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How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? #3017830 11/29/19 05:58 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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My primary instrument is guitar, but I also play bass (and I mean bass, not play bass like a guitar player playing bass, LOL) and keyboard well enough to fool people into thinking I can play keyboard smile. (MIDI, chord tracks, and other "helpers" let me record pretty decent keyboard parts.) And for some reason I don't fully understand, I took an immediate liking to blues harp many years ago, and have become pretty good at it.

I try to keep developing these skills in parallel, because I'm finding that I write different types of songs on different instruments. The songs I write on keyboard would never have been written on guitar, and vice-versa. Doubling also came in handy during my studio musician days, and for solo acts, there's the practical aspect of being able to switch instruments to add variety.

Doubling on guitar and keys seems pretty common, but I wonder what everyone else who doubles in using. Are there any people who double on, for example, ukulele and tympani? Or (sorry, I can't resist) sax and violins?

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017834 11/29/19 07:46 PM
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I've been playing electric violin or acoustic viola for the majority of my live shows. I've put in more work on guitar, thanks to the habit of playing guitar while watching streaming video, and TV in the old days. But I guess those who've asked me to play live, either with a band or solo, find the sound of my viola/electric violin more compelling than anything I can do on guitar. I'm ok on guitar, and barely functional on the bowed instruments, yet the latter is what people want from me even with that gap in skill level between the two types of instrument.

Piano was my first instrument but I just use keys for MIDI data entry. I've played with MIDI guitar before and still have a couple of guitars that have Roland GK3 pickups but in general, MIDI data entry from keys is a faster workflow for me.

I paid the deposit for an Expressive E Osmose, the upcoming keyboard synth which will let you wiggle individual keys for pitch bend/vibrato and other neat stuff. When it arrives a couple of years from now I'll probably play keys more often. Based on discussion I've seen on a couple of forums, there seems to be more interest from players like me who don't specialize on keyboards, than from the keyboard specialists - kind of ironic.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017835 11/29/19 08:08 PM
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I pay eight:
  • sax (all of them but presently mostly tenor),
  • flute,
  • wind synthesizer,
  • bass
  • guitar
  • drums
  • keyboard synth
  • voice.


Why?
  • It's fun to play more than one instrument as it lets you express yourself in a totally different manner. After all, you don't play the instrument, instead you let the instrument play you
  • It increases my worth as a mucian, being able to take a job on sax, flute, wind synth, guitar or bass, or double on drums or keyboards (I wouldn't want to do drums all evening and I'm only adequate on keys, but still improving)
  • Knowing what other instruments do in a band setting and how they interact with each other helps me write good backing tracks for my duo
  • Knowing what other instruments do in a band setting and how they interact with the other instruments in the band helps me write good aftermarket styles for Band-in-a-Box and other auto-accompaniment programs
  • It helps with my understanding of the ensemble and therefore my arranging skills


Actually here is a better question (for me)...

Why not?

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017840 11/29/19 08:39 PM
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Piano/keys - started piano lessons as a kid, dropped, started again in high school.
Drums - joined high school band as a drummer as a freshman. Found that it was my natural instrument.
Trumpet
Saxophone - Started these my senior year of high school when marching band took a really big hit in the horn section from graduation. I bought a fairly cheap trumpet but it was made in Elkhart Indiana. The band supplied a baritone sax.
Guitar - Had to move from keys to guitar for three weeks once when our guitarist quit. Could not get back to keys quick enough. I sucked, but was good enough that the club told us to keep playing and not worry about loosing our gig. Still, that was three long weeks for me.
Bass - the instrument that I always wanted to play well, and never dedicated the time.

Right before I retired I bought a few instruments to learn in my old age. Flute, banjo, ukulele. Have not learned them yet. Someday I also plan to learn how to play my set of harmonicas.

Why? Playing around on a new instrument is like exploring a new location. I like playing music more than I like playing a specific instrument. Every new instrument teaches me something about music. There is no denying that my synth leads improved because of playing guitar and sax.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017843 11/29/19 08:57 PM
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Guitar (strummed chords, mainly)
Bass

Why? No idea


The past is gone. I'm sure it can take care of itself now.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017848 11/29/19 10:00 PM
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When i was 3, I made a rattle with a stick, an orange juice can and some gravel and drove my parents insane.
When I was 5, my uncle put a Silvertone ukulele in my hands. That was the primary point of infection, I was doomed.
When I was 9 I got a guitar. I had a good chunk of the Bonanza theme figured out when my sister's friend's brother used the guitar to play El Kabong and it died.
When I was 13 I got $40 from Mom to buy a guitar and got a Harmony archtop at a pawn shop. I loved that thing!!!

