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Favorite Instruments ? ? ?

Gene E 12 Dec 97 - 08:49 PM
Helen 13 Dec 97 - 05:08 PM
Steve from Wisconsin 13 Dec 97 - 11:13 PM
rastrelnikov 13 Dec 97 - 11:20 PM
Jack mostly folk 13 Dec 97 - 11:22 PM
Jen 13 Dec 97 - 11:38 PM
Jack mostly folk 13 Dec 97 - 11:41 PM
JMike 14 Dec 97 - 12:58 AM
Barry 14 Dec 97 - 02:02 PM
Country Bob 14 Dec 97 - 04:02 PM
Gene E 14 Dec 97 - 04:59 PM
Helen 14 Dec 97 - 06:17 PM
dulcimer 14 Dec 97 - 07:34 PM
judy 14 Dec 97 - 07:42 PM
Cliff Mcgann 14 Dec 97 - 08:31 PM
dwditty 14 Dec 97 - 09:21 PM
rosebrook 14 Dec 97 - 09:50 PM
rastrelnikov 15 Dec 97 - 01:01 AM
judy 15 Dec 97 - 01:43 AM
Johnny 15 Dec 97 - 09:04 AM
Bert 15 Dec 97 - 10:27 AM
Jon W. 15 Dec 97 - 10:36 AM
Old Timer 15 Dec 97 - 12:42 PM
Lidi 15 Dec 97 - 01:35 PM
judy 15 Dec 97 - 01:46 PM
Earl 15 Dec 97 - 04:35 PM
Jon W. 15 Dec 97 - 04:40 PM
Bill D 15 Dec 97 - 05:01 PM
Benjamin Bodhra/nai 15 Dec 97 - 05:42 PM
Petra A. Cosgrove 15 Dec 97 - 06:06 PM
Sir 15 Dec 97 - 07:00 PM
Bill D 15 Dec 97 - 07:31 PM
Jen 15 Dec 97 - 08:35 PM
chet w 15 Dec 97 - 08:45 PM
Gene E 15 Dec 97 - 11:33 PM
rastrelnikov 16 Dec 97 - 12:29 AM
Whippoorwill 16 Dec 97 - 10:52 AM
judy 16 Dec 97 - 12:03 PM
Nonie Rider 16 Dec 97 - 06:49 PM
Don from Ontario 16 Dec 97 - 10:04 PM
Bill D 16 Dec 97 - 11:05 PM
Jen 16 Dec 97 - 11:21 PM
Country Bob 17 Dec 97 - 01:32 PM
DrWord 17 Dec 97 - 03:43 PM
Gene E 17 Dec 97 - 08:27 PM
Bob Taylor 18 Dec 97 - 11:22 AM
Alice 18 Dec 97 - 04:44 PM
Helen 18 Dec 97 - 06:32 PM
Gene E 18 Dec 97 - 09:25 PM
Jen 18 Dec 97 - 09:57 PM
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Subject: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Gene E
Date: 12 Dec 97 - 08:49 PM

Howdy to all, I'm as much a fan of musical instruments as I am of music. I guess that's a good thing since they go together:} I thought it might be interesting to discuss favorite axes and / or the stuff of dreams.

I'll start, since I'm deep into the blues my first "bluEs" axe was a Hohner Blues Harp, key of A. I've still got it and only rarely play it. My all time favorite is my Dobro F60, wood body. It's such a great blues box I have to play it every day. I want a National Delphi for Christmas but I haven't saved enough beens to get it just yet.

What about your "I'll never sell it" favorite?

Gene E (formerly Elwooddelta) thenk goodness!


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 05:08 PM

Hi Gene

My current collection of instruments includes my Markwood Celtic lever harp, a flute, a couple of tin whistles, an electronic keyboard (very rarely use it), a bodhran, an aluminium Egyptian drum, a ceramic drum (similar to the Egyptian one, it might be Egyptian as well) an African thumb piano, and an old red plastic whistle called a Musette, with teethmarks in the mouthpiece.

Of all of these I could never sell the harp, of course, for all the obvious reasons, and because it is my current instrument, but the Musette is right up there at the top as well. That's because it is my first ever instrument that I learnt to play in a class band at primary (grade?) school - well not counting a tin xylophone which I played in the kindergarten class.

The teacher taught us how to read music, and then he got us playing in unison, and then we started some elementary harmonies and parts. I know that singing at school helped me get started with music, and later in high school I sang in the choir, but that plastic whistle which cost a couple of dollars has taken me further in my musical life than any other instrument I have.

