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Worst Instrument Ever?

Alec 01 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM
alanabit 01 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM
Ruston Hornsby 01 Mar 07 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Mar 07 - 03:30 PM
Dave Hunt 01 Mar 07 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 01 Mar 07 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 07 - 04:23 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 07 - 04:28 PM
Songster Bob 01 Mar 07 - 04:46 PM
The Sandman 01 Mar 07 - 07:27 PM
skipy 01 Mar 07 - 07:34 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Mar 07 - 07:41 PM
frogprince 01 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM
RangerSteve 01 Mar 07 - 09:04 PM
kendall 01 Mar 07 - 09:07 PM
bubblyrat 02 Mar 07 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,banjoman 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM
manitas_at_work 02 Mar 07 - 05:21 AM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Tabor fan 02 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM
Folk Form # 1 02 Mar 07 - 05:40 AM
Alec 02 Mar 07 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 02 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM
Stu 02 Mar 07 - 06:01 AM
kendall 02 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 07:07 AM
Grab 02 Mar 07 - 07:24 AM
Tim theTwangler 02 Mar 07 - 08:23 AM
Alec 02 Mar 07 - 08:39 AM
Rapparee 02 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM
kendall 02 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,ib48 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 10:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Mar 07 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Cragrat 02 Mar 07 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,An Duilach Mor 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 07 - 12:08 PM
Little Hawk 02 Mar 07 - 12:14 PM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 12:17 PM
Midchuck 02 Mar 07 - 12:23 PM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 12:28 PM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 07 - 01:17 PM
MaineDog 02 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM
Songster Bob 02 Mar 07 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 02 Mar 07 - 03:02 PM
bubblyrat 02 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Mar 07 - 09:00 PM
lennice 02 Mar 07 - 09:05 PM
Little Hawk 02 Mar 07 - 09:15 PM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Mar 07 - 09:55 PM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 10:13 PM
lennice 02 Mar 07 - 10:19 PM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 10:58 PM
Jim Lad 02 Mar 07 - 11:33 PM
lennice 02 Mar 07 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 03 Mar 07 - 01:14 AM
Lucius 03 Mar 07 - 09:47 AM
bubblyrat 03 Mar 07 - 10:01 AM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Mar 07 - 10:10 AM
GUEST 03 Mar 07 - 10:33 AM
Alec 03 Mar 07 - 11:49 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM
Jim Lad 03 Mar 07 - 01:33 PM
Roger the Skiffler 04 Mar 07 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 07 - 05:26 AM
bubblyrat 04 Mar 07 - 05:32 AM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Mar 07 - 07:17 AM
Jack Campin 04 Mar 07 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,Cragrat 04 Mar 07 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Wolfhound person 04 Mar 07 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Nicholas Waller 04 Mar 07 - 02:27 PM
Old Grizzly 04 Mar 07 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 04 Mar 07 - 03:58 PM
oggie 04 Mar 07 - 04:48 PM
Stringsinger 04 Mar 07 - 04:58 PM
Scrump 04 Mar 07 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,pitheris 04 Mar 07 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 04 Mar 07 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 04 Mar 07 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 05 Mar 07 - 07:03 AM
Scrump 05 Mar 07 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,banjoman 05 Mar 07 - 11:30 AM
Alec 05 Mar 07 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 05 Mar 07 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 05 Mar 07 - 01:19 PM
mick p r.m s.c 05 Mar 07 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 05 Mar 07 - 06:11 PM
GUEST,::: 05 Mar 07 - 10:06 PM
Songster Bob 05 Mar 07 - 11:24 PM
Jim Lad 06 Mar 07 - 01:47 AM
Scrump 06 Mar 07 - 04:21 AM
Jim Lad 06 Mar 07 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,BM Baillie 06 Mar 07 - 07:15 AM
Scrump 06 Mar 07 - 07:22 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Mar 07 - 09:44 AM
Alec 06 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 06 Mar 07 - 02:00 PM
Scrump 06 Mar 07 - 03:34 PM
Alec 06 Mar 07 - 03:44 PM
Alec 06 Mar 07 - 03:50 PM
Alec 06 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,teachers pest 06 Mar 07 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 07 Mar 07 - 04:29 AM
GUEST 01 Jul 14 - 09:05 PM
Jack Campin 02 Jul 14 - 12:25 AM
Mr Red 02 Jul 14 - 02:37 AM
Tattie Bogle 02 Jul 14 - 02:06 PM
GUEST 02 Jul 14 - 02:53 PM
Jack Campin 02 Jul 14 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,Desi C 03 Jul 14 - 02:42 AM
GUEST 03 Jul 14 - 07:35 AM
Tattie Bogle 03 Jul 14 - 01:49 PM
Jack Campin 03 Jul 14 - 03:35 PM
Jack Blandiver 03 Jul 14 - 04:15 PM
LadyJean 04 Jul 14 - 01:06 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 14 - 03:05 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jul 14 - 04:19 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 14 - 05:03 AM
Jack Blandiver 04 Jul 14 - 05:10 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 14 - 05:11 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jul 14 - 08:55 AM
Tattie Bogle 04 Jul 14 - 10:58 AM
LadyJean 04 Jul 14 - 11:37 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 14 - 03:47 AM
Jack Blandiver 05 Jul 14 - 06:07 AM
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Subject: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM

