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Multi Instrumentalists Among Our Ranks


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Folk music is what I have always played. Singing is what I've always done. I learned to play the five-string banjo when I was in high school and devoted to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Towards the end of school, I discovered girls liked the guitar much better, so I picked that up too, along with a harmonica around my neck. In the 1990s I made a living in an Irish pub band and added tin whistle and bodhran. Tenor banjo seemed like the thing to play when I joined a jug band ten years ago. But, for years, I always wanted to play the concertina. It wasn't until last year I realized there was more than one system. After watching lots of youtube videos, listening to recordings and reading pages and pages of information online, I settled on the Hayden system. I've had an Elise since April 2010 and I couldn't be more happy. It really fits me. It's almost never in the case. I can't keep my hands off it. I've already started saving for an upgrade, which will have to come sooner than later. The Elise is not made to last forever.

 

To recap, my instruments, in order of how much I play and/or perform with them are as follows...

 

1. Guitar

2. Tenor Banjo

3. Harmonica

3.5 Hayden Elise

4. Five-string banjo

5. Tin Whistle

 

Singing goes without saying.

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Listening to Dick's posting of the Maids of Feakle brings a point to mind. Many on this forum are fine musicians on several instruments. Many within the same tradition as their concertina choice of music, and several from different genres. I know many of you, but let's have the others chime in on their " back up choice of instrument", because if we are here we are only our super hero concertina persona. Please list dabbles as well as proficient instruments.

 

A late entry here.

 

Concertina, badly. Fiddle, even worse. And we keep tin whistles and recorders all over the house. We also have a Steinway B that is my husband's first love. He and #2 play piano. #1 sings only, but with a voice like hers who needs another instrument. #3 and 1 ... we like the fiddle and concertina. She is the only one of the 3 who immediately requests ITM in the car.

 

My husband is the real musician. Mind you, he is the same person who thinks that Prokoviev is fun car music. But he is kind enough to keep telling me that everyone should play music. However terrifically badly. :-)

 

I grew up playing classical piano. Transitioned to clarinet, but always wanted to play violin (but really fiddle). Was told it was much too hard. Gave up instruments entirely for 20 years. And then fell in love with the concertina at a party at my aunt and uncle's house. My aunt's best friend plays a Lachenal. It was like being struck by a thunder bolt. Like first love with all the attendant feelings of thrill, excitement, and insecurity. So I signed up for classes in Boston with my rented Stagi.

 

Unfortunately, having grown up 'paper trained', I had no ability to learn music by ear. You can imagine how frustrating classes in ITM at the comhaltas in Boston were for someone who could only do music by "dots". I took a couple of years off (life got busy). But decided that if I was going to stick with the concertina, I would just have to buckle down and learn music by ear. And I did. I wouldn't say I'm brilliant at it. But, I have finally gotten to the point where most of the time, it's a lot quicker and easier to learn by ear than look up the sheet music. I practice 3-8 hours a week depending on the week. But, sometimes I can only practice one instrument.

 

re: 10,000 hours for proficiency. I will have to win powerball first.

 

 

Lucy

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She is the only one of the 3 who immediately requests ITM in the car.

 

My husband is the real musician. Mind you, he is the same person who thinks that Prokoviev is fun car music.

Lucy

 

I hope I never have to make that choice.

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In order of proficiency:

 

Electric guitar: proficient, can play almost anything I'm thrown at. (I cannot play classical acoustic guitar at all.)

Electric bass: proficient, played technical thrash metal with my fingers where others struggle with a pick :)

Keyboards: can play them somewhat, had private lessons in piano when I was between 9-11 years old, then gave up for a long time until a year or two back. Seems I haven't forgotten everything. Definitely can't play jazz yet.

Piano accordion: I haven't really taken the time to learn any proper songs, but I jam along with just about anything. I've really spent much more time repairing accordions than playing them.

Voice: I've a rather big vocal range I guess, "natural" bass voice starting from C#2, going well into the higher soprano notes with falsetto / "whistle" voice. I can hit notes accurately but I don't sound good yet :)

Chromatic button accordion: I play it much less than the PA, because I only have a huge 81-button concert CBA (which really would deserve a better player) and it's too bothersome to take out since I rarely have the time to play more than 15-30 minutes at a time. (Three kids, need I say more...)

