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#1
I play guitar and sing for a three-piece band. We don't really have a genre but I would consider us pretty Weezer/Stone Roses influenced.

I really think that vocal harmonies would make a few of our songs more interesting. I tried teaching my drummer a bit of stuff and we harmonized the beginning of John Fruciante's "Carvel" pretty well.

What I need advice on is how to make harmonies work better and more smoothly. Also maybe some songs that might inspire my bandmates to want to harmonize more. (They like classic rock such as Zeppelin and Hendrix and I don't care for that stuff at all).

Any tips? Thanks.
#2
I didn't read what you said, all I saw was that you liked the Jonas brothers in large PINK letters, and decided I hated you.
My only tip would be to fine tune your ears so you can hear and recognise talent


Okay, i'm being told i need to be kinder, so I will offer some advice =P
First of all, you don't want multiple clean singing, that'll get boring, have someone with an interesting different voice, like screaming or growling. Anything to mix it up more, multiple clean will make it sound samey.
Last edited by Crayonic at Aug 2, 2009,
#3
The Beach Boys.


Also, some of Hendrix's ballads off of Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland have some excellent, Soul-inspired harmonies.
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#4
Quote by JacobTheMe
YES, I LIKE THE JONAS BROTHERS. SERIOUSLY




That aside, agreeing with crayonic. Personaly, multiple clean gets boring for me. Single clean (with a good range) or clean + scream sound better.

tips:

http://www.wikihow.com/Harmonize

Or

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+vocal+harmonize
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#5
Quote by Crayonic
First of all, you don't want multiple clean singing, that'll get boring, have someone with an interesting different voice, like screaming or growling. Anything to mix it up more, multiple clean will make it sound samey.


Boring and samey to whom?

Screaming or growling vocals will sound completely unpalatable to the vast, vast, vast majority of people.

If you like the Stone Roses, I suggest you check out some of Ian Brown's solo stuff - it's generally more experimental and I'm sure there's a few tracks with interesting harmonies/backing vocals, but the only one I can recall off the top of my head is "Illegal Attacks" off the album 'The World Is Yours'. It's a duet with Sinead O'Connor.
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#6
Wow that's some horrible, horrible advice about the growling. Wow, just, yeah. (Slaps own face).

Vocal harmonies help fill out the sound and have become a mainstay of most genres of music. Yes, even the death stuff will usually have some sort of clean vocal harmonies at some part.

I'll just give a range of genres;

- All Good Charlotte stuff is harmonised, almost like a duet. You don't have to be a fan of their music to appreciate the harmonies.
- Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWnapx502uQ
- Kiss - God Gave Rock n' Roll to You
- All hair metal

Just listen to songs the vocals of your favourite bands and look for the harmonies.

The simplest way to get harmonies is for one person to stay on the root bass note of the chord underneath while the lead sings the melody. Once comfortable with this try singing with 3rd or 5th harmonies - that is one person sings a third higher or lower than the melody line (usually higher). After this you can experiment with all sorts of melodies, knowledge of your scales will help greatly with figuring them out as you can get a "preview" of what the song may sound like if you can play the vocal melody line on the guitar and then be able to see which notes would work with it.
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#7
Very random indeed, but Simon and Garfunkle do a crap load of vocal harmonies. But if you feel wierd listening to them, you can try Opeth. Especially On the CD Damnation (Even more so on the song "Closure") or on the song The Funeral Portait near the end (When there is about 3 minutes left). But yeah. I know like 95% of the people at my school hate when a band gets on the stage and starts growling. They all start laughing and leave.
#8
The growling this is a giant no for me. I don't like that kind of thing.

Im a big Simon and Garfunkle fan, i'll definatly show them to my band. I'll try the 3rds and 5ths things.

Any suggestions for songs that require a significant amount of harmonies?
#9
The harmonies in Help by the Beatles are pretty neat. Lots of other Beatles songs too. I'm surprised no one mentioned it. Maybe because it's too obvious.
#10
Any early Beatles stuff is packed full of harmonies - there's often three vocal parts. Reel Big Fish have simple, yet catchy harmonies, on the offchance you like ska. Point out to your bandmates that Zeppelin used several vocal parts on record, at least, and that practically every band out there does so at some point.