I played the flute (self taught) for a few years, and now I'm pretty much teaching myself the harp, but the Musette gets the prize.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Steve from Wisconsin
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 11:13 PM

Hi All- I'm a guitarist and my Mossman has served me well for over twenty years. However, what I wanted to contribute here is also a bit of a puzzle. I am a great fan of Claudia Schmidt and on her early recordings and in her early concerts, she used an instrument caled a pianolin. I have not been able to find out much about this intrument, much less find one. It has a beautiful, haunting sound. Has anyone lese of heard of it? Know where I can find one?

Acoustically,

Steve


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: rastrelnikov
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 11:20 PM

I play guitar. I got into it, mainly as a crutch to assure myself that I was singing on key among the improvised harmonies I'd often encounter. Gradually, though, (seven and a half years now) I've come to appreciate that it can make me sound a lot better on most songs.

I'm more curious about what instruments people like to hear others playing. For example:

I once played with a harmonica player who had big harmonicas, each 7-8 inches, which he claimed cost $40 - $50 US each, and which he could play so mellowly that they didn't interfere with the singing, the way most harmonicas do if they are used continuously. Does anyone know why the harmonicas would be so expensive? Natural reeds instead of metal?

The same guy also had what looked like a barber's brush to play his bodhran. I was so used to cringing when someone picked up a bodhran, but this guy could not only play well, he could play softer than the guitars if he wanted to.

The most interesting instrument I've seen was a bowed saw. It's IMPOSSIBLE to sing with, but incredible to sit back and listen to for one or two songs.

My favourite instrument to see in a crowd is a mandolin. A player with a light, thoughtful touch can add a bright sound to most folk songs.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jack mostly folk
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 11:22 PM


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jen
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 11:38 PM

My current collection consists of

3 harps a bowl-backed mandolin a full zither a baby zither 2 violins an autoharp Lots of Ocarinas various fifes, whistles, and flutes a uke-lin (a cross between a ukelele and a violin) and an interesting sort of mouth organ(?) I just bought, it looks like double panpipes with a mouthpiece in the middle. Sounds real neat.

My favorite right now would have to be the panpipe/organ instrument (to play)

for looks, my absolutely beautiful Mandolin, Cerise.

Of course the harps are pretty too, but I think Cerise is prettiest.

Jennifer


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jack mostly folk
Date: 13 Dec 97 - 11:41 PM

Hello Gene and Mudcatters NEVER say NEVER.I have owned four different Martin guitars that I said I would NEVER let go. They're gone and my weapon of choice is a hand built guitar that I will NE--- let go. I have some banjos that I'm partial to but really have no sentimental value.They have little resale value, those I'll probably keep forever. My Wildwood Autoharp is a keeper and the fiddle will always be there to look back at me daring me to play it and make a fool out of myself. My wife and I have finally come to an agreement. I have less instruments now than ever.I'm down to less than half of what I once had.I no longer collect instruments, I now collect songs. Much more affordable and life with the wife must go on.I still have more gear than I can ever use. So can NEVER say NEVER. Favorite Instruments.... great topic, thanks Gene and Mudcatters.............Jack mostly folk..... My first message dissappeared into cyberspace ....


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: JMike
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 12:58 AM

My favorite is a Daion guitar. I have taken it in to shops with the idea of trading up, but I have never been able to part with it. At least three pros have picked it up and commented on how beautifully it plays. For those who have never heard of the brand, Daion was a mid-range label that only lasted for a couple of years. The instruments were considered good but not great. However just like "Casablanca" started out to be a "B" movie starring Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan, but accidentally became a classic, well I got lucky...

I also have a nylon string Giannini with sentimental associations and an old label-less banjo, both of which have great sounds for inexpensive instruments (pawn shop refugees, the both of them). There has always seemed to be something a little off about folk singers playing expensive guitars. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Martins, Gibsons, Taylors, etc. or saying they aren't worth the money, it's just that singing, say, a Joe Hill tune while playing a $3,000 vintage Gibson...

Great thread, I appreciate the chance to brag on three of my loves


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Barry
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 02:02 PM

I've been at the bodhran over 15 yrs & about 2 yrs back bought another Grady drum 20" with a slide bar on the brace & tunable, I passed the old drum onto the kids (in part, I couldn't bare to see it leave the house), for some of the songs I sing it's all I want for accompanyment (yes, I sing a good bit with just the drum). But my fav is the voice, it's portable, parts don't fail (maybe with age,,alittle), it's good for any condition or occasion....play, work, birth, death, marriage, school, party & alone, it accompanys almost any thing or instrument, it's great in the fog, rain, outdoors or inside, I'd say it has to be one of the oldest instruments going (great plug for traditionalists), & in the mouth of a master or a skilled or a semi pro or an amateur or even a beginner, the sound can be breath taking. Best, it doesn't cost & it's available to all. Barry


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Country Bob
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 04:02 PM

