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Lars68

Revisiting the past

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Friends, for the last couple of days I have been going through and practiced some of my older songs. It was EA who got me started when he, in another thread, pointed out that I did better with my singing when in a higher register (as compared to what I did previously). So I have been trying to put my capo to good use. It is also great as a learning experience to revisit things from the past just to see how they come out now, with about a year more of practicing under my belt.

 

Here is a new recording of the first song I ever wrote, about a year ago. I now hear glimpses of sort of a nice little melody. What might I find after yet a few more years of practice...

 

Lars

 

https://soundcloud.com/lars1968/all-i-ever-wanted-1

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Hey, there are glimpses of being on pitch here. I've got you give you credit sir for never giving up - and putting your stuff out there for others to hear. Your guitar work is really good, the lyrics are straight from the heart, and you are to be commended for those attributes. That your singing is off-pitchy is a distraction, a challenge I have no advice on other tun to say I think if you keep trying it is bound to help close that gap.

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I do recall that song, and its a sweet tune Lars. The old Gibson sounds lovelly fingerpicked and your playing is spot on. I agree with Dan that in just too many places you are significantly off pitch. The verse seems fine but when you go to the chorus youre actually trying to jump on octave higher to a large extent, but you seem to struggle to hit those notes on the second floor.

There is a good simple exercise to learn how to jump between registers, this is how i practice it. Hit a low C on your guitar and humm that note until you know you are on pitch with the low C. Then hit the C again an octave higher, and try to humm that higher note. (or use a vowel, A, I, O etc ..) This wll help you in knowing where the higher note is and practicing making the jump. Then practice with other notes . When it comes to your song then you will have an easier time making the transition from the middle range to the higher range.

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Thanks for the pointers and advice, guys. As always.

 

As for the never giving up part, this hobby is my lifeline. It's like the air I breathe, I can't do without it. I need to do this. I am aware of the poor quality of what I do, but hey, I'll take any and all glimpses of light whenever they come my way. I realized a long time ago that I'm not a natural singer, and I can't do more than practice. My songs are all me, warts and all, and as long as they represent my best effort, I keep coming back. The harsh truth is, most likely, that I will never learn properly. I was adviced here on the forum, not so long ago, to not post songs. That is one advice I will not listen to. I have long since swallowed my pride, and not getting it right of course bugs me, but instead of being discouraged, I accept my shortcomings. I tend not to compare my own efforts to what most of you guys are capable of. Had I done that, the towel would have been in the ring a long time ago [biggrin]

 

Lars

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Yes Lars, but singing on pitch is non negotiable, it has to be done ... and excuses for not singing on key is not credible. This applies to both of us for that matter. This is where Hogeye is right, even though he delivers it in his Trump like sensitivity.

 

Thanks for the pointers and advice, guys. As always.

 

As for the never giving up part, this hobby is my lifeline. It's like the air I breathe, I can't do without it. I need to do this. I am aware of the poor quality of what I do, but hey, I'll take any and all glimpses of light whenever they come my way. I realized a long time ago that I'm not a natural singer, and I can't do more than practice. My songs are all me, warts and all, and as long as they represent my best effort, I keep coming back. The harsh truth is, most likely, that I will never learn properly. I was adviced here on the forum, not so long ago, to not post songs. That is one advice I will not listen to. I have long since swallowed my pride, and not getting it right of course bugs me, but instead of being discouraged, I accept my shortcomings. I tend not to compare my own efforts to what most of you guys are capable of. Had I done that, the towel would have been in the ring a long time ago [biggrin]

 

Lars

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Yes Lars, but singing on pitch is non negotiable, it has to be done ... and excuses for not singing on key is not credible. This applies to both of us for that matter. This is where Hogeye is right, even though he delivers it in his Trump like sensitivity.

 

Sure, I understand what your are saying. However, that would mean this hobby would be totally confined to my own couch for the forseeable future (which some might think would be a good choice, of course...). I try extremely hard, but I would most of the time not be able to get it right even if my life depended on it [biggrin]

 

Lars

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After reading the criticisms here, I clicked on the link expecting the worst and what I heard was hardly unlistenable. There were a few questionable notes but it only added to the authenticity as far as I'm concerned.

