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Easiest instrument to learn

GUEST,erictheorange 06 Oct 06 - 03:23 AM
Ernest 06 Oct 06 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Dazbo 06 Oct 06 - 03:41 AM
Scrump 06 Oct 06 - 03:53 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Oct 06 - 04:05 AM
JohnInKansas 06 Oct 06 - 04:07 AM
The Borchester Echo 06 Oct 06 - 04:07 AM
Nick 06 Oct 06 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,chris 06 Oct 06 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 06 Oct 06 - 04:32 AM
sian, west wales 06 Oct 06 - 05:27 AM
Scrump 06 Oct 06 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 06 Oct 06 - 05:40 AM
Scrump 06 Oct 06 - 07:56 AM
RTim 06 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM
GUEST 06 Oct 06 - 09:36 AM
Greg B 06 Oct 06 - 10:14 AM
Kaleea 06 Oct 06 - 01:21 PM
Scoville 06 Oct 06 - 01:29 PM
Geoff the Duck 06 Oct 06 - 03:53 PM
Little Robyn 06 Oct 06 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,DrWord 06 Oct 06 - 05:00 PM
Cordwangler 06 Oct 06 - 05:08 PM
Tootler 06 Oct 06 - 05:53 PM
Bert 06 Oct 06 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 06 Oct 06 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,erictheorange 07 Oct 06 - 03:17 AM
dick greenhaus 07 Oct 06 - 05:23 PM
Tootler 07 Oct 06 - 06:25 PM
harpmolly 08 Oct 06 - 02:17 AM
Bugsy 09 Oct 06 - 12:29 AM
harpmolly 09 Oct 06 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Jim 09 Oct 06 - 01:43 AM
chazkratz 09 Oct 06 - 03:46 AM
Wyrd Sister 09 Oct 06 - 06:51 AM
Mo the caller 09 Oct 06 - 08:10 AM
Mr Red 09 Oct 06 - 08:16 AM
BanjoRay 09 Oct 06 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Neovo 09 Oct 06 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Neovo 09 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM
Wilfried Schaum 09 Oct 06 - 09:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Oct 06 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Thomasina 09 Oct 06 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,Urbane Guerrilla 10 Oct 06 - 02:06 AM
Red and White Rabbit 10 Oct 06 - 02:27 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Oct 06 - 02:34 AM
Mudjack 10 Oct 06 - 09:10 PM
FolkinReeGraves 11 Oct 06 - 12:25 AM
Artful Codger 11 Oct 06 - 03:24 AM
Tim theTwangler 11 Oct 06 - 03:50 AM
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Subject: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 03:23 AM

I'm looking for a new instrument to play for Morris dancing (I already play Anglo Concertina, Guitar, Mandolin, Baritone Uke and a bit of whistle), and I'd appreciate suggestions as to which instrument to learn. My criteria are as follows...

Must be easily portable
Must be acoustic
Must be able to carry a tune so I can play it solo for the dancers
Must be reasonably loud so the dancers can hear it
Must sound somewhat different to the instruments I can already play
Must be relatively cheap (upto a few hundred pounds/euros/dollars)
Does not have to be "traditional"

Most importantly I'm looking for which instrument that meets these criteria is the simplest & quickest to learn.

All (polite) suggestions will be much appreciated

eto


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Ernest
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 03:29 AM

Harmonica is easy to learn - but it might not be loud enough outside.

Since you already play whistle: there are some kind of "pocket" saxophone or clarinet style instruments (don`t know the exact name, but they use reeds like those while otherwise look like a recorder).

Good luck
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 03:41 AM

Gotta be a melodeon:-)


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 03:53 AM

Melodeon easy to learn? Not for me it wasn't!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:05 AM

Mandolin, if I can learn it anyone can.

eric


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:07 AM

Since you've already explored a range of string instruments, and are looking for something "different," most likely a wind or percussion instrument would be in order.

In the "percussion that can carry a melody line," the most portable would be one of the "xylophone" types used occasionally by marching bands. They're usually laid out like a piano keyboard, and since they're mostly in higher piches, would probably cut through the noise pretty well. Cheaper ones may have limited range, but they are available with a couple of octaves or so.

With wind instruments, and your past whistle experience, the flute, oboe, and saxophone families would likely be easiest to play, since the "register shift" is an even octave.

Alto and soprano sax can be pretty loud and are in a high enough register to cut through the mud. Lower pitched (and larger - less portable and generally more expensive) ones might be less audible in noisy places when played alone.