Current issue of The Word (U.K. music mag)lists what its staff maintain are the 20 best & 20 worst musical instruments.
The best in no particular order are:Fire Extinguisher,Stylophone,Live Elephant,Hosepipe,"Super Yob" Guitar played by Dave Hill,Power Drill,Theremin,Musical Saw,Cymbalom,Donkey,Melodica,Roland TB-303 Bassline,The Flaming Lips Boombox Orchestra,The Voice of Bjork,The Pet Sounds Box of Fun,Sousaphone,Mellotron,Glass Harmonica,Double Bass & their choice for absolute best musical instrument is the Vocoder.
They also list what they maintain are the 20 worstinstruments.
Again in no particular order:"Keytar",Pan Pipes,Crumhorn,"Additional Percussion",Harmonica,Bob Dylan style,Rhodes Electric Piano,Rototoms,Shaun Ryder chasing The Dragon,Slap Bass,Gong,Side of Pork,Flying V Guitar,Simmons Drums,Feedback,Paul McCartney chewing Vegetables,Sitar,Fretless Bass & their choice of worst instrument in the world is...Acoustic Guitar.
Their quote for this choice is Stop talking,sit down,pay attention.This is important.Has any artefact ever allowed as many no-marks and bores to cloak themselves in Meaning and Seriousness? Good for two things:Kumbaya,and beating James Blunt to death with.
OK Controversial choices.I am aware of the disdain held for the Banjo & the Hurdy-Gurdy by some round these parts but what are 'Catters least liked instruments?
Can we provide a more rational list than this?
BTW If you're wondering about some of their more eccentric choices,they're all things which have been used in reasonably well known recordings.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM

I reckon the world's greatest stylophone virtuoso could play the thing, and it would still sound as entertaining as a dentist's drill - while at the same time being less useful.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Ruston Hornsby
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:25 PM

I just think it comes down more to the musician than the instrument, and of course, when we're looking at surveys and lists - what's hip and unhip at the time they're compiled.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM

June Tabor's voice!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:30 PM

There are no good instruments or bad instruments, only good or bad players. Every time I decide I hate an instrument, somebody comes along and plays it so well I go, "Oh! So that's what it's supposed to sound like! I don't hate it any more!"

But I do agree somewhat with the author's rating of the guitar, though I would definitely include electric guitar in the equation. The guitar is unusual in that there are far more people who play poorly, and don't seem to realze that they play poorly, than there are people who play well. With most instruments, one either achieves a modicum of proficiency or gives up entirely, but there are millions of people who say they play guitar who know five chords and how to pick out "Smoke on the Water".


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:32 PM

Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat - PM
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM

June Tabor's voice!
-------------------------

Is that best or worst??


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM

The saw

Pity it can't cut itself in two !


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:36 PM

Worst! Fingernails down a blackboard yet still so dreary. I often wonder whether she's taking the piss.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:23 PM

Bodhrans - and June Tabor's voice
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:28 PM

Jane Tabor excellent (if a little humourless).

The idiots who made up this list, a bunch of self-important no brain wish they were trendies.

If they could do anything, maybe they would get on with it rather than scribble childish rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:46 PM

An instrument being judged by how many twits play it badly? What kind of measurement is that? I'd rather consider whether an instrument can be played at all as the measure of its "worstness." One that comes to mind is the ukelin, actually a bowed psaltery. I have heard bowed psalteries, and none of them sound good (the worst of them sound, well, worse). But the point on the string where the bow of a bowed psaltery touches the string is so close to the end point of the string (think: bridge) that good tone is absolutely impossible.

In 1876, at the Centennial Exposition, thousands of musical instruments were submitted for prizes, and one, despite repeated appeals and re-entries, never managed to "pass." It was a bowed PIANO! I suspect it had some kind of mechanism to bow each string, said mechanism somehow controlled by a keyboard, so it would have been a mechanized (for you Brits, mechanised) bowed psaltery. I suspect it would have been the world's worst instrument.

Many of the other autoharpish instruments produced by the Marx company (they made the ukelin) like the Marxophone, Hawaiian Tremoloa, et al, could actually play tunes, and probably were acceptable, if not automatically accorded ne plus ultra status.

But guitars, even electrics? Banjos, even guitar banjos? They're not "good" or "bad," since they can be played to good effect. It's the ones that no one can play well, those are the "worst."

Bob

(and I didn't even mention the Humanotone, a plastic gizmo that qualifies as a nose flute of sorts).

(Oh, and the slide whistle! Now there's a sound that's hard to put up with, even if played well, which isn't often.)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:27 PM

there is nothing wrong with June Tabors voice,it is quite a good one.
I havent heard her lately,25 years ago she was a good singer.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: skipy
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:34 PM

Recorder!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:41 PM

An instrument being judged by how many twits play it badly? What kind of measurement is that?

Actually, it's a tongue-in-cheek kind of measurement. I would advise anyone who took it seriously to see a pharmacist about a reliable laxative.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: frogprince
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM

At the risk of drift in this serious thread: have you ever heard any of the album "A Tool Box Christmas"? You know how some things sound much better in fact than in imagined concept? This was not one of those things!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 09:04 PM

They're blaming the guitar, as if the guitar forces people to play it. They're a bunch of pompous asses. Except for when they mention harmonica played Bob Dylan style. And there's nothing wrong with crumhorns either. They're pompous asses again.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 09:07 PM

The bowed psaltry is not one of my favorites. I fact, it sounds like a fly under a shingle.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 03:31 AM

The Yetties have,among their number,a fine bowed-psaltery player,whom I have heard do a creditable and accomplished, if somewhat surprising, version of " Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ". If the instrument"s critics and detractors were to but seek out and experience such delights,their attitude would,I feel certain, alter considerably. The same, I fear, can never be said of the stylophone, however technically accomplished the " player". I must confess to a fondness for the crumhorn,serpent , and other instruments of that ilk,and music of the Tudor period generally. The musical (?) saw has its place in the scheme of things, I suppose, but preferably not in either the Bedford Hotel,or at Miskin !!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM

Nothing surpasses the Melodeon in the stakes for worst instrument ever. It is the last refuge of the musically incompetent and suits them very well


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:21 AM

Says the banjo player?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:22 AM

The Yetties have,among their number,a fine bowed-psaltery player

It's their accordionist Pete Shutler who plays the bowed psaltery (not at the same time as the accordion of course).

