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So, I have been playing (guitar) and singing some Blues for a while, then about two months ago somebody told me that I sounded good. But if I take some formal voice lessons that I would sound much better. Then I am taking some lyric writing courses at Berklee, and decided that a strong voice is what I really want, combined with guitar to write and produce my own songs.

Last night after my voice warmups and singing some songs, I sat down with the guitar and was sounding out the notes with voice (as a part of concurrent ear training). I can sing from the low F (1st fret low E string) through to the high D (3rd fret on B string).

I know that I have some range issues and still working on head voice access and mixed voice control. What kind of voice do I have? Is that baritone? I am clueless about voice ranges and vocabulary related? I would search it if I knew what to search.

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A convenient way of measuring this is with what we call "octave designation." In typical octave designation, what we call "middle C" is C4. An octave higher is C5, an octave lower is C3, etc. Your low F (first fret low E string) is an F2, and your high D (third fret B string) is a D4 (thus just above middle C). This falls almost exactly into the bass range (but you're right, in some cases it could be considered baritone).

With that said, I'd recommend getting a lesson from a vocalist to really make this determination, because there can often be some confusion with head voice, specific octaves, etc., that can muddy up the answer.

And, hey, a few lessons from a professional teacher will only help you improve, right? :-)

  • Thank you much for this. I am meeting with a professional but this came up between lessons and thought would bounce it off of here. Also, your answer gave me a point in the right direction to study octave designations. Addition question... I was taught (mistakenly?) that middle C was the 3rd fret of the A (5th string). However, when I look at a standard tuning guitar octave designation, I am taught that the 5th string is A2, which I think would make that C a C2. Also, see that the B (2nd str) string octave designation is B3. Does that make that D on the 3rd fret of the B string a D3? – blusician Jul 29 '16 at 0:49
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    The octave designations "change" at C. Thus where you see a B3, a C4 will be right next to it. Furthermore, the guitar is actually notated an octave higher than it actually sounds; thus C4 (middle C) is actually the first fret of the B string (even though it doesn't look like this when notated). When you say you were taught middle C was the 3rd fret of the A string, it looks this way, but it's actually C3. The fifth string is A2, but since octave designations change at C, that C sounds like C3. – Richard Jul 29 '16 at 0:58
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    Also: the higher the number in the octave designation, the higher the pitch. Thus C4 is higher than C3, etc. – Richard Jul 29 '16 at 1:02
  • Does the label 'baritone', 'tenor' etc. matter that much? I'd have thought that actually knowing one's tessitura would be of more importance and relevance. There must be loads of singers who are 'on the cusp'. – Tim Jul 30 '16 at 8:54

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