My favorite instrument? It's still my Martin, Fred. My old roommate Mike had a 1962 D-28 that I tried for 20 years to buy from him, but he was too smart to sell it. So I ordered one like it about six or seven years ago, a D-28 Custom 15 (with the old style V-neck, diamonds and squares, herringbone and scalloped braces) and then had Don Teeter put a compensated bridge on it. Recently Mike & I got together again, and he liked mine better than his; I thought about trading, but decided I liked Fred better after all. Mike sings tenor, and does most of his playing on the top four strings above the fifth fret: his old Martin has the hottest treble I've ever played so it matches his vocal range. I'm more of a bass singer, love hammering on the bottom strings and listening to them ring out; Fred has a bottom end that won't quit, so I guess that's what I like. Good wine, friends and guitars improve with age so I guess while I like playing other people's instruments, I'll keep Fred.

Country Bob


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Gene E
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 04:59 PM

Man that's a wide range of instruments out there, Great! I think I''m behind, gotta go shopping!


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 06:17 PM

Hi again

Country Bob was talking about guitars improving with age. I read/heard/heard-in-cyberspace recently (I think it was on the harp mailing list) that wooden instruments sound better when they are being played often and they need some time to get back into thatr condition if they have been left unplayed. An interesting theory caught my attention and that is that the structure of the wood can be compared to animal muscle and without "exercise" it becomes stiff and unresponsive but the vibrations from constant playing "tone up" these "muscles" and improve the instrument's sound quality.

What do you think? I like the idea of it, but is it plausible?

Helen


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: dulcimer
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 07:34 PM

Obviously, I play a dulcimer, mountain or appalachian or lap, however, you want to call it. But lately, I've dappled into tin whistles, and medieval bagpipes. As of late I've gotten in the spoons and the saw. Yes, bowing a saw purchased straight off the hardware shelf. It is pretty effect on most tunes except fast fiddle tunes.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: judy
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 07:42 PM

You asked so here goes:

Besides collecting songs, I also collect instruments. I usually buy them at thrift shops and swap meets. I used to buy many of them at The Akron and Cost Plus. The majority of them are displayed on the wall of my living room, under the endtables and on top of the wall unit. There are others hidden away as well. Seeing my love of instruments people have urged me to adopt theirs, extracted from attics and closets: a bouzouki (which died in one of the earthquakes), a melodica (small keyboard-type which you blow into), a banjo-lin (so I now have two), and a piano (sister-in-law's response to my son taking lessons on a keyboard) I traded a borhan (sp?) for a button accordion and gave away a pump organ.

Ordinary instruments: a hammer dulcimer, 3 button accordions, a regular accordion, an electric piano, a mandolin, a Yamaha guitar (bought in the 60's for $15), a child's guitar, a regular ocarina, 7-8 animal shaped ocarinas, a ceramic water bird whiste (and innumerable plastic ones), small xylophones (wooden and metal), a soprano and alto recorder, 5-6 pans pipes, castanets, maracas, clackers, 2 graggers, wooden and metal spoons, a bowed psaltry, 2 small zithers, a bagpipe chanter, a slide whistle, an autoharp, 2 xylodrums, a Native American drum, a concertina, an organetta and lots of children's instruments.

Unusual instruments: a yang chin (chinese hammered dulcimer), a mandolin guitarophone (I call it an auto-hammered dulcimer), a violin-uke (I've heard it called a ukelin), 5 or 6 ang-klungs in various keys, a South East Asian mouth organ which sounds like a bunch of car horns, two thumb pianos made of gourds, a chistu (Spanish flute), a Shaku Hachi (Japanese flute), a Yugoslavian bowed thing(?), a Yugoslavian double flute, and a drum with a stick in the middle of it that you pull with a wet cloth.

I usually answer that I can make noise on all of them and music on most. Like Barry my favorite one has always been voice. Never needs practice, can go anywhere, always available. But before children, when I had more time, I liked the button accordion, the hammer dulcimer and the bowed psaltery. My best played instrument is the recorder. I used to sit for hours on end playing through each song in library songbooks. Then I'd copy the ones I liked into my notebook(until xerox came along). I once kept a job I didn't like very much because they allowed me to use their xerox machine (on my own time and I bought the paper and a toner cartridge)

judy


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Cliff Mcgann
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 08:31 PM

This is a fun one. I have a thing for instrument makers. I am hoping to publish a book someday on musical instrument makers although I had to stop researching because I was running out of money. It seem that every maker I worked with I end up with one of their instruments. There is something special about an instruments history. My guitar was made by Otis Tomas a luthier in Cape Breton (he also composes some nice tunes) and it is hands down the best guitar I have ever played. While living in Newfoundland I met a Uillean Pipe maker by the name of Neil O'Grady who I did some research on and ended up with a practice set of pipes. While living in British Columbia I met a Bouzouki maker by the name of Neil Russell and keeping in tradition I left there with one of his bouzouki's. All my instruments were individually crafted at a price far less that you would pay for even an inferior guitar from a more "prestigious" maker. I also own an old german fiddle which I had restored and a bunch of various whistles including my favorite Low D Howard. It is all relative I have a friend who has one of the nicest sounding sets of Scottish Smallpipes which he made himself out of various sizes of plumbing pipe. Its amazing.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: dwditty
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 09:21 PM

