Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 61

Thread: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

  1. #1
    Registered User Pappyrich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Posts
    167

    Default Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    I attended our monthly acoustic jam last night and had a unique experience. On the second go-around a young man who had accompanied himself with a guitar on a couple of "Muddy Waters" tunes the first time around unpacked his bagpipes and played a medley of Scottish tunes. I'm an old time player, so I thought it was kinda neat. I'm not sure how most everyone else took it, but it made me wonder what the most unusual instrument you all might have encountered at a jam. A few years back, we had a lady show up and play the saw. She also brought a wash tub bass one time, but that didn't seem too unusual.

    Anyway, just wondering what you might have encountered.
    Richard

    Eastman 305
    Gibson A1 (1919)
    Martin D16 guitar
    Great Divide Guitar (Two-Old-Hippies)
    OME 11" banjo (1973)
    Pisgah 12" banjo

  2. #2

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    There is a guy who has brought an autoharp to the local OT jam.

    Occasionally I've seen a fellow with an accordian around at some of the community events, but I don't think he's ever been at any of the jams I've been to.

    The jams I go to definitely lean towards the beginner and accepting side of things, but I don't know how welcome the accordian would be.

  3. #3
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Tavistock UK
    Posts
    4,288

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Tea chest bass? There's someone local that plays Celtic (Cornish actually) tunes on trombone, which must some work to be honest. Several different kinds of pipes too... in fact I do actually know a professional bagpipe player, though interestingly he only brings his banjo to sessions - maybe it's more socially acceptable ?

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    748

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Our BG band, fairly traditional, was practicing on the bass players porch. Neighbors and people passing by often stop to listen (and it’s led to a couple of gigs- beer fest, wedding).
    One night a guy asked if he could join us on trumpet. He was nice about it - and turned out to be really good! It was a lot of fun.

    Kirk

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Arlington, MA, USA
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Vintage typewriter. It made for a subtle solo. Could have used a pickup.

  6. #6
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    6,147

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    When I lived in Raleigh NC, one or two times a year a friend would be in town and jam with our group on a didgeridoo...

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

    Sorry for the poor video quality.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  7. #7
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,427

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Perhaps Ottawa's weird, but no one but a newcomer would be surprised to see highland or uileann pipes at a Celtic jam. Accordions of many types play at jams of differing genres. I've seen didgeridoo often, Celtic harp, the occasional saw, spoons, kazoo, and washtub bass. One woman sometimes plays snare drums, which are good on the Scottish and Irish marches, at Celtic sessions(she does not play them continually throughout a session). If there are any Newfoundlanders present, they might play the "ugly stick", an upside mop with a face on it, and a rubber boot at the other end, pounded up and down and hit or scraped by a stick. Nails driven through bottles caps situated up the broomstick provide that extra je ne sais quoi. Even more amazing, I've seen five or six mandolins at a session. And this is supposed to be "the city that fun forgot."

    Here's a Newfoundland band with two ugly sticks, playing the traditional tune, "Mussels in The Corner."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_SW...=DriveTheGlobe



    Here's a little more about them -- there's far too much material about ugly sticks available:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_stick
    Last edited by Ranald; Jan-28-2023 at 4:24pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  8. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Ranald For This Useful Post:


  9. #8

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    The most unusual instrument I've seen is sqeezebox in an old time jam. It worked pretty well in context.

  10. #9
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,624

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    I love that ugly stick! Now I want one.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  11. The following members say thank you to Sue Rieter for this post:

    Ranald 

  12. #10
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Boston, Mass.
    Posts
    2,708

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    I have seen, in local "bluegrass" jams:

    Accordion
    Melodica (a la U Roy)
    Cajon
    Harp
    Harmonica (I am guilty of this one)
    Spoons
    Bones

    I'm OK with anything but accordion. It drowns everything out, and when you hit a clam YOU REALLY HIT A CLAM!!
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1...SV2qtug/videos

  13. #11
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I love that ugly stick! Now I want one.
    I want one too. It might be the only instrument that I can actually build and then play. I think I have enough skills to make one. Maybe. I'm gonna start saving my bottle caps.

  14. The following members say thank you to Steve 2E for this post:

    Ranald 

  15. #12
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,624

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve 2E View Post
    I want one too. It might be the only instrument that I can actually build and then play. I think I have enough skills to make one. Maybe. I'm gonna start saving my bottle caps.
    Me too. Been drinking beer in cans. Will have to go back to bottles
    I think I may already have the boot.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  16. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Sue Rieter For This Useful Post:


  17. #13
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    1,427

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Exporting ugly sticks is an important part of the Canadian economy. I've often seen them for sale at O'Brien's Music Store in St. John's, Newfoundland. However, Canada regularly fights with the US over softwood lumber tariffs, so, if you're an American, make sure yours is custom-made of the finest hardwood.

    And I'm with you, Steve. For the first time, I can actually see myself making a musical instrument. This year, ugly sticks; next year, mandolins.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ranald For This Useful Post:


  19. #14

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    i think it might be time to dust off my tuba and start practicing some bluegrass tunes.

    I started off saying it as a joke, but now I kind of want to... bonus that I can actually read music on the thing.

