Monitor mixes for 3 part harmonies?

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horsehorse Frets: 521
I've been struggling to translate harmony parts I can sing at home or in the car to the rehearsal room - I can so easily lose my sense of where I'm aiming / where my voice is in what I'm hearing. I've put in a fair few hours prep including recording myself playing and singing the parts at the same time, but am still too flakey once in the band context.

It doesn't help that the parts I'm singing aren't the most natural for my brain, but I haven't got the range for the other 2 parts. Lack of rehearsal time doesn't help either - 3 two hour rehearsals before first 45 minute gig - enough when things click easily, but not a lot when my vocals are struggling.

I'm better when just against the main melody, but once all 3 parts are in then I'm all over the place at the moment.

I think that tailoring an individual monitor mix would help - guess I need to be able to hear myself much louder than the others will want to hear me?

Anybody overcome similar / any tips?
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    I have to teach every new recruits Harmony singing
    i have done for nearly 20 years now
    the trick is to ignore what everyone else is singing and treat your part like a lead vocal line
    as long as you can sing that line consistently and can hear for pitch then everything will be fine.
    Afrer a whikenyou will develop a better ear and be able to feel when the harmony is in tune (it’s like tuning via harmonics... when it stops ossiclating you feel it)
    What I do for the noobs is record a version of the song with the other vocal parts in the right channel and your part in the left
    with a simple pair of earbuds you can sing along with the other two with the left bud out 
    or practice your part alone with the right bud out.
    also don’t worry about timbre and tone. That’s the lead singers job. Your job is pitch. Learn to pitch consistently. Nothing else matters. Your part on its own will sound horrible. That is normal 
    Well maybe some mic technique to make sure you are at a consistent volume and blending in with the other voices.
    which is why weird monitor mixes are a bit dangerous
    the sound guy won’t be able to keep up if you are massively inconsistent so use your ears and mic distance to keep it level
    muscle memory will get that feeling in your throat to get oyour first notes in the ball park but the most important bit that everyone thinks they don’t have to do
    learn the damn parts.
    Harmony melodies are wierd. They may be only two notes switch back and forward
    Treat it like a lead vocal line and learn that shit
    that way you don’t have to worry about what the other singers are doing 
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    Oh if you are getting a poor monitor mix get a really good tight set of earplugs and jam one in your ear 
    there’s a reason you see people stick a finger in their ear when working on harmonies
    HTH
    sorry about the shit grammar etc
    im on my phone just now
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  • horsehorse Frets: 521
    @Cabicular - thanks for the advice. Tbh I have learnt the lines to the point at which that's naturally what I now sing if singing along to the recordings. Live room just makes the muscle memory seem different though for some reason, and I find it hard not to be distracted by the other 2 lines. More time with the band will definitely help and I know I'll be able to do a decent job eventually.

    So you're saying it's best not to bias my monitor mix too far and get more used to the sound of the 3 together instead?
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    Definitley
    when you are practising in the car or at home you need to put out a bit of volume
    Its really common for people to practice at home really lightly and then find the parts feel too high in front of the mic
    ultimatly like everything else the best practice is doing it live but prepare the best you can

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  • horsehorse Frets: 521
    Cabicular said:
    Definitley
    when you are practising in the car or at home you need to put out a bit of volume
    Its really common for people to practice at home really lightly and then find the parts feel too high in front of the mic
    ultimatly like everything else the best practice is doing it live but prepare the best you can

    Ta. Sounds like I'm doing the right things but just not there yet then
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    horse said:
    Cabicular said:
    Definitley
    when you are practising in the car or at home you need to put out a bit of volume
    Its really common for people to practice at home really lightly and then find the parts feel too high in front of the mic
    ultimatly like everything else the best practice is doing it live but prepare the best you can

    Ta. Sounds like I'm doing the right things but just not there yet then
    Practice practice practice
    Pitch Pitch Pitch! :)
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9207
    Wis for @Cabicular. I like to have monitor mixes so I basically get the FOH sound but with a bit more "me" all round, both vocals and guitar.

    But there's no substitute for practice - preferably with and without the other band members. With my last lot we'd usually have a vocal-specific session first to block out harmonies roughly, then go practise at home for a week, then have another vocal-specific session to tighten everything up. 
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  • horsehorse Frets: 521
    I'm just not used to still being this shit after so much prep! :-)

    In my other band I find the 2 part harmonies easy, but that is partly because I just sing what comes easy for me
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2171
    It’s a particular skill
    It really helps me get gigs
    I’m a decent guitarist (I think) but they are 10 a penny
    good harmony skills and a good vocal range have really served me better over the years 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2299
    Practice the singing with the guitar part. You learn to pitch to your playing.
    Also at rehearsal get the band to shut up and just gently strum the chords and all sing harmony parts,  it helps fix in your brain what it will sound like. Then do it full band. The singing is at least as important as any instrument part so make sure the band understand. Finally the third forth and fith harmony can be simple so if you struggle simplify it to little more the  a single note,  it's better that than nothing or getting lost.
    Multiple wedge mixes gets expensive real quick as well as being heavy o hump about. 
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