#1
I'm a novice at singing and have struggled finding my niche. I have always gotten answers like you should use your own style... Except I really hate my voice. I struggle fighting my voice that I hear and the voice everyone else hears. I feel it's a half steps to a whole step flat.

I have noticed lately though I can hold my own singing Johnny cash and found out he was a bass baritone. When i sing that range I feel I can hit it the note as I hear it. So my next question is who are some other popular bass baritones in rock music including folk, punk, hard, and metal? Also when transcribing songs should I be doing them in e flat? Thanks and appreciate the tips!
#2
Look no further than "strictly commercial" bass baritone Frank Zappa!

Going by the analysis of Johnny Cash at the RangePlace (http://therangeplace.forummotions.com/t58-johnny-cash), his vocal range was G#1 - G#5 - though his most comfortable high note was probably G4.

I don't know what your taste in music is like, but if you want to hear a belted G4, skip to 1:44 in this video of "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" by QOTSA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kzKfwwDFRc#t=107.

Admittedly Josh Homme's Fach type is higher than Cash's, but it serves as a good example nonetheless.

As for musicians whom you could emulate and whose sound you could explore to find your niche, here are a few suggestions:

--- David Bowie (his range stretches a little higher than Cash's, but he has a rich lower range that he has demonstrated extensively over the years. If you can hit a G4 without straining your voice (which is harmful, obviously...) you should be able to cover "Space Oddity", which isn't too difficult to play and should sound nice with a rich voice behind it). If you can develop your voice and add some unstrained higher notes, you should be able to sing most, if not all, of Bowie's catalogue.

--- Eric Clapton. Have you tried an acoustic "Layla"?

--- "Evidence" by Faith No more. This is a song, not an artist, but Patton keeps to his lower range in it. Obviously Mike Patton is a monster behind the mic, and his more demanding songs could easily overwhelm even confident baritones and tenors, so a great deal of his catalogue will probably be unavailable to you - unless you want to blow out your voice! :P

--- Nick Cave. If you like his style, songs like "Red Right Hand" might fit you perfectly.

--- Dinosaur Jr. If you're fan, and you have a decent falsetto range, you could try some of Dinosaur Jr's songs or J Mascis' solo stuff.

--- Kurt Vile. If you prefer indie/low-fi stuff, you could try him; he has a fairly mellow style and rarely pushes himself in his delivery, however, if you're trying to find a "niche", you could experiment with singing his songs with more vibrancy than he does.

--- REM. Some songs like "Country Feedback" could work.

--- "White Wedding" - Billy Idol.

--- Mark Lanegan. He has an extensive catalogue from Screaming Trees to QOTSA to The Gutter Twins to his own stuff, so if you're a fan, you might find a lot of options with him. If you like dark acoustic songs with a bluesy vibe, take a look at his album with Duke Garwood. All of the songs make a strong impression without forcing you to wail like a tenor until your eyeballs explode or your voice gives out.

--- Elliott Smith. Some of his songs are deceivingly difficult to sing, but you should be able to sing along comfortably to some of his stuff. Take "Needle in the Hay", for instance. You might be at an advantage when trying some of Smith's lower notes because you have access to bass notes. Sometimes, when I'm singing, I have to dip into my vocal fry to hit certain notes, which doesn't sound nearly as good as someone who can hit them with their full voice - especially in a mellow acoustic song, where you don't have as many sonic layers to veil the shakier areas of your voice (unless you're looking for that fragile sound, of course).

--- The Doors. You've probably already considered this. Would "Riders On The Storm" sound as good with someone with a voice as bright as Jeff Buckley's behind it?

--- Lou Reed. If you're into him, some of his stuff could fit.

--- Richard Hawley. He makes excellent use of his voice. Some of his songs hit with the force of a god because he harnesses the power in his voice.

--- Dire Straits. Knopfler's voice rarely soars into ear-piercing ranges. The hard part is learning to play as well as him while singing!

--- Mick Harvey. Ever watch Breaking Bad? You might recognise this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIRCPAOLBd0.

--- George Ezra. If you like him, his stuff could suit you. Try "Budapest" or "Listen to the Man".

--- Iron & Wine. Try him if you want a Nick Drake-inspired vibe. I don't know him too well, so his range could stretch beyond what I've heard.

--- Leonard Cohen. If you want to smoke cigarettes and still sing, this could be for you!

--- Seasick Steve. A different flavour to some of the other stuff. You could try "St. Louis Slim" - I think the highest notes ("Drink a bottle / To St. Louis Slim") are about G4s... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp3ckV-CWRU

--- Tom Waits. One of my favourite artists. He has an enormous catalogue to explore and a similar vocal range to yours. If you want your vocal cords to sound like they've been desiccated and set on fire before singing, you'll have to start a rigorous regime of whiskey, cigarettes and screaming in your spare time.

There are many individual songs by artists whom you might not consider to be within your range (like Tool, RHCP and Faith No More) which are actually quite accessible. "Make It Wit Chu" by QOTSA comes to mind - provided you're comfortable using your falsetto to sing the chorus. Josh Homme is a good example of someone who is not quite a tenor, but writes melodies befitting one anyway because he isn't afraid to go into his falsetto. If your falsetto sounds good and you're comfortable using it during performances, you could try the same strategy.

Of course, you also have the option, as you said, of playing songs a few steps down. I believe James Hetfield did this for a while when his voice was worse for wear. In that case, if you're dying to cover something like "Shadow on the Sun" by Audioslave, but don't want to destroy voice trying to hit the B4, you could tune a few steps down and turn it into an A4 or even a G4. Lower tunings sound darker and lend themselves to a lower, richer voice.

I can empathise with you, as I also dislike my voice. However, I think this is the case with 90% of vocalists - especially novices and beginners who are listening to recordings of themselves for the first time. You're definitely taking the right approach in identifying your voice type and trying to explore various styles so you become comfortable with it and find a niche instead of belting along to Radiohead or Muse and despairing because you're not singing to your strengths.

I hope the above suggestions are helpful (I've probably missed an obvious artist who isn't on the the top of my head). Make sure to warm up, practise with good technique (have a look at some other threads for advice) and don't strain. With dedication you should be able to add a few notes to your range and make the notes you already have sound twice as good.
Last edited by Kurt Kalopsia at Aug 6, 2015,