The Instruments Thread

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The Instruments Thread

Postby Cleander » May 18, 2019 10:08 am

As the title suggests, this is a thread we folks can post about the various musical instruments they own/play/have played/have owned/would like to play/ would like to own/have forgotten they own, and all their experiences related thereto.
I've played pennywhistles for about three years now, plus a few unidentified ethnic flutes that I picked up in thrift stores. I usually play Celtic and colonial folk tunes, with a mix of hymns, psalms, and movie tunes (Such as "My Heart Will Go On").
Lately I got a set of bagpipes... which so far have served to complicate my life. Maybe more on that later.
Of course I "play" piano... though that really just means I know where the notes are. I think. :|
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby Kalta79 » May 19, 2019 9:25 pm

I took piano lessons for a while in middle school and a teeny bit in college, but that was long ago and I barely know how to read music anymore, I'd really like to learn how to play the harp.
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby coracle » May 20, 2019 2:49 am

I can still play the descant recorder which I learned to play at 8-9 years old.
In my teens I took up the ukelele, and then the guitar (which I had some lessons on). These were the days when we all sang along as someone strummed a guitar, and as one stream of modern Christian music began in my country (Dave and Dale Garrett - New Zealand) it was a great part of my life. It was also used a lot during my teaching career.

I've had a small amount of keyboard tuition after learning basic piano when staying at my aunt's during a number of school holidays.
These days - I can still play a guitar, but my own one has been barely touched for years. I sold my little keyboard a couple of years ago, as it was unused for many years.
My main instrument continues to be my voice, and I do love singing. :)

[edited to amend what sort of recorder I play]
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby King_Erlian » May 21, 2019 1:30 am

Like most British kids, I started on the descant recorder when I was six, but unlike most, I got to be reasonably good at it, progressing to the treble and then the tenor recorder by the time I was fourteen. I always wanted to play the bass recorder, but they were prohibitively expensive and I never did. Somehow I never bothered playing the recorder again after I left school.

I began playing guitar when I was seven, learning a few basic chords from a student who lived a few houses away. But my progress was very slow, and by the time I was eighteen, while I was a reasonably competent rhythm guitarist, I never got the hang of lead. I did better than expected in my A levels (the final school exams in the UK before leaving school and going to university), so I persuaded my parents to buy me a bass guitar. The bass is still my main instrument now, and I play bass guitar and (electric) double bass in a rock band that does gigs in pubs and clubs around Manchester (England).

At high school I played percussion in the school orchestra. I could just about see over the top of the timpani. My parents bought me a drum kit when I was thirteen, and then had an extension to the house built with an almost-soundproof room. I got to be OK on drums, but never really good. However I was arm-twisted to play drums in the worship band at the Baptist church I attended (I was about 23 by this time), and because I wasn't that good I had to concentrate on playing and I couldn't worship and play. If I didn't play one week, and instead sat with my friends in the congregation, people would come up to me after the service and say, spitefully, that I was letting God down. People also complained that I played too quietly, as I always tried to listen to what the rest of the band were doing. So I don't like drumming.

I've had a few classical piano lessons over the years and I've reached about Grade 3 standard, which is still not very good. (Grade 1 is a beginner's grade, Grade 8 is the highest grade exam, though people can do other exams beyond that.) Keyboards don't come naturally to me.

I've also got a set of bagpipes, and I've passed the Grade 2 bagpipe exam, but I can't play them anymore because of my lung condition.

I also sing - not much in the rock band, because my voice isn't suited to rock music, but I sing in Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Currently I own:

2 classical guitars
5 acoustic guitars (including one 12-string)
2 electric guitars
8 bass guitars
An electric upright bass
A bass ukelele
A bass banjo
2 acoustic drum kits
An electronic drum kit
An electric piano
2 synthesiser keyboards
A set of bagpipes
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby Cleander » May 21, 2019 1:52 pm

All this talk of recorders reminds me- I neglected to mention my synthetic Yamaha descant recorder that I got a few years ago and never devoted that much time to learning. I suppose I was just pampered lazy by the pennywhistle, which is pretty much the easiest kind of flute in the world to play. Unless the kazoo counts as a flute. 8-} I haven't played it very much at all ever since I got it, but I guess I only paid $8 for it, so it's not an enormous waste....
Good to find someone who actually knows how to play bagpipes, King_Erlian . Sorry to hear you can't play anymore, but I can understand why one wouldn't want that kind of exertion; it's a huge strain even on my (presumably healthy) lungs!
My bagpipes have been a bit of a hassle to get started with because the only set I could afford was ... made in Pakistan. Anyone who knows a bit about bagpipes could have warned me about the low quality of Pakistan pipes, but I thought I could make it work (and I didn't want to pay hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars for a good set of Scottish pipes) so I bought it anyway. Surprisingly, the only problems were with the chanter and a few of the drone reeds; the chanter was mis-drilled and the reeds would mute out when the air pressure got too high. The bag was in better condition than I was expecting based on reviews. Now I just have to get new reeds and a chanter and I'm ready to play!
Or start learning...
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby mm1991 » May 22, 2019 6:43 pm

I played classical percussion most of my life, starting in my church's children's handbell choir at age 6. Then I graduated to "real" percussion at age 10, playing the snare drum/bass drum/timpani/etc etc in school band and also getting tutored one-on-one. I quit when I was 16 and I miss it a lot! But percussion is so intense (so many different instruments!) and of course very expensive. That time has passed, I try to simply enjoy the memories of it. ;))

I started playing the recorder at age 8, which I enjoyed, but that lasted only a few years.

