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Thread: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1 ?

  1. #26
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    1 mandolin
    2 things tuned like a mandolin
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  2. #27

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    My priorities at the moment, which I think is what you mean by ‘number one’:

    Something I can pick, tuned in fifths and harmonic enough to be able sing with.

  3. #28
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Early violin lessons until I sprained a wrist playing football in 9th grade. I'd already picked up guitar at that time with the idea of "attracting chicks (in 1966 vocabulary). Through high school and college played mostly guitar, but also pedal steel, in various "folk" and country Rock groups. Mandolin found me when I was in college, because our band needed some different sounds. Intermittently played mandolin over the years, but mostly guitar - flat picking, finger style, slide and lap slide until the turn of the century, when I realized I was in the company of too many guitarists. I taught myself how to spell chords so that I could keep up with the swing guitar players I was hanging out with. I still play guitar but mandolin has been my go-to for the past almost 20 years.

  4. #29
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    First started on piano as a child, then soon picked up acoustic bass in orchestra. That's all I played to high school when I got an electric bass. Played that until picking up acoustic guitar 30 years ago. After a brief try at mandolin a decade ago, started playing it seriously 3 years ago. This time it stuck. Also picked up octave mandolin this time around, too.

    Presently consider myself primarily a mandolin player who still plays guitar.
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  5. #30

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    trombone, tenor banjo, bass, fiddle, acoustic guitar , electric guitar, then back to acoustic , then fiddle and mando together in that order over 50 years , probably stay with fiddle mando and guitart now, with a little uke mixed in .

  6. #31
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Piano is still #1 , but mandolin gets all the practice time and all the gig time.

  7. #32
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Guitar is my main instrument having played it over 40 years. Mandolin, bass and piano all come in second.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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  9. #33
    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Mort View Post
    Guitar is my main instrument having played it over 40 years. Mandolin, bass and piano all come in second.
    I've got the same 4--although I rarely play keyboards as I don't have a piano or other keyboard at home, and over the years my focus was guitar.
    As well I play bass (& a bit of guitar) at church and so I spend a lot of time on that.
    But I like mandolin as well, so I do play it, and if I am on guitar at church I check the songs to see if any suit mandolin, and it doesn't have any weird chords (So for example if the song is in G or Em there's a good chance I could be trying it on mandolin-but other keys are possible--I do need to work on my chords more)

    So Guitar slightly ahead of bass for preference, and possibly the other way around for playing time.
    Then mandolin
    then keyboards.

    But I like them all, or I wouldn't play nay of them.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

  10. #34
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    I first started with cheap recorder. My first real instrument was a violin that almost killed my family. Probably the instrument I have the most talent is the bass. But, that is not an instrument that is very fulfilling to play alone. The instrumet I like playing the most is mandola and the one I like playing at jams is either bass for eclectic jams or the octave mandolin. I am taking my mandola to an eclectic jam this evening and will put my results tomorrow. Due to the scale, it can be challenging, but fun, to play on the fly.

  11. #35
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    I started mandolin at 5, then guitar, banjo, fiddle, and most strings I've handled. I only wish I was as comfortable with anything, including life, as I am with the mandolin.

  12. #36
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    I played guitar for over 25 years before taking up piano and then bass and mandolin all around 20 years ago. I love the journey of learning about music and getting better at playing it, so having more than one instrument adds more color to that journey. And, learning on any of these instruments fuels my growth on the others.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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  13. #37

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Like Michael H, piano is my #1 but mandolin gets all the practice time. A year ago I "invented" the "steel-string requinto" – a Gary Zimnicki-built guitar tuned up to ADGCEA, which I use to accompany my pro-level IT-playing wife – that gets a lot of practice time if a gig's coming up, but it's a distant third. Piano gets all the practice time if needed (it pays the bills), but most of the time, the mandolin's getting all the attention. My "day gig" for the last 2 1/2 years is on piano and electric 5-string mando, so my mandolin practice time is blissfully justifiable.

    My recently-launched website feels like it's getting more of my attention than it deserves, but all that really is is a publication of the exercises that I have created/am creating for my own mandolin practising. (It probably needs a YouTube channel where the exercises are demonstrated, and the theory behind them explained a little, but that's a project for next summer.)

    Come to think of it, all in all, I seem to be not that bad at coming up with reasons why I have to practise the mandolin...

  14. #38

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    So, Teddy, you have some responses. What do they make you think?
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; Nov-05-2019 at 10:28am.

  15. #39

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    . . . which I use to accompany my pro-level IT-playing wife . . . .
    What's an IT?

    =O.

  16. #40

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by archerscreek View Post
    I actually think it helps to play more than one instrument in a class of instruments, such as string instruments.

    I was always curious about the mandolin, but only when I started getting serious about becoming the best flatpicker I could be did I start playing the mandolin. Why? Because I noticed that nearly all of those considered to be the best flatpickers also played the mandolin or some other string instrument, at least casually. Clarence White? Check. Doc Watson. Check. Steve Kaufman. Check. And on and on.