--------------------------

Most of these comments above are criticisms not of the instrument itself, but the poor players of them. An instrument is only as good as the person playing it. Int he right hands, even a cheap and poorly made instrument can be made to sound good.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Tabor fan
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM

GUEST, Cragrat,
Have you ever seen June Tabor live?
Please can you expand on your dislike of her voice?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:40 AM

Worst instrument? Lute and harpsicord, certainly. Howabout samplers? They are used by techno geeks nicking music from real musicians. Billy Bragg and Madonnoa's voices.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:47 AM

I play Guitar,Ukulele,Harmonica & whistle, all of them at a relatively rudimentary level.It is because I play at early or earlyish learner level that I would not expect people to pay to hear my efforts.
The lists are tongue in cheek but do contain some valid points.
For example "Bob Dylan style Harmonica" I would interpret this as meaning Diatonic Harmonica in a rack played simultaneously with Guitar.Under those circumstances the playing of one or the other instrument will of necessity be very rudimentary & a key change will be impossible.This is what makes the experience substandard for many listeners.
I like most instruments when well played (with the proviso that Bagpipes ought to be played outdoors)but I have to endorse what Bee-dubya-ell says about the Guitar.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM

The Melodeon is 'the lsat refuge for the musically incompetant' ...I'm sure my mate Dave Mallinson would have something to say on that score! I'd hardly call him 'musically incompetant'
...and there's bugger all wrong with Lutes, Harpsichords or bowed psalterys either!
I'll nominate Banjo-mandolin though, I've never heard anyone play one in tune yet, I don't even think it's possible to play one of the things in tune, string pressure v skin tightness!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Stu
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 06:01 AM

The wearying, soddin', rotten, monotonous, soul-destroying, annoying like a buzzing mozzie in your bedroom, colourless (but frequently garishly coloured), metronomic, 'I can't play owt so I'll play this on every tune in your session', rice-for-yolk, repetitious, rancid little ovum that is

THE SHAKEY EGG!!!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM

It's the sound of the bowed psaltry I can't bear, nothing to do with the player. I don't care how good you are, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:07 AM

Well, I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes.

The only musical sound I really don't like are some of the sounds made by electronic keyboard players, a sort of 'plunky' sound that they seem to think sounds good, or like a muted piano, but actually sounds nothing like one, to me.

I've seen some otherwise excellent performances spoilt (for me, anyway) by this sound, which I find irritating - why, I don't know.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Grab
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:24 AM

Hmm. I got a few issues of The Word when it started. Some good articles about musicians, but mostly they were condensed bios which you could get anywhere (and likely had been rewritten from other sources). And the free CD was always this dreadful indie-pop stuff. I quickly realised it wasn't my kind of thing at all. I still strongly suspect they're a bunch of posers who think obscurity makes stuff good.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:23 AM

Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks it is great.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:39 AM

Grab,the current issue is the first I've bought in a while.
Your analysis is correct in every detail and it hasn't changed one bit.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM

Lasso d'amore. Pandemonium. Live cannons (as in the "1812 Overture").


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM

Spoons and Bones.....and the twerps that play them!
If they don't receive any negative comments from other musicians in a play-around the poor little dears feel they have to 'play?/accompany/' every single tune.
So earnest is their endeavour that these valient 'musicians?' will totally forgo going for a pee or going to the bar because they really believe that the 'session?' would'nt be the same without them and dont want to let the side down. They will 'play?'with such serious expression and fight through the pain of blisters and athritic fingers/wrists for the greater glory of 'art?.'
Bless 'em.
Most instruments in the hands of someone that actually really knows how to play them sound OK and do not offend the ear.
But Spoons and Bones!!!!!?? I think we all know where they belong
(where the sun don't shine!)

And Hammer Dulcimers.

But NOT Bodhrans. A good QUALITY bodhran played by someone who knows what they are doing is a delight. Trouble is that 99% of people who 'play?' bodhrans are utterly useless and someone should tell them so!

Moral of this story,already stated by Ruston Hornsby (great name Rus!),Bee-dubya-ell,Songster Bob,Scrump and Tim the Twangler et al, is that it's not the instruments fault it's the numbscull 'playing?' it who thinks they are gods'gift..

Oh yeah...THE SHAKEY EGG..nice one Stigweard. I'd forgotten about that one. It definately goes in the same category as Spoons and Bones......and we all know where they belong.......... don't we?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM

Washtub Bass in the wrong hands.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,ib48
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM

definately that strangled octopus that they use in scotland


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM

Stig
100% with you - it's got to be the bloomin' SHAKEY EGG


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:06 AM

HURDY GURDY ??....any fans?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:21 AM

"Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks it is great."

Tim, you sure you didnt mean

"Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks they are great."


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:27 AM

Funnily enough I did go to see June Tabor in concert, many years ago. I didn't enjoy the experience.

