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Your first instrument

GUEST,Foe 09 May 02 - 02:37 PM
Steve in Idaho 09 May 02 - 02:44 PM
catspaw49 09 May 02 - 02:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 09 May 02 - 03:17 PM
Wesley S 09 May 02 - 03:20 PM
Uncle_DaveO 09 May 02 - 03:27 PM
kendall 09 May 02 - 03:47 PM
tar_heel 09 May 02 - 04:16 PM
catspaw49 09 May 02 - 04:19 PM
C-flat 09 May 02 - 04:37 PM
Sorcha 09 May 02 - 04:43 PM
gnu 09 May 02 - 04:56 PM
gnu 09 May 02 - 05:01 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 09 May 02 - 05:47 PM
Celtic Soul 09 May 02 - 08:05 PM
Mary in Kentucky 09 May 02 - 08:27 PM
Amergin 09 May 02 - 10:25 PM
Chanteyranger 09 May 02 - 11:34 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 09 May 02 - 11:52 PM
MudWeasel 10 May 02 - 02:41 AM
GUEST 10 May 02 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Boab 11 May 02 - 02:39 AM
rea 11 May 02 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,chouxfleur 11 May 02 - 03:18 AM
Marcus Black Wolf 11 May 02 - 07:29 AM
Tweed 11 May 02 - 09:02 AM
53 11 May 02 - 09:29 AM
TheBigPinkLad 11 May 02 - 10:25 AM
toribw 11 May 02 - 10:39 AM
Crane Driver 12 May 02 - 08:30 AM
53 12 May 02 - 10:41 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 26 Jun 02 - 02:36 AM
Kaleea 26 Jun 02 - 02:54 AM
Catherine Jayne 26 Jun 02 - 09:15 AM
Dave Bryant 26 Jun 02 - 10:35 AM
Chip2447 27 Jun 02 - 04:08 AM
Janice in NJ 27 Jun 02 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Lori 27 Jun 02 - 03:32 PM
Gloredhel 28 Jun 02 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Melani 28 Jun 02 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,DW at work 28 Jun 02 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,Foe
Date: 09 May 02 - 02:37 PM

Other than fiddling with your toes or playing on the linoleum, what was your first instrument? I saved up my money and bought myself a $5 blue pear-shaped uke at the toy store around the corner from my house. Had a felt pick and a song book of "favorites" with uke chord diagrams. I think my folks must have thought it strange for an 8 year old to be wailing away on "Little Brown Jug". About the same time, the late 40s, a white haired street singer would come around every six months or so and play the plectrum banjo and sing arias and show tunes in front of the apartment house on the corner and then up my street. He ever stopped once and played just for us kids sitting on the curb. I think that sound and the sight of the banjo close-up is what led me to the banjo later in life.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 09 May 02 - 02:44 PM

Harmonica - my Dad got it for me. I think I was about 4 or 5.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 May 02 - 02:51 PM

Well you all know what I'm going to say first (born with my first instrument which I still have and works great, etc.) so I'll skip that......

About 5 I guess and I got a plastic uke with one of the chord gizmos. Brown and white/beige color plastic and the gizmo had either 4 or 5 chord buttons. I had it for years and it played as well later as it did at first........really bad, wouldn't stay in tune, sounded like crap. My grandfather who played the banjo was always complaining that it wouldn't stay tuned as though he actually expected this cheap piece of plastic to stay in tune.....but it was fun.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:17 PM

Testing my memory here. It was one of four possibilities.. all of which I had very early on in my life. It might have been a plastic uke, with the felt pick. You never heard nothin' until you heard me do Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling from High Noon, on ukelele. Most likely it was a nose flute. Allright, 'Catters, show your age. Who else played a nose flute? It was a plastic contraption that fit oever your nose and mouth. You blew threw your nose, using the size and shape of your mouth to control the sound. An engineering marvel.. a definite step up from wax paper and pocket comb. Or, maybe my first instrument was a kazoo. Or perhaps a " Sweet Potato." They used to sell clay Sweet Potatoes, or occarinas at the music store, and they fit my budget. Later, they just sold plastic ones, which were never quite as good. I found my first harmonica. A friend and I were out in teh woods outside of town and came across and old log cabin. It was securely boarded up, so we went up on the roof. Figured if Santa Calus could slide down the chimney, so could we. Of course, even for a kid, the chimney was too small, but protruding out of the clay lining to the chimney was the corner of a harmonica. I took out my trusty pcket knife and patiently chipped away and the hardened clay until I finally got the harmonica out. I have no idea why someone would cement it into the inside lining of the chimney. I had to soak the thing in water for days to slowly get the clay softened up enough to get the reeds free enough to play. It was always a touch and go proposition, playing the thing though. Some of the notes were very temperamental and only played when they felt like it. But, for my ability, it worked well enough.

