Multi-instrumentalists

Multi-instrumentalists

How many of us here on thesession.org play multiple instruments? I get the impression that it is quite common here, and I for one would be interested to get a learn a few things from other people who dabble in playing the music on more than one horn.

First off, how many instruments do you play? For the purposes of this discussion I’d like to restrict this to instruments you would play in front of another person, although I am curious to know if anyone is learning anything new at the moment.

Second, what inspires you to play more than one, and how did you get into playing your second(or third, or fourth) instrument? Also, which do you consider to be your primary and how much more advanced do you feel you are on that instrument than the other(s)?

And third, how do you divide your practice time, and also are all the instruments you play typical to Irish traditional music or do you also play other instruments nonstandard to the genre/other genres?

I’ll go first I suppose. I play flute primarily, silver flute for work and 8 key flute for Irish trad. I also play c#/d accordion, uilleann and highland pipes and fiddle. I only play American and Cape Breton music on the fiddle(not particularly well) although it has been a curiosity of mine for many years and I play a smattering of Irish tunes as well, though I never bring it to a session. I ended up playing flute as a subsitute for pipes, since the set of (uilleann) pipes I had was rubbish. Accordion is another one of those curiosities that I have finally had the money and time to invest in as I’ve grown older. I started music as a highland piper and moved to uilleann pipes from there, but I haven’t ever had success with a set(although that is soon to change).

My practice time is limited, so I tend to spend more time listening than playing. On everything but flute, my repertoire is limited, although I have a fairly large core of tunes, polkas and slides mainly, that I can play on them all. Lately I have been devoting more time to sitting down and messing with my fingering on accordion. I figure this is typical for multi instrumentalists, but my interest in instruments tends to go in waves. Sometimes this helps me stave off frustration , sometimes it adds to it.

I’ve been ruminating on giving all but one of them up for years now but have never quite got myself to do it, except for a brief period when I played only 8 key flute. Has anyone else gone through this? And what was your motivation/end result?

Thanks in advance for your time sessiongoers.

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I play Uilleann pipes/flute/whistle, mandolin/tenor banjo/bouzouki, hammered dulcimer, Anglo concertina, and B/C box/5-row Chromatic button accordion. All at a level where I’m not embarrassed to play them in a session or live performance.

Originally, I was a solo competition level classical flute player back in my high-school and college years. Had to unlearn a lot when I first got into trad around 1993.

I have about 20 years on the trad winds and strings so I don’t tend to practice them much at home, mostly just play them in sessions or for recording projects. Most of my practice time is equally divided between the concertina and accordions, with most of that on the 5-row CBA as its my most recent and most challenging instrument for me at this time.

Why do I play multiple instruments? I have no idea. My brain seems to be wired to learn new instruments and get to some level of proficiency quickly. That being said, I have spent probably hundreds and likely thousand of hours on each of them. Pretty much if I’m not working, spending time with my wife, or doing chores, I’m practicing all the time. It’s a full-time obsession. And I know I’m considered by some to be some kind of freak. :-)

To me all accordions feel very similar when I play them, I have a similar experience for strings and winds. It’s like I have this core database of tunes in my head and my brain acts like a complex multi-point switch to put the tune setting on the specific instrument in my hands.

I don’t see any compelling reason to give up any of my current instruments.

I did learn enough Drop-D guitar backup at one point to be useful in a session but decided I didn’t want to spend any more time on it. So now I own a guitar mostly just have it available to loan it to visiting players when they come to town.

I sold my D500 hammered dulcimer to a fine local player in need of a nice instrument, but can still play well enough to favorably demo my iPad apps and play the occasional party piece when one is around.

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When I started into trad 5 years ago I had a guitar so I bought a mandolin (which I ruined) so I bought yet another, then a hammered dulcimer followed by a bouzouki, another guitar then another bouzouki, a guitar for jazz then another mandolin and a banjo ending up with a keyboard.

Take every instrument you’d like to play at a session and however many you can hold in one hand, that’s how many you should play. Aren’t flute/tinwhistle players lucky!

