounded like circa 2007. It ain't pretty, whether I fall back on the fact that I had a cold the day I tracked that particular vocal or not. It's not hard to hear where the fundamental timbre just plain sucks, cold or not...

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for responding, if you decide to.

- The hopeful old skeptic.


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    kaulferskaulfers Pro Posts: 300
    It saddens me a touch to see someone who is older and wiser learn to be such a "skeptic".

    Reminds me of people who are skeptical of " clean diet and exercise really working".  I'm a young buck who ZERO experience in professional music. Karaoke wonder, Radio DJ button pusher, and video production is my line of work.

    I started this program 6-7 months ago.  I work harder on my lower voice right now, I'd like to sing a C2 with ease because I enjoy the feel/sound of those low notes.  My high note is about F4 with hardly any power.  

    Here is a bit I recorded a few months ago. Pitch is off but it demos working on my upper and lower chest voice.


    Also Ken has a nice Johnny Cash Demo: 


    Hopefully you will scrap that skeptic and dive into the training.  But what do I know...
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    WBTWBT Member Posts: 3
    I think you misunderstand my skepticism.  It's not that I don't think Ken's doing a cool program here that works teaching people to sing from the ground up.  

    I'm skeptical that he can do anything to help a guy who never had a particularly pleasing sound to his head voice, and now has virtually lost complete control of his head voice and falsetto.  I can still scream out an Eb5 from muscle memory if I'm singing the right song, but there's a gaping hole in my range between C4 and there where I can't really count on much of anything to come out the note I intended to hit.
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,358
    edited April 2015

    Hi, @WBT.

    Without a demo of what possible vocal damage you may be carrying forward, it's hard to predict what exact results you will get.

    You may have special needs for rehabilitation, if you abused your voice to the extent you seem to be describing in your earlier years.

    Maybe we're just looking at a glass and calling it half-empty, when it's really more like half-full...

    If you are truly a bass, that is usually due to your physical size, in the trachea, the girth of the neck and throat, as well as the length of the vocal tract, the length of the vocal cords, the size of the larynx, etc...  Those factors are the ones we were born with.

    On the other hand, HOW we use the things we were born with is another matter. 

    Ken's program shows you how to maximize the best tone.  Your body's resonant spaces will have an effect on that tone.

    You may be pleasantly surprised.

    Another thing, since you mentioned it, when you do Ken's exercises diligently, you will come to a point where the timbre in your voice thins and rises...  Ken calls it "little boy voice".   It's a vocal "placement" thing.  It comes when your voice is really-well warmed up and you have been doing the exercises long enough to more or less rely on your vocal training to lose some of the weight of your lower voice.

    Yes, there are those whose speaking voices say to you "I'm a tenor!" but there are also those who would surprise you.  Those are not the "Born" tenors.  There are also baritones that can get into "little boy voice" and be a Trained Tenor. 

    I can't predict where you will fall along this scale.  Skepticism can be a healthy thing, as long as you don't let it cross over the line into defeatism.  Just make sure you leave some room to allow this program to help you to be the success that you really do want to be.

    I don't remember Ken telling Basses that he will turn them into sopranos or even tenors.  I do recall many times that he has promised to grow your voice like you never believed it could be grown.  Every person's individual results will be the culmination of their own individual efforts, practice, where they were when they came into the program, and what they are physically capable of doing, once they fully implement the KTVA methods.

    From the descriptions you have given, you have a lot to learn about proper, safe methods of singing.  You may have ingrained a lot of bad habits that you will have to leave behind, no matter how much you think you already know from your past experiences.

    I've been around the block a few times myself, and abused my voice a lot during that time.  I've had to go through a complete rebuild, and I'm liking what has happened to my voice.  It's not instantaneous.  It's hard at first to quit relying on old habits.

    I'm a former backing vocalist and drummer.  Now I'm a lead vocalist and drummer.  I used to hate the sound of my voice.  I get compliments on my voice now all the time.

    Your voice will be taken to the maximum that you have the potential to achieve, if you follow Ken's instructions. 

    Don't let your healthy skepticism become an obstacle to your progress.  Allow yourself to become the best singer you can possibly be.  Your future voice awaits you.

    All the Best!


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    jennyjenny Pro Posts: 3


    I have just started Ken's programme and am sure it has the possibility to teach you anything you need as it enabled me to stretch chest 5 tones higher than I usually could sing-that was on day 1! Ken's programme aside, I am now a firm believer that everyone has the same basic instrument and therefore can do anything with their voices if they train persistently and in the right way. I don't believe for one minute that some have it and others don't. There are things that are getting in the way of all of us reaching our full potential (which is more than we can even imagine). Just as a quick example- I often was jealous of singers who seemed to be able to crescendo from head voice to full chest on any note, especially above the so called break. It seemed I would never do it. Today I believe differently. Head and chest are unified-when you learn to stretch your chest voice, you can then go from head, through mix to full chest by increasing volume. I know that this is not your issue- the example is to show that what I believed yesterday has been disproved today...I am sure that if you believe that anything is possible for you-the rest will follow! You just need to believe in yourself and follow the programme :-)

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    WBTWBT Member Posts: 3
    Well, after a brief chat with Ken on Facebook and a little bit of luck (Paypal Credit approved me for a $500 line on their 6-months-same-as-cash deal), I decided to spring for the Pro course (that Gold package is just too far out of my price range right now - I'll have to just spring for a lesson or two as I'm able once I get this paid off...

    So today I started with the V1 exercises, and I actually shocked myself by hitting a G#4 in my chest voice without compressing and straining.  It wasn't consistent (I could do it starting on "aa" sequence but not "ah"), but it was a glimmer of hope.

    Suffice to say, I'm REALLY amped up to get to the more advanced stuff, particularly the transitioning from chest to head, something I never learned how to do properly (because choral training focuses strictly on the chest voice and utterly ignores the head).
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,358

    Welcome aboard, @WBT!

    You're already making progress!



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