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Which is easer to learn from scratch ?

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Cas 28 Apr 03 - 02:25 PM
catspaw49 28 Apr 03 - 02:28 PM
Ebbie 28 Apr 03 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Jon 28 Apr 03 - 02:43 PM
Ebbie 28 Apr 03 - 02:48 PM
Amos 28 Apr 03 - 02:49 PM
katlaughing 28 Apr 03 - 03:08 PM
TIA 28 Apr 03 - 03:15 PM
CarolC 28 Apr 03 - 03:54 PM
vectis 28 Apr 03 - 07:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Apr 03 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Jon 28 Apr 03 - 08:05 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Apr 03 - 09:42 PM
mg 28 Apr 03 - 10:48 PM
Walking Eagle 28 Apr 03 - 11:05 PM
GUEST 28 May 03 - 06:56 PM
Ernest 29 May 03 - 04:32 AM
Liz the Squeak 29 May 03 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Russ 29 May 03 - 09:44 AM
smokeyjoe 29 May 03 - 10:20 AM
Peter T. 29 May 03 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,amergin 29 May 03 - 03:48 PM
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Subject: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Cas
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:25 PM

hi,
I want to know what in your opinion is the easer to learn from scratch . fiddle, banjo or accordian?
pros and cons... ie tuning ease of creatng recognisable tune..social acceptance?


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:28 PM

Wow...you're gonna' have a really big bonfire ain'tcha??? Throw in a dobro and a bodhran and nobody will come to your house for years!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:37 PM

Adding a hammered dulcimer too wouldn't hurt, eh, Spaw? :)

Of those you mentioned, Cas, I think the tenor banjo would be the easiest by far. Tuning four strings, not too difficult finger positioning and you can strum rather than finger pick as you would on the 5-string.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:43 PM

The accordian has the big advantages that no tuning is needed and that if you squeeze and play a note, you are guaranteed to get a clean sound. At the other extreme, it could take you ages to stop a fiddle sounding like a strangled cat.

At the end of the day, I don't think there is such thing as an easy instrument, at least not if you aim to play well and get the most out of your instrument (not that I can). Some people perhaps have more aptitude to one type of instrument than another and some people may have more natural ability than others but the best players still put in a lot of hard work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:48 PM

Reminds me, Jon, of when Chet Atkins, the guitar player, stayed a few days at a motel I once operated. When I'd go by his room, I'd hear him inside practicing... Blew me away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Amos
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:49 PM

IF you have any prior skill on guitar, probably banjo. If you have any prior skill on piano, probably accordion. If you have no prior experience with either, either the banjo or the accordion depending on what you want to sound like and where you want to play. The banjo is the simplest of the three.

Playing any of them well is still gonna be an interesting avocation for years.

As for learning from scratching, that's Spaw's department.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 03:08 PM

I agree with Jon in that it still will take lots of practice and any stringed instrument will be harder to get in tune and play in tune than other types. I disagree with Jon about his own ability. The man can PLAY, superbly, anything he puts his hand to!


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: TIA
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 03:15 PM

easiest to play - banjo
easiest to play recognizable tune - accordian
most socially acceptable - fiddle (especially if you call it a violin)

When you first start, you will be most annoying on fiddle (stage my middle daughter is in), but long term, banjo maintains conservation of misery (stage I've been at for 20 years).

My advice is to ask those with, or near, whom you live or simply enjoy whichever, and duck the shoes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 03:54 PM

I think "easiest" may also be determined by what you're most suited to. I tried playing the guitar and violin when I was younger, and I took piano lessons. I never really got proficient enough on any of those instruments to be able to enjoy playing them. When I started playing the accordion, I started enjoying it almost immediately. In my case, the accordion turned out to be "my instrument" (although I'll never try to tell you that it's "easy").

Maybe you ought to try each of the instruments you've mentioned, and see if one of them feels "right" to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: vectis
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:04 PM

Carol is correct. Beg or borrow all three from other players and try them. One will feel 'right'. That's the one to concentrate on. It took me 30 years struggling with various melody instruments before I discovered the accordion. No instrument is easy. If you can sing and want easy try a kazoo.
Good luck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 07:12 PM

I notice noone says fiddle is the eay one. Perhaps there are some people for whom it is, but I doubt if there are many.

But the mandolin might be another option worth considering. Not so obstrusive or cumbersome as any of the others, as well as being easier to carry round. And people rarely make unkind jokes about mandolin players, for some reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 08:05 PM

Thanks Ebbie, I bet it was amazing and it does show that people at the top of the tree do practice!

kat, thanks but perhaps some perspective is needed towards my comments. I realy only try to play tenor banjo and mandolin these days and attempts at other things get rarer and rarer (though I fancy a real go at bass guitar).

I'm probably playing better now than at any time in my life but I'd like to try to get to a point of reality here... I'll try a sport - cricket - one I'm fond of. I don't expect you to know it but maybe the principles can be applied to other sports and then music.

If we were talking village cricket, I probably could be a useful player, a little bit of a specialist in one area but maybe also capable of being an "all-rounder" to some degree. I'd guess that at my best, I could probably just about scrape some lower leauge side, maybe (let's say concentrating as a bowler) but ultimately there are so called "minor county" sides, county sides and representing ones country above that and I would be miles below the standard needed!

Fortunately for me, sessions are not like leagues and I like to think that I am good enough to join in, perhaps once in a while even adding something without being a a particularly good player let alone a really great player. That's my sort of level (I think) and I'm happy there.

Cas, I may be way off here but I remember someone from the Norwich area by that name posting here before. If you are the same person and still in that area, get yourself to the (purely Irish instrumental) session the Plaster's Arms on Wednesday. I can let you try a tenor banjo and maybe even lend you a mandolin for a week or two.