Ah, if only I hadn't traded away instruments over the years. I have owned a 1917 Gibson L1, a 1970's Dobro 36, a Martin HD28, a Gibson J-45, a 1927 Martin O-18K. All great instruments. I have a theory that instruments generally wind up where they are supposed to be in order to play the music they want to play. Also, I think it's a transitional thing, and as either their preferences or those of their player's change, they simply find a way to move on. While I have fond memories of all the above, I don't regret their(?) decision to seek other hands. I now play a 1970 Guild F50R that was formerly Jonathan Edwards' stage guitar. I am pleased that it has selected me as it's current owner.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: rosebrook
Date: 14 Dec 97 - 09:50 PM

This has been such a fun thread to read! I definately want to go play at Judy's!!

dwditty, I appreciate your sentiments about instruments finding their way to where need to be. I have to accept that theory for all the sheet music, tapes, records, etc. that have (sob, sniffle...) passed through my hands, as well. How exciting to hear someone mention Jonathan Edwards' name (aside from in reference to the song Sunshine)!

As for me, I mainly enjoy the company of my silver flute and family of recorders (from sopranino to tenor) in the context of playing celtic music and sea shanties.

Rosebrook


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: rastrelnikov
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 01:01 AM

Further to Helen's comments on toning up instruments.

If you don't play your accoustic guitar (or many other instruments, I imagine) for a month, it will sound kind of dead. One trick I've heard: place your guitar in front of a speaker and play recorded accoustic guitar music. This should help to vibrate the wood and keep it ready for the next time YOU get a chance to play.

Yes, guitars get heaps better, especially in the first two years of playing. They also stabilize a bit. Watch to see how your guitar changes shape over it's first winter before getting it set up with a really low action.

Guitars, like harps, don't tend to age gracefully. There's 125 pounds total of tension at standard tuning on a light guage six string. 185 pounds for medium strings. Easy to handle, except that guitar makers MUST trade off strength for good sound characteristics. Most steel string guitars that I've seen which have been continuously played for over 25 years are starting to sound second rate. Then again, I don't know anyone who baby's their guitar the way a luthier would recommend.

My Yamaha? It's one of the best light string guitars I've heard, bright and loud when I want loud. Though I often whistfully yearn for a nice medium string guitar, I smile every time my Yammy falls over knowing I'd be having a fit if it were a $10,000 Laskin.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: judy
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 01:43 AM

Rosebrook: Come over any time and bring your flutes with you, (that's one instrument I DON'T have) and your recorders.

You all come over. Boy! what a jam. Sounds good already

judy


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Johnny
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 09:04 AM

Very nice subject today!!

As an old metal head I have went throug a number of electric guitars, witch there were a couple that I swore would never leave my possession. But a sudden change in musicstyle ( from death metal to Irish folkmusic ) made my Jackson King V seem a bit missplaced. Sold it and bought a Takamine NP- 15 instead, And now I have the gratest steel string guitar ever. I also have to add a bunch of tin whistles and a mandoline to my stable. Sad to say , but hard touring starting to take it's toll on the Takamine, hopefully it will last a few more years still.

I totally agree with Judy! what a jam !! Slainte J.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Bert
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 10:27 AM

Country Bob,
I'm glad I'm not the only one with a guitar named Fred. It's a Yamaha Folk Guitar that I bought in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia in 1979. It has taken a lot of abuse but still sounds good. I would leave it out on the sofa and all the kids down the street would take turns at it.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jon W.
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 10:36 AM

What a fun thread. I'm a cheapskate by nature and by necessity so I may have the cheapest instruments so far. First I started out with a $70 brand new electric bass guitar, in the early '70's when I was in high school. I still have it but can't get to it. I went through a couple of other basses and wish I still had my second one. My main instrument is a Washburn D-12 six string, I got in 1983 for $165. I haven't had it appraised but like to think it's worth more now. I play mostly accoustic blues on it. My wife bought me a Generation "D" tin whistle when I got into Irish music, $6.50 and I love it. I've got a couple other whistles too. The latest is another Generation but in C. Amazing the difference in sound. Along the way I built a resonator mandolin as an experiment and also a plywood mountain dulcimer which theoretically belongs to my eight-year-old daughter. It's not great - took me three or four days to build just before Christmas two years ago - but it's playable. I got a $100 banjo at a pawn shop a while back, and would like to build a couple more banjos. The first one is inadequate for even my rudimentary skills. I've owned four Jew's harps, two currently which are recent additions. My latest pride and joy is a Russian Balalaika I got at a local thrift shop for $41.50. It was up on bid. Anyone know how to play one? And speaking of how to play thrift store instruments, I saw a Vio-Uke up on bid a couple of years ago but didn't win the highest bid on it - it looked sort of like a bowed psaltery but with a bunch of extra strings and maybe a fretboard(?). Judy and Jen, is this what you have and how are they played?

