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New band, poor singer. Advice, please...


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  1. Decline their offer, citing a not too obviously spurious reason ( e.g.,"The old hand trouble is playing up again")
  2. Wish them the best for the future
  3. Vanish from their view
  4. Mop brow
  5. Resume search
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If they can't sing in tune now, they are unlikely to get any better, even more so if they don't have any honest feedback.  I've been in the same situation and walked (by pretending I had an offer to join a band doing stuff I really wanted to do i.e. not covers).  Did I regret not playing with a band? Yes, but only in the short term until I did find something that inspired me. 

For the OP, I've now twigged your username - I could change mine to solo4865 now 🤣

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23 minutes ago, MrDaveTheBass said:

Even if the singist could sing in tune, alarm bells would be ringing for me if the singard and guitard were an item. 1st rule of band survival: NEVER join a group with a band couple! Haven't you seen Spinal Tap??? 

Actually Yeah been in this situation where there was a couple (in a band) & it all went pear shaped after the drummer & the girl had a fling!

Probably worse than the singing ability situation.

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You’re never going to enjoy playing with that band as long as you’re aware the singer is out of tune.

Just say ‘Sorry I don’t think this is the band for me’ and walk away.

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28 minutes ago, skankdelvar said:
  1. Decline their offer, citing a not too obviously spurious reason ( e.g.,"The old hand trouble is playing up again")
  2. Wish them the best for the future
  3. Vanish from their view
  4. Mop brow
  5. Resume search

This.

Chalk it up to experience and hope that one of the other bands works out.

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Posted (edited)

Put up with it or walk away.

I have found that, even when trying to be a tactful as possible, bringing up the short comings of other band members is just not worth the hassle. Life is too short and there are other bands out there.

Edited by Marvin
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3 hours ago, Grahambythesea said:

Don’t join!

That.

It might seem like a defeatist attitude but life's way too short to waste time on projects you don't really believe in! The only way I'd attempt any kind of changing of their band/lineup etc was if it was an original band and I really believed it could be something special if they got a different singer. I'd be running the risk of them kicking me out as the 'new guy' of course, but it'd probably be at least worth a shot if I thought there was enough potential there. 

Whatever way you go with it, best of luck!

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All bands will always be judged on the ability or not of their LEAD singer. It took me 10 years to realise this with the addition of our female lead singer whoi can sing her donkey off, Before this we had muddled along with our guitarist taking lead duties. OK we got asked back but it was always the elephant in the room. You can be the greatest rhytmn section ever, the greatest guitarist since Hendrix, but if the singer 'aint cutting it live, forget it; you'll always be that band who would be great if they got a decent vocalist. Walk now..

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Decide quickly.

I had a singer with a good voice and energy but no timing. He   could not    hit  a   pickup.  He would wildly shake a hip to the beat ok.......... and let fly.

We parted ways and a few years later I see him on the bill for a showcase. He ripped. When I saw him after the show the first thing he says to me is ''I got timing!".

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I was in the same situation a few years ago but made the mistake of joining the band, being swept up in 'the moment' and the enthusiasm of the other members.  It wasn't long before it was driving me crazy and I was feeling embarrassed at gigs ... and I left the band.

I suppose it depends on how much tolerance you have of her shortcomings as a singer.  If it was me, I wouldn't join. 

I'm looking for a decent band to join but won't join just 'any band' simply for the sake of being in a band.

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Posted (edited)
On 24/05/2021 at 16:33, Supernaut said:

If they are indeed an item then you'll find it tough to get rid, most likely they'll boot you if anything.

I would walk - easiest way to avoid drama.

Unfortunately, a lot of punters judge you on your singer and if they're not up to scratch, then there is a high chance you won't get great reviews. Just the way these things work.

I would focus on the other two bands. 

This, this, this, and this.

Edited by Rich
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15 hours ago, solo4652 said:

 

I'm very much the new boy and certainly wouldn't want to upset anybody. "Carry on in quiet desperation is the English way..."

 

 

 

Love it :)

TBH I'd have a long hard think. I spent a while 'between bands' after failing to take the Floyd's advice. I spent too long with people who either weren't really musicians and others who were great but were never going to manage to be in any group, musical or otherwise. To be fair i met a lot of lovely people as well.

No 1 is are they a group you can get on with? It's so stressful if you don't and a little love and respect makes it so much easier. Can you forgive a singer who misses the odd note or the drummer whose timing is a bit suspect? Only you can decide how far to go down that route. Which of your friends are perfect? 

Having said that a poor singer is about the worst position to be weak in for a band. Would you turn down Bob Dylan or Coldplay though, or any of the various girl bands. People with marginal voices can be a great stage presence and really work a room so they get away with vocal murder.

Just one thought, several female singers i've been with are people pleasers who get talked into singing unsuitable material in the original keys. Frequently their voices are weaker than male singers and they struggle when the band is too loud. Current band are like this with our shed building drummer. Our singer sounds lovely with her other band but struggles with ours and struggling for volume affects her pitch. how about monitoring, does she use in-ears or floor monitors or even nothing? you cant pich what you can't hear.