Then, I had an opportunity to be in a band if I had a bass. I got a Lyle 335 style hollowbody with a bolt on neck. I don't remember what I used for an amp but I'm sure it sucked.
After some practices and a couple of gigs, they found another kid who was a better bassist than I was and had better gear too so I was toast.
I traded in the bass for the same model Lyle electric guitar.

Over the next few years I got more electric guitars ($75 pawn shop Fenders), better amps, a bass, a couple of beater acoustics including my first nylon string, a whole lot of attitude and eventually, a well beaten Martin D-35 which I played exclusively for 3-4 years. The reason for all of this is "because."

I got back into electric instruments, wanted to record songs I was writing and got another bass. I've always known bass was NOT a guitar and that I love the sound of it. I play bass like a bass.

Fast forward to now, I play electric guitar - lead and accompaniment - styles include Rock, Country, Blues, Funk, whatever. I play 6, 12 and nylon string acoustic/electric guitars. I play bass, both fretted (live work) and fretless (studio). I am learning to play the fretless nylon string banjo, I can scoot around a bit on a fretted banjo, gimme a uke and I'll play some things. I can play a couple of harmonica solos before I run out of ish. I am learning to play my Korg Wavedrum. I suck at keyboards and I detest the way a mandolin sounds when I attempt it, something about being tuned in tempered fifths just really bugs me. Somebody good on mandolin is another story so no flaming please!!! :- D

Edit. I left out lap steel. I've played slide guitar of one sort or another for decades. I am no master but I love the sound. George Harrison is one of my favorite slide players because he doesn't sound like anybody else.

I just like having different voices and want to be able to get things done without relying on others for bass, drums etc. Plus, it's fun!!!!


Last edited by KuruPrionz; 11/30/19 12:17 AM. Reason: Left out lap steel.

There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017849 11/29/19 10:15 PM
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Keys, guitar (mostly rhythm), bass, drums and some horns. cool

I play them all because they're all different ways to approach music - nothing quite like playing the same song on another instrument - and because they offer different ways to play with other musicians.

Heck, I would argue that a Hammond and a piano are different instruments. idk

I really enjoy singing, too...doing more of it these days.

dB


Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017857 11/30/19 12:13 AM
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Started playing piano at age 3, has always been my primary instrument.

While in music class in elementary school, I found not only could I sing I could also harmonize. Had good relative pitch that young.

Learned the drums while in middle school band. Also learned percussion. The high school band director put me on tympani because my relative pitch allowed my to tune them (quietly) in the middle of a song.

Friend in high school had a bass guitar which I would fiddle with, found an affinity for it. Another friend in school had a PAiA synthesizer 4700 modular, that ruined me for life smile

Have a MIDI drum kit but never did own a real drum set. But I can play a real kit. Most piano players I know can sit down at a drum kit and play reasonably well - they already learned limb independence while learning piano.

My brother played guitar, sometimes I would fiddle with it. With my piano lessons in music theory I could find my way around it easily.

Didn't really play guitar in a band until it was out of necessity - guitar player left and I found that doubling barre chords on keyboards bored me to tears.

I'm very proficient on rhythm guitar, but I am resisting playing it too much. I want to be a keyboard player not a guitar player.

I enjoy singing, I sing a lot of harmonies and have a good singing range. I developed a knack for quickly picking out missing harmonies. Most bands I have been in have been disappointing as the other players don't want to put the work into learning to sing. Now I'm in a band with four good singers and we can cover Styx, Kansas, other vocally challenging songs I've been itching to play for years.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: RABid] #3017868 11/30/19 01:48 AM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by RABid
There is no denying that my synth leads improved because of playing guitar and sax.


Yes! And my bass playing improved dramatically when I started working on programming drum parts, as did my timing on rhythm guitar. (I didn't include drum machines in my list, because I'm not a drummer. However, my Dad was, and I learned a lot about drums and rhythm from him.)

