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Worst Instrument Ever?

Alec 01 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM
alanabit 01 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM
Ruston Hornsby 01 Mar 07 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Mar 07 - 03:30 PM
Dave Hunt 01 Mar 07 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Cragrat 01 Mar 07 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 07 - 04:23 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 07 - 04:28 PM
Songster Bob 01 Mar 07 - 04:46 PM
The Sandman 01 Mar 07 - 07:27 PM
skipy 01 Mar 07 - 07:34 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Mar 07 - 07:41 PM
frogprince 01 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM
RangerSteve 01 Mar 07 - 09:04 PM
kendall 01 Mar 07 - 09:07 PM
bubblyrat 02 Mar 07 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,banjoman 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM
manitas_at_work 02 Mar 07 - 05:21 AM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Tabor fan 02 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM
Folk Form # 1 02 Mar 07 - 05:40 AM
Alec 02 Mar 07 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 02 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM
Stu 02 Mar 07 - 06:01 AM
kendall 02 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 07:07 AM
Grab 02 Mar 07 - 07:24 AM
Tim theTwangler 02 Mar 07 - 08:23 AM
Alec 02 Mar 07 - 08:39 AM
Rapparee 02 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM
kendall 02 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,ib48 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM
Soldier boy 02 Mar 07 - 10:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Mar 07 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Cragrat 02 Mar 07 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,An Duilach Mor 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM
GUEST 02 Mar 07 - 12:08 PM
Little Hawk 02 Mar 07 - 12:14 PM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 12:17 PM
Midchuck 02 Mar 07 - 12:23 PM
Scrump 02 Mar 07 - 12:28 PM
Jack Campin 02 Mar 07 - 01:17 PM
MaineDog 02 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM
Songster Bob 02 Mar 07 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 02 Mar 07 - 03:02 PM
bubblyrat 02 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM
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Subject: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:11 PM

Current issue of The Word (U.K. music mag)lists what its staff maintain are the 20 best & 20 worst musical instruments.
The best in no particular order are:Fire Extinguisher,Stylophone,Live Elephant,Hosepipe,"Super Yob" Guitar played by Dave Hill,Power Drill,Theremin,Musical Saw,Cymbalom,Donkey,Melodica,Roland TB-303 Bassline,The Flaming Lips Boombox Orchestra,The Voice of Bjork,The Pet Sounds Box of Fun,Sousaphone,Mellotron,Glass Harmonica,Double Bass & their choice for absolute best musical instrument is the Vocoder.
They also list what they maintain are the 20 worstinstruments.
Again in no particular order:"Keytar",Pan Pipes,Crumhorn,"Additional Percussion",Harmonica,Bob Dylan style,Rhodes Electric Piano,Rototoms,Shaun Ryder chasing The Dragon,Slap Bass,Gong,Side of Pork,Flying V Guitar,Simmons Drums,Feedback,Paul McCartney chewing Vegetables,Sitar,Fretless Bass & their choice of worst instrument in the world is...Acoustic Guitar.
Their quote for this choice is Stop talking,sit down,pay attention.This is important.Has any artefact ever allowed as many no-marks and bores to cloak themselves in Meaning and Seriousness? Good for two things:Kumbaya,and beating James Blunt to death with.
OK Controversial choices.I am aware of the disdain held for the Banjo & the Hurdy-Gurdy by some round these parts but what are 'Catters least liked instruments?
Can we provide a more rational list than this?
BTW If you're wondering about some of their more eccentric choices,they're all things which have been used in reasonably well known recordings.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: alanabit
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM

I reckon the world's greatest stylophone virtuoso could play the thing, and it would still sound as entertaining as a dentist's drill - while at the same time being less useful.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Ruston Hornsby
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:25 PM

I just think it comes down more to the musician than the instrument, and of course, when we're looking at surveys and lists - what's hip and unhip at the time they're compiled.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM

June Tabor's voice!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:30 PM

There are no good instruments or bad instruments, only good or bad players. Every time I decide I hate an instrument, somebody comes along and plays it so well I go, "Oh! So that's what it's supposed to sound like! I don't hate it any more!"

But I do agree somewhat with the author's rating of the guitar, though I would definitely include electric guitar in the equation. The guitar is unusual in that there are far more people who play poorly, and don't seem to realze that they play poorly, than there are people who play well. With most instruments, one either achieves a modicum of proficiency or gives up entirely, but there are millions of people who say they play guitar who know five chords and how to pick out "Smoke on the Water".