It's hard to quantify sometimes why some voices (or instruments) adversely affect you. Shirley Collins has come in for a lot of stick in some quarters but others (me included) think she has a great voice.

I threw in June Tabor's name in a vaguely light hearted way knowing that she is very popular and that it might create a response. For me, her voice is somehow very sickly. It literally makes me cringe. I couldn't possibly sit through an album of hers. You might think she's fab. We each think the other is cloth-eared. Isn't music a wonderful thing!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,An Duilach Mor
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM

SHAKEY EGG. Brilliantly observed.

I once saw a spoons player arrive with 9 pairs of said cutlery and lay them out on't table. 'Raaght need me jig spuns, lads.'- Remarkable.

Personally I wish everyone who played the guitar was forced to listen to Jon Williams and Davey Graham to see what a proper noise sounds like. Bob Dillon has a lot to answer for, I suppose he does sound great when your discernment is obliterated by cheap scotch and weak ganja. Ahh the sixties.

I vote for the duplicitous piano because it sounds lovely when you're on your own just making nice chords up with the lid open. But when its played most players are completely a-rythmic and stunted or over embellishing to make up for their internal agony that it sounds c**p, really. An instrument ideally suited to Georgian drawing rooms. Nuff said.

Incidentally, I HATED the Scots war-pipes until I heard a Nova Scotian living in France, play them in a session at Edinburgh - I suppose there MAY be a good pianist out there... Oh yes! Paidraic O Reilly from Corofin, Co. Clare.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:08 PM

Dick Gaughan's guitar and voice when he's twangling about and ranting on about politics in between songs (often longer than the songs!)
And anything at 4 in the morning on the festival campsite when you're trying to sleep! (especially "Four in the morning")


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:14 PM

My first guitar. It had the highest action I've ever seen. The intonation was way off. The tuning heads were lousy, and tended to slip. The neck was no good. If you got it in tune on open strings, it was out of tune as soon as you fingered a chord, and it got progressively worse as you went up the neck. Lousy tone. Poor resonance. Cruddy workmanship. It was bought by my parents from some store that knew nothing about guitars either. It was basically unfixable. It should have been used as firewood by starving refugees in Bosnia.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:17 PM

A soprano ukulele I bought on ebay was crap. It was untunable. I sold it on, and told the buyer it couldn't be tuned properly, but he bought it anyway and said it was great. Maybe he was just going to hang it on the wall or something - or maybe he didn't mind if it wss in tune or not. It takes all sorts...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:23 PM

Washboard has the same problems, and brings out the same personality flaws, as spoons or shaky egg - but is louder.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:28 PM

If that J Arthur Rank ever tried to bring that giant gong into one of our sessions, he would have been booted out straight away.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 01:17 PM

The J Arthur Rank gong was made of papier mache. The instrument that actually made the sound was a small tamtam; it's in the Reid Musical Instrument Museum in Edinburgh, with an accompanying explanation. I've got a tamtam almost the same (bought it in a car boot sale) but haven't yet found a way of using it in a session. Maybe I could bring it along to wherever Scrump plays?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: MaineDog
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM

Any votes for the lefthanded sewer-flute?
MD


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:46 PM

"Trouble is that 99% of people who 'play?' bodhrans are utterly useless and someone should tell them so!"

... so they're modhrans?

It looks like we're coming to a near-consensus, but maybe we should categorize the top contestants:

Strings: bowed psaltery, hurdy-gurdy
Free Reeds: harmonica, melodeon, bagpipe
Brass: No consensus, but krummhorn mentioned
Percussion: shakey egg, spoons, bones
Vocal: June Tabor, Bob Dylan (not mentioned but implied by several)

and, lastly,

Players: All the ham-handed, poorly-trained, tone-deaf twits who have somehow managed to learn to hold any of the above instruments and inflict their efforts on poor, unsuspecting passers-by like us.

Does this sum it up for now?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 03:02 PM

Sorry - can't accept the June Tabor bit, she's a brilliant singer (in my opinion, which is as valid an opinion as anyone else's) but, on the other hand, if you'd said Kate (quavery little girl voice)Rusby.....


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM

No !! Crumhorn, not Krummhorn !! You know, the thing that looks like a walking-stick handle. I don"t think it could be classified as 'brass' !! ( but I am prepared to be re-educated ! )


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:00 PM

"The J Arthur Rank gong"

In one of the 'Carry On' movies - 'Up the Khyber' - set in India - cheeky Kenneth watches the gong being struck to call for tiffin or something, then says in his best camp voice - "That's so Rank!"

Seem to remember in the opening credits of a 3 Stooges or something that they had a fight over who was to swing the hammer, then when the gong was hit, it smashed a big hole in it...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: lennice
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:05 PM

a tiny fearful voice in support of spoons WELL PLAYED


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:15 PM

ANY instrument is good if it's well played! Excepting, perhaps, my first guitar...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:18 PM

Good summary Songster Bob. I think you have summed it up pretty well so far but I am sure that further contributors will keep on changing the rankings in this light hearted but very interesting debate.
And so they should so keep plotting the voting returns SB.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 PM

The cure for 'spoons'


A Jar of Honey...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:55 PM

I love lute & harpsichord so I can't agree with Penguin on this, but one famous conductor (Sir Malcolm Sargent?) certainly did. He said that the harpsichord sounded like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:13 PM

Cool !!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: lennice
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:19 PM

My cat actually makes a pretty good instrument. She makes different noises depending on where and how hard I poke or push her middle (gently, she seems to enjoy the game). The interesting part is that the different sounds are consistent - press pt A with all fingers firmly and you always get the same sound, pt B a different sound than A but always the same, etc. I think she's doing it on purpose.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:58 PM