Today, the hammered dulcimer is getting packed into a corner in the closet and everything with frets hangs on the on the bookshelf. Makes for a dandy display wall - catches a lot of dust too. One bouzouki gets played a lot, one guitar some, one mandolin a bit less, the banjo maybe and the keyboard very little. The keyboard has in fact been played more by the Tadhg Ó Meachair of Goitse then I have since I bought it last year. We used it for their concert here a few weeks ago. Needless to say, none of the "finger magic" from professional musicians ever rubs off on something of yours that they’ve played.

Since I’m down to the "one hand" rule now, just the bouzouki goes to sessions. To make the instrument "pool of the unused" complete, there’s an entire PA system on a rack in the garage.

But wait! There’s more! I have a cittern inbound. Hopefully, I will be able to acclimate to it with my damaged hands sufficiently well so that I can send the bouzouki off to a luthier to cure an annoying buzz.

My over-whelming case of IAS (Instrument Acquisition Syndrome) is listed under my profile. Ignore the autoharp. I bought that for my wife. She’s played it exactly once.

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I too, am multi-talentless.

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I am not a multi-anything.

I do enjoy learning tunes. By this I mean getting them in my head. Ironically I learn new tunes best by singing them, though I am not a singer. While it is ironic this makes sense to me as I consider my self a ‘vocal’ player.
I play flute and whistle.

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Re: Multi-instrumentalists

Fiddle and flute (a lot of classical training on clarinet)

I spend most of my time on fiddle. But I can’t neglect practicing
flute to stay in shape. I play whistle too of course, but just for trying
out new tunes.

I have tried out concertina, but it’s heart breaking without a decent instrument.
Guitar and mandolin don’t do it for me - I’ve tried them.

Hearing Dave Munnelly *TURBOCHARGE* a session has got me interested in
C#/D accordion — it’s more affordable than concertina anyhow. But it don’t play itself :-)

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Great questions, have wondered the exact same things! Lets start with:
How many instruments do I play infront of other people? Three; Flute, whistle and Bodhran.
What inspires? Started Dance and learned piano growing up. As a teen moved on to guitar- in college, scaled down to ukulele. Mom always sang Irish traditional stuff growing up and when she passed- playing Irish music on the penny whistle just seemed to be home. 2 years ago I added the Irish traditional folk keyless flute, 6 months ago the Bodhran. Next year I will add a 4 key Irish flute and then my musical acquisition syndrome will go quiet for a while.
How do I divide my time? 20-30 minutes a day, half is new stuff, half is review, one new song every two weeks. 4 sessions a month- either local house session or a more public venue is my current goal.

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Guitar, fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin, tenor banjo, learning flute.

Different tunes fit different instruments. Fiddle is the first love, but frustrating to make it sound like what’s in my head. Mandolin, is like releasing the brakes. Banjo is just so much darn fun. The flute is climbing a long slow hill.

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I’m like M. Eskin - for the past several decades, all I seem to do is play/practice music compulsively. If I’m not doing chores or something with family, that’s it. I also have a penchant for learning new ones. Easier to list those I don’t play: I’ve performed publicly (to varying degree of success :) ) on all the common ones except viola and cello, which I don’t play (although I do play a lot of arco on doublebass to assuage my need for cello, and fiddle), nor brass winds. Oh and pipes. I’m always on the hunt for a hardingfele. Past 6 years on wire harp. My most recent instrument is guzheng. Started this at age 9 on woodwinds and guitar (and long applied the Lindley adage - all "one big guitar"), although my current flute playing suffers from not enough practice. Confess to being a bit of a melodeon nut these days. Have owned 4 pedal steels, and probably >100 guitars, banjos, mandolins & kin, etc. I wanted to be Mick Jagger - probably learned to play everything as a compensation.. Studied Bach and flamenco guitar (my first loves) 25 years before learning anything about ITM..

It’s a sickness.

& It looks as if I’m the only one still playing hammered dulcimer: I perform solo most of the time, so it’s a great instrument for me - projects better than my wire harps, and it sounds great for the old airs, pibrochs, laments..