Harmonising isn't a skill you can pick up immediately, but I'd really recommend working at it - it's frequently said that good backing vocals are what distinguishes a good band from a great band.
#11
It's funny, though.... I can think of about ten 'classic rock' bands (never mind about 100 hair metal bands) off the top of my head that are not only good, but great examples.

Yet, I struggle to find great examples from the last 10-15 years or so, outside of bands that would only result in a flame-fest.

erm... like Good Charlotte, Backstreet Boys, Jonas Bros, N'Sync, etc., and all the girl-group equivalents.

Some of the other pop-punk bands, like Green Day and Blink 182 have some. But even that *might* incite some hatred.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
Check out Coheed and Cambria. Most (if not all) of their songs feature lots of vocal harmonies. I'd recommend a single song as a great example, but I really think any song of theirs that you look up, you'll find good examples of vocal harmonies.
#13
Fleet Foxes, Futureheads, some Libertines(try Boys in the Band), Red Hot Chilli Peppers(Cabron, Snow, Otherside all have brilliant harmonies), the Beatles had interesting harmonies in Please Please Me, for example, where Paul stays on one note, while John's line goes downwards away from him.

Most bands have them nowadays in some shape or form.
Last edited by Declan87 at Aug 3, 2009,
#14
Another obvious recommendation: Bohemian Rhapsody.

And some barbershop music. Probably more complex than what you're looking for, but interesting.
#15
^ QUEEN. Show your band a bunch of Queen stuff, If they aren't inspired to use harmonies from that then I don't even know.

Also Tenacious D - Beezleboss (The Final Showdown) >:O
#16
Quote by AlanHB
Wow that's some horrible, horrible advice about the growling. Wow, just, yeah. (Slaps own face).

Vocal harmonies help fill out the sound and have become a mainstay of most genres of music. Yes, even the death stuff will usually have some sort of clean vocal harmonies at some part.

I'll just give a range of genres;

- All Good Charlotte stuff is harmonised, almost like a duet. You don't have to be a fan of their music to appreciate the harmonies.
- Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWnapx502uQ
- Kiss - God Gave Rock n' Roll to You
- All hair metal

Just listen to songs the vocals of your favourite bands and look for the harmonies.

The simplest way to get harmonies is for one person to stay on the root bass note of the chord underneath while the lead sings the melody. Once comfortable with this try singing with 3rd or 5th harmonies - that is one person sings a third higher or lower than the melody line (usually higher). After this you can experiment with all sorts of melodies, knowledge of your scales will help greatly with figuring them out as you can get a "preview" of what the song may sound like if you can play the vocal melody line on the guitar and then be able to see which notes would work with it.


Agreed. Harmonize vocals the same way in which you would build a chord with your guitar, or piano, or whatever you/they play.

one thing though, you harmonize "up" for the sake of keeping the lingo easy to follow. if you harmonized a 3rd down, you'd really be harmonizing a 6th up (or, for all tonal purposes, you'd be harmonizing a 3rd up from the lower note). example: root is E, Major 3rd down is C, harmony is Cmaj partial (R-M3). If for whatever musical reason you insisted on calling E the root, then, in this case, it'd be the inversion of Eaug partial: m6th = #5th... in the bass.
...but to your audience it'll sound like a low Cmaj partial, whether they know it or not.

and the Jonas Brothers... nevermind, to each his/her own.
#17
Quote by GrisKy

and the Jonas Brothers... nevermind, to each his/her own.


Meh - they're tighter than most bands on UG, they're better musicians than most people on UG and they're more successful than EVERYONE on UG.

You don't have to like someone's art to appreciate it's quality.
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#18
Quote by AlanHB
Meh - they're tighter than most bands on UG, they're better musicians than most people on UG and they're more successful than EVERYONE on UG.

You don't have to like someone's art to appreciate it's quality.


They definately have a more "produced" album... and way more success than most of us dream about.

but they're far from tighter or better musicians than "most" (not really sure how I quantify that... I'll just tell the story I had in mind...)

so, a buddy of mine was the guitar tech for flyleaf right, and so they're on tour or whatever, and they do some yuppie fest where Miley Cyrus (yep, that one) and the jonas bros are on the bill.

