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Thread: Harmonies make or break cover bands

  1. #1

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    Default Harmonies make or break cover bands

    Just an observation but IMO the one thing that makes a great cover band stand out from and every day average cover band is exceptional harmonies. Don't get me wrong you need to be tight, have a good sound mix, and good song selection, crowd interaction etc, but if I had to choose one area that we could be exceptional at it would be harmonies.

    Most cover bands I see are very good musically and even the lead vocals can be very good but you really notice the difference when the harmonies kick in. Sadly most fall short in this area, my current band is getting better as we are actually practicing harmonies with no instruments playing so we can hear them raw which I have never done in the 4 other cover bands I have been in.

    Check this out, I know it's the Bee Gee's but I don't care they were one of the most talented bands in history. I still listen to this sometimes and wonder if these harmonies are pre-recorded but I dont see how they could have done that back in them days. BTW Robin's vibrato voice is truly a rare gift

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  2. #2

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    Default Re: Harmonies make or break cover bands

    I agree that vocals in general are the differentiator among cover bands and even fewer have the ability to master multi-part harmonies. It's easy to find 4 or 5 guys who can play an instrument well enough to cover popular songs. Finding that many musicians who also have vocal talent, complementary vocal ranges, and an ear for harmonies is a whole other story. In both of my bands there are at least four singers who can do lead or backing vocals, and both feature 3-4 part harmonies and a cappella parts in songs. We have dedicated vocal-only rehearsals and have spent hours perfecting the parts. The results are very satisfying and do make a difference to the audience. The casual live music audience member will not notice or be impressed with a well executed guitar lead or drum solo, but if the vocals are good and the harmonies are on key and blend seamlessly, they will think the band is good.


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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Harmonies make or break cover bands

    Couldn't agree more, harmonies get forgotten. And even more so, bands should make sure the voices blend. Check out one of my favorite bands from the 80's. They were known for their impeccable harmonies.

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  4. #4

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    I guess this would qualify.

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  5. #5

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    Default Re: Harmonies make or break cover bands

    Agree. At the cover band level vocals are what differentiates bands from the pack. The ability to deliver solid harmonies takes it to another level. Most cover bands fail at this.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Harmonies make or break cover bands

    Great point. Thats probably why my Bay City Rollers cover band never took off. Lol

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Harmonies make or break cover bands

    Quote Originally Posted by nubdrummer View Post
    I agree that vocals in general are the differentiator among cover bands and even fewer have the ability to master multi-part harmonies. It's easy to find 4 or 5 guys who can play an instrument well enough to cover popular songs. Finding that many musicians who also have vocal talent, complementary vocal ranges, and an ear for harmonies is a whole other story. In both of my bands there are at least four singers who can do lead or backing vocals, and both feature 3-4 part harmonies and a cappella parts in songs. We have dedicated vocal-only rehearsals and have spent hours perfecting the parts. The results are very satisfying and do make a difference to the audience. The casual live music audience member will not notice or be impressed with a well executed guitar lead or drum solo, but if the vocals are good and the harmonies are on key and blend seamlessly, they will think the band is good.
    Well said! Absolutely agree with this post. When I was gigging, our band had dedicated vocal rehearsals too. I never sang in a band but when I was asked to help contribute to the harmonies, I discovered (with practice) I can sing in key. That opened up a lot of opportunities for me with other bands too.

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