I took piano lessons (still percussion, I know) for many years but I HATED piano! I don't know why. I never ever practiced and my piano teacher would comment how it was funny that most of his students knew their chords but were terrible at timing and I was the opposite - great at timing but I never knew my chords. =))

I started electric guitar lessons at 14, I begged my parents for these lessons but I ended up hating that too. Looking back, I probably would have enjoyed the acoustic guitar with a flamenco (pickless) style better but I think the experience soured me on the guitar for good.

I currently don't play any instruments and I'm really sad about it! Part of the reason I keep brushing off learning a new instrument is because of the startup costs, but also because I live in a tiny apartment and I don't want my neighbors to hate me!

However, there are some instruments I am keeping in mind for the future:

Bass guitar - One of my friends growing up played this (along with the accordion!) and thought it was so cool. I'm a short woman and I've always thought the sight of me with a big old bass guitar would be hilarious. :p I also like that I'd have the option of not needing to use a pick while playing it. Can you tell I hate picks?!?!

Flute - When I was 10, I actually had the choice between learning the flute versus delving more into percussion. I chose percussion, which I'm so happy that I did, but the flute still intrigues me! It's also loads cheaper than percussion instruments! :D

Harp - Technically percussion! I would not get a big harp, I would get a small celtic harp. I've always been enamored by the harp, this is actually what my parents wanted me to get into when I played percussion as a child, but nowhere I played ever had a harp to teach me.

I have thought about picking up the recorder again, if only I could play some music by Telemann since he is one of my favorite classical composers.

Thank you for creating this, Cleander! It has been fun to write about. Though don't be fooled....all these years of musical education and I can barely stumble my way through reading sheet music. :( ;)
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby King_Erlian » May 23, 2019 1:40 am

mm1991, if you're interested in bass guitar, you can get "short-scale" basses (30" scale, i.e. 30" from nut to bridge, as opposed to the standard scale of 34") which are a bit easier to handle if you're not a very big person. I sometimes play a short-scale if I've some tricky bass lines to get to grips with, as it isn't as far to stretch between the frets.

And I never use a pick either.
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby Cleander » May 23, 2019 12:41 pm

mm1991 wrote:Thank you for creating this, Cleander! It has been fun to write about. Though don't be fooled....all these years of musical education and I can barely stumble my way through reading sheet music. :( ;)


You're so welcome!

You mentioned accordions briefly, which reminded me that my brother picked that up a few years ago. He'd only ever played the piano before that, and spontaneously decided to try something new. He actually had to have it custom made (I was shocked at how much he spent for it) so he got it inset with rhinestones (I'm not kidding!) He actually ended up playing it in costume at a WWII reenactment a couple times.

BTW, does anybody here have a shofar?
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby mm1991 » May 23, 2019 9:12 pm

@King_Erlian, I had no idea about that! Thank you for informing me!

@Cleander, that must have been quite the sight at a reenactment! :p
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby De_De » Jun 25, 2019 3:40 pm

So happy to see all these musicians on the forum. I finished music school around 7 years ago, and I am very embarrassed to say, I remember almost nothing x_x
It was a full on music school with music theory, music history and literature classes, orchastra and ensamble practices and piano classes no matter what instrument you were learning to play. I went there to learn to play the guitar and balalaika (a three-stringed Russian folk instrument). I had very good guitar and music theory teachers, but my piano teacher was downright scary :| But overall I enjoyed my music school experience, and even though I only remotly remember how to play the balalaika, I think it was good for my overall development.
I was just wondering if any of you have music schools where you come form? Are they pretty common? In Russia they are very common, and every other kid is sent to music school. Just to explain, in Russia, music school is an after school institute. So it's kind of like a extracurricular activity.
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Re: The Instruments Thread

Postby Lady Arwen » Dec 08, 2019 9:33 pm

* wanders in, looking for advice *

Specifically, I'm wondering if anyone has done online music lessons before, and if you have any recommendations. ;))

I come from a long line of musicians, so my mom started me early. I played piano mainly, then guitar, violin, four different types of recorders, and a random assortment of other items. Violin was my main baby, and the only instrument that I had that was mine and not a family instrument. Then I screwed up my hand, and can't set my second finger straight, so it hits where my third should be, which kind of meant that was the end of that.

Then, last year, my niece told me she wanted to learn the violin, so I dug it out (I still had it!) and lent it to her. She's been practicing some, but getting her to lessons has been quite difficult. She really wants to learn, and I know she has a chunk of hours where she doesn't have any set obligations, so I would very much like to get lesson set up for her as a Christmas gift, and see if that works any better. ;))
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