Personally lettice, I have always found pussies to be very interesting instruments tp play with. Just keep pressing the right buttons to keep her happy.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:33 PM

Any instrument I can lay my thick fingers on would qualify.
I'd never heard of June Tabor so I had to look. Her voice is just fine. She is however, guilty of not challenging it but then Shania Twain is guilty of the exact same thing and it hasn't held her back.
I'm guessing she's (June) overplayed somewhere?
Richard Bridge: Sure you're not thinking of Jane Taber, CTV host?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: lennice
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:58 PM

ooh, bad boy, soldier. guess i stepped into that one


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 01:14 AM

I agree with Kendall. The bowed psaltery sounds to me of a hydro sonic dental tool. Feels like one too.

Don


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Lucius
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 09:47 AM

It's a poor carpenter that blames his tools.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 10:01 AM

When I was at primary school in the fifties, we used to have lessons , with the aid of a radio programme, about the various instruments to be found in an orchestra. One I recall, was called the " Slug-Mug and Sandpaper "-----I never did find out exactly what it was, but it sounds pretty awful, don"t you think ??? The name AND the instrument !!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 10:10 AM

When I pick Bpubbles***, my more bulky cat, she tends to make lots of pleasurable grunting nises...



*** All cats have a silent 'p' at one end...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 10:33 AM

Jews harp...Grrrrrrrrrrrr its horrid noise grates on me and many others. There is an old guy who used to own a music shop and he plays this hideous instrument, although it looks more like something the dentist would be using.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 11:49 AM

I had a feeling that,sooner or later,someone would say Jew's Harp.
I,uhm,play one of those as well.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM

When I was a child, I was a big fan of those comics that advertised 'jokes' on the back. There was itching powder, sugar cubes that floated and a seebacroscope.

The one that my parents put their foot down about was the nose flute. they weren't having such a thing in the house, or anywhere near the house.

I bet if I had more sympathetic parents, I would have been there in The Chieftains with me nose flute, swapping slip jigs and trading riffs with Paddy Moloney.

I suppose catarrh is a bit like writers block, for a nose flute player.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 03 Mar 07 - 01:33 PM

weelittledrummer: Judging by your input, I'd venture to say, you have time on your hands now.
Cheers
Jim


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 03:39 AM

Well, obviously anything I play (washboard, spoons, kazoo) has to be in the all time worst list but in other hands can sound great. Even the Swanee whistle in the hands of, say, the Hoosier Hotshots, sounds good. I suppose the writer is trying to say that some instruments are deceptively simple which encourages tone deaf idiots like me to think they can play them. In other hands they sound good so it's daft to blame the instrument.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 05:26 AM

Electric guitars because they've taken over the world.

Many professional Folk Revival singers (some of whom are mentioned above). It's not because they're particularly bad singers but because they have such idiosyncratic voices and styles. Many amateur singers then seem to think that all they have to do is to slavishly imitate the weird twitches and mannerisms of their idols in order to become a Folk Singer.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 05:32 AM

So anyone with an idiosyncratic voice and a nervous tic doesn"t stand a chance ,then ???


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM

Looks like you're really a failure and just don't understand it then, El Greko.... :P


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 07:17 AM

"So anyone with an idiosyncratic voice and a nervous tic doesn"t stand a chance ,then ???"

No, 'bubblyrat', someone who slavishly imitates someone with an "idiosyncratic voice and a nervous tic" doesn't stand a chance. Or rather, they don't persuade me that they are 'doing folk music'(they are just doing a 'Rory Bremner'!).


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 08:04 AM

The harpsichord-skeleton joke was by Sir Thomas Beecham, who would *not* have liked to be confused with Sargent. Beecham once described Karajan as "a sort of musical Malcolm Sargent".

Beecham's recordings are still listenable, Sargent's are period pieces.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 10:17 AM

Well, Mr McDonald, we have a difference of opinion. I think Kate Rusby has a lovely voice but then I also think Leo Sayer is a fine singer, so what do I know?

Going back to awful instruments, the bass player on The Men They Couldn't Hang's debut album is also credited with Tibetan Anal Flute. Don't know what it sounds like but I bet you wouldn't get many requests to borrow one at a session!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Wolfhound person
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 01:30 PM

Was it not also Sir Thomas Beecham who in an orchestral rehearsal where one of the cellists was having an off day, turned to her and said " Madam, you have between your legs an instrument which can raise man to heights of ecstasy, and all you can do is sit there and scratch it."

Allegedly.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 02:27 PM

There's Athanasius Kircher's cat piano as described in his 1650 work Musurgia Universalis, though it does have the whiff of hoax.

I saw someone (www.dizzi.co.uk in fact) play the hammer dulcimer at the The Old Down (at the King's Arms in Litton) a week or two ago and I thought she was very good, though I don't think I would care to hear more than about 10 minutes without a break as it's pretty relentless.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 03:27 PM

Worst ever......?
that's got to be Hobgoblin's finest - The Gremlin Concertina
Dave


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 03:58 PM

Cragrat - touche! However, I think Katherine Roberts had by far the better voice than her Barnsley mate - and I have their 1995 CD in front of me if you want proof..........But, as you intimate, each to his/her own.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: oggie
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 04:48 PM

Nope, pre-dating the "Gremlin" were those East German 2-row anglos which were badly tuned to start with and where the "D" always started rattling after a couple of months and 'cos they were in G/D ruined you for playing your first "proper" Anglo, a C/G Lachenal.

