Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I found myself in a West of Ireland town for the weekend, and (on Friday) was sitting beside some musicians playing a session. Having left the fiddle in the hotel (not walking distance) - this was a ‘reccy mission’ i found wanting to scratch the itch with a set. I politely asked one of the fiddle players (a young lad - around 17 - good player) if he would mind if i borrowed his fiddle to play a set.

This was met with not exactly a ‘no’, but his relunctance said everything and a more senior player came to his rescue saying ‘ah you know what musicians are like…. you have to bring your own with you.’. Another fiddle player heard the exchange and remained silent. So that was that.
The instrument would have been perfectly safe, i assured him and i was not inebriated.
I was taken aback, but said ‘no problem’…. and remained and enjoyed the rest of the session.

Thinking it over i thought perhaps he felt that him being a juvenile i would take advantage, hog the instrument and not return it promptly - which i can assure you would not have been the case - all i wanted was a set.

It seemed unusal to me as our session at home is one where a core of musicians is paid, and we have a policy for visiting musicians - developed by no less a man than the late Bodhran Bliss - ‘you can play all you f*cking want…. but you’re not getting f*cking paid!!’

Visitors arrive and if they can play an instrument, one is promptly loaned without question.

The Saturday night was a totally different story - different pub, a more mature session. One guy could play both flute and fiddle, and when i asked him could i have tune, he refused to take the instrument back the rest of the night - which left my non-playing partner rather neglected. Tunes and songs flowed until the small hours, and it was a tremendous welcome to experience.

So the question is - which is your session?

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Interesting one. I’ve not ever been in a session where that’s happened (lending an instrument). By borrowing one you are also depriving him of the chance to play for a set, but I think the main reason he might have refused is that people don’t like having choice forced upon them. Since you weren’t playing and didn’t have an instrument, it’s not an easy call to say if it’s "OK" or not to lend you theirs.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

well i have come across 3 occasions of this and one of them being a story. My teacher a wizard on bodhrán left his drum on a chair at a session with friends and some woman asked could she play a bit he said sure , after 10 minutes she was caught trying to leave the room with it !! . During an all Ireland fleadh someone asked could they have a lend of my instrument and they were playing fiddle they just wanted the bodhran for a set which was grand because he was closed in against the wall and other musician so i knew it was safe, If someone has a really expensive instrument i don’t blame them not wanting to hand it to someone .

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Generally speaking, if I don’t know you I won’t let you touch my instruments. I have in the past allowed someone to play one of my vintage jazz guitars only to have them break the end pin jack through the box. I have let people sit in on my bass and break strings for me. Basically, I’m a good hearted soul who has learned by hard experience that I would rather put my manhood in the hands of a homicidal lunatic weilding a pair of scissors than let some stranger play my axe, particularly if alcohol is being served within half mile of where we sit.

So if you want to play, bring your axe

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Just new to this site and have a few very simple questions.
What happens if you damage the borrowed instrument?
Would you loan your tin whistle?Brrrrrr!So,YOU would?Would you loan someone your toothbrush?

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Many moons ago I was playing a one off gig in an Irish Pub at the Elephant & Castle in London when a guy arrived up to the stage and said ‘My brother the Guv’ says I’m to play a tune on the box’. I asked him if he had his box with him and he replied No but he says I can use yours. I couldn’t believe the cheek of him and his brother. Luckily for me I saw this geezer pulling a box apart in a pub some months earlier so I refused, and thankfully it was a one off gig. Incidentally I wouldn’t hesitate to offer my instrument to a musician I knew who could play, although there is always the chance that he going to blow you away with his talent.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I once let Aly Bain play my fiddle. At least I knew it was me and not the instrument.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Basically no shots, bring your own. That said, among trusted friends it happens sometimes, even then it’s not always a good idea depending how steady trusted friends happen to be on their pins, if the answer is "not very" then it’s a no. Friends generally don’t ask though.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people take offense when refused, their usually pissed up too, which is a show stopper from the get go. I’ve heard of and seen fiddles etc being passed around pubs among the assembled punters but thats just not the etiquette with almost all the people I know.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I once let Dougie Maclean play my fiddle. At least I knew it was me and not the instrument.
😉

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Back to the original topic, again it all depends on the circumstances.
Personally, I never ask although I will lend an instrument to certain people.
Usually, it’s only to people I know or I know can play. Sometimes, I may allow a stranger to have a "try out" or borrow an instrument if he/she is in the company of a player I know and trust or has been playing another instrument in the same session with reasonable care and competence.