  20. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Caberguy For This Useful Post:


  21. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    434

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Pappyrich View Post
    I attended our monthly acoustic jam last night and had a unique experience. On the second go-around a young man who had accompanied himself with a guitar on a couple of "Muddy Waters" tunes the first time around unpacked his bagpipes and played a medley of Scottish tunes. I'm an old time player, so I thought it was kinda neat. I'm not sure how most everyone else took it, but it made me wonder what the most unusual instrument you all might have encountered at a jam. A few years back, we had a lady show up and play the saw. She also brought a wash tub bass one time, but that didn't seem too unusual.

    Anyway, just wondering what you might have encountered.

    Bagpipes are definitely an acquired taste. They are grating enough that even banjo players look down on them

    The only semi unusual instrument was a cello at a Wernick jam class. However the player was very good and it worked well

  22. #16
    harvester of clams Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    2,507

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Harp and dulcimer at a BG jam. Dobro at a swing jam.

    Accordions are fine for gypsy jams.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow Jazzbo
    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Gibson F5L
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  23. #17
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    6,147

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Yes to the Tuba!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  24. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    One thing I know for sure is that the accordion "ain't NOT no part of nothin," as evidenced here:
    https://www.google.com/search?client...id:4_IEa9-xhaM
    2004 Gibson F5 Alan Bibey Signature Series
    c1930 Gibson A
    Eastman MDO 305
    2017 RAG F #29
    Kay A
    NoName "finish it yourself" Ebay beater F

  25. #19
    Registered User stevo58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Good old Germany
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Caberguy View Post
    i think it might be time to dust off my tuba and start practicing some bluegrass tunes.

    I started off saying it as a joke, but now I kind of want to... bonus that I can actually read music on the thing.
    It’s not bluegrass, but don’t underestimate the tuba. Eli Newberger on tuba with the great Jimmy Mazzy:

    https://youtu.be/Sbu2uyGft3E
    Silverangel Econo A #438 (“Swazi”)
    Schnoor Silver Bell Style 5 Tenor
    Schnoor 5-string open back
    Martin OM-21
    1950 Epiphone Devon
    Emmons GS-10
    More electrics than you can shake a stick at. I have to sell this stuff.

  26. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to stevo58 For This Useful Post:


  27. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    30,204

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Yesterday at our Québécois jam a family showed up and the father played whistle and spoons (not all that odd) and his teenage son brought his melodica which he actually played well but played piano backup and did an excellent job considering the crookedness of many of our tunes.

    At our old time jam we have had cellos, harps, ukuleles, and harmonicas.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Jan-29-2023 at 10:29am.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1924 Gibson A4 - 2018 Campanella A-5 - 2007 Brentrup A4C - 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin - Huss & Dalton DS - 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead - '83 Flatiron A5-2 - 1939 Gibson L-00 - 1936 Epiphone Deluxe - 1928 Gibson L-5 - ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo - ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo - ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo - National RM-1

  28. #21
    Registered User gspiess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Last month at a folk jam in Harrisburg PA: spoons, dulcimer, saw, recorder - all rather practiced and not "novelty" players.

    This week at a "BG jam" in Duncannon: mountain dulcimer, accordian (when I saw the woman pull it out my first thought was "oh gosh, here we go", but she was really good!) Then I pulled out my Pono octave which really drew a lot of interest.

    As for ugly sticks, there is an Irish contemporary Christian band of international fame - Rend Collective - where the percussionist is very accomplished.
    Being right is overrated. Doing right is what matters.

    Northfield F5S Blacktop
    Eastman 815v
    Pono MND-20H

  29. #22

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Keep an open mind is my thinking!

    I was at one of the “camps” at Old Settlers last year and the entire brass section from the California Honeydrops came by and sat down. I kept my mandolin in the case and listened to absolutely amazing “crossover” music while they picked up on anything that came their way, pulling multipart harmonic arrangements out of the air. Mesmerizing.

  30. The following members say thank you to keith.rogers for this post:

    newton 

  31. #23
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,659

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    We've had guys show up to our Jam on the Marietta Square with Brass in the past. So I've played along side a very talented trumpet player and an equally talented sax player on 2 separate occasions. We also had a kid from a nearby college marching band bring his tuba which was fun.

    Once a guy showed up with some sort of small hand held Middle Eastern or maybe Caribbean metallic drum (not pleasant at all) and he was overbearing and obnoxious with it, and the banjo player (ironically) asked him to leave.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Soliver #001 & #002: A double stack of Pancakes.

    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolins and Mandolin Armrests
    Armrests Here -- Mandolins Here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.” -anonymous

  32. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    748

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    “ and the banjo player (ironically) asked him to leave”

    That’s hilarious.

    Kirk

  33. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to tiltman For This Useful Post:


  34. #25
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,760
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Unusual Instrument at a Jam

    Somehow I've managed to be fortunate enough to have escaped anything like the horror shows described here. But I did once have an uneasy encounter with a musical saw at a gig. Someone brought a musical saw to my band's weekly gig - and played it! It was someone I vaguely knew, who worked sometimes as a clown, and he was friends with the fiddler sitting in with us that night. But why he thought it would be appropriate to bring it out, unbidden, and play with a band playing a mix of Cajun, country, and bluegrass, completely escapes me. Midway through the second song I told him it didn't fit, and to his credit, he did stop. I have not gotten that responsible response from others deciding they had to join in and share their wonderfulness with all present (or whatever), such as spoons, harmonica, and tambourine. I guess enough people get a kick out of their "contributions" that they'll continue, but it's really up to the performing musicians, not audience members.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •