Has anyone started playing any new instruments lately?

At some point I’d like to pick up a mandolin (but now is not the time) - an old housemate used to have one way back and I could get lost playing it in a way that I never could with guitar or bass.

Something about the sound is absolutely glorious - especially when used to play Bananas in Pyjamas.

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Mandolin is a fun instrument, a buddy now moved away used to stop over and jam with his.

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I’ve been making an effort to learn keyboards more properly over the past nine months or so. I’ve always played around with them because they were the mechanism to generate sounds I wanted but I always found them intimidating. I’ve played many other instruments for decades, various strings, percussion, and home made electronic stuff mostly. I learned two instruments by “classical method” (upright bass and guitar) and gained a love of theory in the process. This has really helped with keyboard playing. Something I didn’t expect to give me a leg up (but I think is doing so) is having spent years playing death metal guitar. All of the two handed tapping applies almost directly both in physical coordination and mentally for hand independence. I wouldn’t say I’m very good yet but I don’t feel like I’m pretending to play like I did for so many years.

I’ve started the Shakuhachi. It has been sitting on my altar for a few years, but I ended up finding a teacher and learning it finally. That’s her:



A while ago I dug out my practice chanter for bagpipes. Trying to remember the fingerings. A bunch of years back my buddy lent me his pipes. One of the most amazing, crazy and loud instruments I ever played. Once you fire up all those drones, all hell breaks lose!


Good analogy, but I disagree with your conclusion :slight_smile:

Advanced music theory is about as beneficial and electrical engineering.

I learned all that jazz ** theory and threw it out the window. I started becoming one with my instrument after years of emulating the greats.

Maybe theory was a necessary stepping stone. Gave me a framework and made me feel confident. And it helped develop my ear. But it’s an afterthought now.

Like Picasso said; learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.

Noodling around on guitar taught me the “what”, but until I began overlaying it with basic theory I didn’t really grasp the “why”, “when” or “how”.

At a certain point, it helps you “become one” with your instrument like you said, but without some foundational theory it was all guesswork until I stumbled across something that sounded cool or shamelessly ripped off licks from the greats.


Mandolin is the newest instrument I started to play, upon receiving an Eastwood MRG electric mandolin on sale. Initially I had a problem with the high E strings breaking whenever I tried to tune them up to E. Eastwood support was responsive and sent me a refund for the cost of all the strings that I broke. I had my neighborhood music shop take a look at the nut, bridge, and tuning posts. They found that .009 guitar E strings were a better solution than the slightly heavier gauge strings that shipped with the mandolin. This instrument has to use guitar strings because of the magnetic pickup.

Most of my learning is through Andy Wood’s bluegrass mandolin course on TrueFire. He teaches the traditional way - just learn a bunch of tunes and play along. He advised getting mandolin picks to facilitate picking on those doubled-up strings, so I got a pack of those .


I totally agree. It’s not necessary to make music, but I wouldn’t have stumbled upon secondary dominants, triadic structures, quintuplets and all the other interesting aspects of music by noodling on the guitar.

But sometimes I miss the naive noodling, it’s hard to get back to it with all that mental baggage. There`s no such thing as a free musical lunch I guess.


I definitely didn’t intend to make a thread about the importance of music theory. It’s more intended to be a picking up a new instrument is fun thread, so I hope anyone on the fence about trying something new goes for it! Electronic instruments are awesome, but traditional instruments can be mind expanding and super rewarding. I wish I hadn’t limited myself for so long. I’m definitely hoping to remedy that. In fact, I went to a shop to discuss private lessons with a teacher to make sure I can get good habits from the beginning. I’m super excited about it.


Those pipes always get me right in the heart. Beautiful instrument.

I haven’t learned any new instruments outside of electronic one, which are all new to me for the last two years.

But here’s a nice video of Snarky Puppy’s Michael League on his new album, and about learning new instruments:) (just bumped into this video after reading this thread:)

How’s the bass going?

I just started jazz flute lessons and they’re great! I’ve taken guitar lessons online before but it’s so much better having a teacher in person. It turns out there is a school run by Yamaha/Yamano Gakki right down the street from my place and the best part about that is that I can rent their studio space to practice (like $3), and with the pandemic still going strong here, it’s nice to have somewhere to go in the evening, lol.

I’m tempted to even sign up for a group percussion ensemble class. Getting together to beat on drums with people once a week sounds very therapeutic and proper rhythm training couldn’t hurt.

If I’m not careful in a couple of years I’ll be taking trumpet and upright bass lessons as well. Haha.


Is blowing saliva everywhere a good idea? Double Bass may be the safe option presently. Unless you play like that freak from Midori.

and… did attempt the silent Viola last year, but it turns out that they’re actually quite loud. Returned it :frowning:

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Haha. Yeah, it’s all pretty good. Private lesson, plastic shield between me and the teacher and distanced. Rooms are all cleaned properly Japanese style. Feels really safe.

The practice rooms are all private as well and cleaned and disinfected between use.

I think flute involves a bit less spittle than other instruments as well, or so I’ve heard. No valve to empty or anything. Although there’s a bit in there after playing for an hour.

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Bass learning going well: I’ve been playing 45 minutes every days for a month now, focusing mostly on good practice / safe posture / clean & precise hand techniques. The best part of my sessions is spent repeating exercices with increased tempo and complexity as I go along… Not the funniest part, but the few basslines I’ve learnt as a reward went in smooth sail. And I’m in for the long run, I’m not rushing. All in all, extremely satisfying and an awesome remedy to my depressed mind.


Oh man, I’m with you on that. In the past, I wanted to hurry up and get to the good stuff, but right now I’m just enjoying the process. It’s almost like meditation. Also, by taking it slow, I can think about things like dynamics, which is something I never paid enough attention to in my guitar playing.

As you said, it’s a great relief with the state of the world (and my mind) these days.


I find that it has indeed a lot in common with meditation: body awareness, good posture, avoiding tension to play faster, good respiration, being focused only on what you’re doing right now…

All in all, my day always fells brighter after a little bass session.

Having a teacher must be super great, tho !


I had a $30 store credit that was about to expire so I picked up this old school Pocket Operator. I’m actually having a blast with it so far.


My new instrument was de Digitakt and i think it’s been the best way to invest my time.

I was kind of frustrated cause i’m a bass player and with pandemic and all it’s almost impossible to find people for a project or band. Specially because i didn’t study music and it’s even more difficult to find people here (Chile) if you’re not inti that circle.

Being able to “do everything” and use the Digitakt to make music opened up a whole new world to me, so i’m very glad that i take the risk.

Also i’m taking more bass lessons so i’m playing walkin’ bass now and aplying that to my Digitakt + Bass compositions.

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