If, like me, you often bring along more than one instrument e.g. a fiddle and a mandolin or some other combination then this seems to be an invitation to someone who wishes to request to borrow the one which is presently lying idle. It’s harder to refuse under these circumstances but (Sod’s Law) the chances are that you are ready to play it yourself on the very next tune, i.e. as soon as the other fellah/woman picks it up…….. e.g. "I usually play the (insert here) for this tune/set".

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

As many have already said before, "If I don’t know you, you don’t get to touch my instrument." From a flip-side perspective, I never ask to borrow an instrument because each has its own quirks and nuances that need to be learned. And I’d rather not figure those out on the fly.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I’m from the ‘if I don’t know you, you don’t play my instrument’ school of thought. I do remember the following exchange taking place at a pub in Galway, to which I had brought a pair of spoons - ‘I do play fiddle, too, but I left it at home in America’ ‘Oh - well, here! (handing me a fiddle) play us a tune!’ Now that would have been rude, I think, to refuse. I played one tune and gave it back. But seriously - my fiddle is too expensive to loan out to strangers. My Clarke? Sure. Alcohol sterilizes 🙂

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Goboe says "each has its own quirks and nuances that need to be learned"

I’m often just as apprehensive about what the borrower might say to me about the instrument as anything else. Sometimes, it’s good to hear.. e.g "That’s a nice mandolin" etc but I gave a guy a shot of my tenor banjo fairly recently and he advised me that he would have "taken the action down a bit" to which I replied that I was quite happy with it the way it was and it suited me that way. He also allowed me to have a play of his banjo but I considered it to be be too low for my liking and it just felt wrong to me. I didn’t say anything though and we were probably both right in our own way.

Also, changing the tuning on an instrument or interfering with it in any other way is a "No no", I’d suggest.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

It’s not often I go to a session without an instrument - or at least, without one somewhere close by. Truth be told, I probably would feel put out about being refused the loan of an instrument for a set. But having been a little too indiscriminate on occasion in loaning my own instruments and suffering the consequences*, I can quite understand why someone, perhaps lacking faith in their own judgement of character, would flatly refuse to lend their instrument to a perfect stranger.

*This has never resulted in any of my instruments being damaged (although I might, in some cases, have feared they would be) but it has resulted in the borrower disrupting the session.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I would never let anyone borrow any of my tools, and I would never let anyone borrow any of my instruments. Similarly, I would never ask.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly give an extra special "Thank You" to our own Reverend, because about 5 years ago I was out of town in Denver on business and was not able to take an instrument with me. I had emailed ahead and Reverend (and maybe Zina was involved, too? Though I was disappointed she was out of town that week and I never got to meet her) were gracious enough to lend me a fiddle for the night. A wonderful night of tunes, with lovely company, who made an exhausting trip special for me.

I still remember that slow-tempo version of Martin Wynn’s!

Thank you Reverend, and thank you Denver players!

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Lending instruments to perfect stangers out of the clear blue is one thing, but making some previous arrangements for the loan of an instrument is something completely else. I remember a time I was home on leave from the Navy and the fellas were playing a big show in our home town. The boys found a guitar and amplifier I could use to sit in and I borrowed that. Another time my cousin wanted to try and learn guitar, so I gave him one of mine to borrow for the winter. None of those cases are the same situation as "hey, buddy can you spare a fiddle", so it isn’t that we just won’t let anybody under any circumstances touch our instruments.

It’s just bad luck to hand a random drunk your fiddle, that’s all

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

i would never let anyone borrow my fiddle unless i knew their name, age, occupation, height, weight and star sign

unless they wanted to play my box, i don’t mind lending a crappy little instrument like that out

especially if i am playing a D/G

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I once lent my flute to Cathal McConnell - afterwards he said "Do yourself a favor, get a real flute"

I did.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Yes, I am very selective with the drunks I play with and lend instruments to!