You won't change this band, if they aren't nice people now the won't become kinder or more generous, if they aren't aware of the problem now they won't thank you for pointing it out and you'll be starting with tensions. So much vocal work is about confidence so telling someone they are flat is unlikely to do any good. 

If it's any help I've walked away from a prospective band because of this issue. Being in a band is all about compromise but you've got to have a bit of pride in what you do. If everything else is right then it might be what you compromise on, if not I'd walk away. Being in a busy band is hard work, you've got to look forward to being with them.

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14 hours ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Out of tune singing is caused by technical errors coming between the intention and the delivery: the voice is being told correctly what pitch to sing at, but thanks to problems in producing the sound, a slightly different pitch comes out. If a singer is persistently out of tune, there's probably an ingrained vocal fault which wont be going anywhere soon, let alone in performance.

Yes, unfortunately for most people we don't seem to take singing very seriously in the UK so it's not encouraged in youngsters and too many youngsters get told they can't sing. The solution is some decent music/singing lessons... 

I hadn't sung a note until I was in my 30s and I started lessons. The late start explains why I'm reluctant to sing solo... After a break from lessons for 20 years, I resumed a year or so again and retraining from baritone to tenor (if there's interest, I will start a thread about why/what etc)

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I've been in your position. It depends just how bad they are. Are they a little flat and they could be having an off night, a cold, singing through a rubbish PA, just need a bit of Reverb or confidence? Or are they kidding themselves? 

Hadn't been in a band for years and someone contacted me doing country, loads of gigs and he's recorded ten albums several of which in Nashville. I said Yes, agreed a date and time to meet with him and his band. Only then did I do my research. Saw him on YouTube with an edited video and recorded vocals. The vocals were absolutely dire. My (now) wife absolutely wet herself laughing saying he sounded like kermit the frog. Actually kermit would be incredibly offended by that description. I pulled out because I couldn't do it to myself. 

Recently I started a band with the intent of doing lead vocals. However, it quickly became clear that this wasn't a realistic prospect and we brought in a singer, something I was open to at the start. No offence taken, I'd rather be in a good band than forever try to put one together with me as the weakest link that always broke the chain. Also, I can play much tastier bass lines if I'm not singing at the same time, win win. 

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18 hours ago, solo4652 said:

As lockdown freedom approaches, I've been jamming/auditioning with three local covers bands. One has invited me to join them. I've only played with them twice - audition, plus first full rehearsal. The first full rehearsal was recorded, and I've been listening to our efforts. It's pretty clear to me that the singer isn't especially good. She sounds flat most of the time to me - my partner describes the singer's voice as "unmusical". I thought this when the band sent me their pre-audition recordings, and I thought it at my first jam/audition. The recordings of the first full rehearsal strengthens my view. What to do? Key points:

I have a feeling - could well be completely wrong - that the singer and one of the guitarists may be an item.

I'm very much the new boy and certainly wouldn't want to upset anybody. "Carry on in quiet desperation is the English way..."

I'm keen to get back out there playing with real people again, but not if I'm always inwardly wincing at the singer's voice.

What's the best approach here, folks?

 

 

 

A bad singer makes any band sound bad. On that point alone, I'd keep looking. Couples in a band are not necessarily a problem, it depends largely on whether they've been together solidly for 20 years or it's a relatively new situation, but the possibility for drama is increased. It's not something that would make me pass, but if you say the singer is not good then it really looks like you'd be stuck with her.

Pass.

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1 hour ago, zbd1960 said:

I hadn't sung a note until I was in my 30s and I started lessons. The late start explains why I'm reluctant to sing solo... After a break from lessons for 20 years, I resumed a year or so again and retraining from baritone to tenor (if there's interest, I will start a thread about why/what etc)

Could be interesting - so yes please!

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More info needed.

Is the vocalist a great frontwoman? Big difference between singing in a band, and fronting a band.

If the bands gigs are playing crowd pleasers and sing alongs to beered up pub punters, then lack of vocal ability isn't an issue.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, skidder652003 said:

All bands will always be judged on the ability or not of their LEAD singer. It took me 10 years to realise this with the addition of our female lead singer whoi can sing her donkey off, Before this we had muddled along with our guitarist taking lead duties. OK we got asked back but it was always the elephant in the room. You can be the greatest rhytmn section ever, the greatest guitarist since Hendrix, but if the singer 'aint cutting it live, forget it; you'll always be that band who would be great if they got a decent vocalist. Walk now..

True but strange you should mention Hendrix who was a pretty poor singer. I would say the same for Dylan, REM, The Fall, The Cure, Crazy Horse you get the picture.. is there something unique and captivating about their voice or are just rubbish?

Its like Crosby, Stills and Nash. I only really like them when Young is added to the mix and he sounds like Kermit the frog.

Edited by tegs07
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