I've also found cross-pollination between instruments. In 1989, I did an album called Forward Motion with pianist Spencer Brewer that sold quite well. Spencer played the really good keyboard parts, while I played keyboards and MIDI guitar (this was pre-ADAT, so everything was sequenced). Most of the keyboards I played were leads, and they sounded more like guitar than keyboards. The MIDI guitar parts were mostly block chords (after all, MIDI guitar is mostly switches), and sounded more like keyboards.

To this day, I almost never use a mod wheel to add vibrato to keyboards - I work the pitch wheel manually, the way I'd bend guitar notes. That's a lot of what makes it sound "guitar-like."

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017873 11/30/19 03:18 AM
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Kind of related - didn't know one of my session guitar heroes also played keys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YURPSRZ45ns

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017890 11/30/19 12:01 PM
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My mother played piano a little and tried to teach me to play, but it didn't stick. By the time I was about 11 or 12, I was listening to and loving big bands (Ellington, Basie), small jazz combos (Benny Goodman), and the Dave Brubeck Quartet was just starting to come out of the closet. I loved that and wanted to be Paul Desmond. In 7th grade I signed up for Beginning Winds to learn sax, but the school band didn't need any saxes (so they didn't offer any for class loaners). They needed some trombone players, though, so I said - OK, I can be Tommy Dorsey or JJ Johnson for a couple of years. The next year I graduated to 2nd chair orchestra, and for some reason that I don't remember I didn't continue with the trombone after that. In high school, all my time was taken up with amateur radio and model rocketry, so my musical energy was reserved for records and radio.

The Kingston Trio became a national hit during my first year in college, I joined the folk music club, and got hooked on folk music. I learned to play guitar during the first summer break, and the rest was history, sort of. Incidentally, my guitar mentor, a friend from high school (we went to the same college) was also my recording mentor. So I learned "folk guitar" and a few things you could see from there, and before the end of college I had taken up the 5-string banjo because there were some songs I wanted to sing that just fit better on banjo than guitar. And that's as far as I got for the next 55 years. I wanted to learn to play fiddle but could never get past the painful stage. I dabbled with pedal steel, but it became more of a machine shop project for me than a musical instrument. Now I have too many guitars (even a few electrics) and banjos, but when I get together for jams a couple of times a month these days, it's always the guitar because there are plenty of fiddle, banjo, and mandolin players and never enough guitar players.

So "I play guitar and banjo" (period).

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017893 11/30/19 02:17 PM
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I also 'play' a computer. This was recorded in real time using Rebirth

https://soundcloud.com/randomnortherner/back-street-kids-sabbath-cover


The past is gone. I'm sure it can take care of itself now.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017912 11/30/19 04:26 PM
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My main instrument is alto sax, but I also play bari and soprano. I added backup vocals and keyboards because you can't play sax all the time in a covers band. Even many songs which do call for horns have long periods during which no horns should be played. Harmonizing on backup vocals was a natural for me - I can find the inside harmony instinctively and stay on it - hence my handle. I started playing keys in the covers band mainly because there were songs we wanted to cover which needed some additional noises. On a couple songs I use a Roland PK-5a footpedal MIDI controller to play extra parts while both my hands are occupied playing the sax.

I used to try to play flute on some songs, but I never got the tone right. One night after I had rasped my way through Ruby Tuesday again, one of the other band members said to me something like "yeah, for me, *harmonica* is the instrument I suck at" - which sent a clear message about my flute playing. So I put down the flute after that night.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3017928 11/30/19 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce

Heck, I would argue that a Hammond and a piano are different instruments.



Hell ya, if you do it right,

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Dave Bryce] #3017933 11/30/19 06:17 PM
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KuruPrionz Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce

Heck, I would argue that a Hammond and a piano are different instruments. idk



Absolutely different!!! Bass and guitar have similar layouts but are not the same thing at all. Slide guitar and fingered? Same instrument, totally different instrument.

The touch sensitivity of the piano compared to the Hammond is completely different and that changes the expression. There are no drawbars on a piano, that changes expression too.