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Unless I know the person and know they can play (and they are relatively sober) then they have hee haw chance of getting their hands on my guitar. If some drunk comes up wanting a shot then I don’t care how much I offend them. I really don’t. You can ask around.

If I come back from the toilet and find someone else with their hands on my guitar then hell mend them.

I was at a party recently and I put my guitar away in its case in the next room. When I went in later on I found that some guy was sitting with it, having taken it out of the case and retuned it. Oh dear!

On the other hand, if a friend wants a shot and I trust them then no bother at all.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Let me understand this. A musician is in a new town, goes to pub with a session on Friday night, wants to play tunes, but doesn’t have his fiddle. Then on Saturday night, goes to another pub, wants to play tunes, but doesn’t have his fiddle. jfiddlerh, if you want other musicians to loan their instrument why did you choose to leave yours back in the room on both occasions, if you don’t mind my asking?

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

The guitar I did the bulk of my accompaniment on, now retired, picked up some 3rd party battle scars when it was less than 24 hours old to me. I’d decided to get a campaign axe to preserve my then 10 year old proper guitar, as some of the places we were playing in the mid 90’s could get a little wild west. So got a lovely sounding, and looking, cedar topped hand built german guitar, at a great price, from the old sadly no longer with us music shop in Dingwall, Maitland Music.

Took it to the gig that night but at a kitchen session in the wee small hours afterwards, guard very much down, I lent it to a guy I know to sing us a song with, result, over enthusiastic rendition that scarred the old dear for life, plectrum scars across the top.

Although I effectively wore that guitar out through playing the only visible damage, other than playing ware, she ever received was on that very first outing.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Same here. Lending to a perfect stranger is not something I would do. And even among our circle of sessioners it’s more of a hit or miss. I can tell when someone gets asked to lend their instrument out that most of the time they’d rather not. After that they just sit there, arms crossed and listening.

I don’t lend nor borrow. If I go to a session without an instrument then tough luck for me. Being offered an instrument to play when you don’t have one is a whole other story though.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

One time I lost my temper with some random idiot who thought he needed to plunk around on my guitar when I was taking a break. I told him I didn’t mind him playing it, but don’t tune it. He kept right on changing the tuning like I wasn’t even there, so I grabbed it from him by the neck and smashed the thing right over his head

I admit I had a short fuse when I was young, but sometimes enough of a thing’s enough

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I’m no shrinking violet, but the possibility of a spot of violence from the disgruntled rejected borrower is a real and present danger in some places. So, if I’m not playing and in a location where random eejits can bother me, in the case she goes. If I am bothered I try to be polite as possible about saying no, usually I just tell them I can’t afford to replace it, so sorry.

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My instrument is worth more than my car. I don’t allow strangers to drive my car. Need I say more?

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"My instrument is worth more than my car" - now there’s a musician for ya!

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Once I played in band where it was part of our concept that we never ever brought our own instruments.
Usually we were not even officially part of the program or anything, at some point we just entered the stage and announced that we were the headliner, and that we needed your instruments.

It was never a problem, just the opposite. [dreamily] Oh, this was punk rock…

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"I’ve always liked them. Can I try your pipes" - someone said to me.
"You can go and F*^&k yourself " said me

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

It’s like saying "Can I borrow your wife?" You just don’t do it. Now among close friends, that’s different. At least you know where they’ve been.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

A few years ago, two friends and I went to hear Bobby Gardiner, Des Mulkere, and Jack Talty in Kilfenora. At some point, one friend started talking with them, and mentioned that he plays banjo. Des quickly offered to let him play the banjo he played in the video of him and Joe Cooley playing The Wise Maid.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Some eejit called Tim Healy who was completely langers asked to borrow my guitar, this was after he had insulted me, so I told him to frack off.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I love hearing other people play my fiddle—-like it gets a new shade of personality with each new person who plays it. I’d be very careful lending to a stranger, though. They’d have to be well-behaved, sober, and the bar would have to be free of carousing drunks.

And cleanliness is an issue. I lent it to some guy once who I didn’t realize was hot & sweaty and it came back to me that way & grossed me out. Don’t think I would ever lend out (or borrow) a flute. Yuck!

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"I asked her for credit and she answered me Nay. For a bodhran like yours I can get any day…"

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"I was at a party recently and I put my guitar away in its case in the next room. When I went in later on I found that some guy was sitting with it, having taken it out of the case and retuned it."

