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She runs a weenie stand, way out in no man's land, oh boy, that's where my money goes - Riley Puckett, Nobody's Business

Author Topic: multi-instrumentalists aboard  (Read 2219 times)

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Offline unezrider

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multi-instrumentalists aboard
« on: March 28, 2008, 02:35:19 PM »
hello friend,
after reading andrew's post on peetie wheatstraw, & why he's not discussed here very often, i got to thinking. is it possible that he doesn't come up much, (along with charlie spand, roosevelt sykes, & other greats) because (i assume) the vast majority of us are guitar players first? it's easier to discuss guitar playing, & guitar players when you're familiar with the instrument. i know enough music theory to sit down at a piano & find the notes & make chords, but i'd never say i can play the piano. recently i've taken up the harmonica, it's been fun, but it's still a work in progress.
so i got to wondering, how many weenies out there play other instruments than a guitar? i know a few fiddle & mando players are here. anyone play more than one instrument? does playing more instruments help inform you're musical understanding overall?
chris
"Be good, & you will be lonesome." -Mark Twain

Offline frankie

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 04:03:11 PM »
Fans of country blues probably do tend to be guitar-centric...  overly so, in my opinion.  I don't know if playing other instruments has deepened my musical understanding (as if!), but it does deepen my appreciation for other ways of making music, and makes it easier to change roles with other musicians whenever I feel like it.  I'm certainly not expert on most of the instruments that I play, but I can usually make the music I intend to on the ones I'm strongest.


Offline uncle bud

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 06:01:50 PM »
I'm a recovering drummer (decades without playing now). My drummer and percussion past (tympani! marimba! triangle! - triangle is harder than it looks) certainly helps me on guitar, as do long forgotten beginner piano lessons. Actually, the thing that helps me the most is all the ear training I did long ago.

I have numerous harmonicas I can barely play, have dabbled occasionally in horrendous mandolin playing. I'd love to play banjo but haven't got to it yet.

I can pick up any instrument and immediately sound bad on it!

Offline waxwing

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 06:27:51 PM »
Do jug and washboard count? Actually, I can play them both at the same time.-G- And I can play jug with guitar, and even sing, playing response licks on the jug counterpoint to the guitar licks.

Played piano for about 6 years or so as a kid (over 40 years ago). Have often thought about trying to cover Skip James on piano.-G- Have dabbled in harp and mando but would never say I was a player.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline banjochris

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 06:50:32 PM »
I play banjo pretty well and play a little fiddle and mandolin. I had piano lessons as a kid for a few years and have been trying to get back to it. I hated classical-style piano lessons but I did learn a bunch of theory (not enough to hurt) that's been of great help over the years.
Chris

Offline Stuart

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 07:58:53 PM »
...triangle! - triangle is harder than it looks...

Never underestimate the triangle. Can anyone imagine what Joseph Falcon's "Arcadian One-Step" would be like without it? It holds the entire performance together, IMHO.

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 03:18:41 AM »
Guitar certainly seems to dominate.  I can play a handful of chords on a mandolin and recently bought a tenor ukulele, because there's often too many guitars at the weekly session I attend and I was looking for a relatively easy way to diversify.  I play it on a couple of numbers.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2008, 04:18:30 PM »
In 1995 I started to have trouble with my lefthand indexfinger so I had to quit guitarplaying for a while.  In the Homespun catalog I found a pennywhistle and a harmonica tutorial and started with that.  While visiting the US I found, quite by accident, the Native American flute and started with that too.  Went to a few workshops and encountered the Indian bamboo flute, the bansuri.  I studied that instrument seriously for 5 years and came back to the guitar around 2005...then I broke a kneecap and found time to discover the Chinese guqin (sort of a cither). 
I got past the beginner's stage for all these intruments but always came back to the guitar.  It's the instrument I started with a 16 and it's what I do best.
Nevertheless exploring other instruments is fun and certainly will help you to develop your basic musical skills.
Cheers,
Carl

Offline Slack

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 09:05:17 PM »
Besides guitar I've dabbled in dulcimer, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica -- I keep searching searching for something I can play.  :) As a sophomore in college i took a music appreciation class (classical), but never went to class and was too stupid to drop it... was never a very good student, too busy. At a different school I had to make up that F and took a class called "Folk Fiddling and Strumming" taught by a Canadian classical teacher who fiddled for a sideline.  I was the most gawd awful fiddler on my $35 fiddle, but got an A in the class.  Great class, at the end of the semester the class went out and played at several bars! (I accompanied the class's top fiddlers on guitar) The bar patrons loved us.

Offline dj

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2008, 05:55:55 AM »
I used to play bass viola da gamba quite well.  I worked my way through my extended stint as an undergraduate in part by playing in a quartet that specialized in music of the 17th and 18th centuries.  I can't say that knowledge of the viol has affected my appreciation of the blues, but that period did have a profound affect on my musical life (ok, on the rest of my life, too, since it was while playing that music that my wife and I got together).  For one thing, that's when I learned to read music fluently in multiple clefs - tenor and alto as well as treble and bass.  I'm nowhere near as fluent a reader today, but I'm much better than I would have been had I not done that.  And I learned that tablature is more than a crutch for the lazy.  If it was good enough for Robert Johnson (the Elizabethan lutenist), it's good enough for me.  And it was the period of my life when I became, for a while, a musician, rather than somebody who played music.  I wouldn't say that I'm still a musician today - I don't play nearly enough and not seriously enough - but the habits of looking at, listening to, and thinking about music that I learned back then I still use today, if in a somewhat atrophied state.  So in that sense, learning another instrument was very influential on the way I listen to and play all music.       

Offline CF

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2008, 07:11:19 AM »
I am a reformed heavy metal/punk drummer . . . never owned a drum kit but taught myself to play by drumming along with records & using pillows & cushions as snare & toms & finally in high school friends with drum kits recruited me in their bands. Played a bit of folk harp & the guitar of course. Also, I am the Canadian East Coast KAZOO guru  :)
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline markm

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2008, 08:10:07 AM »
I started playing piano and accordian when I was 5, then switched to clarinet when I was about 8 (had to get an eb clarinet because I was so small.)  Played clarinet all through school until 14 (had my own Jazz Band, Old Mcdonald's Ragtime Ramblers)  Then at 14 I got a Sears and Roebucks Les Paul copy and my clarinet days were through.  My dad always wanted me to the next Benny Goodman so he did not like my foray into the world of strings and things.  About 15 years ago I took up the harmonica and from the get go felt very comfortable with it.  So these days it is pretty much guitar and harmonica.

Mark

Offline Richard

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Re: multi-instrumentalists aboard
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2008, 10:02:40 AM »
I'm a drummer really, but  masqurading as a guitarist! I have been a follower of both early blues and jazz since I was about 13 I suppose... but jazz won and I bought my first drum kit at 15, taught myself to play, first gig at 17 as I recall but that is a l-o-n-g time ago now!

However, I realised that to be able to play with any confidence I had to have lessons and learn to read - all paid off and opened up a whole new world with loads of big band stuff, the odd pit band and even a pantomine or two - if you ever get the chance do a pantomine gig take it, it's a hoot  :P  My favorite playing styles are either the 20s stuff with a true vintage kit or I turn into a bomb dropping, take no prisoners, 40s small band drummer! There isn't much jazz work over here but luckily I have just been offered a few gigs and it seems I swing! In fact the lack of drumming here was the reason I took up the guitar seriously and then it became apparent that a motorbike accident from years ago had knackered my left wrist as regrds barring chords, so hence the lap style.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

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