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My father bought me my first harmonica for my 6th birthday and he never let me have/play a toy. Got good enough as a teenager to play in blues bands and only for the last year or so have started playing trad on it (thanks Steve Shaw). In high school I started guitar to be one of the cool kids but now I’ll only play it if someone is desperate for a backer and with the few songs I might sing…again out of desperation. Shortly after learning guitar, I even studied classical guitar for a while, I discovered the bass, electric and dog-house and they’re still with me. I truly love the place a bass takes in music and the subtlety harmonies it adds to a tune, any tune. Oh and I found out that as a bassist I could make a lot more money, it’s that supply and demand thing.

Then about 15 years ago I got drunk at a whisky tasting with background Irish music and found out I liked the music as much as single malt scotch, and I liked scotch a lot! Bought a whistle (doesn’t everybody?) and that led to flute. I now have several, but I play the Somers with keys added and the 6-key Paddy Ward about equally. A few years later I found my way to mandolin where I discovered the fingerboard made so much more sense. The biggest reason for going to strings is that the local sessions were getting a bit "tootie". Later (does it ever stop? Please make it stop!) I got my first, of 3 tenor banjos, much the same as the mandolin, a little less versatile, but punchier, followed by tenor guitar, better sounding to my mind than octave mandolin, and fits just about anywhere. Did I forget the slide whistle and kazoo?

As for playing in public my first choice for trad is flute. When things get tootie, like I said, or when a tune just seems to demand it, I go to strings, mostly banjo. If I know I might be singing or backing I play the tenor guitar. Still I always have a flute. Practicing has more to do with learning tunes. I like to learn a tune on all of the instruments interchangeably so I’ll start on whichever instrument is close at hand and work my way through the others, sometimes more successfully than others. As AB said learning a tune vocally might be the best method for that so that’s how I start a new tune. And…I’m a proponent of practicing "chops" just a few minutes a day on all my instruments (I have the time for that unlike many).

My first instrument: flute for Irish, bass for anything else.

Second choice: any of the other strings, depending on the situation, I try to be flexible.

Last place: Harmonica, only because Irish harp is new to me and it’s just a bit outside the norm.

Very last place: slide whistle and kazoo.


And now I’ll shamelessly ask again. If anybody knows where my old Sweetheart 4-key, #4025, is would you please let me know? Thanks.

Re: Multi-instrumentalistsall my other

The instruments I’ve played in my life front of other people would be predominantly guitar, bass guitar, 5string banjo, bouzouki (Irish), made’s, flute, and endless whistles. I also doodled on harmonica all my life and still have a very expensive chromatic that I blow at times.. (merely because I carry it with me). Then nine years ago I took up the fiddle and nowadays it’s the only musical instrumentI have any passion for. I had planned for a while to record my own backings using any of the previously named instruments, but I since came to the conclusion that I’d rather stick with the raw fiddling that I love. As all my other instruments were seeming to become painful distraction I have just about given all of them away now. At this time of my life I am perfectly content, indeed happy, with just playing my fiddle.

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I am a professional pianist and organist. My MM says "piano accompanying and chamber music". I played violin growing up, too (it was stolen when I was about 20). When I got interested in playing Irish music after settling down after grad school, I bought a small piano accordion. I had almost decided the music wasn’t for me when a violin came into my possession again and hey, all these tunes make SO much more sense on this instrument. Never looked back. I pretty much only play Irish on the fiddle - no classical, no oldtime really, a couple Cajun tunes cause they’re fun, pretty much all Irish. It’s a great outlet for a classical musician, sez I. It’s really only happenstance that I play Irish on the fiddle but classical and jazz on the piano; I know there are people who feel it’s a bad idea to switch genres on the same instrument but I think that if you are truly the master of your instrument, you should be able to make it do what you want.

I do also play the whistle. Why? Because I like it. I have actually struggled with the idea that I should stick to fiddle because it makes more sense to spend my time getting better at the fiddle than trying to get the whistle up to where the fiddle is. But I like the whistle, so I quit trying to make myself not play it.