Standard flutes aren't known for "cutting through" the noise, but a picollo can really scream over almost anything.

Clarinet family instruments shift registers by 3/2 octave so there's a bit of finger transposing to do when you cross the shift point. They tend also to be a little less tolerant of sloppy fingering and embouchure technique, so they might (or not) take a bit more practice to sound respectable.

The common sax and clarinet family instruments are in Bb or Eb, which wouldn't be a problem if you're doing solos, but would perhaps require transposing to "less easy keys" to play with others.(?)

Most of the brass instruments rely strongly on lip control to get the right overtone plus key changes to get the right note, so the "fingering" is somewhat more complex to learn in the beginning. I'm told it becomes "natural" with only a little practice, but I've not made the attempt.

Most of these "standard instruments" are a bit expensive if you're looking for something to play concerts with, but used instruments can be reasonable if you can sacrifice some of the niceties. The xylophone/glockenspiel might be the most likely choice for something you might pick up fairly cheaply, although that depends a lot on your local market.

Of course, if you want to stand out in a crowd, it's hard to beat a Sousaphone, but they're not exactly hip pocket portable.

John


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:07 AM

If you can already play an anglo I suppose you'll have no trouble with a melodeon. It is, after all, just a harmonica with bellows and all you have to remember is if you need to push or pull to get the note you want.

But for making enough noise for Morris outside, you could try a bombarde.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Nick
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:11 AM

Kazoo


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:12 AM

what's wrong with the ones you already play?


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:32 AM

>>GUEST,chris
>>Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:12 AM
>>
>>what's wrong with the ones you already play?

nothing


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: sian, west wales
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:27 AM

A Pibgorn, a.k.a. 'hornpipe'. I think a good one is about £200 - £250 these days.

sian


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:36 AM

eto, it sounds as if you play enough instrumenst already. Are people saying they are nored with hearing them or what?

As you already play baritone uke and mandolin, what about a bouzouki? I'd have thought you'd find that easy to learn.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:40 AM

>>Scrump
>>Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:36 AM
>>
>>eto, it sounds as if you play enough instrumenst already.

Is there a legal limit?

>>Are people saying they are bored with hearing them or what?

No. But if they were I think that would be down to how I play them.

>>As you already play baritone uke and mandolin, what about
>>a bouzouki? I'd have thought you'd find that easy to learn.

Yep, but I'm looking for something a bit different. I quite liked the look of the Pibgorn pipes from sian's post.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for correcting my typo. Good luck with the pipes!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: RTim
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM

The traditional instrument for Cotswold Morris was the Pipe and Tabor, with the Tabor played with the RIGHT hand, as rhythm is the most important part for dancing. The Pipe has a very high range and can be heard also most everywhere. You know those old guys knew a thing or two - and it is relatively cheap.
Failing that - I would stick to your anglo!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 09:36 AM

Mighty Wurlitzer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Greg B
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 10:14 AM

>It is, after all, just a harmonica with bellows

Just a harmonica with bellows?

JUST a harmonica with BELLOWS?

JUST A BLOODY HARMONICA WITH BELLOWS?

How about just another example of people commenting
upon things about which they have no knowledge?


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Kaleea
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 01:21 PM

Why, I believe that you are describing a used Sousaphone!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Scoville
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 01:29 PM

pennywhistle. Just don't get the REALLY cheap ones since they're about 1/2 note off in tuning.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 03:53 PM

Xaphoon ?
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 04:42 PM

I can play a harmonica but just couldn't work a melodeon.
Whistle/tabor pipes etc don't have much volume if you're in a crowd.
Why not try a small piano accordion? You can just play the tune on the keyboard side to start with and it's louder than things like mandolins and bouzoukis.
For portability, look for a student model or a 24 bass (or 48 bass if you're a big strong fella) but don't go for a gent's 120 bass. That's overkill and Morris does't require that many chords.
Different brands/models have different sounds, some gentle, some that have an Italian sound, others that have a sound that you might hear from Jimmy Shand.
The one I use for morris is real grunty, with a strong bass and you can squeeze it for phrasing so it sounds rather like a melodeon. It's a 24 bass Mazzini, with only 2 octaves on the keyboard side but it plays most morris tunes. No, you can't have mine! It actually belongs to our Squire and he won't even let me buy it from him, so it's just on loan. My own one, a 48 bass Hohner Student VM is just too heavy for me to stand around holding for very long and anyway, it doesn't have as much grunt - I can't get a sudden squeeze with a bit of ooommph the way I like, for tunes like Saturday Night On. I use that one for diddley sessions where we're all sitting down (and using a few more keys).
Both boxes cost less than $100NZ.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:00 PM

Thancx GtD, that used up the last hour!!! Xaphoon is amazing & can't wait 2 refer my reed friend about it!

dennis


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Cordwangler
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:08 PM

Easiest instrument to learn


A Bodhran, you don't even need to learn!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 05:53 PM

Has to be pipe and tabor.

