What instrument do you hate?
What instrument do you hate in the hands of a beginner at a session. Probably a banjo I’d say. What about you?
What instrument do you hate in the hands of a beginner at a session. Probably a banjo I’d say. What about you?
I’m a flute player. I love the banjo in sessions (I’m spoiled by hearing David Corey play).
The only instruments I hate in sessions are those that are played badly or played so loudly as to drown out all the other instruments.
I agree with Chris, pretty much any instrument is OK by me as long as it’s played well in a session. Outside of ITM though I find the soprano sax to be the most tastelessly used instrument. Tailor made for elevators & being on hold.
David Corey! What a great player!
Just to make it clear, i think the tuba is not a good instrument for beginners to play ITM on, but on qualified hands, it’s great! Favourite session standards such as O Danny Boy and My Dead Dog Rover come to life and sparkle when played by a competent tubadour.
This kind of topic makes me think of some of our worst discussions about "how much we all hate bodhrans, piano accordions, etc etc"
So I’m glad none of the contributors of this thread picked up the question.
BTW Brad, you’ve probably never heard a melancholic Swedish polska played on soprano sax. A gig with some very young and skilled swedish folk musicians made me change my mind about that instrument.
Ah, Glauber, but it’s not enough to be simply competent on the tuba! There must be that spark of genius, that feel, pulse and drive, that effervescent and illusive something that all great players (not just those who choose such a difficult instrument such as the tuba) must have in order to bring life to ITM…
Is tuba short for something, or is that the whole name?
I think it’s short for "tubus horribilis"
Lars, I have heard some Swedish music that uses the Soprano Sax, I have a friend who played it for me to try to change my mind. Although the music is good the timbre of that particular instrument makes me physically angry. I’d much rather hear it on a hardinger fiddle or other trad swedish instruments. It’s my loss I know, but I just have a phsychotic aversion to that instrument. On the other hand Baritone sax’s are among my favourite instruments, enough power to blow the balls off an elephant. It also gives an almost unearthly sound when played in unison with a boehm flute. Not for ITM I know, I’m talking jazz & other music.
No question about it, the hammered dulcimer.
I think played solo, or with a good percussion/base backup, it can be fabulous, but in a session or a larger group, it is pure mud, adding nothing except resonant overtones that cloud the tune into obscurity.
Also, it seems that masses of very low skilled players believe they can play this instrument — and do not hesitate. I wish they would.
It seems I have a lot of negative stuff on my mind today, ah well, maybe it is just the yard work to be done,
I think the soprano sax is a very sweet instrument. My favourite players are swing musicians. Jim Galloway and Bob Wilbur. I don’t know if they’re both still playing or not. The curve soprano has a nicer sound, I think, that the straight model.
Speaking of soprano sax, who could forget Kenny G playing the Theme from Titanic? (i wonder when someone will post the abc for that tune)
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
clarinet,except in klezmer music
worst in sessions i’ve attented: triangle;ocarina.but mainly triangle.
i don’t like oboes either
There’s nothing better than a scratchy, squeaky out of tune fiddle.
Heck, I thought scratchy and squeaky was the only way to play the darn thing! 😉
Dont even get me started!
And what about that pesky saprano sax that ruins the best of Moving Hearts. Christ what a scribbly waffle. I think it’s the glisando that really grates. Yes it is indeed a most horrid thing.
But as with any instrument, even concertinas and northumbrian bagpipes, there is always the exception.
John Coltrane playing Green Sleves on Africa Bras Vol 2
The Bontempi Colournote Organ.
The baritone saxophone. I don’t hate it because of the way it sounds, but because I played it
for several years. I hate how hard I had to work at the thing to get it to play, and I hate the
way all the low notes kind of swim together in a muddy sound soup when I try to play it fast, and
I hate how cantankerous the blasted thing is. The other thing I hate about it is the cramp in the
arm I used to get when trying to lug that gigantic box up the stairs and the box would bang against
the stairs as I carried it. I also hated that I really wanted to play the tenor sax, but tenor sax players
are a dime-a-dozen, and they needed me on the barely-a-tone. So, I found another instrument
that was also rare, and that I actually liked. It’s also easier to play: the uilleann pipes! I decided
that bary sax is okay to listen to, just as long as it’s not me playing it!