JB's take the stage, they're pitchy, loose, and generally sound like a highschool band (I generalize, but that was the discription I got from a trusted and reliable source). Hanna Montana takes the stage and preforms her set list "like a thirty-year vet."

personally, i could do without either group, but the point I'm making is not that it ain't my cup of tea... it's that quality is quality, and crap is crap, even if it's branded with disney's logo.
#19
Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective and TV on the Radio have some really inventive harmonies lately. Roots Reggae vocal trios like the Wailers, the Wailing Souls, the Abyssinians, the Gladiators, Culture, the Congos and a bunch more have some really inspiring harmonies. As they should, jamaican vocal trios demanded precision with or without a backing band.
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#20
Quote by GrisKy
They definately have a more "produced" album... and way more success than most of us dream about.

but they're far from tighter or better musicians than "most" (not really sure how I quantify that... I'll just tell the story I had in mind...)

so, a buddy of mine was the guitar tech for flyleaf right, and so they're on tour or whatever, and they do some yuppie fest where Miley Cyrus (yep, that one) and the jonas bros are on the bill.

JB's take the stage, they're pitchy, loose, and generally sound like a highschool band (I generalize, but that was the discription I got from a trusted and reliable source). Hanna Montana takes the stage and preforms her set list "like a thirty-year vet."

personally, i could do without either group, but the point I'm making is not that it ain't my cup of tea... it's that quality is quality, and crap is crap, even if it's branded with disney's logo.


I guess the only real way to "quantify" my claim is by getting a whole bunch of UG-ers together to perform Jonas songs, but that situation is unlikely. The vids of them live on youtube indicates they're pretty tight, but your source may be correct on that particular occasion. What I'm trying to hint at is that many UGers will dismiss a band if they're playing a certain genre of music which they don't like (christian rock in this example), despite the fact it may be quality music for that genre. Not only is this ignorant, it can severely inhibit your growth as a musician.

Oh and thanks for pointing out the "harmonizing up" point about 3rds. We're on the same page, you just explained it better in terms of music theory. I construct harmonies similar to how I write a guitar solo, identify common notes between the relevant scale/s and the chord, play around with what sounds good and write "runs" that link the common notes.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#21
Quote by AlanHB
I guess the only real way to "quantify" my claim is by getting a whole bunch of UG-ers together to perform Jonas songs, but that situation is unlikely. The vids of them live on youtube indicates they're pretty tight, but your source may be correct on that particular occasion. What I'm trying to hint at is that many UGers will dismiss a band if they're playing a certain genre of music which they don't like (christian rock in this example), despite the fact it may be quality music for that genre. Not only is this ignorant, it can severely inhibit your growth as a musician.

Oh and thanks for pointing out the "harmonizing up" point about 3rds. We're on the same page, you just explained it better in terms of music theory. I construct harmonies similar to how I write a guitar solo, identify common notes between the relevant scale/s and the chord, play around with what sounds good and write "runs" that link the common notes.


right on, and hey, maybe they just had a ****ty day you know? it happens to all of us once in a while... festivals can be particularly brutal sometimes.

and I figured you knew what you were talking about when you mentioned the intervals... I mainly just wanted to clarify for TS before he started lecturing his band about harmony.

#25
Weezer?

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#26
Beatles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Simon and Garfunkel < all masters of vocal harmonies


if thats not the type of music you're into maybe styx, van halen, def leppard, early who.


Or you can just get the beatles rock band game and use the vocal harmony trainer on it!
Last edited by DeepPurplefan69 at Aug 5, 2009,
#28
Carry on my wayward son

or my band haha. we have 4 or 5 part vocal harmonies and we're 14 :O
#29
fightstar are good for vocal harmonies, with Charlie's sorta, husky, growl like voice, and Al's exceptionally clean, pop-punky type voice, and they can both do extraordinary falsetto, worth listening to. Also, others are...