Plus nobody play bass with their feet on the piano.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: BMD] #3017934 11/30/19 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BMD
I also 'play' a computer. This was recorded in real time using Rebirth

https://soundcloud.com/randomnortherner/back-street-kids-sabbath-cover


Good point, I think it's indeed possible to "play" computer. I've certainly gotten better at playing it over the years smile

Also Dr. Walker plays mixer. That might not make sense, but in a lot of the gigs I did with him, the band played more or less constantly, and he worked the faders almost like a conductor -- bringing parts in and out, muting, soloing, etc. I had always considered mixing as somewhat of a performance, but he taught me to also think of a mixer as a musical instrument.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3017935 11/30/19 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce

Heck, I would argue that a Hammond and a piano are different instruments. idk



Absolutely different!!! Bass and guitar have similar layouts but are not the same thing at all. Slide guitar and fingered? Same instrument, totally different instrument.

The touch sensitivity of the piano compared to the Hammond is completely different and that changes the expression. There are no drawbars on a piano, that changes expression too.

Plus nobody play bass with their feet on the piano.


Totally agree with all of that. I'd go so far as to say acoustic and electric guitar are quite different. They require a different touch and a different playing style.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017940 11/30/19 06:39 PM
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KuruPrionz Offline
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce

Heck, I would argue that a Hammond and a piano are different instruments. idk



Absolutely different!!! Bass and guitar have similar layouts but are not the same thing at all. Slide guitar and fingered? Same instrument, totally different instrument.

The touch sensitivity of the piano compared to the Hammond is completely different and that changes the expression. There are no drawbars on a piano, that changes expression too.

Plus nobody play bass with their feet on the piano.


Totally agree with all of that. I'd go so far as to say acoustic and electric guitar are quite different. They require a different touch and a different playing style.


Agreed, add in the nylon string guitar and the 12 string. You simply cannot play these instruments in the same fashion as an electric or acoustic steel stringed 6'er.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017943 11/30/19 06:50 PM
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Same with congas. Very different than playing drums with sticks. The hardest part for me is learning the roll using first the ball of the hand followed quickly by the fingertips. Demonstrated here by Giovanni Hidalgo. Around the 2:15 mark he starts doing it a lot. Oh, and I guess an even bigger difference is you tend to play congas "monophonically" hitting only one drum at a time. On a kit you frequently hit the bass, snare and hi-hat at the same time.


Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017955 11/30/19 08:00 PM
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Keys, sax, bass, rhythm guitar, sing. Started as a kid with piano lessons, added sax in 6th grade concert band, stuck with it and took private lessons. In college, picked up guitar and bass by ear and with some instruction from room mates. I've always sang.


Dan

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Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017956 11/30/19 08:05 PM
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I play keyboards and guitar, fake my way on bass, and use a recording studio as a musical instrument.

I fake my way through some percussion and Javanese gamelan.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3017959 11/30/19 08:20 PM
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First was about a half year on piano when in 4th grade. High school and college Clarinet and some Tenor Sax (no longer have enough wind, but remember the fingering). When I got into musical electronics for a business, I wound up with lots of instruments: Full console church type organ with Leslie in mobile home, Prophet 600 synth, Bass clarinet, C-melody sax, flute, autoharp, bass guitar, spinet organ. About a decade ago: 5 years of piano/keyboard lessons, more bass guitar, Kurzweil (several models) synth, guitar, grand piano in home, and some Latin percussion.

Still play and use frequently today: keys including 4 Kurzweils, SK1, and iPad sound module/chart reader. Occasional autoharp. Still have Les Paul bass and guitar, but not used much.

Why? Well, the COPD kind of killed off all of the wind instruments, although there is still a Bb Clarinet around, and I can play for a couple of minutes before running out of breath. Loved the bass guitar, but fretting hand hurting with added age caused it to change to LH bass on keys. No room in house for adding a big Rodgers church organ (dream of having one with 8 ranks of real pipes at one end of music room (MIDI of course), 9' Bosendorfer on other side, and synths stacked all over the place).


Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's
HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Jim
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3017983 11/30/19 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
The touch sensitivity of the piano compared to the Hammond is completely different and that changes the expression. There are no drawbars on a piano, that changes expression too.