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:32 PM

Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat - PM
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM

June Tabor's voice!
-------------------------

Is that best or worst??


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM

The saw

Pity it can't cut itself in two !


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 03:36 PM

Worst! Fingernails down a blackboard yet still so dreary. I often wonder whether she's taking the piss.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:23 PM

Bodhrans - and June Tabor's voice
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:28 PM

Jane Tabor excellent (if a little humourless).

The idiots who made up this list, a bunch of self-important no brain wish they were trendies.

If they could do anything, maybe they would get on with it rather than scribble childish rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 04:46 PM

An instrument being judged by how many twits play it badly? What kind of measurement is that? I'd rather consider whether an instrument can be played at all as the measure of its "worstness." One that comes to mind is the ukelin, actually a bowed psaltery. I have heard bowed psalteries, and none of them sound good (the worst of them sound, well, worse). But the point on the string where the bow of a bowed psaltery touches the string is so close to the end point of the string (think: bridge) that good tone is absolutely impossible.

In 1876, at the Centennial Exposition, thousands of musical instruments were submitted for prizes, and one, despite repeated appeals and re-entries, never managed to "pass." It was a bowed PIANO! I suspect it had some kind of mechanism to bow each string, said mechanism somehow controlled by a keyboard, so it would have been a mechanized (for you Brits, mechanised) bowed psaltery. I suspect it would have been the world's worst instrument.

Many of the other autoharpish instruments produced by the Marx company (they made the ukelin) like the Marxophone, Hawaiian Tremoloa, et al, could actually play tunes, and probably were acceptable, if not automatically accorded ne plus ultra status.

But guitars, even electrics? Banjos, even guitar banjos? They're not "good" or "bad," since they can be played to good effect. It's the ones that no one can play well, those are the "worst."

Bob

(and I didn't even mention the Humanotone, a plastic gizmo that qualifies as a nose flute of sorts).

(Oh, and the slide whistle! Now there's a sound that's hard to put up with, even if played well, which isn't often.)


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:27 PM

there is nothing wrong with June Tabors voice,it is quite a good one.
I havent heard her lately,25 years ago she was a good singer.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: skipy
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:34 PM

Recorder!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:41 PM

An instrument being judged by how many twits play it badly? What kind of measurement is that?

Actually, it's a tongue-in-cheek kind of measurement. I would advise anyone who took it seriously to see a pharmacist about a reliable laxative.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: frogprince
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM

At the risk of drift in this serious thread: have you ever heard any of the album "A Tool Box Christmas"? You know how some things sound much better in fact than in imagined concept? This was not one of those things!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 09:04 PM

They're blaming the guitar, as if the guitar forces people to play it. They're a bunch of pompous asses. Except for when they mention harmonica played Bob Dylan style. And there's nothing wrong with crumhorns either. They're pompous asses again.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Mar 07 - 09:07 PM

The bowed psaltry is not one of my favorites. I fact, it sounds like a fly under a shingle.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 03:31 AM

The Yetties have,among their number,a fine bowed-psaltery player,whom I have heard do a creditable and accomplished, if somewhat surprising, version of " Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ". If the instrument"s critics and detractors were to but seek out and experience such delights,their attitude would,I feel certain, alter considerably. The same, I fear, can never be said of the stylophone, however technically accomplished the " player". I must confess to a fondness for the crumhorn,serpent , and other instruments of that ilk,and music of the Tudor period generally. The musical (?) saw has its place in the scheme of things, I suppose, but preferably not in either the Bedford Hotel,or at Miskin !!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,banjoman
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:12 AM

Nothing surpasses the Melodeon in the stakes for worst instrument ever. It is the last refuge of the musically incompetent and suits them very well


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:21 AM

Says the banjo player?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:22 AM

The Yetties have,among their number,a fine bowed-psaltery player

It's their accordionist Pete Shutler who plays the bowed psaltery (not at the same time as the accordion of course).

