I've been working hard on getting my singing voice in shape.

My voice still sounds like garbage.

An example of me singing a cover of Two Headed Boy; there are a couple times that I can hear that I go out of key, but I think I hit the right notes mostly. It is not mixed, it has some reverb and an EQ and that's it. The guitar and vocals were recorded together.

Here's the original version of the song if you've never heard it (great band).

Am I more out of key than I think I am? Is it a timbre issue?

Do any of you vocalists have good input on this kind of thing?

Anything that I should practice to get it better?


PS. Please be nice. I know I'm bad and I'm am trying my best to get better.

  • Please be nice It depends what you define as nice. Constructive critisism, whether you like it or not, should always be taken and turned into bettering yourself. There is use at all wanting only positive feedback, how will you ever know you have flaws and how know what areas you need to work on Jul 19, 2016 at 15:46

5 Answers 5


From what you describe, I wonder if what you need to work on isn't singing, but listening. You hear that you go out of tune when you listen to the playback: good! The thing to do now is listen while you sing.

Try singing along with the original track, but quietly, not full-voice. Listen more than you sing. Worry only about whether you match what the track is doing. Try to make your voice meld with the track until it's indistinguishable.

At first, this will be very frustrating. It'll feel like no matter how hard you try, you can't do it. But with time & practice you can reach that zen point when your voice IS the track and you can follow it perfectly. Doing this with many songs in multiple styles will help you tune well with anything you hear.

  • Right on! It's always the sliding and bending of pitches that kills me. Singing is not like any other instrument I've learned ever because you can't just press a key to hit a note. It's actually the hardest "instrument" I've ever played! Jul 26, 2016 at 16:52

You could try reproducing the notes at the same time with some instrument (piano or guitar), practicing with triades and scales. I belive that is a good exercise to sing in tune in right notes. Try to find your tone.


You sound OK for that style of music, but I can hear what you're saying... it's not "garbage" though without some context... how long have you been singing? How long have you been singing "seriously" ?... keep improving breath and diaphragm ...

I've been running and singing at the same time at a park nearby, has improved my singing strength tremendously... do what you can anyway you can to get stronger.

  • I haven't been a true singer so technically I am a true beginner. I want to get better I just can't stand my own voice. Running and singing? I'll try! Jul 26, 2016 at 16:48

Listening to the two versions, the original is a LOT faster than yours- not sure whether that's deliberate but one effect is that you have to hold the notes much longer in the slower version, which possibly makes it seem more difficult than it needs to be.

Your timing is good, and your voice itself sounds like it has a nice tone.

I'm no singing coach but it sounds a bit like you're singing much louder (harder) in the higher parts than the lower bits. When people sing higher (in chest voice) the volume (or percieved volume) often raises anyway so maybe it's worht taking ait a bit more easy on the higher notes? Sounds like you don't have trouble singing that high.

Re staying in tune: Assuming it's you playing te guitar, one thing I've found rally helpful is to undertsand how the vocal line fits with the underlying chords by learning the melody on the guitar. It helps understand the relationship more if the tune isn't straightforward, which this one isn't really.


Are you using headphones to hear yourself while singing? I have been taking the singing success lessons and find that the exercises in Discovering Your Voice help to warm up. After those exercises I sing alone with a mic and headphones. Sometimes recording myself too, in order to match my tone and style against the original.

  • Yeah. I recorded that with headphones through audio interface Jul 15, 2016 at 0:43
  • Interesting ! My experience: As a recording technique I've found headphones way inferior as a way of hearing my own voice. the best combination for me is to wear ear-encompassing headphones whcih them slightly ajar so they don't seal properly, and sing in a small room where the walls reflec my voice back at me. Have the nearest wall about 3 feet away. The small landing at the top of the stairs in my house is perfect for this. Jul 22, 2016 at 8:55
  • Sing closeish to mic (how close depends on mic - SM58 / 3 inchies away works well for me) so that reverb from the room doens't feature too much (unless I want it to). This really helps with hearing what I'm doing. If I just listen through headphones the sound is somehow dead and I find it harder to lock into the tuning properly. Jul 22, 2016 at 8:55
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    @user2808054 I'll try that. I am using an sm58 as well Jul 26, 2016 at 16:45

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