You mean, more of a cramp than the one you get from carrying that great wooden box around, juggling the bag of whistles, and trying to find a secure place for it all in that new Jeep of yours, Dirk? 🙂
Yeah, Zina, good point. And having met Mr Sore Elbows and seeing how well he plays the pipes, i just don’t believe that his bari playing was anything less than great. Good try, Dirk!
Thanks for the kind words, Glauber, but does it matter at all how I sound on the bari if I hate the
blasted thing? Besides, the bari case didn’t fit in the trunk - it always took up the back seat,
even in a non-Jeep vehicle, and my wife and kids love Irish music, but not jazz. Hmm, I
wonder what "Gravel Walks" would sound like on a bari? — Hooonk, honka, honka honka hooonk,
honka honka honka hooonk, honka honka honka honketta honka honka honk honk honk!
And Zina, shhhh! The contents of the box is a secret. 🙂
One of our regulars came up yesterday with… i kid you not… i’m not making this up… an electric bodhran! Thankfully, it did what most electric instruments do most of the time, and didn’t work. 🙂
Ha. Glauber, I have this image of a bodhran player with a cord running over to a stack of speakers the size of a house….
No kidding. I thought we were finally going to be able to hear the drumming, over all that melody noise.
A couple of months ago, someone tried an electric violin, with the same result (lot of hum, no sound). I’m beginning to suspect some kind soul is sabotaging the electric instruments. 🙂
The soprano sax: an ill-wind that no-one blows good?
(apologies to D. Kaye)
Mostly, Grego, and we have Kenny G to thank for this. But there are exceptions: John Coltrane and Paul Winter come to mind.
Also Sidney Bechet, Bob Wilbur, Kenny Davern, Jim Galloway, Wayne Shorter and Steve Lacy. Occasionally, Zoot Sims played soprano. I think he made an album with it. Steve
Hey Dirk, I pulled out my bari sax after reading that. After half an hour of trying to catch my breath, I tried Gravel walks. But on it’s way to my face, the reed just happened to hit my eye. So I put in a new reed, tried again. The reed wasn’t wet enough… sucked on it for a few minutes, then triend again. I got the same result as you, except the last "hoonk" was actually more of a "hooSCREEnk" because someone came up behind me and punched me in the back as they told me to shut the f*** up. I love the bari…
Mark, good thing you have 2 eyes!
The electric bodhr
I find long solos on the sousaphone a little wearing
Thanks for trying that experiment, and reporting the results. Better you than me. Like I said, I like the bari just fine as long as I’m not playing it. (I gave away my old bari mouthpiece last month, and a strange sense of calm followed.)
Mark, I’m sorry about the eye. Is there any talk about avoiding eye injuries from large woodwinds? I’ll check the musician injury thread…
I recall reading a story about a man who in a somewhat unfortunate (and humorous…) accident had a bassoon mouthpiece shoved up his nose into his brain… and the other guy who choked on his tenorsax mouthpiece… heh
See? Woodwinds are dangerous! Life threatening!
Nothing incites a feeling of contempt which boils in my gut than the sight of an ageing woman with a washboard around her neck, hands tipped with steel-thimbled talons poised, ready to strike…then WHAM!!! Suddenly you’re looking around thinking that someone’s opened fire with an automatic weapon, only to realise that the old dear is using the only percussion instrument where she wash AND mend socks in between tunes. For heaven’s sake, if I wanted to hear a sound like that I’d throw ball bearings at a galvanised rubbish bin……But maybe this problem is only endemic to Australia, or is the washboard player an international disasterous phenomenon?
Meanwhile, just after I posted that message above I went to another website with one of those stupid pop-up ads for Tripod Memers Sites - you know what it was?
"Kenny G (or kennyG is how they wrote it) Sax Therapy. Listen to the audio stream: ‘One More Time’ Now playing on Lycos Music."
Someone passs me a bucket please….
Dargs hath spoken.