The 3-hole pipe is not that easy to learn, though if you can play whistle, you have a good start. Then you have to co-ordinate it with the tabor.

I tried once, but the domestic authorities objected (I was outvoted 2 to 1)

Failing that has to be fiddle which surprisingly, does not seem to have been mentioned yet.

If you are going for Melodeon, get an "in your face" one like a Hohner Pokerwork. They may not be the most fashionable these days, but they have plenty of volume.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Bert
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 06:11 PM

Hurdy Gurdy


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 06 Oct 06 - 11:31 PM

Stupid Question

The answer, VOICE (given by God) has been known since creation! It was also the FIRST Instrument.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Max ... time to start another below "the below" strand....thread....make it a triple....one for three years or less....one for six years....and one for folk that have been around enough to not post ID-Jet threads....or that have a "critter-name."


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 07 Oct 06 - 03:17 AM

thanks for all the suggestions.....

the Xaphoon looks really fun

fiddle? easiest instrument to learn??????

I like the idea of a Hurdy Gurdy, but haven't found one available for a few hundred dollars/pounds/euros

eto


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 07 Oct 06 - 05:23 PM

You can try out a tabor pipe for nothing, if you already have a whistle--all it takes is aoiece of cellophane tape.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Oct 06 - 06:25 PM

fiddle? easiest instrument to learn??????

No instrument is easy to learn. They all have their problems.

Some instruments are easier to get started on than others, but those that seem superficially easy often present problems later if you want to play them well.

That's the point I was making about the tabor pipe. It actually takes a lot of breath control to get the notes because you are having to overblow not just once like most woodwind instruments but three or four times and each time you overblow you get a smaller jump. Which means fingering tends to change as well.

Add to that the need to co-ordinate your playing with the tabor, then you certainly need quite a lot of practice before you are fit to venture out into the world.

BTW, Generation make a three hole pipe in D which uses the same tubing as their D whistle and the price is about the same as a D Whistle. Susato have them in D, C and Bb, so it is possible to try a three hole pipe out quite cheaply. For the tabor, I bought a cheap drum from a shop specialising in kids early learning stuff. It was not right, but it served for trial purposes. The Early Music shop in Bradford sell proper tabors in various sizes, but they are not cheap.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: harpmolly
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 02:17 AM

Not sure if this would be loud enough for morris dancing, but the lap dulcimer might be fun to try.

Or how about a Hummel! (Swedish precursor to the lap dulcimer). I just saw one of these played by Kate Price a few weeks ago, and now I'm obsessed. And it has a larger body than a regular lap dulcimer (more like a cittern/octave mandolin shape, with a hollow neck), and several additional open-strummed strings, so it would have more volume.

I wish I knew where I could find one. Of course, I should really finish learning to play the lap dulcimer first. ;)

Molly


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Bugsy
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 12:29 AM

Dulcimer - the Apalacian type that is.


Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: harpmolly
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 12:41 AM

Bugsy,

Great minds think alike!

M


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 01:43 AM

Dick Greenhaus - I don't play a pipe & tabor, but doesn't the pipe have a hole in the back that's played by the thumb? Wouldn't you have to drill this in order to make a tabor pipe from a whistle?

What does a tabor drum look like? Does it have a snare? What diameter? Does it hang from the left wrist? I assume you play the pipe with your left hand and the drum with your right, but I've been known to be wrong before.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: chazkratz
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 03:46 AM

How about an autoharp? It might have to be amplified for outdoor play but no more than most acoustic guitars, and otherwise fits all the given specifications including ease of play, can carry a tune, easy portability, relatively inexpensive except for custom instruments--and is associated with traditional music, even though is of relatively recent development.