As I say, it was one of the above. Most likely the wax paper and comb. First store-bought instrument was probably the nose flute. Sadly, I've lost my ability to play and of them any more.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:20 PM

I still have my little toy drum with "indian" designs on it. It resides in my son's room now - up on the wall where he can't get to it. Later in Jr High I tried the trombone and the electric bass before getting a guitar when I was 15.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:27 PM

The first one that I REMEMBER was a drum, given me by an aunt when I was maybe four or five, because I liked to bank on pots and pans. Now this was NOT a toy drum or tom-tom; it was fairly small, but it was a regular two-headed street-drum style, with tightening brackets and all, and a sling, and with proper drumsticks. Like most kids, I worshipped and celebrated that drum for a short time, and then abandoned it.

This brings to mind the religious injunction:
If thine enemy offend thee, giveth his kid a drum!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: kendall
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:47 PM

A second hand Gene Autry guitar.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: tar_heel
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:16 PM

i guess i remember having a harmonica or two as a small child in grammer school,but my really first guitar was a Stella...a small guitar that cost my mom and dad $12.00 when i was 12 years old...probaly a lot of money back then(1948)and........i still have it!not much on sound(like an old washtub...lol)but great on memories and there's no price tag big enough for those...


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:19 PM

Jerry, you are not familiar with "Mudcat Lore and Icons" my friend. I'm willing to bet that probably 25% of all the 'Catters here have a nose flute! They have played a prominent part at the Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed as well. Cletus told this story upon his return from one of his many trips to the Center:

When Cletus finally arrived back home he had this story all about how Dr. Cojones has discovered a "channel" of some sort between the sinuses and the genitals. The most inner sanctum at the Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed houses 50 perverts (and Neil himself) where Cojones has been carrying out his experiments. The guards here are members of Crazed Tiple Bands who have failed in their mission and are waiting reassignment. Cletus says that Dr. Cojones uses Nose Flutes and not tiples to treat the perverts. It seems that a "channel" he discovered can aid in controlling the sex drive and specifically deviant activity, if the pervert simply continues to play "I Love a Parade" on Nose Flute, hence all inmates have Nose Flutes permanently affixed. Cojone must have gotten a new batch of sexual deviants to work with since Ol' Cletus tells me there was a terrible accident while he was there. It seems as though some form of sinusitis epidemic struck and when their noses plugged up the excess pressure caused by the Nose Flute on the channel caused their gonads to explode. The details are too gruesome to go on, but it sent Cletus packin', that's for sure!

And as for Sweet Taters.......Cleigh O'Possum, the ass-blown ocarina is incensed!!! To mention them here without paying homage to this famous Mudcat Mascot is just not done!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: C-flat
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:37 PM

Like Jerry, the first thing I remember making a noise with was a comb and paper but I also remember playing a "jews-harp" as a kid and giving my front teeth a few nasty cracks in my enthusiasm! The first real instrument I owned was a Woolworths guitar which had the most awful action imaginable and literally made my fingers bleed. It was painted black with a humingbird motif on the scratchplate and I broke my heart when the neck snapped off during a play-fight with one of my brothers. I had a friend who lived a couple of doors down the street that owned an accordian. I assume it was given to him by a relative because no one in his family could play it but he wore it, strapped to his front like a surgical appliance, where-ever we went! We would sit around and marvel at the Mother of pearl inlay,sparkly plastic finish and all those knobs and buttons but could never persuade him to take it off and let us try it. I think it was the only thing he had that was HIS and it didn't matter that he didn't know what to do with it, he had something we all admired and that was enough! A musical instrument was something of a rarity in our neighbourhood unless it was recently liberated and headed for the nearest pawn-shop! Happy days!