Anglo concertina: I've only dabbled with playing these things, but I'm kind of getting the hang of it... somewhat. Looking for an EC or maybe even a duet now. As with accordions, I've spent like 10 times more time repairing than playing them.

Ocarina: there isn't really much to learn on a 1 1/3 octave inline ocarina beyond being able to produce accurate notes, I maybe have to get a real sweet potato or double chamber ocarina some day. Wooden ocarinas sound absolutely marvelous, but are very limited in tonal range, and cannot be overblown to get higher notes like woodwinds which have reeds.

 

I nearly bought a clarinet as well, and would like to take up a proper woodwind beside just the ocarina some day.

 

I listen to and play almost every kind of music, but 70's progressive rock is the favorite that never phases out for me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I started dabble on guitar when I was 17-ish (but no girls arrived...) and had advanced to ragtime/Stefan Grossman stuff when I was around 22. I then got sucked into the 5-string banjo - clawhammer style.

Around 30 I started on the English and in 2006 on my new-design English.

 

Status now:

 

1) New-design English

2) Claw-hammer banjo - I just got sucked in again, and on my fretless too!!

3) Guitar is dead - don't have fingers for it anymore.

 

/Henrik

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I`m primarily a PA/Keyboard player but have always played guitar alongside and played brass in my dim and distant youth ..

I recently took to learning the melodeon with a B/C two row and have just swapped my tatty underused Mandolin for one of those red celuloid coated plywood chinese C/G Anglos much despised in this parish, after cleaning out all the sawdust and wood bits (which will end up fouling the reeds)and loosening the thin aluminium pallet lever pivots (button jam) it should work fine for a while - it`s no Jeffries but plays and sounds OK, as a total beginner at learning the concertina as a sideline to the other Squeezers it should do the trick :)

 

Don`t ask me HOW I`ve gained an Avatar of Anne Hathaway, I haven`t a clue but she`s a damn sight better to look at than I am ! ;-)

Edited by Adam-T
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In chronological order:

 

clarinet (grammar/middle school)

baritone horn (middle school)

valved trombone (high school)

real trombone (high school, college)

5-string banjo (sporadically from 1977 or so until 2003)

anglo concertina (fooling around since 2007)

 

I hated clarinet, they needed some brass in 8th grade so I volunteered to try the baritone

Traded for a valve trombone, great teachers convinced me to move to slide and I never looked back

I was actually pretty competent on the 'bone, played big band jazz and orchestral through college

Joined the navy, couldn't drag a trombone onto the submarine, went to music store and came out with a cheap banjo. You'd be amazed at how good you can get on an instrument when you practice for 3 hours out of every 18 for 10 weeks straight ;)

Left navy, banjo neglected for years

Got an itch to play concertina, no idea where it came from. Picked up a Stagi, found it almost impossible to play. Finally got my hands on a good 'tina last year and I'm playing quite a bit between injuries (right middle finger still recovering from a sprain in January)

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So what I wanna know is, how did you get away with 3 hours a day of BANJO practice on a submarine?:ph34r:

 

Not so different from a small ship, I would think. The zither banjo that accompanied Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica was considered so important that they kept it while getting rid of everything not absolutely indispensable. The concertina player, on the other hand, was put off in Buenos Aires before they ever got to Antarctica. (But Shackleton owned a concertina at some point, according to Neil Wayne.)

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So what I wanna know is, how did you get away with 3 hours a day of BANJO practice on a submarine?:ph34r:

 

Well, I was a member of the Gold crew of the USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642), which was a 640-class submarine of about 500 feet in length and 35 feet across the beam at midships. Right in the middle is the missile compartment, all of us budding musicians congregated in missile compartment lower-level fwd end where we didn't bother anyone. Closest sleepers were separated from us by a thick sheet of steel covered with rubber lagging, or a hundred or so feet of air with a dozen missile tubes and a deck .. basically they could not hear us.

 

Things might have been different on a fast-attack sub .. but I bet they had *someplace* where you could play even on those. Music prevents insanity when you're on a patrol ;)

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Singing throughout public school, college and with symphony choruses. Also in bars on Morris tours.

Clarinet, which in high school turned into Eb contrabass clarinet. Even played bari sax parts on it nad the trombone part in The Three Penny Opera.