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I’m an electric bass player, also a guitar player. Have played in bands (mainly rock) for years. In the mid 80’s I worked with a guy who was into ITM and he convinced me to learn mandolin. I learned that but soon switched to mainly octave mandolin and then to ITM tenor banjo. I joined an ITM band and played bass, some guitar, and octave mandolin. For sessions I generally played octave mandolin or tenor banjo. In the late 80’s I inherited my grandfathers violin which was in a dilapidated state having been stored in a hot attic for 30-40 years so I had it restored and I started learning that. I then moved overseas and had a Sobell octave mandolin made for me which is now my primary instrument. After the Gulf War, many of my ITM playing friends left the country and I ended up playing OM for myself and then found a rock band to play bass in.

I moved back to the US in 1999 and after getting settled started playing my instruments again. I got my chops back on banjo, octave mandolin, bass, and guitar and then I had my first of many trigger release issues with my fingers. The first (and worst) was my left thumb which need 4 operations, a very nasty staff infection, and a lot of physical therapy to be able to hold any string instrument. The rehab took around a year until I could get back to serious playing. Well, another finger quit working (trigger release), and then another, and another, and another. Each one would take about 3-4 months to rehab and then another 5 months or so to get dexterity and speed out of it; harder with the mandolin, and violin, a bit easier with the bass; banjo was generally the first instrument that I could get speed back on. Anyhow, with 7 fingers having surgeries, life, and raising kids (lots of sports participation) I didn’t play very much at all until recently. After seeing my kids off to college I’ve gotten back into regular practice and playing my instruments again; octave mandolin and tenor banjo mainly, but also electric guitar and bass. I had some more work done on my grandfathers violin and I’m back to learning how to play it. My goal for it is to be able to play in sessions with it. It would be nice to be able to go to a session with a fairly small case and lightweight instrument. I’m also considering getting an upright bass to learn on before I die because I always wanted to. So, for playing out in ITM; guitar (drop-D), tenor banjo, octave mandolin, bass. It looks like I’ll probably have to give up the mandolin as my dexterity doesn’t allow me to play the mandolin the way I want to. Funny but I don’t have that limitation on violin which is a similar scale length. As for fingers. I don’t think my two pinkies will need surgery and only my right 1st finger may need trigger release (it feels like it is developing the issue) surgery; oh well!

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I play tenor banjo, mandolin, concertina, drums and guitar. Started on drums and guitar when I was a kid (9-10yrs old) Primarily played in punk/indie bands throughout my misspent youth/adulthood. Still play drums in a lo-fi indie/folk band. Started taking jazz drumming lessons about 5 years ago too. Kinda fell out of love with the guitar after 30 years of playing. Started on the tenor banjo in 2007, then picked up the mandolin after moving to the States in 2008. Just started playing the anglo concertina in October last year. Can’t really say which is my "primary" instrument. I have to play my instruments every day, even if I’ve only got 10 minutes to spare. Right now the tenor banjo and concertina are getting the most attention. I reckon I spend 3-4 hours a day playing, sometimes more. Don’t have any interest in watching telly so that helps.

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mandolin, tenor banjo, zouk, guitar, harmonica, jaw harp, D/G melodeon, C Cajun accordion, ‘ti fer, very occasional bodhran. Tried and failed with fiddle various times over the years. Started with guitar and harmonica and played nothing but the blues for years - still love it, still play it, and picked up old time country and Cajun on the way. I discovered the trad music of these islands in the late ’60s and been hooked ever since.
I spend a shamefully small amount of time practising as domestic and gardening chores take up most of my day, but I will make time to practise if theres a gig or session coming up so I don’t embarrasss myself!
Difficult to say what is my primary instrument, depends on the situation

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Fiddle mostly. I work from home , so I probably clock up at least an hour’s practise across the day, here and there. I don’t play Irish tunes on any other instrument – with the exception of tin whistle but I wouldn’t say I really "play" the whistle. I know a few simple tunes on it which I can play quite badly. I keep it because it’s a cute little instrument to take on holiday; I barely practice it at all.