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 04:58 PM

Subjective reactions is what we have here. One of the worst instruments is the hardest to manage and when it is mastered, it is sublime. The Devil's Box ....the fiddle.

Someone is not going to like something.

I happen to think June Tabor has a lovely voice.

There are some who would say that they hate voices such as Jussi Boerling or Renee Fleming. That's plain obstinate subjective criticism that merits no value.

Any musical expression is always good regardless whether hummed, scratched, bleated or frightening like a pipe organ. They all have merit in the hands of great musicians.

The worst instrument ever may be the listener.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 05:18 PM

Many professional Folk Revival singers (some of whom are mentioned above). It's not because they're particularly bad singers but because they have such idiosyncratic voices and styles.

I prefer singers with idiosyncratic voices and styles. Wouldn't it be rather dull if they didn't exist?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,pitheris
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 05:53 PM

Jews Harp
Sounds fine to me.
http://www.archive.org/details/Dad_Pickard_Sally_Goodin

IMO The Worst Instrument is one that is poorly crafted.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 07:43 PM

A type of tuned "bull-roar-er"

Unlike the conventional...this one is a hollow tube....with an "adjustible (to put it very loosely) plunger" that is manipulated as it is swung over the head. You might also consider it a type of trombone on a rope.

Almost impossible to play - except when stoned at a "burning man" or after years and years of intoxication.

I'm still working on it .... along with a similar... but eight note device.... from Godollo Hungary.

Both require the strength of youth to play - so sorry to say - my day has probably past.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 07:44 PM

If Mr Cage and the above instruments had ever passed paths - he would have written at least one concerto featuring the devices.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 07:03 AM

"I prefer singers with idiosyncratic voices and styles. Wouldn't it be rather dull if they didn't exist?"

Some of the best singers I know sing, with what can only be described, as their 'natural voice' - and, in my opinion, that is the only idiosyncracy that is required. To deliberately develop some sort of weird, strangled warble, which is then slavishly imitated by every Tom, Dick or Harry is just irritating!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 07:16 AM

Some of the best singers I know sing, with what can only be described, as their 'natural voice' - and, in my opinion, that is the only idiosyncracy that is required. To deliberately develop some sort of weird, strangled warble, which is then slavishly imitated by every Tom, Dick or Harry is just irritating!

Shimrod, perhaps I misunderstood your meaning. I took 'idiosyncratic' to mean having characteristics particular to an individual. Hence my comment above, that the world would be a more boring place if all singers sounded identical and didn't have individual characteristics.

But how do you know that the originator of the "weird, strangled warble" is not singing in his or her natural voice, and that they are deliberately choosing to sing like that? (But obviously, those who copy this person are not.)

Can you give any examples to illustrate what you mean? It might become clearer then.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 11:30 AM

Would like to make the point that there is no such instrument as the Jews Harp - its actually called a "Jaws Harp" or should this be the start of another thread. Its a horrible instrument any way and very difficult to play without taking the enamel off your front teeth


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 12:25 PM

Jew's Harp. Jaw's Harp.Jaw Harp.Mouth Harp.Juice Trump.Jew's Trump. Juice Harp.English Trump.Gumbarde. All long established names for the same instrument.The term "Jew's Harp" has,in recent years fallen out of favour with some because of it's allegedly antisemitic connotations.
As Shakespeare observed in a work long considered lost until it was found down the back of his sofa:That which we call a Gumbarde,by any other name,Would still make a noise like unto the fart of a belligerent Bee,and play havoc with the enamel of thy teeth.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 12:33 PM

Well, now then, Mr McDonald, we seem to have found some common ground. Kathryn Roberts has indeed got a wonderful set of pipes. That duo album is still a joy to behold!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 01:19 PM

Yes, but the best track is the Plains of Waterloo....I think!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: mick p r.m s.c
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 05:19 PM

Hurdy Gurdys are great. Bodhrams brilliant. Shaky eggs are eggxellent. The spoons are special. Jews Harp is joyous. Melodeons are melodious. Guitars are the stars but it depends whos playing them. Banjos are ##################### I think I will give up Banjos as a lost cause. Bongos are for the bonkers. Auto Harps????????????? Well thats me finished. Going down the pub.

                         CATCH YOU ALL LATER. ENJOY!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 06:11 PM

Hi Scrump,

I'd prefer not to give specific examples from the British Folk Scene (cowardly, I know - but they do say that "discretion is the better part of valour", don't they?).

(There are, though, plenty of examples from the Pop/Rock world of people singing in 'silly voices' - let's see, off the top of my head: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, nearly all of the Punks, Morrisey, Oasis etc., etc., etc. (oh dear, perhaps I've offended some Pop/Rock fans here - hope so!). And this habit of 'contrived vocalisation' can 'leak through' to the Folk World).

Generally, I tend to feel that a rather odd 'folk club voice' has developed on the British Folk Scene, and this is a voice that has very little to do with British oral tradition. It has, though, got everything to do with a handful of highly influential professional folk singers who have been slavishly imitated.
The voice itself, especially among male singers, is always rather nasal with, often, a rather 'drony' quality. Difficult to describe in more detail - but it is instantly recognisable. In my ideal world people would emulate (rather than imitate) both the best Revival singers AND Traditional singers and work to develop their own voice and style.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,:::
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 10:06 PM

Jews Affectionateo Harpideo

The same effect is produced with a spoon, a hollow cheek, or a rubber-band.

The Jew's Harp is an admirable instrument....if it were worth less worthy than the above mentioned (priceless) instruments...