Mark, that bassonist, was he perhaps trying to play a solo of O Danny Boy in an Irish session, when they shoved the mouthpiece up his nose? Thinking of it, it could have been worse.
oh yeah,the bassoon,i don’t like the bassoon,especially when it’s given a so-called comic phrase to play.
but the clarinet,that’s the one to recycle first…
You hate the Hammered Dulcimer? That sweet, melodic, uplifting, (etc, ad infinitium, ad nausium) instrument of the gods? Overtones? A cheap version perhaps and a newer player perhaps. Complaints like this might be better addressed through the discussion of bad jam sessions rather than instruments I hate. Same with everything else (except for the tuba of course, Ugh!).
There are some occasions where the HD might not be welcome. Lately I’ve stopped playing at Fenians in Conklin MI. The session there is very tight with three tables of whistle, fiddle and guitar players and the newer people circling around. I started showing up and sitting outside the circle, using padded hammers until I learned the songs. With tape recorder in hand I spent the next couple of weeks working the songs and adding embellishments. I do try to keep both ears open for other players, however the glares from the harp player each time I started playing melody along with the rest of the group convinced me he was more interested in reverend backup than sharing. I hope it works out for him and his group. I’m too busy jamming to bother.
Gee whiz! The poor tuba is coming in for a lot of bad press here along with the soprano sax. Both wonderful instruments. Of course you wouldn’t them at a session. I’ve nentioned great players who have played soprano sax. Some people were pretty dubious about Gil Evans using the tuba and french horn in his scores but it worked out great. Taj Mahal recorded at least one album (The Real Thing) with tubas including the wonderful Tom and Sally Drake-a banjo tuba duet. Check it out. Ever since then I’ve wanted to find a sympathetic tuba player for some banjo/tuba playing. Steve
FTLOG. I was picking on the tuba because it was the one instrument I could be relatively sure that no one here plays ITM on. And everyone should be allowed to dislike a certain instrument that someone else loves. But I must say, I’m both dismayed by and getting tired of all these "what do you hate", "what’s the worst" and "what’s the best" threads.
Thanks for your kind response. I think your letter puts into perspective exactly the points I was making — HD is an easy instrument to jam with, and many with little knowledge of the music or tunes learn just enough to feel that they can play with the session. I have only played with 1 truly gifted HD player, and that was a great experience. However, I have played with many lackeys, who think they know the music well enough to join in, just because they can follow the chordal outline of the tune. I would encourage you, as a teacher, to discourage your students from playing any tunes other than those they know solidly (just as a flute or fiddle player would do) — and also I encourage you to teach them about damping strings after they are played, so that the harmonic elements of one part of a tune don’t become
disharmonies later on.
Nice to meet you,
Zina. Whatever you intended, the discussion broke free of ITM sessions and went into instruments that are hated regardless of context. In fact, it was jrathbun who said ..the tuba,..Ugh! It seemed to me to imply that the tuba was ugh regardless of setting. Other messages implied the same for soprano sax, clarinet and bassoon.
I hate the Tuba but most of all i hate the Sax and Clarinet
I can easily tell you what instrument I hate—- The Mandolin!!!
Well.. actually I don’t HATE it.. I have seen it played well by many people, but for some reason there is that quite visible minority that seem to throw out all subtley and are content to just flick their wrists and shower the listener with a barrage of eighth notes and triplets.. all just a wash of plinkity-plankity racket… Hey people, there are quarter notes out there!! I don’t know if it is the ease to make music with, but there are mandolin players who are used to playing the tune hyperfast at home sitting at a session just trying to keep up with a slower pace, just holding back all the rapid wrist motion, and then a triplet comes up and it is plucked louder then the other notes.. Is this my unique experience, or is this a common thread out there??
Since i brought up the tuba, let me say that i did it just because i though this was a silly discussion. I actually like the tuba; it’s a mighty strong bass line, much machoer than the upright bass, as long as it’s done right. And there’s an album (maybe 30 years old) by Henry Mancini where there’s a tuba solo of Amazing Grace that’s still the best version of this song ever recorded, IMHO.
jrathburn: if it was a "session" rather than a "jam session", could it be that the harpist was upset by the jamming and not by the hammered dulcimer? I’ve heard some pretty incongruous stuff from folks who bluegrass their way through a trad Irish session on all kinds of instruments.
I love to hear a good mandolin player at a session, but my hair stands on end when the bluegrass chops and tremelos start kicking in! (On the other hand, I love to hear good bluegrass mandolin in a bluegrass band, chops and all.)