But I also play guitar and banjo, mostly for song accompaniment. I’m probably best at guitar, having been playing it for many decades. I’m not a bad banjo player either, but I rarely pick it up for the simple reason that I’m happy with my banjo repertoire the way it is. You can’t be great at everything: I’m happy to be a competent banjo player, a reasonably good fiddler and a semi-pro guitarist and singer.

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I’m happy to play whistle, flute and concertina in front of others. Tinker with box and keyboard sometimes at home. Sense that variety is good but easy to go overboard and fall between too many stools.

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I used to play many more instruments than I do now. Getting older, and perhaps wiser, I decided it was time to concentrate on a couple core instruments and divest myself of most of the others.

My path went:

Highland pipes > uilleann pipes > Irish flute > whistle > bodhran (all of these in the 1970s)

then

> Bulgarian gaida and kaval > Northumbrian smallpipes > Boehm flute > Scottish smallpipes > Gaita Gallega > Cornish double pipes

These all where performed professionally at some point or other. For example I played in a Bulgarian dance band for many years.

This doesn’t include the pure dabbling on guitar, keyboard, octave mandolin, dulcimer, and various Bolivian flutes, and my grandfather’s fiddle.

Anyhow I’ve got rid of most of that stuff and have concentrated now on Highland pipes and Low Whistle and uilleann pipes- enough for anybody!

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I play both the fiddle and Violin.

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Instruments I’ve played in front of other people, including for money: trumpet, five-string banjo, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, whistle, uilleann pipes.

I gave them all up (except whistle) soon after I started on pipes; the pipes are so challenging yet rewarding for me, that all the others just lost their luster. So, I spend 98% of my practice time on pipes, and the remainder on whistle. I do play whistle a fair amount just to pick up a tune by ear (still easier for me on the whistle than pipes, because I have played whistle so much longer) or to sight read music with (especially at the computer).

I gave away all my other instruments to children, nephews, and friends.

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Multi-instrumentalism is my disease. I play 7 instruments regularly well enough for me to not completely embarrass myself in front of people:

Irish: Flute, whistle, piano accordion (right hand only for the most part), mandolin, and banjo (Flute + whistle and Mandolin + Banjo I consider complimentary)

With Church: Bass Guitar, Violin, Mandolin, Banjo

Other: Ukulele. Mostly fingerpicking melody stuff. Very fun and surprisingly versatile instrument. I get annoyed by people who say it’s not a legitimate instrument….

Since I’m heading to graduate school this fall, the number might drop off dramatically…I consider flute, bass, and ukulele my main instruments.

EDIT: Since I don’t really plan to play professionally, I don’t feel the need to focus solely on a few instruments at the moment. I probably do need to focus more than I do, though :P

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I played trombone seriously for around eight years, and I still play in my college band. Before that I played piano for a while, but I’ve never really gotten around to playing Irish music on either of those instruments.

Now, I play harmonica in Paddy Richter tuning. I’ve been playing harmonica for over a year, and specifically Irish music for 3 or 4 months.

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I promise I can count. I listed 8 instruments :P

@Ben Thomas: Irish Harmonica is awesome! Quite a change up from trombone. At least now you don’t have to listen to all the trombone jokes.

