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halimium

Can playing concertina improve guitar playing?

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Ok I've not really played my guitar as much lately since I got my concertina, I've been spending my time on that instead.

 

Tonight I picked up my guitar and my playing seems a whole lot better, my right hand (I'm a lefty) felt a lot more focused on the strings.

 

So can playing concertina really improve guitar playing? it felt like it!

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If it did for you, then yes, it can. :)

 

Something I've noticed with myself is that when I've been playing an instrument I'm not quite comfortable with (usually, a new concertina) and then switch back to one I *am* comfortable with (i.e., an old concertina), the one I'm comfortable with feels even easier to play than it did before. I wonder if there's a bit of that going on with you as well?

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Let me add another aspect:

 

I play instruments of different kind (such as piano, harmonium/reed "organ", -bisonoric- melodeon, recorder, guitar), and may have repeatedly experienced just what you described .

 

I strongly feel that the "resistance" of each instrument (action, required attack, push/pull alternation etc.) challenges the player in its own way, so that the overall approach can develop more "feeling", control, intentional delay etc.

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So can playing concertina really improve guitar playing?

 

I play English concertina. It hasn't improved my wife's guitar playing. :(

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I strongly feel that the "resistance" of each instrument (action, required attack, push/pull alternation etc.) challenges the player in its own way, so that the overall approach can develop more "feeling", control, intentional delay etc.

 

I wholeheartedly second that, based on my experience of alternating between Anglo, Crane Duet, 5-string banjo, mandolin, whistles and autoharp.

 

But it's not only the different "resistance" of each instrument that does the trick. Each instrument also has a differnt "propensity" - things that come naturally on it, but would not occur to you to do on another instument. These sometimes give you musical ideas that you can transfer to other instruments.

 

I think this effect is more pronounced if, like me, you play mostly extempore, rather than reading note by note. Each instrument gives you a different slant on the melody, the harmonies, the rhythm and the dynamics, and if you learn all the lessons that your different "mistresses" teach you, you become a more complete musician.

 

Of course, the analogy of your old shoes feeling more comfortable after you've been wearing new ones may hold true to a certain extent. In my case, however, all the instruments except the Crane are "old" ones that I've been playing for decades.

 

Cheers,

John

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I also believe that multi-instrument playing helps in countless ways...from helping with finger position and movement to opening up your mind to improv and understanding different styles of music.

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I also believe that multi-instrument playing helps in countless ways...from helping with finger position and movement to opening up your mind to improv and understanding different styles of music.

 

I agree, apprehensively as I'm not taking guitar any further than I perhaps ought to in terms of Classical. I'm yet discovering that the key to overcoming the likes of Roberton's arrangement of 'Mingulay Boat Song' on TT EC is to discover what the best hand orientation is for the chosen fingering and vice versa. I'm sure this is something in common with guitar.

 

It's not a score that's flooded with notes, but sometimes I find myself straining and missing the target because my hand orientation is wrongly either too open or closed at any given time - it has to be perfect. The same perfection I assume might also be key to overcoming some classical guitar exercises.

 

I must say I'm nervous about losing ambidexterity as guitar is so intensively different per hand in comparison to other stringed instruments, piano being otherwise more correlative. I'd however agree/contend that the left hand work on a guitar might be more closely associated with [at least] the English Concertina (EC) than piano fingering is.

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