Would have been better than tele, being a fly on the wall at that party! 🙂

I was playing in a pub in the Highlands and a couple lads came up to me and asked if their mate, a piper, could have a go on my pipes. I asked what kind of pipes their mate played and the answer was unsurprisingly Scottish. So I explained that the Irish pipes were quite a different instrument and their pal probably wouldn’t be able to play them and also, no. They persisted: "Aww.. gi’ our pal a wee go," and I persisted in telling them that it wasn’t going to happen. Eventually the fella in question came over and watched me play a set or two. He looked slightly frightened at the apparent complexity of the uilleann pipes, compared to the Highlands, and his mates were still pushing him to play and he was watching me play and saying, "F**k no. I can’t play those!"

If someone clearly knows their way around a set of uilleann pipes, I’m happy to let them have a go on my chanter. Otherwise, no.

I’m also happy to let people who are clearly socially attuned musicians have a go on a whistle, but will zealously defend my whistle against all and sundry who want to try whistle for the first time or attempt Hot Cross Buns on it.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"My instrument is worth more than my car"

Maybe that’s part of the problem and why people might have been more generous in the past - if you haven’t got much, you haven’t much to lose..

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I wouldn’t loan my even pub beater to a stranger at a public session. In my humble opinion, I think a person who is familiar with sessions has a hell of a nerve asking to play another musician’s fiddle knowing any given instrument could be worth a lot of money. The asker has big balls or no brains.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

2 occasions I can recall where I turned up at sessions "unarmed" and borrowed instruments…just a D tin whistle on both occasions. One a number of years ago when I had had a drink on me (yes, several years ago cos I rarely drink now) and found myself at a session the other side of South London. I know the session mainstays so that was no problem, they were aware that I knew what I was doing (musically.) So that was fine. Then more recently I was in Glasgow awaiting a family bereavement(!) - I needed to get out for an evening but hadn’t brought up any "tools" with me. I took a chance and went to a session on Woodlands Road. I politely asked a chap (a guitarist) if I could borrow his whistle for a tune. After the tune I offered him it back, but he insisted I play on it the rest of the evening, so I must’ve done something right….but mostly I think he was just being a nice welcoming sessioneer.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I might add I would do the same for someone who turned up unarmed to any session I attend, a whistle perhaps but maybe not a flute or a box, unless I got good vibes and felt I trusted they knew their way around either of those.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Even in classical orchestras, where they all know each other well, about the only time you’ll see an instrument being played by someone else is when the owner turns up with a new instrument (not necessarily "new" new), and wants to hear it being played by another player so as to get a different perspective on the sound (and also to show it off, of course).

One ploy that could be used in a pub session with the right sort of importunate punter is to say something along the lines of, "the insurance company only allows the instrument to be played by named persons on the policy, and I’m sorry sir but you’re not on the list".

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Ok, this is no lie.

I was stood on a stage with Matt Crannitch, and he wanted to go for a single fish (pish). He handed me his fiddle and bow and asked me to hold them for him. "Play it if you like" says he. I didn’t.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

You can ask a stranger to loan you an instrument, but have no right to feel slighted if they say no, for all the reasons folks have listed above. I remember a lovely evening in San Diego where a multi-instrumentalist loaned me his guitar, but I wouldn’t have minded if he said no, as it was quite a beautiful instrument. And, like others, I know what it is like to have someone assume it is OK to use my instrument—for example, coming back from the bathroom to find that someone had borrowed my guitar, was trying to retune it to some sort of alternate scheme, and broke a string in the process.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Asking to borrow an instrument is quite an insensitive act since it puts the prospective lendee in a difficult position: they don’t really want someone who they’ve never met playing their instrument, but they don’t want to be seen to be ungracious. Picking on a 17 year old or someone who seems "new" is worse since they may be more likely to feel the need to fit in, and hate themselves for doing it. If you want to play, bring your own.
Also here’s a small list of things that nobody ever knows about total strangers, (or even rarely seen acquaintances)
- Do they always wash their hands after using the toilet?
- Do they have some kind of infection?
- Are they a serial killer?
- Do they actually know how to play the instrument?
- How do they treat their instruments?
In fact, by definition, there are very few questions that could be answered.

