How can I grunge up a pretty voice?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by straticus, Aug 10, 2005.


  1. straticus

    straticus Member

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    I need some advice on how to grunge up or dirty up a girls pretty voice. This would apply mostly to live sound.

    Our singer, a girl, has a beautiful voice. Sometimes too beautiful. We'd like to be able to dirty it up or give it some grit for certain songs. It would be nice if there was something, maybe a pedal, that she could step on at the right time. Anyone have any ideas or experience with this? We don't mind if her voice sounds like it's being run through a pedal ............. we're into experimenting with weird stuff.

    peace .............. BC:)
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    George Dickel and Lucky Strikes. :D

    A vintage Vestax or Electra compressor can get pretty grungy. Also those same era analog echo boxes from Multivox, Electra, Vestax and so on.
     
  3. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Have her sing into a megaphone. I've seen a few bands do it and it really adds a nice effect to a voice.

    [​IMG]

    Bryan
     
  4. elambo

    elambo Member

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    An overdrive pedal will work nicely. You could also send the vocal through a guitar cabinet and dial in just as much distortion as you need. Coincidentally, I did this just today. Ran a female vocal through a Fender Twin with a pretty decent amount of distortion, then copied that distorted vocal to a new track. For the mix I had both the original AND the distorted track playing together and blended to taste. It worked perfectly and sounded very cool.

    A wah pedal can be a nice trick also. Rock the pedal very slowly - too fast and too extreme is just strange.
     
  5. straticus

    straticus Member

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    She's already doing the whiskey and smoking thing but she says she can't keep that up for much longer.;)
     
  6. straticus

    straticus Member

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    A pedal seems like the best solution. How would you add that to her signal chain in a way that would retain the quality of her vocals when the pedal is off? Again, we're talking mostly about a live situation. Any pedals in particular that you would suggest?

    I also like the idea of signing through an amp.
     
  7. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Tell her to start yarling. It works for singers like Scott Stapp.
     
  8. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    That's hilarious.
     
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I think addressing anything but the source (her voice/style) will be disappointing once the novelty wears off, particularly for live stuff.

    If you're commited to going the "effect" route, try a separate (2nd) dynamic mic overdriving an underpowered old combo amp rig (which can then be 'clean' miked thru the PA). Haven't tried this live, but in the studio with neat results.
     
  10. Randy

    Randy Member

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  11. straticus

    straticus Member

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    Yea, you probably have a good point. So if we do go the pedal route it needs to be very subtle.

    I like the "singing through an amp" idea. I've done this on my own vocals in my studio before and liked it. Plus, I've always loved the sound of some of those old blues cats where there's a harp player / singer. You can hear the vox bleed from the harp amp on the vocal track. I love that!
     
  12. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    that's funny as hell. I like "Whitesnake without the snake" :dude
     
  13. Antero

    Antero Member

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    A bit of distortion will help some, but it'll still sound strange if she's singing all prettily. It IS possible to learn to get more snarl in without screwing up your voice. Distortion and similar effects fixes won't, in the end, make much of a difference.
     
  14. covert

    covert Member

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    A touch of sansamp, run in parallel might do the trick. Better to get it sounding right at the source. Have her soend time trying to mimic singers that have what you are looking for.
     
  15. straticus

    straticus Member

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    Thanks for the helps guys!

    Like many have said, I think "fixing it at the source" is the way to go and actually she's starting to get it together. It turns out that, for her, it's more a mater of attitude than anything else and she's starting to sound pretty unique! This is the first band that she has been the lead singer and I think maybe she just needed to learn to let her self go. So, I think it'll work out fine with out distortion pedals or any other funny stuff.

    Our band is playing it's first gig this Saturday. Should be fun ........... Wooohooo!
     
  16. 6789

    6789 Member

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    try one of those green harmonica microphones Sure makes. I heard a guy sing through on and it sounded roughed up.
     
  17. straticus

    straticus Member

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    Actually she's "found her voice", if you know what I mean. She's coming on strong and is sounding great.

    But the harmonica mic is an interesting idea. Might be a cool effect on some songs.
     
  18. tommyfobia

    tommyfobia Member

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    I think she just may need some DIY vocal training.

    EI: three bottles of whiskey and 80 cigs a day.;)

    The TC helicons are REALLY cool for that kind of thing. It is amazing how they can transform a voice.

    But its cool that you have fixed it at source anyway. Thats easily the best solution!
     

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