 

Lars, don't listen to the naysayers. So you're not a professional singer. You fingerpick quite nicely and your songs have heart. As a fellow Will Oldham fan, I'm comfortable with the plainly sung.

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Hey Guy ...... I want to add my encouragement to the others. Lot of good stuff I hear in the recording. Your finger picking is fine for supporting singing. Keep picking and you'll get even better every day you pick. Take a few lessons. Pay for individual lessons or grab a book or grab a few free ones form the internet.

 

As for your singing, heck take some lessons there too. If you keep at it you'll get better, in spite of the level of natural ability.

 

This is my experience: when I was young I thought I had to sing sweet songs, sweetly. I learned that wasn't gonna happen with me about the same time I discovered Bob Dylan, John Prine, Tom Waites, (the late) Leonard Cohen and even Willie Nelson. These guys are stylists and none of them sing sweetly. So I developed my style to fit my gravel voice. This limits my catalog to songs that will work that way but there are more songs out there than I'll ever be able to learn. Talking blues and delta blues work great for me. One does have to stay on pitch and, as someone here said, it's not optional.

 

So hang in there. I hear a lot of good in the recording and in your replies. I like the fact that you are passionate about the music hobby. We need more folks with that level of desire and commitment. Take it from an old guy who shares your passion and has been trying to get it right for 54 years.

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I appreciate the positive things said, but I want to note that I don't see Dan or EA as naysayers, or in anyway too critical. They just point out the weaknesses, and that is fine. No harm done, whatsoever guys.

 

Outside of my closest family, music is the one thing in life that means the most to me. It has been that way since my very early teens. Music is an enourmous source of inspiration and comfort for me, and will continue to be so, no matter the current or future level of my own musical achievements. It's of course somewhat heartbreaking not to be able to get singing, the one key ingredient of song performance, right. It took me fifteen years to get my guitar playing skills to the rudimentary level I am at right now. During that time I have seen talented beginners surpass my level in less than six months, but I know hurdles can be overcome. I am motivated to keep going by my love of music, and a strong desire to express myself creatively. What I lack in inate ability, I can only try to compensate for with willpower and the slow passing of time. I do take lessons, but I'm still not sure it will help enough, but I just have to wait and see, and enjoy the ride. I've come quite a long way, not in comparison to where others are, but in comparison to where I started.

 

Lars

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After reading the criticisms here, I clicked on the link expecting the worst and what I heard was hardly unlistenable. There were a few questionable notes but it only added to the authenticity as far as I'm concerned.

 

Lars, don't listen to the naysayers. So you're not a professional singer. You fingerpick quite nicely and your songs have heart. As a fellow Will Oldham fan, I'm comfortable with the plainly sung.

I agree with Smurf here--this was a pleasant surprise. Your guitar sounds great and you gave this song quite a lift since last we heard it. Glad you revisited it; I hope you can hear the progress.

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I agree with Smurf here--this was a pleasant surprise. Your guitar sounds great and you gave this song quite a lift since last we heard it. Glad you revisited it; I hope you can hear the progress.

 

Thanks, Anne. Yes, I do notice a sloooooooow progress. I'm like a tonedeaf turtle [biggrin]

 

Lars

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I appreciate the positive things said, but I want to note that I don't see Dan or EA as naysayers, or in anyway too critical. They just point out the weaknesses, and that is fine. No harm done, whatsoever guys.

 

Outside of my closest family, music is the one thing in life that means the most to me. It has been that way since my very early teens. Music is an enourmous source of inspiration and comfort for me, and will continue to be so, no matter the current or future level of my own musical achievements. It's of course somewhat heartbreaking not to be able to get singing, the one key ingredient of song performance, right. It took me fifteen years to get my guitar playing skills to the rudimentary level I am at right now. During that time I have seen talented beginners surpass my level in less than six months, but I know hurdles can be overcome. I am motivated to keep going by my love of music, and a strong desire to express myself creatively. What I lack in inate ability, I can only try to compensate for with willpower and the slow passing of time. I do take lessons, but I'm still not sure it will help enough, but I just have to wait and see, and enjoy the ride. I've come quite a long way, not in comparison to where others are, but in comparison to where I started.

