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Is this safe?

PS: Mind your ears, volume is high


  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,135Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    edited September 18
    Hi Johnny, @ItsMeJohnny

    welcome back. Personally I am only 14 months on the course and only started with very light distortion. I feel uncertain if this is safe. For me it doesn't sound totally strained but I am not sure if this is really healthy. Can you do this with a very soft distorted TONE too?

  • Chris82Chris82 Posts: 2152.0 PRO
    edited September 18
    I'm not sure to be honest. I do know that should you start feeling pain while trying to distort that you should stop as that is the #1 indicator you are doing it in an unhealthy manner. If you are doing it with the proper technique then you should be able to distort your voice for long periods of time without pain or discomfort.
  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,135Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Hey man. In my opinion, this is not a "healthy" distortion, because I don't hear that it's based on a resonant tone. By definition, then, it seems that excess air is passing through the cords and irritating the surroundings.

    Keep in mind that a lot of talk of safe and unsafe distortion is from the reference of gigging and touring musicians. Some people may sing an extremely distorted note and say "I feel fine," but that's not how they'd feel at the end of a 3 hour set.
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,221Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I agree with @blondiewales . I don't consider myself an expert on distortion, but there is a difference between distortion that sounds more 'forced' and 'relaxed', however strange that may sound for a concept such as distortion. This is why i think @blondiewales is spot-on about the resonant tone being the base.

    Ken has some very interesting videos on youtube about distortion, and the way he uses it. Maybe check those out?

    Thanks for sharing!

    All the best,

  • ItsMeJohnnyItsMeJohnny Posts: 16Member
    edited September 19
    Hey guys! Thanks for helping me out! So, to answer your questions, @doc_ramadani what do you mean by soft distorted tone? If you're talking about volume then yes, i can do it on a lower volume, there is a treshold though, beyond that the distortion starts to get very weak, though im not singing that loud on that anyway.

    There is 0 pain when i do this, but i do have to warm up my voice to get more and more distortion, otherwise my voice just breaks down.

    @blondiewales i know what you mean, im always experimenting to see what works, and just like you said, i have to do it for a while to see if its really bringing me down or not. Having said that, i recorded that after 2 hours of singing, and after i was done for the day i didnt lose my voice and coulda kept going, though i was tired... :/

    @bentk as for the relaxation, to me it feels like a support thing, if i throw down on my support i can relax into it, if not, tension builds up, im pretty relaxed when doing that, but not as much as if i was singing clean.

    And uh...i have no idea what you guys mean when you talk about resonant tone...haha, darn it, and ive heard about that subject before but i just cant seem to understand what it is :s

    I have watched Ken's videos, they were kinda helpful, but not really, i have no idea how he actually creates the sound :D

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,135Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Johnny,

    I mean: sing the same phrase with only a little bit of round distortion.

  • ItsMeJohnnyItsMeJohnny Posts: 16Member
    Hey doc! I sure can! Just need to not compress so much.

    By the way, just watched ken's stream about distortion, 3 things stood out: do it in a relaxed way, keep your throat open while you're doing it, dont oversing.
    That does help a bunch 😁

    I Also heard somewhere that tenor voices have a harder time with distortion, is there any truth to this? (I think im a tenor)
  • bentkbentk Posts: 1,221Pro, 2.0 PRO
    edited September 20

    Maybe see the resonant tone as a clean tone with proper technique, support etc. That clean tone and technique will then still be the foundation of your singing, even during distortion. Distortion is introduced as an optional thing in the course at Volume 3. The course consists of 5 volumes, and much time is spent on volumes 1 and 2. There is good reason to build that foundation in volumes 1 and 2 first.

    I don't really do big distortion myself, but i do know that the distortion taught at KTVA is really relaxed. Ken did an interview with 10 second songs (I think the guy is called Anthony Vincent? or something like that) on youtube where they mention that it's very relaxed.

    I hope this is of some use to you.

    All the best,

  • doc_ramadanidoc_ramadani Posts: 3,135Administrator, 2.0 PRO, Facility Management
    Hi Ben, Hi Blondie, Hi Chris, Hi Johnny,

    all your comments helped me again to check my personal view on that. I like that all of the KTVA students focussed on TONE and not on distortion. For me, distortion is a nuance that we put to the color you chose, But first we have to chose the color (tone) we want to use.

    Thanks to the seasoned singers Ben and Blondie for helping us. It is great to know that you always come back to help us. Chris, we should listen carefully.

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Hi Doc. Glad to help. Definitely not a seasoned singer. Just a student like everyone else.

    @ItsMeJohnny I don't know if tenors have more trouble with distortion. Probably not. Lots of great distorted tenors in rock. All we're talking about is a slight difference in larynx length, haha. (maybe other things that I don't know about).
  • ItsMeJohnnyItsMeJohnny Posts: 16Member
    Hello again guys, @bentk i went ahead and check that interview, really cool stuff with Anthony, and yeppers, raspiness needs to be relaxed, now how we go about doing that is the tricky stuff :smiley:

    @doc_ramadani i understand what you're saying, but i feel like getting distortion is a bigger issue for me right now than working on my tone. I think (emphasis on think) i know how to build a good tone, not saying im jedi master level, but i know more about it than what i know about distortion right now, which is why im here asking for help on this subject :smile:
    But i totally agree on what you said, one should not be dependent on a vocal effect to sound good.

    @blondiewales I thought tenors also had different vocal folds? Like smaller or thinner than baritones, i read that somewhere long ago, but dont know if its true, it also said baritones had an easier time with distortion, and of course that info stayed with me. But yeah, lots of tenors, hell even women have great distortion ( ex:lzzy Hale )
    but i do wonder how was it for her to get to that voice

    Im currently looking for a job, my first paycheck will go to this course, i hope i can get all the help i need then :smiley:

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    @ItsMeJohnny Smaller and thinner, but to my knowledge, the physiology is still the same. I love Halestorm. I saw them live in my college town.

    I'm a tenor and I never really had a problem with distortion, I think. Granted, I don't sing distorted much anymore. It's still about finding that beautiful clean tone that isn't placed in your throat and then subtly distorting that.
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