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:42 PM

The banjo is definitely the easier to learn. And I think that if it comes down to a choice between tenor and five-string banjos, the five-string is easier for the simple reason that it is usually played in open tunings. The un-fretted open strings make a recognizable chord and most common chords can be made using simple one, two or three finger forms. Despite its bad press, the five-string is a very forgiving instrument.

As far as the tenor banjo being easier to play because it is flat-picked instead of finger-picked, remember this: Five-string right-hand techniques are strictly conventions. They're not the law! Nobody is going to arrest you for playing a five-string with a flatpick! Many beginners go out and buy a Scruggs book and then get turned off by the thought that they are condemned to play "Cripple Creek" for two hours a day for a year until they have the forward roll perfected. Screw that! Just use whatever seems natural to you - naked fingers, regular banjo picks or a flat-pick - and pick out tunes on the thing! If you feel naturally drawn toward one of the conventional styles as you are becoming familiar with the instrument, fine. If not, make up your own way to play it. Just get the damned timing right!

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: mg
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:48 PM

I vote for accordian as being easiest to play..but probably least socially acceptable...if you are going to be with singers especially try to get a smaller, quieter one. And get one with fewer keys but regular size keys or you will make all sorts of mistakes...they tend to be in too high a register for me to sing along with so I imagine men would have a hard time although they do OK.

Concerntina is expensive but goes well with singing and also dancing...and is socially acceptable.

Accordians are just so much fun to play if you are all alone though..you don't need a band..and if you have one they tend to disappear sometimes..

mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 11:05 PM

A small quote from Otcober Skies.

Driver of car: "You sure are in a hurry to get yourself killed."

I'd try the tenor banjo first. But everyone else's advice is good as well. One question: are you right or left handed? I ask because I'm a lefty and wasted entirely too many years trying to play the 'right' way. As in wrong for me. If your a lefty, try the instruments both ways and see how it feels. If it feels better playing right handed, then play that way. If you can't get the sense of it, left handed is the way to go. Almost all insturnment makers have 'lefties' available for no additional charge. They stores might give you a hard time, but the instruments ARE available.

Good luck with your playing and don't forget to invite me to the bonfire and picnic when you get rid of them! (@:->).

Walking Eagle


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 May 03 - 06:56 PM

I started the violin fourteen months ago, and I think I'm pretty lucky with it... I'm at a pretty good standard already. However, I've tried enough instruments which I'm only mediocre at to know that it's taken me about eight years to find 'my' instrument... but nothing makes me happier than playing the violin, so I work very hard at it!


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Ernest
Date: 29 May 03 - 04:32 AM

Hello,

being not very talented myself I support those Catters who recommended the tenor banjo. I found it easier to start with simple melodies picked than with chords (my fingers are short, so I have difficulties with the "F"-chord, which is common). The advantage of the tenor banjo is that you can use mandolin-tuning (GDAE) and you can find lots of tablature on the net. Some easier tunes can be found on Elisabeth Knuths website (link from mandolincafe.com) or jaybuckey.com.

Good luck (whatever you choose)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 May 03 - 04:55 AM

Cas, next time you come to our house, have a play with our collection - it ranges from piano accordions, melodeons, recorders, whistles, mandolin, violins, rackett, bombarde to a dead tortoise on a stick (not my idea - it was a present from some who should know better) and then there's the percussion!

That goes through various stages from spoons to drums to krikrak (thing like dominoes strung together to make a clacking noise), glockenspeil, piano, morris bells and shaky eggplant.

The trick is trying them when there are no Bratlings around to join in - my Bratling tries to play as many at once!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 29 May 03 - 09:44 AM

Cas,

Allow me to respectfully suggest that you are asking the wrong question.

What kind of music do you do or want to do? Not all instruments are equally appropriate for all kinds of music. For example, accordian isn't the best choice if your interest is Appalachian string band music, but is a great choice for Cajun.

What instrument pushes your buttons? After hearing a song/tune have you ever thought "It would be worth learning to play the x just to play that tune that way"?


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: smokeyjoe
Date: 29 May 03 - 10:20 AM

Forgive me for being a little harsh here, but why are you asking? Do ou want to play beautiful melodies and songs with the least amount of work? Or are you only trying to accompany your singing/songwriting? If it's the former; forget about it. It takes years and years of practise to get to the point of being able to play any instrument properly.
And for that matter, those are supposed to be enjoyable years as you learn, understand, and appreciate the music. There are no shortcuts, and I think most musicians are glad thet their aren't. Half the enjoyment of playing an instrument is being able to see an improvement and to learn new things. For me, learning new things is the biggest thrill of all.
If it's the former, why don't you get a guitar, learn 3 chords, and get a capo? Or better still, get an autoharp.
Good luck


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 May 03 - 03:26 PM

For me the real question is not what is the easiest to start on (the harmonica is the easiest, you can sound great immediately, one chord anyway, you can play Red River Valley like a real cowboy in no time at all), but what instrument gives you the least barriers to the next level up? -- not how to be great, but to get competent so you don't hate yourself for a long time. I would certainly say an open-tuned guitar, or a 5-string banjo. You can accompany yourself and if you can learn how to finger pick a little, they sound great very quickly. That doesn't mean you can frail on the banjo, but you can do three chord accompaniments on day 1, and by day 3 you can be doing a few more interesting things with arpeggios, etc. Accordions are not easy to play if you have never played a piano (speaking from recent personal experience)and have no experience in reading music in two clefs. Among the hardest seems to be the clarinet. It is a long, lonely slog to real competence, it makes terrible sounds until very late in the process.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Which is easer to learn from scratch ?
From: GUEST,amergin
Date: 29 May 03 - 03:48 PM

dulcimer...by a long shot....very easy to learn...and easy to fall in love with...


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