Total stranger walks into a pub ..

Philfy, your list roughly parallels questions my friend posed after I let him know how very comfortable I am posting on the mustard board.

Hypothetical responses regarding total strangers

- yes, obsessively so
- nothing contagious
- a few tunes now & again, but never any people
- well enough to play "Hot Cross Buns"
- It never leaves the case (or hotel room). But if you need your’s tuned you got it.

😉

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Asked and answered.
But the cheek of not liking the answer as though the question demands an immediate "Yes!"
Of course, the person with the instrument can always deflect and say that it is not theirs but it is family member/spouse’s instrument and that he/she would kill them if anything happened to it.
Of course the more positive sign is that nobody at the session said "Gowan and let him have a go."

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I’m uncomfortable letting anyone play my guitar, a Martin HD-28. I’ve let a few people play my banjos, including a promising banjoist by the name of Martin Hayes! I was once offered a loan of a lovely D28 by a friend for four weeks in Ireland but I was terrified of being responsible for such an instrument belonging to someone else, being in pubs, big sessions, and such but I was quite happy to borrow his Takamine.
Whilst on the subject, I once was invited to an Italian Club by a customer of mine and somebody recognised me and asked if I could play a song. I replied I did’nt have my guitar with me and the guitarist in the band said"Here, you can tak-a mine".

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

in general, i think good etiquette among strangers would be this: you couldn’t ask to borrow the instrument, but if someone finds out you play they can offer you a go on theirs.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Interesting responses guys - wasn’t expecting such a body of opinion, it seems the old notion of ‘neither a borrower or a lender be’ is the order of the day.

I don’t necessarily agree but it certainly lets me understand the reaction of the players i encountered.

Couple of people made direct points so will do my best to clarify:

Na Eisc - Was out with my partner so didn’t necessarily want to have tunes - just if the nyah and notion took me.

Philfy - I know this wasn’t a question - but i object to the notion i would ‘pick’ on the 17 year old - he was closest and directly in my eye-line - the other player was sitting at the other side of the flute player.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Yeah, saying you ‘picked’ on the young guy is twisting it a bit.
Anyway I still say: It Depends. If a pissed up, Neanderthalesque aggressive looking character asked me, I’d refuse; if someone who looked sensible and looked like a musician (however that would look) politely enquired, I’d consider it.

But even that has pitfalls. I played in St Patrick’s Day thing in a pub in Greenwich years ago. The self-appointed "leader" of our session was a very accomplished fiddler, quite well-known, but with a very big but rather fragile ego. A young woman in the audience asked if she could play his fiddle and, as she was rather attractive, he consented. She proceeded to play an "Irish Jig" in a very stilted, classical style with no feeling.

Trouble was, she was with her mates, so when she had finished, she got a huge round of applause and cheers and whoops. Our poor fiddler (who of course could play such tunes *much* better) was, to say the least, rather put out by the attention she received, with far more applause than he, or for that matter we, got the whole night….tee-hee!

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"didn’t necessarily want to have tunes - just if the nyah and notion took me. "

I might consider this approach myself. Save me humping instrument(s) along.
🙂

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

To me, the plonker warning bells start going off when a stranger asks to have a go at someone else’s instrument, particularly if the punter appears pixelated—that combination is usually the first warning sign. Even if you are a fine player and a nice human being, grim experience is often working against you amongst the players—and they likely assume you should know better yourself. The assumption may well be that you’re inexperienced if you’re even asking.

As others have suggested, if you don’t know anyone, it’s better form to wait to see if one of the players offers.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I’ve borrowed and lent fiddles and guitars (sometimes quite nice ones.) It’s quite rare for it to happen with people I don’t know but not completely unknown. I’d say there’s no harm in asking but there’s definitely no harm in refusing. One way around this is for the pub to have house instruments. They tend to be a bit crap but you can’t really afford to be picky if you didn’t bring your own. Picking up and playing someone else’s instrument without permission is way out of line though. I’ve known people who’d start a fight over that kind of behaviour.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Our pub has a guitar on the wall that’s left-handed, but has been strung right-handed, so the saddle is slanted the wrong way for correct intonation and it can never be accurately tuned. It’s a good way of showing if someone knows what they’re doing, if they choose to pick up that guitar. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop them trying to join in and sing.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Jfiddlerh, now that you’ve said so, I’m more likely to believe that you weren’t picking out the 17 year old for special attention. But this is kind of my point. He didn’t know you from Adam, and didn’t have the benefit of any of this discussion.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

"…if the punter appears pixelated…" it’s definitely time to go home.

