Say Yes Cover - critique request

Learned this from Justin.

What do people think of my singing? I had some feedback on here before and think I’ve hopefully improved since then . Honestly if I sound bad let me know I won’t be offended. I’m trying to really get into something that sounds alright


Hey Lewis,
That was very enjoyable. Clean chords and nice variation with the picking and different strumming patterns. Your voice suited this song well and there was a nice balance between guitar and vox.
Only because you seem to want criticism, I thought your timing was slightly wobbly (more towards the beginning). You might think of just playing a couple of chords intro before launching into the singing, as much to settle yourself as prepare the listener.
Cool :sunglasses:

1 Like

Cheers ! Ah timing is such a bugbear for me

Do you mean I speed up slow down or singing and chords not synced ?

Sometimes I can’t tell it’s even an issue apart from I suppose something sounding off but not putting my finger on it

I thought your singing was pretty good. This doesn’t strike me as being an easy song to sing and you did well.
The higher notes were where you had a bit more difficulty. Have you tried playing with a capo? Perhaps a capo at fret 2 might let you sing in a slightly lower register.

Nice steady guitar play too, so all in all a nice performance.

1 Like

Thanks , I didn’t realise that capo-ing up would mean singing lower ? That would need different chord shapes right?

No. Just play the same chord shapes. The chords will be called different names though. Eg at capo fret 2, C shape will become a D and G shape becomes an A. In other words you’ve changed the key of the song to suit your voice.

1 Like

So first off I thought that was pretty good both vocally and from a guitar perspective. Given the way Elliot Smith performs this it’s not far off. A couple of suggestions I would make (I’ve played this a lot as well). I would take a look at Justins video lesson if you haven’t already. I can’t quite tell whether you are playing with a pick or not but this will sound better if you use a pick and rather than try and thumb pick the bass line just rake the lowest two strings (you’ll see Justin suggests this as well). Secondly at times it sounds like you are singing to the song in your head rather than the song you are playing which I think is why the timing between your vocal and guitar drifts sometimes. Focus on singing to what you are playing. Lastly you need to practice the final walk down section. It’s the hardest part of this song both on guitar and vocally…I noticed you glancing at the chords a couple of times so practice this until you are auto pilot from a guitar perspective and then you can focus on singing it.

Between the Bars is also another Elliot Smith song that Justin has a video on…but it’s a little harder.


Welcome to the Community, Lewis. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

But I had a similar experience you may have had based on your comment, the first time somebody suggested the song was too high for my range so should try using a capo. It made no sense to me … playing the same chord shapes with the capo on that would mean the guitar was sounding higher. While the guitar is in a key at a higher pitch, you can sing in that key in a lower octave. Hope that makes sense.

1 Like

I’ll admit I’ve played guitar for over ten years but only just got into singing.

That has blown my mind ! I always thought it would mean singing higher to capo up. I’ll try it


I’m in the same boat. Played guitar many years and then threw singing into the mix a couple years ago. I can sing okay on my own. Throw in the guitar and bad vocal habits creep in. Always a struggle.

I thought the singing sounded very much in the genre of Elliot Smith. The only wobbly bits I saw are the longer drawn out vowels like “laaayyyaayyyy-ter.” Well on its way though!

1 Like

You did a good job on the song, Lewis, certainly don’t sound bad. I think you were doing well on that higher resonance. Keeping working at your singing. Just like guitar-playing one can learn to sing.

1 Like

I can’t add much more to the good suggestions you’ve been given Lewis.

As you learn to sing as you play, it can be useful to break it down, just as you do when you learn a new guitar piece. That can be line be line or even just a couple of words at a time.

Even though you’ve been playing for a while I’d recommend you work your way through Justin’s beginner course. I did the Classic Beginners course way back and I’ve done the Beginners twice now. I gained so much more understanding and learned heaps more skills. I know you’d get a lot of value out of it and it’s free.


There are many folk here able to critique vocals so I will stay away from that.
RE: the capo and singing lower.

Imagine the scenario like this.
You have a capo at fret 12 and play exactly the chords you currently play.
You are in the identical key and will sing the exact same notes as now - but your guitar will sound higher as all notes / chords are one octave up.
Drop that capo back to fret 11 and your guitar is now in a key one semitone lower so you can sing a little lower. Drop it back to fret 10, or 9, or 8 etc. etc. and you can begin to see that each subsequent step down with the capo drops the key by a semitone each time.
The suggestion made to capo at fret 2 is directly equivalent to dropping the entire key by 10 semitones. That is a way-way-way-down deep drop of key. You would need to drop your voice a massive amount. Given that the key as it is now is nearly a good key for you such a massive drop would be, I believe, too extreme. So, more realistic would be a drop of perhaps two semitones. The same as having a capo at fret 10. But that makes the chords impossible to play right? So, what you would need to figure is, with a capo at fret 10, what do the chord shapes actually become as named chords? Then you can try to figure if you can play those chords using open chords shapes without a capo or different chord shapes but with the capo in a reasonable mid-neck position.


Cheers , I might just go through and do his entire graded courses. Good to fill in the blanks in any core skills.
So lucky we have Justin !


Good idea Lewis, you’ll get heaps out of them. We sure are lucky to have Justin.

I don’t pay much attention to people’s singing unless it has a negative impact on their guitar playing. Singing helps us become better players, it can carry the melody, and serves to keep us on time. Your song would not have been a song without vocals. Your playing was on time with a good sense of rhythm. Well done!

I totally see where you’re coming from with your explanation Richard.
However. Take a song like Knockin’ on Heavens Door which is in the key of G. With no capo I find it too low and then too high in the two registers I can sing the song in.
With a capo at fret 2 which changes the key to A, I can comfortably sing the higher register lower than the higher register in G. So in that sense it allows me to sing the song lower than in G.

That was all very nicely done Lewis.

Great playing and singing, only critique is when going for the high notes your voice sounded a but flat but I’m wondering if it is because you were holding back because they were higher notes.

1 Like

Lewis I think that you played it well and sang well apart from the high notes - 1 or 2 frets up with a Capo would probably make all the difference. You don’t want to strain to get those notes, it’s not good for you!
If I were you I would take a few singing lessons to learn how to breathe properly and learn to support your voice, it will definitely make the difference.

1 Like

Hi there! Great cover. I don’t have too much to add to the other comments here.
I just wanted to clarify whether or not you had tuned down a tone? Original recording is in DGCFAD
It helped me to do a more comfortable vocal take and at times there it sounded like you were reaching too far. Something to try if not!
Well done and keep 'em coming!

1 Like