Hardbopjazz

The musicians here, what drew you to the instrument you play?

12 posts in this topic

I've always like to hear what made someone learn the instrument he or she plays. When I had delusions of being a musician, I gravitated towards the guitar and piano. I took private lessons for about 15 years on both and even studied music in college. I heard Wes Montgomery and I want to play the guitar. He just amazed me. Piano was just something I added about two years after I started on the guitar. 

 

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I came to playing instruments at first late in my teens (keyboards) and even later for other instruments. Tony Williams, Kenny Clarke and Jack DeJohnette led me to want to play drums. And Jimi Hendrix led me to play guitar and bass. And the fact that there was a piano in a little room across the hall from my dorm room inspired me to tackle keyboards.

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My mom played a C-Melody sax in high school and still had it in the attic. She let me play with it from time to time.. Plus, when the school had a demo night of all the instruments so you could decide which one you wanted to play, the guy demonstrating the saxophone had a lot of spit going through the horn, which to me at the time (4th grade) made it sound like an old record.

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It was there and so I played it.

If there had been another instrument there, I would have played that other one instead. 

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My father was a pro guitar player back in the 30s, and grew up in Little Italy on Elizabeth St., where he used to hang out at John D'Angelico's shop. There was a little guy named Jimmy, who used to sweep up the place- guess who he grew up to be?:w

My father bought a 'Snake Head' model D'Angelico (one of John D's first models) from his best friend Duke, who was a jewelry designer (and designed the New Yorker model head stocks for John), for a few hundred bucks. He also had a Gibson round hole guitar, that had fake diamonds around the hole, that he said a cousin of his stole off of some Country music star back in the 40s. He gave up the guitar and songwriting after he got married, but he was intent on making me a guitar player when I was only five or six years old. I thought the guitar was a faggy instrument that only Roy Rogers played, and I started crying when he fooled me into going for a guitar lesson when I was a little kiddie. There was never a second lesson, because I locked myself in the bathroom, and refused to come out.

They started us in band classes when we were in third grade, and I wanted to play the clarinet, because the leader of our little gang said it was a cool instrument. I continued with the clarinet, and singing first 'chair' first soprano, because the girls were too stupid to remember melodies, and i could remember and sing any melody I heard.

Finally, I heard The Beatles, and it did something to my brain chemistry, and I started teaching myself to play their songs on my father's Gibson and D'Angelico.

And that's the instrument I stuck with.

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1 hour ago, sgcim said:

There was a little guy named Jimmy, who used to sweep up the place- guess who he grew up to be?

Your college roommate, Mitch Kumstein?

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16 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Your college roommate, Mitch Kumstein?

 

16 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Your college roommate, Mitch Kumstein?

I'm sure that's some blasphemous joke that considering the time of the season (when you first possessed poor, little Reagan), I should expect from you, o evil one, but you have proven your ignorance of the history of jazz guitar making. I shall not submit to your ceaseless attempts to destroy my faith, as you attempted to do with Father Merrin and Brother Demian, and will leave it to someone else on this noble board to supply the correct answer.

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7 hours ago, sgcim said:

 

I'm sure that's some blasphemous joke that considering the time of the season (when you first possessed poor, little Reagan), I should expect from you, o evil one, but you have proven your ignorance of the history of jazz guitar making. I shall not submit to your ceaseless attempts to destroy my faith, as you attempted to do with Father Merrin and Brother Demian, and will leave it to someone else on this noble board to supply the correct answer.

 

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The piano was there, my Father was playing a Little bit, and one of my first memories when I was a kid was playing more or less self taught from ear. My Father encouraged me, playing stuff and asking me if I can "reproduce" it, and I did. 

My Father also taught me perfect pitch, he would tell me to turn around, than hit a key and ask me what key it is, and I did this also. 

So later, when Folks asked me from where I know to Play the piano I might say I don´t know really how it started, it just went that way. Reading Music was a harder challenge, it took me a lot of effort and I´m still a lousy Reader. Usually I get the chord progressions if I don´t know the tune, and that might be enough….

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played piano just a little when I was a kid and snare drum in band one year.  Then took up sax in college, first on a borrowed alto and then I bought a used tenor in S'toon.  a few years later sold the tenor for $150 and bought a C-melody for $50 when the 100 difference made a difference to me.  played v. little for a long time, then got it overhauled and started playing again, bought a second C-melody (a Conn, the first is a King).  Would love to have a C soprano.  Play sporadically.

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:50 PM, Captain Howdy said:

 

Damn, that's not blasphemous at all, Pazuzu! In fact, that was one of my fave scenes from CaddyShack.  But, no, it was not the great Mitchell Kumstein. This lowly floor sleeper 

went on to make guitars for Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Grant Green, Paul Simon, and many others.

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