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:43 PM

Well, I started taking "elocution" lessons when I was 5 so does "voice" count? I was reciting, not singing. Got my fiddle when I was 10, I think.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: gnu
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:56 PM

A reed of grass placed between thumbs. I had to learn to call pheseants before I would be allowed to use my brother's bugle, or so I was told by "Little Bill". After that, I was relegated to "fist trumpet" while trying to work up to the bugle. But, with perseverence, I mastered it. Even then, I was allowed only the mouth piece until proficient with it. However, all was lost when, one Sunday morning early, I let loose a call for infantry charge that apparently brought back some sour memories for dear old Dad... and sour memories for my backside !

I haven't plyed the bugle for thirty years... my ass is still sore !


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: gnu
Date: 09 May 02 - 05:01 PM

Shite !!!.... FORTY years !


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 09 May 02 - 05:47 PM

My first guitar was a Stella. The body was painted white with gray feathery streaks... the same color and pattern of long underwear, for those who remember... Even as a kid, I recognized that the guitar was ugly (as well as unplayable.) I think you could probably pass your hand beneath the strings and the fret board. No wonder I though playing guitar was impossible. I tried to improve the looks by taking a plastic place mat of my Mother's and cutting inlays into the fingerboard. Then, I stripped off all of the paint and refinished it. It still was impossible to play, but it looked slightly better. The only benefit from all of my work was that I was able to sell it for slightly more than I paid for it.

Many, many years later, I bought a Stella Twelve string for next to nothing when I was living in New York City. I bought it to help someone out who was destitute. You could pass both hands under the strings of the 12 string. I ended up giving it to Dave Cohen who was going under the Nom de plume of D. David Cuffe at the time. He later got a Dylan haircut, became enigmatic and changed his name to Dave Blue and was "discovered." I like to think that the thing that really caught someone's eye was the Stella twelve string that I gave him.:-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 09 May 02 - 08:05 PM

Voice. From the time I was in elementary school.

Other than that, it would be doumbek.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 09 May 02 - 08:27 PM

Anybody else play a tonette? I liked it better than the flutophone. (These were kinda like whistles that we played in elementary school music class.)


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Amergin
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:25 PM

the voice...all self taught...still trying to figure out how to play it....


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 09 May 02 - 11:34 PM

Voice and Recorder. The elementary school I went to had a volunteer music teacher, a very good one named Arlene Sagan. She taught chorus and beginning recorder. We sang folk material such as the spiritual "Elijah Rock" and the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts." Can't remember playing much on the recorder outside of "Hot Cross Buns," right out of the Dolmetsch beginning book. My recorder playing inspired me to..well...to play touch football.

chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 09 May 02 - 11:52 PM

Whistle.john


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: MudWeasel
Date: 10 May 02 - 02:41 AM

I got a Xylophone when I was 3 or 4 and learned to bang out "Jamaica Farewell", impressing myself, if not anyone else in the house.
I don't play xylophone anymore, but I still dig that song.
-MudWeasel


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 02 - 03:01 AM

First there was a beautiful German factory copy of a Strad with the herringbone back which I thought I'd like to try so I could do something in music class at school apart from try to analyse Handel. I wasgiven it by an uncle who had got it from his father and I've still got that violin. God knows why for I never did learn to play it.

Then came the guitar....Oh dear, I still remember that guitar even forty years later ... Czechoslovakian built and named a Tatra. Looked great in a sunburst finish and black neck with (big plus!) mother of pearl inlay on the fingerboard. One surprising feature was the big clock-type key supplied for the square ended screw shaft in a recess under the neck which adjusted the rake on the neck and allowed the action height to be altered to suit the player. A remarkably good and useful idea as it turned out, seeing that the whole neck after a little while used to bend under the string tension.... with nylon strings yet!

It may have been that guitar which caused me to try a mandolin, rescued from my father's wardrobe where it had languished since 1939 I think.... When I tried it, it certainly sounded like it.

