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Old 03-24-2012, 09:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
TheBig3's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Default Sustaining, Bending, and Percussion

So I have an odd question here I'm going to do my best to put into coherent sentences.

If you were going to play two instruments, would you play two capable of playing notes the same way? For example, would you play a guitar and a ukulele? I know a lot of folks here play multiple instruments, but lets say for the sake of argument that you will only play two.

Here's why I'm asking. I feel as if playing two instruments that can sustain notes (saxaphone, cello, accordion, flute, ect.) isn't in your best interest because you're limiting yourself. Not in all of the instances listed here, but lets take flute, you can't bend notes on a flute, and while I've seen micro-tonal flourishes that give a note the feel of a bend, its not a bend in the way BB King would bend a note on the guitar.

What then is the benefit, if any, to play instruments that handle (approach?) notes the same way?

Below is deeper information about the question, but it isn't necessary to read, its just more of my mixed up philosophy on instruments.

So I love roots music and because of this, its easier for me to play...odd instruments and not waste my time. Banjos, vibraslaps, tin whistles, saw violin - its all fair game. I found a local shop that will give me lessons that aren't in some guys living room, so I'm psyched, but does this mean I should give up on other sustaining (I'm sure this isn't the way to refer to them) instruments?

Any and all recordings I'd make would most likely be by myself since I like odd music and my schedule isn't flexible. I'm just looking for thoughts and opinions.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't really consider playing instruments that are too similar, to be the same thing as playing two instruments. A guitar player might not capture the nuance, but he's innately capable of playing banjo, bass, ukelele, and mandolin very easily.

On the other hand, a guitar player that can play Trumpet, Violin, Piano, flute, and Saxophone is capable of playing practically any non-percussion instrument that exists, because he has a very wide skillset.

Edit: Also, Saxophone and Cello are very different instruments. The issue isn't the sustaining notes to me, its the lack of a wider ability. that informs the practical aspect of achieving those sounds. A Cello player cannot approach a saxophone with any measure of familiarity just because of its ability to sustain notes. Its absurd to consider the two things as having a similar approach.

Its far more reasonable to consider the physical act of playing as the defining similarity. IE, fretted instruments, reed instruments, brass mouthpieces, keys, fretless instruments, etc.

Last edited by GuitarBizarre; 03-24-2012 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you're using the instruments to record works on your own then yes, learning instruments that contrast each other more would be more beneficial, writing a piece for piano and flute would allow you to use richer means than a piece for bassoon and flute, but I wouldn't say learning to play bassoon and flute is pointless as they have different textures and being in different registers you've got plenty of room to play with.
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