Then it might be more worthy a Jew.

The hollow, oral cavity of any living creature....is better than the dead cavernous convines of any similar carnivour.

Sincerely,
:::


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 11:24 PM

The Jews' Harp can be played as just a "twanger," but proper playing involves using the mouth shape and the tongue to change the resonant cavity of the mouth and emphasize the overtones of the fundamental note. When well-played, it's a fascinating instrument. You can (and should) use your breath to add rhythmic pulses as you breath in and out (a rapid in-out-in-out breath gives you a tremolo, as an example). There are a few good Jews' Harp recordings (the one up-thread being one of the earliest), and a Google search should find them. I remember Jon Wright's "La Guimbarde" recordings as some of the first really good playing I ever heard. In fact, I got an excellent hand-made Nigerian (Housa tribe) harp through a chain that led to me from Mike Rivers from Mike Seeger from Jon Wright. This was back in the "day."

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 01:47 AM

"The voice itself, especially among male singers, is always rather nasal with, often, a rather 'drony' quality."

Scrump: I don't think anyone could have described that better.

On the same topic; I would include the Scottish folk singers who mumble and slur the songs with the same "Drony" quality which you describe.
I call it the "I can't be bothered" voice but it sells!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 04:21 AM

...(There are, though, plenty of examples from the Pop/Rock world of people singing in 'silly voices' - let's see, off the top of my head: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, nearly all of the Punks, Morrisey, Oasis etc., etc., etc. (oh dear, perhaps I've offended some Pop/Rock fans here - hope so!). And this habit of 'contrived vocalisation' can 'leak through' to the Folk World).

Generally, I tend to feel that a rather odd 'folk club voice' has developed on the British Folk Scene, and this is a voice that has very little to do with British oral tradition. It has, though, got everything to do with a handful of highly influential professional folk singers who have been slavishly imitated.
The voice itself, especially among male singers, is always rather nasal with, often, a rather 'drony' quality. Difficult to describe in more detail - but it is instantly recognisable. In my ideal world people would emulate (rather than imitate) both the best Revival singers AND Traditional singers and work to develop their own voice and style.


Shimrod, I agree with you, now I understand what you meant. Thanks for the explanation.

Certainly, in the pop world, there seem to be a lot of singers who copy the mannerisms and idiosyncracies of other individuals, such as those you mention above. And the likes of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson (both originals in what they do, or at least did) have spawned a huge bunch of inferior copycat 'soul' singers (who to me sound as if they sing from anything but the soul).

When I first heard Dire Straits in the late 1970s I immediately thought Mark Knopfler was copying Dylan's vocal style, which put me off the band at that time. (But maybe I'm a hypocrite, because as a lad I used to copy Dylan's vocal style myself - well, I was a lad and he was my hero then! :-))

As for the 'folk club voice' you describe so well, I've always found that irritating too. It's as if the singer thinks it's mandatory to affect the nasal drone. I would say that this 'folk club voice' is probably more responsible for driving people away from folk music and clubs than anything else.

I agree with you that it's better to sing in your natural voice, although if I'm singing a regional song with local dialect words, etc., I will attempt to render them in the correct accent, or they will sound stupid (but I don't want to get into yet another discussion about whether people should sing songs that did not originate from the same place as them).


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 04:40 AM

OOPS! I meant Shimrod too.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,BM Baillie
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 07:15 AM

...Kathryn Roberts has a wonderful set of pipes?
...are you her gynacologist?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 07:22 AM

I didn't know Kathryn played the pipes. But she's got a lovely voice and she's a crackin' lass too. If she wants to have a look at me chanter she's only to ask :-)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 09:44 AM

"and the sharks played Melodeons at the bottom of the bay..."


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 01:10 PM

Slightly off-topic but... Several contributors to this thread have cited the voices of named vocalists as worst instrument ever.
Q magazine continue the current journalistic obsession with lists by listing the "100 greatest singers". They also (much more interestingly) list "The 10 Worst Singers of All Time".
Apparently these are:
1)Ozzy Osbourne.
2)Fred Durst.
3)Celine Dion.
4)Mariah Carey.
5)Einar Orn Benediktsson.
6)Heather Small.
7)Yoko Ono.
8)Nick Heyward.
9)Bobby Gillespie.
10)Any death metal singer ever.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 02:00 PM

In my filthy dreams, I am indeed Kathryn Roberts gynaecologist!!

Her duo albums with the lucky (and talented.... Bastard!)Mr Lakeman are fab as well. Must dash to listen to Cuckoo's Nest Phwoarr!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 03:34 PM

I say, steady on, Cragrat old chap. Goodness knows what effect the album she made with Kate Rusby would have on you :-)

Interesting "Worst Singers" list, Alec. I don't know a few of those; perhaps it's just as well.

But I have never liked Celine Dion (far too strident IMO) or Mariah Carey (whose motto seems to be "why sing one note when 20 will do?" - overdone ornamentation). I thought they were highly regarded by other people, and it was just me, so it's nice to know I'm not alone in disliking their vocal styles.