--------------------------

Most of these comments above are criticisms not of the instrument itself, but the poor players of them. An instrument is only as good as the person playing it. Int he right hands, even a cheap and poorly made instrument can be made to sound good.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Tabor fan
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:34 AM

GUEST, Cragrat,
Have you ever seen June Tabor live?
Please can you expand on your dislike of her voice?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Folk Form # 1
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:40 AM

Worst instrument? Lute and harpsicord, certainly. Howabout samplers? They are used by techno geeks nicking music from real musicians. Billy Bragg and Madonnoa's voices.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:47 AM

I play Guitar,Ukulele,Harmonica & whistle, all of them at a relatively rudimentary level.It is because I play at early or earlyish learner level that I would not expect people to pay to hear my efforts.
The lists are tongue in cheek but do contain some valid points.
For example "Bob Dylan style Harmonica" I would interpret this as meaning Diatonic Harmonica in a rack played simultaneously with Guitar.Under those circumstances the playing of one or the other instrument will of necessity be very rudimentary & a key change will be impossible.This is what makes the experience substandard for many listeners.
I like most instruments when well played (with the proviso that Bagpipes ought to be played outdoors)but I have to endorse what Bee-dubya-ell says about the Guitar.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:51 AM

The Melodeon is 'the lsat refuge for the musically incompetant' ...I'm sure my mate Dave Mallinson would have something to say on that score! I'd hardly call him 'musically incompetant'
...and there's bugger all wrong with Lutes, Harpsichords or bowed psalterys either!
I'll nominate Banjo-mandolin though, I've never heard anyone play one in tune yet, I don't even think it's possible to play one of the things in tune, string pressure v skin tightness!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Stu
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 06:01 AM

The wearying, soddin', rotten, monotonous, soul-destroying, annoying like a buzzing mozzie in your bedroom, colourless (but frequently garishly coloured), metronomic, 'I can't play owt so I'll play this on every tune in your session', rice-for-yolk, repetitious, rancid little ovum that is

THE SHAKEY EGG!!!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:01 AM

It's the sound of the bowed psaltry I can't bear, nothing to do with the player. I don't care how good you are, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:07 AM

Well, I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes.

The only musical sound I really don't like are some of the sounds made by electronic keyboard players, a sort of 'plunky' sound that they seem to think sounds good, or like a muted piano, but actually sounds nothing like one, to me.

I've seen some otherwise excellent performances spoilt (for me, anyway) by this sound, which I find irritating - why, I don't know.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Grab
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 07:24 AM

Hmm. I got a few issues of The Word when it started. Some good articles about musicians, but mostly they were condensed bios which you could get anywhere (and likely had been rewritten from other sources). And the free CD was always this dreadful indie-pop stuff. I quickly realised it wasn't my kind of thing at all. I still strongly suspect they're a bunch of posers who think obscurity makes stuff good.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Tim theTwangler
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:23 AM

Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks it is great.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Alec
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 08:39 AM

Grab,the current issue is the first I've bought in a while.
Your analysis is correct in every detail and it hasn't changed one bit.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:34 AM

Lasso d'amore. Pandemonium. Live cannons (as in the "1812 Overture").


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:42 AM

Spoons and Bones.....and the twerps that play them!
If they don't receive any negative comments from other musicians in a play-around the poor little dears feel they have to 'play?/accompany/' every single tune.
So earnest is their endeavour that these valient 'musicians?' will totally forgo going for a pee or going to the bar because they really believe that the 'session?' would'nt be the same without them and dont want to let the side down. They will 'play?'with such serious expression and fight through the pain of blisters and athritic fingers/wrists for the greater glory of 'art?.'
Bless 'em.
Most instruments in the hands of someone that actually really knows how to play them sound OK and do not offend the ear.
But Spoons and Bones!!!!!?? I think we all know where they belong
(where the sun don't shine!)

And Hammer Dulcimers.

But NOT Bodhrans. A good QUALITY bodhran played by someone who knows what they are doing is a delight. Trouble is that 99% of people who 'play?' bodhrans are utterly useless and someone should tell them so!

Moral of this story,already stated by Ruston Hornsby (great name Rus!),Bee-dubya-ell,Songster Bob,Scrump and Tim the Twangler et al, is that it's not the instruments fault it's the numbscull 'playing?' it who thinks they are gods'gift..

Oh yeah...THE SHAKEY EGG..nice one Stigweard. I'd forgotten about that one. It definately goes in the same category as Spoons and Bones......and we all know where they belong.......... don't we?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM

Washtub Bass in the wrong hands.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,ib48
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM

definately that strangled octopus that they use in scotland


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM

Stig
100% with you - it's got to be the bloomin' SHAKEY EGG


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:06 AM

HURDY GURDY ??....any fans?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:21 AM

"Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks it is great."

Tim, you sure you didnt mean

"Any instrument played badly and loudly by someone who thinks they are great."


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Cragrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 10:27 AM

Funnily enough I did go to see June Tabor in concert, many years ago. I didn't enjoy the experience.