 

Lars

 

That's some good wisdom Lars. I like your positive, open-minded thinking. I also do not have an innate musical talent but I do work at it and if you practice you will get better. I wanted to describe one of my strategies I used to sing on pitch: I learned to play a major scale on the guitar, ascending and descending. The one I use has no open strings so it can be moved up the neck chromatically. Then I practiced singing each pitch in unison using the guitar's correct pitch to train my brain to recognize the pattern aurally. By isolating the skill I wanted to develop {(singing on pitch) I was able to improve my awareness of how a major scale sounds like which is a skill that can be applied to any song. It is a very natural process and I have taught children from 4 years old up to adults and have had great success in every case. The immediate feedback the guitar gives you of a correct model as you try to memorize and replicate the pitch is very powerful. This has worked for me far, far better than anything else.

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I'm never quite certain what kind of reader response the original poster desires with this. But while the vocals frequently show signs of being off-pitch and the song has certain lyrical problems, I quite like how the whole thing is recorded though, especially the reverb filter for the vocals.

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Definitely, improvement is noticeable, Lars. There are some pitch problems, but that can be fixed. I can hear how easily you're now hitting higher notes, but then go off-pitch for something similar. That may come down to not concentrating as much as you can on the singing, or maybe it's a habit for you to drift off-pitch, because it's how you've often sung the song.. I do that when I get lazy and am performing something that is literally "second nature" for me. I just don't pay as close of attention to my performance as I should. You're no different than any other of us humans. I totally agree that Dan and EU are not slamming you, etc. I think (as you do) that their suggestions are valid and sincere. That's easy for me to say because they are ALWAYS encouraging people. They don't tear people down in-order to give a critique......... Lars, as another of my own suggestions----I think you should go to some "open mics." I think they would help you even more and add to the improvement we are hearing. Not only can "open mics" help build your confidence, you will also hear other people as they struggle to improve. You'll likely hear someone else who is off-pitch and that will help make you more aware.........Keep doing what you are doing. If someone get nasty, don't let it bother you. It tells us more about them than it does you. Stay positive and keep pushing ahead.........and once again, play some "open mics" is you're not already doing so. [thumbup] [thumbup]

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Definitely, improvement is noticeable, Lars. There are some pitch problems, but that can be fixed. I can hear how easily you're now hitting higher notes, but then go off-pitch for something similar. That may come down to not concentrating as much as you can on the singing, or maybe it's a habit for you to drift off-pitch, because it's how you've often sung the song.. I do that when I get lazy and am performing something that is literally "second nature" for me. I just don't pay as close of attention to my performance as I should. You're no different than any other of us humans. I totally agree that Dan and EU are not slamming you, etc. I think (as you do) that their suggestions are valid and sincere. That's easy for me to say because they are ALWAYS encouraging people. They don't tear people down in-order to give a critique......... Lars, as another of my own suggestions----I think you should go to some "open mics." I think they would help you even more and add to the improvement we are hearing. Not only can "open mics" help build your confidence, you will also hear other people as they struggle to improve. You'll likely hear someone else who is off-pitch and that will help make you more aware.........Keep doing what you are doing. If someone get nasty, don't let it bother you. It tells us more about them than it does you. Stay positive and keep pushing ahead.........and once again, play some "open mics" is you're not already doing so. [thumbup] [thumbup]

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Friends, the supportive nature of this forum never stops to amaze me. Thanks for all the tips!

 

I do practice scales very similar to the way suggested above. It's a part of the lessons I take. I have also started to pick my songs apart, note for note. Trying to sing the note and play it at the same time.

 

Leonard, I guess the reason I post songs is just to be a part of this great forum. I don't really expect any type of response. It's all about a feeling of community and sharing my efforts for those who care to listen. I always tend to learn something new with each song. Please tell me more about how you think the lyrics can be improved. This is the first song I ever wrote, and I kind of regret not having words that rhyme for this one.

 

MP, playing an open mic would scare me to death right now [biggrin] However, I have started to play my songs live in front of my closest family and friends. Just until recently I was not comfortable doing that, so I am learning to play in front of people.

 

By the way, the recording, like all my recordings, was done on my iPad with an Apogee mic, and a touch of reverb added afterwards.

 

Lars

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