Now I look back, it is small wonder that I gave up strings altogether. Far too complicated for me, what with needing to use both hands at once.... I eventually ended up thumping a bodhran. There are those among my associates however who may say that I should have stuck to the Tatra.... and if so, I'll get them yet, you see if I don't.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 11 May 02 - 02:39 AM

Twelve-inch wooden school ruler---used to play "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" on my front teeth; and get the "tawse" for it, too. [You tell 'em l.j.c.!]


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: rea
Date: 11 May 02 - 02:43 AM

well, i think i might have learned recorder in school, and xylephone, but what i really remember is being 5 years old and going down the block to learn guitar. The scary thing is that when I took up guitar lessons age 15, it was the same guitar - so far as i remember. see, there were these stickers we'd put on the neck so i'd know where notes were.... but maybe I misremember. hard to think of a 5-year-old me playing a big people's guitar...


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,chouxfleur
Date: 11 May 02 - 03:18 AM

A jaws harp, around 1964....but I wanted to use one of those funny capo things that everyone at the folk club were using, so had to switch to guitar. That was an 'Egmond Western Jumbo', cost £14 new and was so expensive that my mum had to be guarantor on the hire purchase papers.........can you imagine that. 14 quid, you'd almost spend that on a bottle of restaurant wine now

chouxfleur


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Marcus Black Wolf
Date: 11 May 02 - 07:29 AM

Well I see someone back there owned as there first guitar one from the same company as me, that been Tatra. Although as I'm left-handed I don't imagine I did that poor guitar much good by reversing the strings like I did, I actually thought it was a quite good guitar, although eventually I gave it to a school friend as a present. After that I had a one-pick up Yamaha electric (which after it wore out was ritually dismembered one day) followed by a Squier Telecaster (believe me Telecasters look odd played lefthanded :) which I still have and is in semi-playable condition. Seeing as it has sentimental value as my mother's last present to me I keep it tightly locked up and don't use it though. Since then I've gone through probably ever minor and major guitar maker.

Also, at about the same time I started guitar I had tinwhistles, and a rather nice chromatic harmonica due to my dad's interest in Larry Adler.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Tweed
Date: 11 May 02 - 09:02 AM

A toy xylophone with wheels and a string to pull it around with. My Granny had an upright piano that she would show me some stuff on and keep me occupied when I was a little guy and she probably turned me to a lifelong quest to try to play music for myself. I was passin' papers in 1965 and heard Subterranean Homesick Blues on my transistor radio for the first time and went down and bought a $45.00 Kay guitar at the local record and appliance shop on time. Five bucks a week and no interest! Those were the days.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: 53
Date: 11 May 02 - 09:29 AM

My very first instrument was a piano that my dad bought for my sister and myself, in December of 1964 I got a Stella guitar and Ive been playing guitar ever since. Bob


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 11 May 02 - 10:25 AM

I had a no-name acoustic jazz guitar. It had been subjected to a friend's butchery in his attempt to add a pick-up. It only had one string when I got it ... my Dad eventually learned to HATE the bass-line from 'Spoonful.' ;o)


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: toribw
Date: 11 May 02 - 10:39 AM

Mary in Kentucky--thanks for reminding me what those things were called! I had the Tonette pictured in my mind, but the name escaped me. That would have been my first instrument, as well. I loved it!


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Crane Driver
Date: 12 May 02 - 08:30 AM

First instrument I bought was a cheap nylon-strung guitar, when I was sour seventeen. No case - I brought it home wrapped in brown paper (the guitar!) and as I unwrapped it in the kitchen, the dog jumped up and left two nine-inch scratches in the front. Scarred for life, and it still hadn't played a note!