...and then there's that whole lack of decay/sustain thing - or any sort of envelope other than keyed gating, for that matter - on the organ. As someone who started (musical) life as a pianist, that took more than a minute to wrap my brain around. idk

dB

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3018065 12/01/19 08:05 PM
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The short version is that I can likely pass the audition for most any pop/rock band playing guitar and/or keys.

My background is that I was essentially forced to play piano from age 5 by my mother. It wasn't really a struggle for me, my left handedness gave me an advantage and we had a very good teacher from the hollywood hills. Looking back on it though I believe I could have benefited greatly if I'd also had a good mentor, someone to really show me the ropes on the Jerry Lee Lewis style could have probably made me a monster! Anyway, after moving to the mid-west the teachers were never as good or engaging and I rebelled against the keys since I'd always had a strong desire to play the guitar. I was off and on with that but then found some good mentors and also became enthralled with the study of music theory and improv. After a number of years I began to realize that keys added a lot to the pop/rock style of music that is my preference and decided I needed to re-incorporate some of that. I came back to keys with a strong foundation in theory which helped me approach it in new ways rather than the early years of just sight reading.

Over the course of time I've messed around with other instruments. I have an American Fender Precision bass that I've used for my recordings. I'm certain I have the skill to join a band with that however I don't know if my fingers would have the stamina for a full night on it! I have a banjo that I spent some time learning but not nearly enough to be of any use to anyone. I bought an old accordion and discovered it's quite a challenge to learn. It was quite a fascinating story when a gal from Chicago tracked that instrument down from a thread I'd started at the SSS forum on Harmony Central in hopes of buying it. Her father had had the same model as a child and she wanted to give it to him for Christmas. I also bought a violin a few years ago but have spent absolutely no time attempting to learn that up to this point.

Although I don't dedicate nearly as much time to playing instruments as I used too, I always felt that playing more than one helped to keep it more fun, interesting and challenging.

Last edited by Greg Mein; 12/02/19 02:41 AM.
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3018070 12/01/19 09:34 PM
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interesting post!

starting from the point that I'm NOT a musician, I like (or, I WOULD like) to play keys (I studied classic piano when I was young), bass and drums.
with a couple of bands I play keys (mainly organ) but alone at home/studio I like to make different experiments...

example_1

example_2

wave

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Greg Mein] #3018071 12/01/19 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Greg Mein
The short version is that I can likely pass the audition for most any pop/rock band playing guitar and/or keys.


Speaking of auditions..... I mentioned lessons in piano and sax, then picking up guitar and bass. I'm much better at bass than guitar, but only played keys and sax in live bands for quite some time. Then I had an opportunity to audition for a position playing bass and keys. I'm thinking mostly keys and LH bass and if it's a guitar based song, play bass. Figured I was good enough for that, even though I never played bass in a band. I show up to the audition and they told me to leave the keyboards in the car and just bring in my bass. Long story short, I somehow made the band auditioning only on bass. I ended up playing a lot of keys anyway. As far as my live guitar playing, it's sort of like if you're playing poison or something and there's a rhythm guitar part during the solo, it's going to sound better for me to chunk out 3 chords in the guitar than try to do something lame on the keys. It grew from there until I started doing more complicated parts but still never lead.


Dan

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Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3018172 12/02/19 09:03 PM
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I have discovered that it is possible to make engaging and meaningful music without being a virtuoso on any one instrument... it just requires a different approach.

I play keyboards with relatively limited technical dexterity, for reasons primarily relating to difficulties with hand independence (and a truly cruel piano teacher who ruined the instrument for me) when I was a kid. Occasionally I wish I had faster fingers, but then I shrug and move on. I have merely evolved a different playing style, and my music wouldn't be the same if I was a flashy player. If people ask me what "my" keyboard is, I say "mono synth", because it's all right hand doing melody and left hand working wheels and turning knobs, and has been since the late 1970s.

Because I am fascinated by the man-machine interface and have been researching it and writing about it for decades, I tend to use a lot of alternative controllers. Recently, I spent the better part of a year going through a huge pile of them (at one point I had fourteen in my studio) to find one that genuinely spoke to me, and I am now in the process of selling off the ones that were great but not great for me. Similarly, I "play" mixers and software for musical purposes live.