The XXXXXXX -
especially when played in the same room
especially if played with a capo (I will insist on changing keys at every opportunity if you insist on using one)
especially if you insist on playing in a minor when I am not (and vice versa) or playing in C when I an in D
especially if you change chords in the wrong place
especially if you play it in session and cannot busk
especially if you play too loud, I ease back and you stop playing
XXXXXX - substitute guitar, banjo, G/D concertina, melodion, piano accordion, fiddle where (in-)appropriate
Still not disheartened or think it doesnt apply to you?
Good - see you at the session.
I HATE THE BODHRAN!! MY LIL BROTHER HAS ONE AND HE CANT PLAY WORTHA CRAP, BLESS HIS HEART!! TALK ABOUT NAILS ON A BLACKBOARD…
Ow, my ears!
No need to shout, Tradgirl. Ease off on the caplocks key, please.
…and welcome to The Session, by the way. 🙂
People actually practice the bodhran at home? I thought they only did that at sessions.
Ooo, ouch, Brad! hehehehe
You all amaze me with your intolerance - I think any instrument is acceptable in a session if you hit it hard enough.
A Yamaha DX7 is great for catching beer spills.
Omigosh, I used to own one of those back in my rock and roll days. Wow…haven’t thought about one of those in years and years…
I used to wonder why it was important that a band have a tuba, I used to play the french horn and was not so good at it. I was swicthed to tuba at the end of my sophmore year and currently am the lead tuba in the band. With this I believe I am entitled to say that I hate the tuba with a passion, its a thankless job, and a painfully dull line in any esembled related way. Those that condition their insecurity by telling themselves that the tuba is the foundation for the band to build on just dont want to come to terms with the fact that the tuba is just an instrument that makes everyone else in the band look and sound good. The sousaphone is a tremendous blow to one’s self esteem because it shows exactly how loathsome the instrument becomes. The weight, the size, trying to get through doors, being the last one in and out of buildings and trying to accept that they are seen as the sterotypical fat kid with good o’l Tubby the Tuba, Unable to perform with a normal marching band hat just those ugly berets. To the ears of a musician I assume that the tuba serves a purpose, but not at the expense of someones self esteem.
Well, apart from the spoons, bones, shaky eggs and all that, from the proper instruments I hate the concertina, not only in the hands of a beginner, but on any hands. It’s sound is as annoying to my ear as the sound of a car horn.
But the concertina is suppose to sound like a car horn.
Can you imagine a car horn that plays the concertina reel when you push it? How scary!
Why would you need that when you could just play it on a concertina?
Oh gosh, I cannot stand at all the sound of a sax! Any of them! They all just go errrrr or squeakkkkkkkkkk! Gosh, if you hear a sax solo in any band it ruins the entire song! Not only that, but all sax players are stuck up, like they are actually a worthy member of the wind ensemble. And then they go around thinking they’re better than everyone else because they play this dreaded instrument! Oh, and I also can’t stand a flute! In most hands, it sounds airy, toneless, and completely dry! Only the best players can sound good! Same with trumpets. But it’s even worse with oboes, because I just cannot stand the sound of an oboe. It just isn’t capable of anything good!
Standard tuned guitar, by a beginner.
Thank you, Trombonist, for the best laugh of the last day of the year! I look forward to hearing you belting out the Bucks at warp speed on the trombone, surrounded by all the other instruments you mention all pitifully trying to keep up - do you have a YouTube clip for us? As for me, it’s those pipes I can’t stand, sounding as they do like a strangulated moorhen. Then there’s harps, crazy out of tune contraptions only redeemed by the fact that they are mostly played by etherially beautiful ladies, and fiddles - what’s that all about with the absence of frets? Just showing off, I think!
Trombonist - Are you trying to say that the oboe is "an ill wind that nobody blows good"
First, no, I don’t have a youtube video, due to the fact that I really don’t have a camcorder that captures my real sound and I’m too lazy to buy one and second, no, I’m not trying to say that the oboe is an ill wind that nobody blows good, I’m just trying to say that I don’t really like the sound, though most people find it charming, or delicate, or whatever else. My girlfriend is an oboe player by the way.
To play or listen to? I don’t hate any of the instruments I play, but I can’t stand clarinets.