Charles (--seed)


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 06:51 AM

illustration of pipe+tabor player

Scroll down and enlarge


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:10 AM

Don't know which is the easiest is to learn, but the hardest is

the one you've already got, to play it well.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:16 AM

from Gloucestershire I would have to say

Glouc 'n Schpiel


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: BanjoRay
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:18 AM

The Cajun triangle - aaarrgghh!
Ray


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:20 AM


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Neovo
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM

Sorry - I keep doing that! I was going to say that I tried a Zaphoon once and whilst it is good and loud for such a small instrument and does have a saxophone type tone it is the most complex and illogical finering system I've come across in nearly thirty years of playing woodwind instruments. I take my hat off to anybody who can master this tricky beastie.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 09:06 AM

The only instrument I know meeting your request I know is the most noble and given to you free: the human voice.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn (Xaphoon)
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 10:12 AM

"tried a Zaphoon once and whilst it is good and loud for such a small instrument and does have a saxophone type tone it is the most complex and illogical fingering system I've come across in nearly thirty years of playing woodwind instruments. I take my hat off to anybody who can master this tricky beastie. "


Studying the fingering chart at http://xaphoon.com/Fingeringchart.html, to me it just looks like a fairly normal fipple type Whistle in Key of C (many woodwinds with reeds are transposing instruments set in keys other than C ...) - the sharps and flats are just the normal cross-fingering (and half-holing). Some of the holes are a bit out of place** (for a normal whislte), hence the need for the extra open holes here and there, and the devil would be to fight the reed to get the correct lip pressure - but that should be easy for anyone who has struggled with a bagpipe chanter or oboe surely...

**The back hole setup makes it look more like a recorder type of fipple flute though.

I am not familar with real 'flagolets' - but don't they arrange the fingering with a back hole?


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Thomasina
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 06:42 PM

The mountain dulcimer!!!!

:-) Thomasina Levy


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: GUEST,Urbane Guerrilla
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 02:06 AM

It's the percussion section, and it doesn't carry a tune, but the bodhran properly learned is quite fast to pick up, and expands your musical horizons into that area. As an easy and inexpensive instrument -- if you fancy yourself with watercolors and brush you can easily fancy the skin right up -- it's a good one for the band musicians to double on.

The Corries made great effect with one regular bodhran and one extra-large one, particularly on "I Will Go." Have to find yourself a suitably huge goatskin, though. Multiple bodhrans in action tend to develop hypnotic complexities of rhythm. Bodhrans also jibe well with doumbeks.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Red and White Rabbit
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 02:27 AM

only trouble with the mountain dulcimer/ lap harps etc etc whilst great to play and easy to pick up ( I am in love with them) without some sort of amp they are mostly lost outside unless it is a clear still day and you havent got a bunch of other insruments and clogs/bells rattling about through if you make a stand/additional sound board back for them the sound does carry better - not easy to play standing up without a stand either! - strum stick instead?

if you want a great 'noise maker' get a buffalo drum and that will keep a good beat - even my deaf kids respond to that!


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 02:34 AM

"doesn't carry a tune"

I can alter the pitch of mine by pressure on the drumhead. A better instrument might get even more pitch change.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Mudjack
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 09:10 PM

Autoharp is about as easy as it can get. Harp a chord and sing along. At risk of insulting real players, I've said it...easy and user friendly, push a button, strum and this beautiful sound emits. Very affordable instruments. Since the autoharp has not yet been suggested, I guess eric the orange is from the Britsish Isles where autharps may be hard to find. There are plenty to see on E-bay. Just be sure to buy a chromatic tuner for the 36 strings.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: FolkinReeGraves
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:25 AM

I would suggest a portable steel drum-the kind cut at all different angles to get differnt notes...fun instrument, interesting sound,,,you can do straight up melodies or use 2 (or more!) hammers per hand if you want to get some chords in there. I think Lark s in the morning music (There's a shop in Seattle and they have a catalogue) has them for a good price...or they did a few years back. You can set it on a stand or hang it around your neck.
One word of caution-make sure to carry it safely, a dent will change the sound forever.

So..is there a limit on the number of instruments one person can learn?   (I knew I should've stopped taking recorder lessons in 4th grade)


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:24 AM

Banjo - or am I confusing loud with annoying? :-}
It's semi-percussive, particularly if you learn clawhammer technique. And after guitar and mandolin, you'll find it a cinch to pick up.


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Subject: RE: Easiest instrument to learn
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:50 AM

We have always found that the piano is the most satisfying instrument to play in the pubs around here.
Some of the pubs are more enlightened than others and provide sledge hammers behind the bar.
In others one must take one own.


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