For many years I played bass in various bands, and I was never that good at it (hand independence, see above). It was actually a relief to finally sell my last bass in 1986, but as time went on, I found myself missing the unique sonorities and resonances that come from vibrating strings. In 2001 I bought myself a Schecter A-5X on blowout (they were discontinued after a phenomenally stupid lawsuit against Schecter) and spent a year experimenting with different tunings. The one I settled on was a baritone AEBEA, fifths down low for barre chords and fourths up above for isomorphic melody fingering.

I christened this tuning (and instruments using it) as "aebea" (rhymes with "idea"), named my A-5X Betty, and have taken her to gigs ever since. I don't consider myself a virtuoso player, but I can get ideas across effectively in support of better bassists and guitarists while occupying a part of the frequency range that doesn't step on either (very much). And after all these years, it's gratifying to hear a colleague contacting me before a festival and asking, "Are you gonna bring Betty?".

All these things (as well as woodwinds and other bits and pieces) flip different switches in my right brain, and all are useful. Others may find their bliss in focusing on one instrument to the exclusion of all else, but I'm a proud generalist. grin


Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, whoop de doo)
Wordsmith - Musician - Tech Freak - Amiable Zany
Everyone on this forum is a friend I haven't met yet
-- except for Bryce, who's, well, YOU know.
Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Anderton] #3018193 12/02/19 10:32 PM
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Nowarezman Offline
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I had maybe a year of piano lessons around 2nd grade. Hated going to the little old lady's house for lessons and the jack & jill-type material. But I did learn some things.

Sixth grade I wanted to play trombone, but they handed me a clarinet. (Small town, sorry kid, we don't have any more trombones.) Easier than piano, no question.

Picked up the sheet music to Sgt. Pepper in '68 and started picking out the chords, etc. on piano.

10th grade I got a Vox Jaguar Organ (Heathkit version, so I got pretty good at soldering for a kid!) Light My Fire, Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, etc.

Transistor organs went out of style pretty quick - sold the Jaguar, rented a piano in high school and dove into Elton and Leon as my models and heroes.

First year of college in '73, my roomie had a gorgeous Martin D-28 that he never played. He was also never around (girlfriend) and he let me play his Martin all I wanted. So I started picking out Cat Stevens and Beatles and getting the Travis picking style down, etc. Leo Kottke was just getting to be someone some people had heard of.

Guitar kind of took over - 'tho I'm still a better keyboard player than guitar player. It's just that tactile, expressive thing. Now I have two acoustics and two electrics and a Rickenbacher lap steel (yes, that is how it is actually spelled on the instrument - it's late 40s vintage.)

Had a conversation with an old friend and fellow singer/songwriter and we both agreed it was easier to write songs on one's 2nd best-played instrument. With the 1st best-played instrument, there are too many choices and distractions off into playing technique. So I write most my songs on acoustic guitar and play the fancy parts on the keys.

nat

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3018210 12/03/19 12:00 AM
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I agree about nylon string, especially played fingerpicked, being very different than steel string guitar. It's an even bigger gap than the one between viola and violin - imo.

Re: How Many of You Play More than One Instrument? Why? [Re: Nowarezman] #3018227 12/03/19 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
<...snip...>
Sixth grade I wanted to play trombone, but they handed me a clarinet. (Small town, sorry kid, we don't have any more trombones.) Easier than piano, no question.<...>

nat

I feel your pain. At the time South Florida was very sparsely populated (Fort Lauderdale had fewer than 15,000 people in the city and suburbs).

I wanted to play Baritone Horn (Euphonium) because it has a beautiful voice. Sorry kid, all the instruments are already rented, here is a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad.

In retrospect the drums were a good foundation.

Eventually the tenor sax player's family moved and the band director asked who wanted to play it. I was ready to play anything that had the capability of a melody, and I guess I was more enthusiastic than the others.

In retrospect getting to play tenor sax was extremely lucky because back then all the better rock and roll bands had a sax player. I became first sax in the all-state band every year, went on the road in an almost-famous band, and got to play with some of the superstars of the day.

In that road band I learned bass, rhythm guitar, and keyboards (mostly organ) being taught by the excellent musicians in that group. Whenever there wasn't a sax part, I got to play something else,. In addition, since the drummer also played trombone and was a lead singer, I got to play drums too a couple of songs per night. It was a gas, good show biz, and it was the best time of my youth.

Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
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