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Started on piano when I was about 5 or 6: worked my way up through the grades. In senior school would have LOVED to take up French Horn, but parents said you can’t do both, too expensive. Then my school got some timpani: hooray, you didn’t have to buy your own,and lessons for this and other orchestral percussion were free…….which is why I can maybe say now that I play hundreds of instruments from the "concussion" section. However, along came the 60s folk revival, so, yes, I got a guitar: initially went to classical guitar classes, but then reneged into learning chords for popular folk songs.
Age 50, my husband picked up that I liked drums, and bought me my first bodhran: that actually got me back into trad music after a long period out of it. Then came the B/C button accordion: as a piano player, piano accordion would have made so much more sense, but I just loved/ preferred the sound of a really dry-tuned button accordion. More limited, but the old piano theory comes in handy trying to "play in any key" (not so easy for D/G players!) I did learn mandolin for a while from a very excellent teacher, NG of this site, but in the end time constraints on how many nights out per week, and practice time meant that the accordion won. I learned recorder at school, as so many do, and then tried tin whistle, but not proficient in either.
And then, suddenly, back in comes the piano! Now keyboard player in 2 ceilidh bands: totally diferent from playing Mozart and Debussy, but a couple of courses at Blazin’ in Beauly certainly helped: thanks to Andy Thorburn and Angus Lyon!
And I have 2 didgeridoos, but never mastered the circular breathing. Various other "blowy" things, more for comedy rhan serious music. (Swanne whistle, bird imitators, decoy duck). And a double-sided washboard, which I CAN play: glass one side, metal the other, so sound different.

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I started playing tunes on the guitar and moved over to the mandolin, in sessions and in a folk band. Bouzouki and tenor banjo were added (same thing as mandolin) for folk songs and ceilidh stuff respectively.
Lap dobro is private project.

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Session instruments (in a somewhat chronological order I learned them): guitar/mandolin/tenor banjo/bouzouki, C#/D accordion, anglo concertina, fiddle. I’ve rarely played tin whistle/low whistle/flute in sessions. I focus on the fiddle nowadays, and my repertoire is strongest on string instruments (plucked or bowed) in EADGBE, drop-D, DADGAD and GDAE tuning. Most of my professional gig work has been on mandolin and accordion (all non-ITM settings), but I’ve also played bass guitar, tin whistle, dobro and 5-str banjo and got paid for it. In fact, I’ve rarely played the music I love professionally. Being a competent player of reels and jigs isn’t what brings food on the table.

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I played piano and flute as a school child - the rule in our family was, piano and one other instrument until at least 9th grade. I quit lessons as soon as I was allowed. Got a guitar in 10th grade and had the best time with folk songs and Indigo Girls covers. Fast forward 15 years of college and corporate life with pretty much no music. Picked the flute back up again when it turned out we had moved in next to a retired flute teacher, and spent the next 10 years spending blissful Tuesday nights with him, plowing through his huge collection of duets. I got better and better, he got worse (a stroke and then ALS). Those were wonderful years. Along the way, I got into the singer-songwriter scene - playing guitar and keyboard (badly). I also found a monthly sea shanty session where I got up the nerve to play and sing as my turn came around. Then a friend took me to an Irish music workshop in 2013 and I was HOOKED, I mean like on crack. I googled it before I went and found that tin whistle was an Irish trad instrument, similar enough to flute, so I bought a $10 Clark and went along. I bought a flute next, a keyless Martin Doyle, but my classical flute background was not helping me. Also I just don’t really like Irish traditional flute style, with its rolls everywhere… I could tell it was going to take a lot of time to get it sounding good, with the right embouchure too. So although I love the whistle, still do, I decided one day to give the fiddle a go. Hooked again. LOVE the sound, love how it vibrates on my collarbone and feeds sound right through my left ear direct to my brain. Love how it vibrates on my lap when I’m sitting out a tune. Love that G string with its extra few notes down below D. Love how it kicks my butt every time I think I’ve made some progress. I’m getting lessons. I never practice whistle, fiddle, guitar or piano any more. Just fiddle. I work as a music teacher (groups of differently-abled kids), so I play a fair amount of guitar but only in a "nice guitar lady" way, chords to support my songs. I have a million instruments in my music room, since my teenage daughter plays classical double bass, pretty good rhythm guitar, saxophone and clarinet, and I went through a piano accordion phase at some point. Plus, since I discovered shopgoodwill.com I’ve been accumulating some really cool world percussion and other instruments for working with kids, including a didgeridoo (that was listed as "large rain stick" ha!).

I was happy to read through this thread. I am only a moderate level of crazy compared to you guys!

