I'm the rhythm guitarist and vocalist in my band. We consider ourselves alternative/indie. We write a lot of clean/melodic/picking songs (something like some of Kings Of Leon's lighter/newer stuff) as well as a lot of heavy/distorted/grunge-ish songs (along the lines of Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro (dunno if anyone's heard of Biffy in America though lol)).

I've got a pretty low vocal range (and my falsetto is decent), and it's kind of hard to make it work with our heavier songs. My pitch is fine, I can hit any note within my range with ease, but it feels strange singing in a low range when I'm banging out distorted chords on a Strat.

I know there's no way to increase my vocal range by very much, so can anyone give me some tips on making a low vocal range sound "right" against fast, heavy, high-treble guitars?

EDIT: I *can* hit some higher notes, but I can't get any real power behind them, let alone any sort of "rock and roll" sound.
Last edited by Winter Sky at Jun 13, 2011,
How low is your voice? The singers from The Editors and The National have pretty low voices but they still play in the indie/alternative spectrum of music.

I think if you're a good singer then it really shouldn't matter much, just make the music work to your vocals. I guess.

Sorry for the shit advice
I do not have any recordings of heavier songs. The only songs I've recorded have been acoustic, and those were years ago when I first started singing. I'm not sure it's that my range is much lower than average, but I don't have any power to the higher notes I can hit.

I gave the Editors a listen, and my comfort zone is pretty close to what his seems to be (having listened to 2 songs).

Since reading your post, I tried tuning my guitar to flats and playing a few songs (trying to make the music work to my vocals), and it actually feels more comfortable for my voice (I didn't think a half step would make such a difference). I may simply ask the band to use Eb as our standard tuning.
There was a band in the mid-90's called Helium whose singer (Mary Timony) completely ruled the subdued-vocals-over-heavy-guitars space. While her vocal range would be completely wrong, it might give you some ideas... A good starting point would be the song "XXX" from their Pirate Prude EP; there's a video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZdimaf-YsE
Having a good singer is not enough if you can't go along with the style. Of course their are exceptions to every rule especially when there have been thousands of bands across recent history with varying degrees of success.

However, if you want to sit better behind heavy music think about adding a bit of snarl and changing your phrasing. What works with Kings of Leon would not work for the smashing pumpkins and vice versa.

It seems to me that you are just not used to the style yet. This takes time. Hell, i was a classically trained country singer before getting into my new band which is modern heavy screaming metal. So if I can do it you can most definitely as well.
I don't think it's necessary that you just accept your voice as it is. For the band's sake sure, you've got to write vocals that sound good, so you've got to work with your strengths. But out of band prac time, just do cover after cover man. Sing things that are slightly out of your comfort zone, and over time you'll find that your range expands. Angle those song choices eventually towards the type of voice you want, and hopefully that will have strengthened your upper range to the point where you're happy with how it sounds with your band.

I personally have strengthened my upper range a lot in this way, and I used to feel unable to pull off a "rock" voice of any sort. To give you an example "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam is something I feel really comfortable singing now, and there's no way I could have done that even 2 years ago. So it's definitely possible to make progress towards the kind of voice you want.
Since posting this, I've been trying to expand my range. While I've been able to hit higher notes than I could before (or thought I could anyway) my voice sounds really hollow and weak when I hit higher notes.

It's not falsetto, but I'm having trouble getting any "grit" to it. Most rock singers use "shout-y" voices to add power, but I have a real hard time getting that power. I guess I'll keep working on it.
A mellow voice can sound powerful if you deliver it with confidence. Look at Jim Morrison or the bloke from Falconer.

Or you can go for the whole "soft droning sweet vocals over discordant music" thing, which can work brilliantly:

Or you can improve your technique. Proper resonance and use of the disphragm seem to be the things most connected to powerfulness, you should watch the Bel Canto videos that are posted in every thread on those subjects.
Any voice can work with heavy music.. personally I enjoy heavy metal music combined with female operatic vocals.. it works!


Nightwish (with Tarja)
Amberian Dawn
Epica (Simone isn't always in lyrical voice though)

Anwyay just to say not only one voice type works with certain kinds of music.. sometimes the originality in the combination make it stand out and out-perform others in the genre.