Why Nick Heyward, I wonder? I thought he was fairly innocuous, and there must be many just as bad as him. Haven't heard him lately, though.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 03:44 PM

Nick Heyward Gurning milksop who sang about the Lemon Fire Brigade with his band Haircut 100.Any more twee and he be comparing his girlfriend to "a little steam whistle".Actually,he did that too.
Q Magazine.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 03:50 PM

Celine Dion Her heart will go on.As do her songs.Though they would be somewhat shorter if she didn't grind out every note as if bearing some kind of grudge against the very notion of economy.
Q Magazine.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM

Mariah Carey How do you solve a problem like Mariah? Easy;tell her to stop squawking.She may have a 100-octave range and the ability to sing so loudly that birds nests fall from trees,but that doesn't make it right.
Q Magazine.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,teachers pest
Date: 06 Mar 07 - 04:51 PM

BAGPIPES


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 04:29 AM

Hi Scrump and Jim Lad,

I'm glad that we agree and it's not just me! Perhaps we ought to start a movement for 'Singing in the Natural Voice' - or something (?)

A good start might be listening to recordings of trad. singers, eg. Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Lizzie Higgins, Sarah Makem etc., etc. They might have sung in a variety of regional accents but they sang in their natural voices.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jul 14 - 09:05 PM

the cuica... sounds like a baboon being raped by a donkey


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 12:25 AM

Not a good week for the stylophone (or wobble board), is it?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 02:37 AM

a couple of years back they had some band at Towersey FF that were distinctly unFolk. The singer had all sorts of percussion, like a typewriter. It didn't strike me (as a drummer) to add anything to the music, and neither did the music come to think of it.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 02:06 PM

Any "wet-tuned" instrument. I.e.some accordions and melodeons. That slightly off-key sound is just horrible! I play B/C button accordion myself - nice pure sound if I hit the right notes!
Musical saw is even fine by me, so long as it's not a fiddle being sawed.
Very happy with hurdy-gurdies, nyckelharpas, autoharps, bagpipes (outdoors if it's the GHB), melodeons in pure-tone, bodhrans, spoons, washboards, string basses, and banjos - if played well and at an appropriate owing in the session.
I once went to a concert of multiple serpents and ophicleides: now that was an odd experience, but not unlikeable, if a bit off-key at times.
But as others have said, it's not so much about the instrument as how it's played.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 02:53 PM

The toneless, soulless recorder .... ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

(BTW Jack, where's the Reid Museum in Embra?)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 07:31 PM

Soulless? Like this?

PerKelt

(Ordinary factory-made plastic recorders, as far as I can see).


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 02:42 AM

There re 3 in particular that often some old dar pull out and insist on offending our ears with, I would have the following destroyed forever 1) the dreadful Kazoo thing, truly awful, 2) The Spoons, they should oly pe played all over the users head! 3) The bones just plain macabre. I would have added the musical Saw, but I heard one lst year and it actually sounded quite good. Oh and much as the Violin is my favourite instrument, do NOT ever ply it unless you're at lest profficient!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 07:35 AM

Worst is the sound of a loud Jeffries concertina tuned to old pitch in an A:440 session.

Almost as bad as Rambling Syd Rumpo impersonators.....

And people who sing like pirates. (Aaaaaaarrrgghhh!)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 01:49 PM

Ah yes, concertinas en masse, like a flock of honking geese..............


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 03:35 PM

Anybody seen an Otamatone at a session yet?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Jul 14 - 04:15 PM

Ukuleles - because they've taken over the world.

(With apologies to Shimrod from 04 Mar 07 - 05:26 AM).


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 01:06 AM

I knew a fellow who had a Crumhorn made of pvc piping. Count your blessings if you didn't. There's some instrument from Spain that's made from a cow horn, and sounds like the cow is having a pelvic exam.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 03:05 AM

How come nobody's mentioned a harmonium yet?

Then there was the priceless moment when a spoons player turned around to discover the waitress had collected his "instruments" for the washing up - he was never able to identify which ones were his thereafter, it was that kind of pub.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 04:19 AM

Silent Night on two Otamatones and guitar

Greensleeves on an Otamatone trio

Scotland the Brave (solo, using another Otamatone as the drone)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 05:03 AM

Where can I get one?

I want to drive my car over it....very many times!!!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 05:10 AM

Love those Otamatones, Jack. I fancy the deluxe model, with the line out, which could be a lot of fun.

Analogue Ribbons are very in right now with Korg's mighty Monotribe and their super cheap range of lo-fi mini Monotrons. The Monotron Delay packs an especial punch, if only for the amazing delay unit - Here's me using it purely for this purpose hooked up to a Volca Keys.

Imagine it hooked up to a Otamatone! Watch this space...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 05:11 AM

Ditto, the inventor.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 08:55 AM

Does the lava lamp in that Sedayne video contribute to the sound?

I imagine that you could make the blobs in a lava lamp play a theremin somehow. After all a kitten can do it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXn4_JkVFVo


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 10:58 AM

Have we had bombardes and binious yet? I don't personally dislike them, but enough to send a cat heading through a plate-glass window!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDwfBx2MzYc


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Jul 14 - 11:37 PM

Please tell me the inventor of the Otamatone has been arrested. He should be. It makes me long for the pvc crum horn.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 14 - 03:47 AM

Arrested? No. You're confusing him with the inventor of the wobble board!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Jul 14 - 06:07 AM

Does the lava lamp in that Sedayne video contribute to the sound

Not that one anyway; it's been replaced with a vintage Mathmos for that authentic 'Future of things Past' vibe so essential to we analogue revivalists dreaming of Delia, Daphne and the EMS Synthis of our youths before folk lead us astray!

*

As for the other thing, Jack (best addressed here I think), the song I referred to was composed by the singer; it's a piece of dreamy exotica supposedly inspired by seeing a South Seas holiday poster one cold rainy winter day in London. In it, the girl murmers the words I quoted. Beautiful song it is too, a lifelong favourite, but now junked along with so much else...


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