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Thread: Best Alternative Intruments for Guitarists?

  1. #1
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    Best Alternative Intruments for Guitarists?

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    I think it's safe to say that most of us guitarists don't like the idea of suffering through the long journey of learning new fingerings and techniques in order to master a new instrument. I know I don't.
    Guitar is the only instrument I truely know how to play (I can also do simple bass and just enough keyboard to work with MIDI in recordings)
    I found myself pondering this question lately: What are some practical 6 (or 12) string alternative instruments that guitar players like me can easily pick up and use to add more diversity to recordings/performances? Could some of these options offer a practical solution to the "just one instrument" problem?

    Here are some possible options that come to mind...

    12-string guitar (a pretty obvious one...)

    Bass guitar. (although not a 6 or 12 string instrument, they are tuned like the first 4 guitar strings)

    Banjitar (6-string banjo)

    Veillette Avante Gryphon High-Tuned 12-String Acoustic Guitar (this one really intrigues me. It's designed to sound similar to a mandolin)

    Resonator guitar

    Baritone guitar

    So, which of these alternatives have you tried? How small was the learning curve coming from a guitar background? What are some other ideas?

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    You asking for yourself or just trying to create a discussion?
    If for yourself, just go try different stuff.
    For starters, on your existing guitar you can play with different tunings.
    Also, 3 and 4 string 'cigar box' guitars are a blast and offer a unique new sonic color for recording. I like open E and open G tunings.

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    Other suggestions might include pedal or lap steel, 3 string shovel and Chapman Stick. Plus I don't think anything could really stop you from taking an instrument typically tuned to fifths or whatever, and tuning it to fourths. Cello, mandolin... that sort of thing.

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    I think a regular banjo. Yes, have to learn a little, but you already understand the basic concept of a standard pre-tuned instrument, not a big leap.
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    I bought a pedal steel about five years ago. I'm lucky that I've been able to pick up every instrument I've tried pretty quickly (bar brass - where I just can't stand the lip tickling) but the pedal steel is the hardest, most, complicated thing I have ever tried. Discovering that practically every player sets them up slightly differently means you are very much on your own. Mine has 4 pedals and two knee levers, and the combinations to get common chords is mega complicated the usual I/IV/V plus the Majors and minors, two kinds of 7ths, the 9ths and suspensions - but then you have to learn which of the many strings to use and which not to, then you have to do all the inversions to do the well known chord changes - changing the position of the slide, and your feet so you can for from Chord a to chord b in a multitude of ways. This hand position, with these pedals is this position with these. I've never more than scratched the surface. Guitar is so simple compared to it.

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    Mandolin, I tried cello and got the plucked easily enough but could never get the frog to sit properly so my bowing sucked. I learnt sax as a kid and I can still fake it a little but I have the same tickle problem with regular brass instruments . I have been thinking of getting a five string banjo, but from what I've heard the cheap ones aren't really worth buying and I don't really know if I want to invest 400+ on an instrument I won't play a lot. Eddie vedder just released a cd of Uke tunes, and last year there seemed to be a bit of a thing for Uke's . Not really my cup of tea, nor is pedal steel(makes me want to hit people when I hear it)
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    Ukulele has the same relative tuning as the high 4 strings on a guitar (except that one is octave jumped) so the fingerings are the same.

    As a method of artistic growth, it might be wise to go with something completely different. e.g. learn drums or vocals and see how much better you get at guitar because of it.

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    Or you could do the old Tommy Tedesco thing and tune all the odd stringed instruments like a guitar and play them. His trick though was to be able to play them like they are supposed to sound.
    Chord with this, Teddy......

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    Pick up a cheap acoustic with a decent neck , and string it with just the high strings from a 12 string set. The higher octave eadg with the normal b,e make some amazing chord variations that can be blended with a normal guitar. It sounds like a completely different instrument with 0 learning curve.

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    I suspect he gave up and moved on - it's pretty long dead as a topic.

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