Oh yeah, I've got my dad's guitar - an old arch top Kay. It's not playable - warped neck, cracked face, several bad repairs, tuners shot - but a lot of sentimental value. And another guitar - a small plywood faced Stella that needs a new bridge. I want to use it for camping if I ever get around to fixing it.

I've got in mind to build a two-string canjolin for my extended family's annual gag gift exchange on New Year's day. That's a banjo-mandolin with a tin can resonator. I've got the hardwood, the two tuners (left over from the dulcimer), some fret wire, and a nice tin can. I've also got three rooms, a hall and some stairwells to paint and two hardwood floors to install in my house. Oh well.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Old Timer
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 12:42 PM

Great Thread!

I was an aspiring guitar player, starting in the '50s with a old Harmony nylon-string model. I later decided I wanted the steel-string sound, so I swapped for an import (can't remember the name). During the mid '70s I was given a Yamaha FG-170, which was a great step up! I still have it and would never (apologies to Jack) part with it. I had also been noodling around for several years on one of the old Harmony banjos, the one with a plastic pot. Suddenly, the banjo just jumped up and bit me in the butt! It bit me hard and I have submitted to it's madness. I presently have a collection of banjos, but my favorite is a Gibson Mastertone. I have found that the only antidote to banjo madness is to play as much as possible every day! I still enjoy playing guitar too, and the Yamaha keeps sounding better with age.

Regarding Helen (and rastrelnikov) thoughts about instruments sounding better if used frequently: I have heard that there are musicians who play the old Strats and other museum-bound instruments on a regular basis, to keep them vibrating properly.... Anyone have more info on this?

OT


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Lidi
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 01:35 PM

Fun stuff to read on this thread...I play the guitar myself, and I have a small collection of 3 guitars. In addition to that, I inherited a banjo from my grandfather, who actually made it himself. I also have a mandolin, but unfortunately I can´t play neither the banjo nor the mandolin, so that will be my next project....

sláinte

Lidi


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: judy
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 01:46 PM

Jon, As a thrift shopper, garage sailor and swap meeter you KNOW I know the word cheapskate. I've mostly have never paid more than $35 for any of my instruments. The exceptions are $100 for Weiss (Helikon Harmonika) button accordion. And $400 to buy my hammer dulcimer which I earned by selling plastic bird whistles for 75 cents (I bought them for a nickle a piece).

The inside of my Violin-uke (which I bought at a swap meet for $35) says: VIOLIN-UKE patent applied for guaranteed 5 years $35 Marxochime Colony New Troy, Michigan

You can play melody and chords at the same time (and sing if you are very coordinated). To play a violin-uke you bow up one side and down the other like a bowed psaltery and you strum the middle strings which are arranged in chords. The chords from right to left are GBDG, F#DCD, GECC, and GECA#. Notes going up the right side are A,C,E,G,B,D,F,A and on the left are G,B,D,F,A,C,E,G. So you can see that to play a scale you'd alternate bowing one side with the other.

On a bowed psaltry the natural notes are all on the right side and the sharps and flats are all on the left. You can play a scale mostly by staying on the right side and not have to jump over to the left side too often. Perhaps this was the cause of the violin-uke's lack of popularity and longevity. Of course one could just retune the strings, but there aren't very many compared to a bowed psaltry because of the chord strings going up the middle.

I'm sure this is more than you ever wanted to know about a violin-uke. It would be a lot shorter if I could show it to you. But then again maybe it wouldn't because I DO like to talk about folky stuff.

judy


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Earl
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 04:35 PM

My main instruments are a Gibson L1 guitar (a recent reissue of the guitar Robert Johnson played), a steel Dobro, a Flatiron mandolin, and a Flatiron octave mandolin. I also have two Mandolin-banjos (aka banjolin), two autoharps, an old 5-string banjo, and a dulcimer. I've gotten some great bargains over the years: a $25 autoharp, a great Italian button accordion for $35, and my father got an old Rickenbacher lap steel at an auction for $25. We later sold for quite a bit more.