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Lending an instrument can sometimes have positive spin offs.
Once in our then regular session in Greenwich many years ago a young red-haired lad about 14 came up and asked to borrow my whistle for a tune. There was me thinking it’s good to encourage young newbies, so I let him carry on. He was brilliant, and played a set of reels beautifully. Asked his name, he said Kane O’Rourke….

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

Unless the borrower’s skills and identity are known, I will always always say no to such a request.

I’ve had fiddles handed to me and I accepted but I was a known quantity at those sessions and I didn’t ask remember they offerred.

I had a fiddle handed to me at a session that I didn’t know anyone.. and yes I politely declined and thanked the man for the offer, because I was enjoying listening, I didn’t want to take a chance of messing up their sound or getting in their way when they were so nice and welcoming to me to begin with. Later on I played with them with my own fiddle, and was treated very nicely.

Let people ask you in.. don’t force your way in, that works for entering pretty much any musical situation.

This line of yours is silly, maybe a wind up? How many times have you given your fiddle to a stranger to play? Me—- never.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

It’s reasonably easy to say no to a stranger, much harder to say no to someone you know. Its even worse to say no to someone you know when they’ve just seen you lend it to someone else. Errrr, awkward.

I also have an accomplished guitarist friend who borrowed a guitar from someone he didn’t know well. I’d have thought he was OK but he fiddled with the tuning and broke a string. So embarrassing. Now if I see him likely to borrow a guitar I try and steer him off.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

When Robin Hood rides up and demands - your wallet or your wife!! You say - either sir, but don’t you dare touch my fiddle.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

i’ve thought about it, and here’s the way to get someone to give them your instrument. don’t express interest in playing, just ask them questions about it. after you ask them a question (who made it? do you prefer italian or german violins? why did you choose a grinter over an olwell), you have demonstrated your knowledge about the instrument. then, after that, you mention your own (my fiddle isn’t italian, but it gets the job done. i’ve never played a grinter, but i like my olwell so much i’m ok with it), to show that you play.

keep a back and forth of building a rapport, and then the player will likely offer you to play. if not, ASK, and you will have a better chance of getting permission. you need to build rapport (by showing interest in THEM rather than yourself) and demonstrate knowledge and competence (by asking knowledgeable questions and having the opinions of an established player).

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I’m with the seeming majority on this one - some instruments are worth more than others and it depends on the circumstances. For one, I doubt I would ask a stranger to have a turn in the first place. I certainly would not let anyone I didn’t know reasonably well have a go at my pipes, and I might even think twice about one of my vintage whistles, but most anything else I wouldn’t have a problem, as long as the borrower were not too inebriated.

Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

I would never dream of asking someone to lend me their fiddle, but I was the victim of a lovely conspiracy about a year ago. I wasn’t playing very long and was at the stage where I was about to give up due to frustration, self-doubt, being too old (46), sounding awful, etc. I went to a local session and sat near the musicians, but not quite within the circle. The fiddle player, (who knew me and was aware of my struggle) stood up at one point and handed me his fiddle, asking me to just hold it while he went to the bathroom. As I sat there, feeling rather self-conscious, one of the other musicians leaned over and asked me to start off a tune "seeing as you have the fiddle there, sure". Well, I started off a very shaky version of "The Connaughtman’s Rambles" and the others joined in. By the time the fiddle player returned, I was "in the zone", on a complete high, mojo fully restored, and I haven’t looked back since. Thank you Lads. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all on The Session! P

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Re: Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends - lending instruments??

A musicians instrument is intensely personal, to ask to borrow it is an intrusion into their innermost private space, I would let an interested non player hold the instrument, and show them how it worked, in the hope of kindling an interest in learning to play, I would also let a musician that I know well, or a musician that I have respect for borrow my instrument for a tune or two, but a complete stranger, NO!!