It's hard to quantify sometimes why some voices (or instruments) adversely affect you. Shirley Collins has come in for a lot of stick in some quarters but others (me included) think she has a great voice.

I threw in June Tabor's name in a vaguely light hearted way knowing that she is very popular and that it might create a response. For me, her voice is somehow very sickly. It literally makes me cringe. I couldn't possibly sit through an album of hers. You might think she's fab. We each think the other is cloth-eared. Isn't music a wonderful thing!


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,An Duilach Mor
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 11:03 AM

SHAKEY EGG. Brilliantly observed.

I once saw a spoons player arrive with 9 pairs of said cutlery and lay them out on't table. 'Raaght need me jig spuns, lads.'- Remarkable.

Personally I wish everyone who played the guitar was forced to listen to Jon Williams and Davey Graham to see what a proper noise sounds like. Bob Dillon has a lot to answer for, I suppose he does sound great when your discernment is obliterated by cheap scotch and weak ganja. Ahh the sixties.

I vote for the duplicitous piano because it sounds lovely when you're on your own just making nice chords up with the lid open. But when its played most players are completely a-rythmic and stunted or over embellishing to make up for their internal agony that it sounds c**p, really. An instrument ideally suited to Georgian drawing rooms. Nuff said.

Incidentally, I HATED the Scots war-pipes until I heard a Nova Scotian living in France, play them in a session at Edinburgh - I suppose there MAY be a good pianist out there... Oh yes! Paidraic O Reilly from Corofin, Co. Clare.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:08 PM

Dick Gaughan's guitar and voice when he's twangling about and ranting on about politics in between songs (often longer than the songs!)
And anything at 4 in the morning on the festival campsite when you're trying to sleep! (especially "Four in the morning")


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:14 PM

My first guitar. It had the highest action I've ever seen. The intonation was way off. The tuning heads were lousy, and tended to slip. The neck was no good. If you got it in tune on open strings, it was out of tune as soon as you fingered a chord, and it got progressively worse as you went up the neck. Lousy tone. Poor resonance. Cruddy workmanship. It was bought by my parents from some store that knew nothing about guitars either. It was basically unfixable. It should have been used as firewood by starving refugees in Bosnia.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:17 PM

A soprano ukulele I bought on ebay was crap. It was untunable. I sold it on, and told the buyer it couldn't be tuned properly, but he bought it anyway and said it was great. Maybe he was just going to hang it on the wall or something - or maybe he didn't mind if it wss in tune or not. It takes all sorts...


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:23 PM

Washboard has the same problems, and brings out the same personality flaws, as spoons or shaky egg - but is louder.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Scrump
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 12:28 PM

If that J Arthur Rank ever tried to bring that giant gong into one of our sessions, he would have been booted out straight away.


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 01:17 PM

The J Arthur Rank gong was made of papier mache. The instrument that actually made the sound was a small tamtam; it's in the Reid Musical Instrument Museum in Edinburgh, with an accompanying explanation. I've got a tamtam almost the same (bought it in a car boot sale) but haven't yet found a way of using it in a session. Maybe I could bring it along to wherever Scrump plays?


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: MaineDog
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:19 PM

Any votes for the lefthanded sewer-flute?
MD


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 02:46 PM

"Trouble is that 99% of people who 'play?' bodhrans are utterly useless and someone should tell them so!"

... so they're modhrans?

It looks like we're coming to a near-consensus, but maybe we should categorize the top contestants:

Strings: bowed psaltery, hurdy-gurdy
Free Reeds: harmonica, melodeon, bagpipe
Brass: No consensus, but krummhorn mentioned
Percussion: shakey egg, spoons, bones
Vocal: June Tabor, Bob Dylan (not mentioned but implied by several)

and, lastly,

Players: All the ham-handed, poorly-trained, tone-deaf twits who have somehow managed to learn to hold any of the above instruments and inflict their efforts on poor, unsuspecting passers-by like us.

Does this sum it up for now?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 03:02 PM

Sorry - can't accept the June Tabor bit, she's a brilliant singer (in my opinion, which is as valid an opinion as anyone else's) but, on the other hand, if you'd said Kate (quavery little girl voice)Rusby.....


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Subject: RE: Worst Instrument Ever?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Mar 07 - 05:49 PM

No !! Crumhorn, not Krummhorn !! You know, the thing that looks like a walking-stick handle. I don"t think it could be classified as 'brass' !! ( but I am prepared to be re-educated ! )


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