My wife has an upright bass and a Dobro acoustic bass guitar. She also plays washtub bass and jug. She favors a glass jug that comes free with a half-gallon of our local microbrewed beer.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jon W.
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 04:40 PM

Thanks for the description, Judy. That sounds like what I saw. I think I bid around $30 for it but as I said I didn't make the high bid. It's probably just as well, I'm not really good enough at any instrument to start learning another one - but I like to try anyway.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 05:01 PM

I dread starting typing this....*sigh*
but...
6 recorders..(even the biggest, temporarily)
8 tinwhistles
a 'melody flute'(tinwhistle with welded on mouthpiece played sideway like a flute)
5 ocarinas
a thumb piano
3 kazoos
one nose flute..*grin*
4 working autoharps (my major instrument)...including an original Zimmerman with the 'shifters'..(model 2 1/2)
1 mountain dulcimer..(made by Keith Young)
1 ukelin (working!)
1 melodian(Italian..works pretty good, but I am a beginner!
a broken Marxophone (you bang little hammers onto a zither-like body)
a couple of harmonicas which I never DID really try to play)

my wife has

2 guitars...a 'nice' Martin-- and a Gurian..(for sale)
a nice working zither which she is getting pretty good on....
a 'McArthur harp'..(a small folk-harp..)plays it pretty well, too..

I did not say a lot about most of them...I would be here all night...(and, no...I don't do justice to that many instruments...but they were crying and lonesome and I had to give them a home...)

I will answer questions about the weirder ones mentioned if anyone is really curious....


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Benjamin Bodhra/nai
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 05:42 PM

Strangely enough my bodhra/n is still my favourite instrument, as I like singing with just the rhythym, and also accompanying friends on flute and fiddle.

However, I recently stumbled over an old mandolin, flatback, Italian, and couldn't resist it for the price. So at the moment it tends to take up most of the practice time I allow myself. It has a much lighter sound than most mandolins I have heard and also is very light in construction. I also tend not to get rid of any of the first instruments that I buy, but then people say I'm a hoarder. I don't call having to rent a house to yourself at 27 just to fit everything in hoarding!!!

Sla/n a chairde

Benjamin


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Petra A. Cosgrove
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 06:06 PM

::Laughs:: My Gods!!! I thought that between my love and I we covered a large number of instruments.. (or rather.. he covers.. I agree with Barry about the voice being my favorite, with my violin coming in a very close second..) But reading these lists was impressive!!! I thought I knew musical instruments!!!

When that jam occurs- somebody let me know hmmm?? I'd love to come hear this one!!!! (as would Til!)

Pei


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Sir
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 07:00 PM

Hey, no one's mentioned a tuba! I have 2 (an EFlat and a BBFlat 4 valve), two trombones (a Conn and a Bach Stradivarius), a BoseyHawkes flugelhorn, an old Bflat trumpet with an a trigger, a civil war era trumpet, a chrome cornet that is old but I'm not sure how old, a fife reputed to be from the civil war era, a Yamaha 12 String, recorders from sopranino to tenor, a Hammer Dulcimer and a celtic harp (I made both made from kits), a violin, 2 clarinets, a McSpadden mountain dulcimer, a piano, an autoharp, a kalimba, and a steel drum. As with favorite types of music I'm not sure which instrument is my favorite. Probably the one I'm workin' on at the time.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 07:31 PM

Sir..I guess not too many of us are into 'folk tuba' *grin*...maybe if Pete Seeger played 'Jesu , Joy of Mans Desiring' on one, like he did on banjo..(the famous 'Goofing Off Suite')....anyway, I think it's neat to see that range of instruments represented...

(hmmm...we could all tune up & practice and do a 'different' half-time show at the Super Bowl...)**!!!**


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jen
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 08:35 PM

Bill D, you have the same kind of idea I have. I see all these instruments at auctions, fleamarkets, and such, and know that I can at least give them a good home.

It really surprises me how many ukelins there are out there; I just bought mine (and Judy, mine was made by the Marxochime Co, and has the price of 28.50 inside) It came with a cute little bow and a half-gone songbook.

Forgot a few instruments when I posted before:

1 trumpet

and yes, I have a nose flute too!

and my favorite kazoo, which I've had since I was 7.