D/A button accordion, anglo concertina, tin whistle.

Smatterings of piano, fiddle.

I do a pretty good Dylan imitation, which doesn't count as singing.

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On the basis that a picture says a thousand words, here's a photo of our instruments, before my wife & I played for a Wedding Drinks Reception, this afternoon. B)

 

2152064970102727105S500x500Q85.jpg

 

My wife plays the Harp & the others, are my weapons!

 

Cheers,

Dick

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On the basis that a picture says a thousand words, here's a photo of our instruments, before my wife & I played for a Wedding Drinks Reception, this afternoon. B)

 

2152064970102727105S500x500Q85.jpg

 

My wife plays the Harp & the others, are my weapons!

 

Cheers,

Dick

 

To those of us who love music there is probably nothing more visually attractive than all well-crafted musical instruments ?

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Jews Harp (a. k. a. Jaw Harp, a. k. a. Gewgaw, ...)

Guitar

Bass guitar

To`ere (Tahitian log drum - took Tahitian drumming classes for a couple years)

`Ukulele

Concertina

Melodeon

Bones

 

Also dabbled around on various 6-hole transverse flutes, and percussion things, and I do some singing.

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With Dick's nice photo as inspiration I started gathering them for a nice aesthetically pleasing shot...but the pile soon grew unsightly. I guess it doesn't look quite so bad as my pile of banjos actually. It doesn't feel so bad when they're not all piled together like this--and I do feel ridiculous contriving such....

 

Okay I got embarrased and instead posted the pic of the pile of banjos. Not that a view of my dirty knickers basket is inherently more aesthetic to the eye than my pile of nice woodwinds and boxes...I really just wanted to show a pic of my HD and new gurdy actually! :(

 

post-1867-0-53662900-1335057859_thumb.jpg

 

But sheesh it is weird to look around and be surrounded by instruments...banjos even...I think there are ten or so around here...and I can see my wife's complaints are valid...to have so much stuff piling up--more banjos in the dirty laundry than dungarees and socks..

 

I suppose there's a trad banjo joke in there somewhere :(

Edited by catty
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  • 2 months later...

As a wee P.S. to this thread, which I seemed to be instrumental in starting ;) here's another useful way I found, to make use of the playing of a variety of instruments.

 

My Wildlife Garden

 

For the tracks I used, as the soundtrack for this video, I play Anglo & English Concertina, Hammered Dulcimer, Tenor Banjo, Tenor Guitar & Mandolin, Fiddle, Jews Harp & Bodhran.

 

Cheers,

Dick

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Missed this thread by now. Hard to believe... :rolleyes:

 

It started with my Hohner harmonica - at the age of three, I seem to remember.

 

Next was the piano, at the age of six - "serious" lessons by a terrific musician and teacher. Changed career aspirations from Astronomy to Grand Piano Virtuoso...

 

For any number of reasons I didn't realise that. But over the years I learned to play cello (gave up soon), guitar, PA, recorder, pipe, reed and "transistor" organ, mandolin, melodeon (one-row, two-row C/G and B/F, three-row F/C/G), C/G 20b Anglo, and...

 

(after having returned a much cheaper Italian 30b Anglo, which had fortunately been faulty in several ways) EC (having found a lovely 48b Lachenal Excelsior on eBay), which means a real fulfilment for me in so many ways!

 

Currently, I am quite euphoric when achieving some "free" chording... :)

 

After all I'm still most experienced in playing the (grand or upright) piano, but having always loved the sound of any free reed instrument am really glad whith my EC (looking forward to getting a TT or even BT at one time or another).

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I play drum kit best of all. But I also play equal smatterings of guitar, bass guitar, and maybe a smaller smattering of piano/synth. We do a Christmas album every year and generally I played everything up until 2 years ago when I realized how many musician friends I have!

 

I also play a little whistle (not enough to play a session nearly), am pretty good at bodhrán, and now the anglo concertina (beginner).

 

Oh yeah, I can't forget tambourine, triangle, kazoo and shaker! and I sing backup in my band.

 

It's really cool to hear what everyone else does! I feel like the tendencies toward particular instruments varies a lot between people from different countries. I mean, are melodeons, concertinas, accordions and the like more common in England, for example? Or is it just that I haven't been on the inside of this till now?

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