Never did get the hang of guitar. I always seemed to be playing something that went at right-angles to the tune I was trying to sing. What I needed was something that went along the tune, not across it. So I bought my first concertina. £15, in 1971. Probably the only time in my life that I've been in the right place at the right time.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: 53
Date: 12 May 02 - 10:41 AM

I wish that I still had my Stella guitar it would be nice to pass it on to my granddaughter who I'll be teaching to play in a couple of years. Bob


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 02:36 AM


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Kaleea
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 02:54 AM

Yes, Sorcha, the Voice is an instrument. How else could all of those "Voice Majors" list their "major instrument" as "Voice"!!! My first instrument was the voice, and then at about age 3, my brother took piano lessons. As it was rather large, and the living room was filled with furniture, the piano was in my bedroom. My big brother could not kick me out of my own bedroom, so I would sit next to him on the piano bench and watch & listen. After a while, I would wait until he left to go out & play, then scoot over on the bench and begin to play what he had been playing. This was quite fun for me until the time he came back in & caught me playing "HIS" recital piece, "Indian Rain Dance," and proceeded to clobber me! Then it was the Flutophone in 3rd, and shortly after that I got real piano lessons of my very own. The teacher was quite impatient with me because I played (dare I say it--she acted as though it were a crime) by ear. Then in 5th grade, Flute. at @13, guitar. And I could not resist the red & black Farfisa Combo Compact organ my brother got in his 9th grade year on which I loved to play the Batman theme song when he was not home of course, & I loved the old Hammond B3 my brother got when he was about 16, and I @ 13. I could do a mean "Satin Doll"--with my short stubby legs I could just barely reach the pedals!-- by about 14! I just can't seem to stop coveting musical instruments which I have never before played!


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 09:15 AM

When I was about 4 my aunty bought me a toy concertina which I promptly walked around the house making a dreadful noise.......my dad disposed of it within a couple of hours. Well the next time my fathers not so popular sister came to vist she bought me a drum. I banged the drum constantly until she left and my dad disposed of it before I gave him a nervous breakdown.

Well can you imagine the look on my dear fathers face when I come home from school with a VIOLIN!!! I wasnt that good at 4 and a half so my dad called it a vile-din. Well 17 years on he is glad he didn't use the fiddle for fire wood!

After that I acquired various instruments and I am still collecting now!

Cat x


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 10:35 AM

I was playing on the linoleum when I was only a few months old !


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Chip2447
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:08 AM

I seem to remember an electric organ, (leave it alone Spaw). that I taought myself how to play a few songs on. This must've been around 1966 or 67. about the same time I got my first guitar, an el cheapo plastic Les Paul look alike including the battery powered amp and the pickup with the suction cups on it. Stuck rather nicely to the plastic hollow body. Now, all these years later, I have decided that I play the ocarina, (all hail Cleigh) better than I'll ever play the guitar.

Chip2447


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:59 AM

Stella 6-string guitar, the bottom-of-the-line steel string guitar by Harmony. Just $17 brand new with a canvas carrying case, a no name elastic band capo, and one thick white plastic flat pick. Not to be confused with the big, beautiful Stella 12-string models of the kind Leadbelly used to play.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,Lori
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 03:32 PM

Those Harmony guitars had miserable tone, but the action was reasonably light. And for a beginner, being able to press the strings down is more than half the battle.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: Gloredhel
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 01:34 PM

Tweed: I had one of those xylophone-on-wheels thingies too! I adored it. Didn't realize how damned annoying it was until my neice got a hold of it a few years ago.

Also had a yellow plastic piano that I think had one octave's worth of keys, a plastic recorder, and a small drum. I'm surprised neither of my parents has ever had a nervous breakdown.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 03:11 PM

It was a wooden whistle from Czechoslovakia that I got on a class field trip to the Field Museum in Chicago. I kept trying to play it on the way home on the bus until squelched by my classmates. I thought I just didn't know how to play it, but I've still got the thing (it's very pretty), and I can now say with certainty that it is actually unplayable. I've gotten some better ones since, including a boxwood Renaissance flute that I just acquired this weekend, with whom I forsee a long and pleasant relationship.


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Subject: RE: Your first instrument
From: GUEST,DW at work
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 06:40 PM

Granma's piano. She musta poured about a gallon of beer down the back of that baby trying to make it sound like the honky tonk from 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'.

Strange woman my granma, but she taught me the first steps in piano. I graduated to keyboards, to Pop's disgust. He'd been a drummer and a groupie and wanted me to be the same. Some ambition for your son! I just wanted to play a tune and stay in the same town for more than a season.

DW


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