Jen


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: chet w
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 08:45 PM

Favorite instrument? Can there be only one? I like small old guitars, mostly Gibson, because they're better balanced than the larger (dreadnought) models, and are therefore, among other qualities, much easier to amplify and to record. My 1933 Gibson L-OO is, to my mind, the best-sounding guitar I've ever heard---good for any style of music that I've tried on it, which covers a lot of ground. Every note plays at the same volume (with good strings). To Steve from Wisconsin, good luck finding a pianolin. The most information I've ever seem about them is in the liner notes to the Washington Philips album on Yazoo Records. He was a preacher who recorded religious songs of his own composition, many of them gems, in the 20's and 30's. About the relative merits of old instruments, I can tell you this about the wood. As wood resin dries, which takes about fifty years give or take, to complete, you are left with thousands of hollow tubes (wood cells), each of which will resonate like an organ pipe. Regarding whether the instrument is played a lot or not, if that does make a difference (I believe it does), it probably has to do with the joints vibrating solidly into place on a well-made instrument, as well as the maturation of the wood and the finish (and the relationships therein), which is why you should never never refinish a fine instrument unless there is no way around it. Interesting subject. Of course there is no "best guitar" or any other instrument. It's good if you like the way it sounds, regardless of value. If you're trying to emulate the sound of some of the old blues and country players, though, it probably doesn't make sense to try to do it on an expensive instrument, since they generally didn't have them. Looking forward to more messages.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Gene E
Date: 15 Dec 97 - 11:33 PM

Wow the money or the lack of money invested in instruments in this thread is mind boggeling. I Started out with a few favorites but my inventory is: 27 Hohner Harminicas 1 Shure green bullit mic 4 Recorders I Ibenez steel string 1 Dobro F60 (Favorite, take to grave guitar) 1 Epiphone Les Paul 1 65 watt Crate amp.

As of Saturday I will finally take delivery of a new Dobro Model 90H Duolian, metal body. This thing is a true bottleneck guitar with a National resonator, flat fretboard, 14 fret neck, chrome plated bell brass body with Hawaiian etched motif on the back. It's the coolest thing I ever saved up to buy. I know it'll be a new favorite 'cause I've played it every month for the last 2 1/2 years in the guitar shop while it waited for me to get up enough beens to get it. I've nearly made it!!

BTW I have to trade in the Epiphone and the Crate amp to have enough to get the Duolian. I have the bluEs disease.

I'm in that Deep Delta Mood, gotta go play!!!


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: rastrelnikov
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 12:29 AM

Very interesting stuff from chet w regarding the maturation of wood. However, regardless of any permanent change caused by playing the instrument, there is also a temporary change. For example, I think I remember the case of a Stradivarius violin that was kidnapped and held for ransom a few years ago. I believe it went unplayed for about five months and when the violin was recovered, the owner commented that it would be a while (a month?) before the violin recovered it's normal tonal quality.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Whippoorwill
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 10:52 AM

Whew! I was proud of my little collection, but after seeing these lists, I'm getting the urge to go looking again. My wife and I have , let's see,
Three pianos (one new baby grand - hers.)
an electric piano (NOT a synthesizer)
an organ
two string basses
an autoharp
a fiddle
a mountain dulcimer
a mandolin
a tenor banjo
three guitars - a six-string, a four-string tenor, and perhaps the only eight-string tenor in captivity (I've never seen or heard of another one)
three harmonicas
a soprano recorder
a penny whistle
a plastic flute-o-phone - like Helen's musette, my beginning instrument.
a trumpet
a button concertina
four or five kazoos
a tambourine
and yes, me too, a nose flute.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: judy
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 12:03 PM

What a hoot! we could start a museum: a usable one

judy


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Nonie Rider
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 06:49 PM

"an aluminium Egyptian drum, a ceramic drum (similar to the Egyptian one, it might be Egyptian as well)"

If those are the vaguely hourglass-shaped ones, I believe they're called doumbeks (or various spellings thereof).


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Don from Ontario
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 10:04 PM

What a great thread! amazing how "we" collect instruments. got two electric guitars...fender amp acoustic Yamaha "L" (love of my life) 6 string "guitar" banjo" 5 string banjo violin--taking lessons...on this one 6 harmonicas - play along with guitar. "presently eyeing a Mandolin" I thought I was alone with my fetish.... feel better already....think I'll get that Mandolin...


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 11:05 PM

regarding the pianolin

....Andy Cohen, a fine guitarist and player of many genres of music from blues to gospel, has, and plays a pianolin like the one on the Washington Phillips album....I was fortunate enough to watch him close up...and after the concert, my wife played it too. It is a funny, tiny little thing..about the size of a small hammered dulcimer, but with a small piano keyboard.. It must be terribly hard to build one and maintain one...lots of little moving parts...so, if you ever get a chance to hear Andy Cohen...perhaps he will bring it...


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jen
Date: 16 Dec 97 - 11:21 PM

That's the eventual idea, Judy!

