How Do You Sing in a Raspy Voice, Like Kurt Cobain?

How do you sing in a raspy voice like Kurt Cobain or M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold?


I’m not overly familiar with Avenge Sevenfold, but I loved me some Nirvana back in the day. So, I did a little youtube research and here’s what I got based off one song from each…

These two singers actually produce the grit in their tone in totally different ways. From what I heard in a live nirvana performance, it appears that Kurt Cobain gets his sound from over closure of the cords, lots of air pressure underneath and a heightened larynx. I don’t necessarily recommend this style because when it’s done long term, it’s quite unhealthy… even in the video, the era starting Kurt was struggling to maintain it.

When I listened to Avenged Sevenfold however, it sounded more like he was using the false cords to create the sound (once again, this is based off my assessment of only one song). When doing this properly, you don’t have to use the vocal cords at all, which is a much healthier alternative in my opinion.

All this being said, I don’t really feel comfortable giving advice on how to do this without being present so that I can pull you back if you’re doing it wrong. I’ve mentioned The Zen of Screaming dvd before. I watched it, and it did help me a little when it came to understanding and practical application. There are also tons of amateurs on youtube discussing how they pull off false cord singing. You might could learn something from them. Also read Singing with Emotion to help keep your technique in tact.

That being said, be really conscious of how your throat feels during your adventure of figuring out how this type of singing. If it hurts, you’re doing something wrong and you’re at a pretty big risk of vocal damage. I say that not to shake a finger at you, but more so to help preserve the longevity of your voice.

I hope this helps if nothing else give you something new to look up and good luck producing the tone you want!

Vocal Coach Ken


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