    The skills crossover. Every minute of practice I put in on the mandolin I know will help me pick better on the guitar. And after I learn a song on the mandolin, it's easy enough to transpose it over to the guitar. Also playing something different always keeps things interesting. The more interesting an activity is, the more you want to do it. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

    If anyone is on the fence about picking up a new instrument, I say go for it. It will help you play better on your number one instrument, which for me is the acoustic guitar (to answer OP's question).
    I totally agree with this. I've messed around on electric and acoustic guitars since I was a teenager -- much more intently over the past decade. I bought my first mandolin earlier this year to have another instrument to accompany myself with on home recordings. I'm having a ton of fun learning the mandolin. I think being proficient on guitar helped me feel comfortable with the mando from the start. Also, my guitar playing feels sharper and tighter after a mandolin session. I didn't have much ambition to be a good flatpicker before, but learning fiddle tunes on the mando has changed that. I can do way more on the guitar today, but I hope to someday be equally proficient with both instruments.

  17. #41

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    My priorities at the moment, which I think is what you mean by ‘number one’:

    Something I can pick, tuned in fifths and harmonic enough to be able sing with.
    Number One usually means favorite instrument or most-played instrument.

  18. #42

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    It depends upon the situation. At jams, I mostly play my 1906 Gibson three-point mandolin or 1992 Collings dreadnought guitar. At Irish jams, I play my (Slingerland?) banjolin. At City band, I mostly play my 1950s WFL 5"x13" snare drum. At home, I mostly play my Young/Chang grand piano. When asked which instrument is my favorite, my standard answer is "Whichever one I happen to be playing".

  19. #43

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    What's an IT?
    "Irish Trad" Irish instrumental music, jigs and reels etc. My wife plays whistle (Irish whistle, penny whistle, tin whistle, whatever you want to call it) and Irish flute (like a classical flute, but made of wood, with no keys).

  20. #44
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    - Started on Piano at age 8 in 1976, but never really grabbed me.

    - Studied Renaissance Lute for about 4 years starting at age 10. I still have my lute but don't play it much.

    - Played Saxophone in Junior High, but bored of it, but I can still play most woodwinds that have the same fingering as Sax.

    - Sold my sax to buy my first guitar when I was 11. (Although I later inherited my grandfather's Saxophones, so have a straight soprano, curved Soprano, and a C Melody, which is an extinct style of sax that one could use to play any music without transposing it.)

    - Got a Les Paul, and a Taylor acoustic when I was 13, and have been a guitarist ever since, playing in bands in high school, university, and professionally in LA for most of the 1990s. I am still a guitarist mostly. Also have always played Bass, and Keys. I now have a collection of guitars of all sorts including classical, several different acoustics, and different kinds of electrics including several Strats and Les Pauls.

    - Played Violin, Viola, and Double Bass in the Orchestra in High School, but never excelled at any of those, although I still noodle with Fiddle.

    - Started paying Classical Indian Sitar in 2007, and seriously studied for about 6 years, but have been slack the past few years, as it is hard to keep up the daily regimen that the sitar requires. You really need to practice for about three hours a day minimum to be able to play it with any proficiency. Plus the music is very difficult and takes a very long time to become fluent. Each Raga is like learning a new language. You can learn a Raga for a year and still only have cracked the surface.

    - Got my first mandolin about four years ago, and got hooked on the tone and feel of the little thing. Now I have a lovely Northfield Artist model that thrills me every day. I just love fifths tuning, and the short scale, along with the tightness of the strings. It just feels so good, and there is so much music available in that little neck.


    As for my main instrument, I am most proficient at guitar, and have played it for about 40 years.
    The past few years I have been playing mostly Mandolin, as it is just new and different, and I had started to bore myself on guitar.
    I still play the Sitar, but it could never be my main instrument, and I will never be good enough to perform publicly.

    I go to bluegrass jams to play mandolin, and jam with rock/blues bands on guitar.
    I think my main instrument at the moment is both Guitar and Mandolin.
    I don't think it is necessary to have a one and only main instrument, although it is good to concentrate seriously on only one or two.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
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  21. #45
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    I played guitar, bass guitar and piano when I was younger. Took some time off to raise kids; when I came back I dropped guitar (so many guitarists out there) and took up mandolin, as well as upright bass to go along with bass guitar.

    These days, in terms of gigs, I play about 50% upright bass, 25% mandolin and 25% bass guitar. Upright bass clearly gets the most calls. But I love playing mandolin and that's what I play the most when I am alone.
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  22. #46
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck3 View Post
    so many guitarists out there.
    That is why I play mandolin when I go to a jam...
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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  23. #47
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    1. guitar - mainly jazz standards now, played in rock band in college
    2. piano - picked it up when I realized that all read was tablature and I had forgotten how to read standard notation
    3. violin - a bucket list item
    4. mandolin
    5. cello
    6. banjo
    7. accordion - took lessons in grammar school

  24. #48

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Mort View Post
    That is why I play mandolin when I go to a jam...
    Good on you! I'm looking forward to the day when my mando or dobro playing is good enough that I can leave my flattop at home. (If I could only break out of G . . . .)

  25. #49

    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Has Teddy left the building? Earth to Teddy . . . .

  26. #50
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    Default Re: To the multi instrumentalists: which instrument is your no. 1

    Mando 1
    Guitar 2

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