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At Trad Irish sessions I have played (some more successfully than others!): sopranino, treble, concert, tenor, baritone & bass ukuleles; banjolele; banjo-mandolin; mandolin; steel & nylon strung six string devils; lap steel; unamplified Gibson SG; acoustic and electric bass guitar; Indian harmonium; melodica; upright & grand pianos; cheap £50 synthetic piano; synthetic harmonium/ organ/ piano/ harpsichord et cetera (keyboard); Stylophone; French horn; tenor trombone; bouzouki; bugle; glockenspiel; Cajun spoons; sleigh bells; spoons (borrowed from London County Council education dept. some 50 years ago); cow bell; toy piano; Jew’s harp; thumb piano; autoharp; ‘cello; vox humana.

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Forgot small 12 string harp and harmonica (diff sort of harp!!).

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During the height of our local popularity (along the front range of the Rockies), and at the time when our band membership consisted of up to seven musicians, I freely went from guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, cittern, tenor banjo, whistles, highland pipes and bellows blown smallpipes, bodhran and keyboards as our playlist needed. The running joke was that I represented a music store. As time went on and a several members quit, due to work, relocation or health issues, I was forced to return to primarily guitar and keyboards, until the live music scene puttered out. My favorite memories are of switching between instruments two and three times during a song as different voicings/passages required. As far as practice with each instrument, it was divided up equally, although I practiced with the guitar and keyboards probably the least, mainly due to both having been my primary instruments long before we developed a ITM/STM band.

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A most revealing discussion. Me: long time, self-taught guitar player (flatpicked, fingerpicked, standard, dropped-D, DADGAD, CGDGAD) for vocal accompaniment, or backing a contradance band. Forays into choro and Gypsy jazz on the backing side. A bit of soprano ukulele. Irregular session-goer but a little guitar goes a long way! Before that: standup bass. Since 6 months ago I’ve been dedicated to learning ITM on bouzouki and whistle, as well as bouzouki for backing tunes — I see a long road ahead! but it’s so rewarding. Not blessed with a huge amount of natural talent for this melody stuff, but content to know that the music is its own reward.

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to play in public prob classical flute and whistle/s(+low)

also own a trumpet( unplayed many a year)/ a bodhran , i have several guitars i wish there was more time in the day for though my current love is the fiddle and has been a while.
practice time dedicated to the the item is complex though just having fun as not proffesional.
i have no intentions of limiting my instrument aqcuisition when competent at this there is one more direction into accordion but patience is rather required as i would like to teach and though have enough experience to play would like at some point to pass it on.

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When I joined thesession.org back in the late 1800s, my profile read "adequate fingerstyle guitarist and inferior fiddler…". No change.

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Guitar
Harmonica
Mandolin
Octave mandolin
Id rather play one to a higher standard, but am easily distracted. Practice is more or less on a whim…

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I met a young guy in Vancouver Washington who played the Uilleann Pipes on a set he made himself out of PVC pipe, etc.. He was so good that he would go to the Farmer’s market in the downtown square and make $$ every time.

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Re: Multi-instrumentalists

I wish I could do like harmonic miner said - take one and stick with it. Trouble is some folks are rather addicted to novelty, exotica, various musical machinations. Trad is great, but so is jazz, latin, funk, afro-cuban-brazilian, new orleans, boogie-woogie, cumbia, chamame, flamenco, Bach, and rock ‘n roll.

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Re: Multi-instrumentalists

Lessee. . .

In front of other people, most comfortable on Flute/Whistle. I play ‘zouk in a band, but that’s because the guitarist can hold a groove like it was bolted down, which leaves me a lot of freedom. I break out the ‘zouk once in a while for sessions, but not the "good" /top-tier session locally.

I used to do recorder in an early music group in college.

I’ve been learning UPs for exactly a week.

I have an early music harp. It;s awesome, but hard to play more than melody on it. (That’s a brain limitation, not a physical one).

I have a great electric guitar and bass as well, and would be competent on those in a live setting if it ever came to that.

Would love to learn guzheng AND guqin. For another lifetime,