- Radiohead (Paranoid android for instance, 3rd section is based soley around harmonies, to create that sorta, dooming mood)
- The Raconteurs (Jack White and i think it's Ben, but can't be too sure, they work nicely with each-other)
- The Fray (Underated band imo, their good at what they do, probably need to expand a bit more, but still, exceptional vocalists. Listen to Sydicate)

Hope i helped atleast moderately.
#30
Quote by AwesomeDrummer
fightstar are good for vocal harmonies, with Charlie's sorta, husky, growl like voice, and Al's exceptionally clean, pop-punky type voice, and they can both do extraordinary falsetto, worth listening to. Also, others are...

- Radiohead (Paranoid android for instance, 3rd section is based soley around harmonies, to create that sorta, dooming mood)
- The Raconteurs (Jack White and i think it's Ben, but can't be too sure, they work nicely with each-other)
- The Fray (Underated band imo, their good at what they do, probably need to expand a bit more, but still, exceptional vocalists. Listen to Sydicate)

Hope i helped atleast moderately.


Be careful with putting cleaner vocals against rasp. We've tried that on studio in my band, and It sounds like utter garbage- becuase my voice mime's lemmy's and my drummer sounds like a clean 16 year old kid. Its all about percpetion- to each their own I suppose.

Beatles are the utmost masters of harmony imho.
#31
Did you know that one of the main reasons Van Halen was signed was because they could sing perfect 3-part harmonies? This was one of the main differences between them and other bands on the LA circuit at the time.

And now Eddie is heralded as one of the pioneers of modern guitar. To think if it weren't for the harmonies, it may be someone else who holds that crown, and Eddie may just be a random old dude in a pub claiming he "did it first".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#32
..... and ironically, he didn't!! People were tapping long before Eddie. Stanley Jordan was already a pop culture hero for his tapping before Eddie came on the scene.

But again.... another example of how 'how good you play isn't near as important as you think it might be.' It's almost always how great your songs are, and how well you can deliver them vocally.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#34
Actually, if you listen to some blink 182, they harmonize in a lot of their songs

-Josie
-Whats my age again
-Feeling This
-All the small things
-Wendy Clear
ect......
If I were you, I would experiment harmonizing with all the songs you play and use the ones that sound good.
#35
Porcupine Tree have some really cool harmonies. Mellotron Scratch has some nice harmonies towards the end. Normal is another good one. That's really all I can think of right now.
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#36
I don't know a whole lot about harmonizing, but I'll share what I do know. Once you have your melody part, a harmony can be either higher or lower and is usually a 3rd or 5th from the melody note. You've done the right thing by starting to learn harmony parts. I'm not familiar with the song you mentioned, so I don't know if the harmony parts are difficult or not. I would recommend picking other songs that you might be familiar with like Amazing Grace.

There's one harmony part in particular that I like. Although I'm not a huge fan of them so much anymore, I had a big Saosin phase. If you go on youtube (it's down right now otherwise I'd link it) on search for "I Can Tell" from their live DVD, the very last few seconds of that song they do a really cool harmony.
Last edited by CDubDSP at Aug 10, 2009,
#37
i really love the vocals in Incubus
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#38
Quote by axemanchris
..... and ironically, he didn't!! People were tapping long before Eddie. Stanley Jordan was already a pop culture hero for his tapping before Eddie came on the scene.

But again.... another example of how 'how good you play isn't near as important as you think it might be.' It's almost always how great your songs are, and how well you can deliver them vocally.

CT


Wow I didn't know that! The way Stanley plays is different from Eddie though - he seems to approach guitar a lot more like a piano, if you get what I mean.

However, he is one of the few tappers I've seen that actually can use it tastefully, rather than an excuse to play faster. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjXN3OLgoqs
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#40
Quote by axemanchris
..... and ironically, he didn't!! People were tapping long before Eddie. Stanley Jordan was already a pop culture hero for his tapping before Eddie came on the scene.

But again.... another example of how 'how good you play isn't near as important as you think it might be.' It's almost always how great your songs are, and how well you can deliver them vocally.

CT


I've always said Michael Anthony was Van Halen's secret weapon. Great harmonizer, him and Eddie worked really well together to cover up David Lee Roth's ummm... shall we say 'inconsistencies' as a vocalist.
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