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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Well done Lewis… honest opinion is I thought that went well and I enjoyed the song. I think your voice, although not perfect, suited and expressed the song well, and it felt authentic and was engaging. Which I think is a good performance… sure there is brushing up to do, but you’ve a basis there for sure.
But listen, I’m not a performer - all I can really say with authority is I enjoyed it… and you’ve made me want to check out the original - thanks Lewis.
Cheers! Yeah it’s down tuned. I’ve done it again and I can get the notes without straining. I just need to open my mouth more and be a bit louder to push the air out. Think I hold back a little as in terraced house !
You’ve got a good voice. The weakest parts are when you go for the higher notes; you can hear the support for the note fall off. (I’m working on that kind of thing, myself.) To improve that, I’d say you could work on breath support and maintaining that support when transitioning to the higher register. Think about supporting your voice and the note from deep in your diaphragm as you move into your mixed chest/head or head voice. Practice the transitions. Opening your mouth more on the higher notes can help sometimes, too.