Jen


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Country Bob
Date: 17 Dec 97 - 01:32 PM

Helen's question (and rastrelnikov's comments) about how instruments change with age is a fountainhead of folk wisdom and endless debate. Twenty five years ago, a friend of mine was importing Goya guitars from Sweden, and he found out setting up a big Kustom electric guitar amp in the storeroom and blasting it 24 hours a day for several weeks definitely helped the tone. When Fred (my Martin) was just a few months old, he sounded OK, but that fall I took him to his first Winfield festival. After three days of trying to play over banjos, hammered dulcimers, (as many as 8 at once) and the kind of volume large groups of string pickers make, I couldn't believe the difference when I got home. I went through three sets of medium strings that weekend, (none broken but by morning the sound was just dead on them) and used a heavy flat pick. Barefinger picking Fred at home, the volume increase was surprising. When I sent my 1935 Dobro to Don Teeter for a fretboard sanding and new frets, he didn't think much of it - I had slacked the strings off for shipping. He strung it up to pitch and left it lay for a week, and when he started work on it, he called me and said it was the loudest damn Dobro he'd ever played. So I guess it was getting the wood and metal stretched into tension. For the same reason, he wouldn't compensate Fred's bridge until he had weathered a couple of years, because he said guitars actually shrink a little the first few years, throwing the intonation off. When guitars are built lightly enough to sound good, you can feel the vibrations in your left hand and through your chest - really good ones almost give me an upset stomach.

Country Bob


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: DrWord
Date: 17 Dec 97 - 03:43 PM

At our house you'll find a piano, a sitar, a pigsnout psaltery, a ten-string bowlback mandolin, 2|4 and 3|4 fiddles, and my 1997 Perry guitar. I'd bring the mando and the guitar to the jam. I'll have a hard time keeping drool off the toy Santa has brought for my son--a Korg "Pandora's Box" --which I would *highly reommend* to anyone looking for an effects processor. Merry Christmas to all you mudders C ya @ the jam Dennis


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Gene E
Date: 17 Dec 97 - 08:27 PM

Three days and counting until I bring home my new Doulian! @#$%$@$$^%&%^&**( :}:}:}:}


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Bob Taylor
Date: 18 Dec 97 - 11:22 AM

How come nobody admits to having an accordion? I took lessons years ago (that's another thread possiblity - music teachers). I still play an occasional Christmas song on the old squeeze box. I know some of you out there have one, you're just afraid to come out of the closet.

I have to admit that the guitar is the love of my musical life at the moment, with keyboards a close second.

Happy Holidays!!


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Alice
Date: 18 Dec 97 - 04:44 PM

I'm with Barry, judy, and Petra, my voice is my favorite. The only instrument I know that most people play in the shower. ooops... that came out a little double entendre, sorry, didn't entendre to. Well, my first instrument was the one on which I had the most years of lessons. When I was about two or three, my parents bought a used Gulbranson player piano that had old cracked rubber tubing in it so that the "player" action never worked. That was OK, because the piano itself was in great shape, and when I was older, I also figured out that I could reach inside with a rubber band and pull down a device that created a "honky tonk" sound. I still have that piano. Next comes a Yamaha classical guitar that I got in about 1968. I also have accumulated tin whistle, harmonica, Peruvian whistle and pan pipes, a black plastic whistle stamped with the words "song flute" (free), jews harp, kazoos, ukulele (fifty cents), autoharp, Italian concertina (free), my grandfather's fiddle, a bodhran (made my own tipper with bucksin on the ends, but prefer to play softly with thumb and pinkie), a small Yamaha keyboard that I found for $7.50 at the Salvation Army (just needed batteries), bongos (free) and most recently, a used 3/4 size China-made fiddle that my son plays in 5th grade orchestra. I am saving to buy a harmonium. I have my eye on a web site of instruments made in India that will give a 50% discount if you link to their page from your page.... now I just need to get the time to finish designing my web page... gee, if I only spent less time on the Mudcat forum...

I know a whistle/bodhran/bones player here who made a beautiful set of bones from elk ribs. He also made his bodhran, dying the head with onion skins, which created a really interesting mottled/tie dyed brown pattern. My next home-made project may be making bones. That clicking staccato sound really adds interesting spice in the appropriate places. When is the Mudcat jam? Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Helen
Date: 18 Dec 97 - 06:32 PM

Nonie, You're right, they are dumbeks. I was having a mental block and couldn't think of the name at the time.

Helen

"an aluminium Egyptian drum, a ceramic drum (similar to the Egyptian one, it might be Egyptian as well)"

If those are the vaguely hourglass-shaped ones, I believe they're called doumbeks (or various spellings thereof).


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Gene E
Date: 18 Dec 97 - 09:25 PM

Two days until I bring my Duolian home. I'll be bottleneckin' non-stop!


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Subject: RE: Favorite Instruments ? ? ?
From: Jen
Date: 18 Dec 97 - 09:57 PM

OOPS! I knew I forgot one. My accordion, DRAT. Thanks for reminding me, its been bugging me. And while I'm thinking of it, I have a wooden xylophone type instrument too. Somewhere in the archaeology dig that is my room.

Jen


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