Many of us who love folk and acoustic music also play an instrument and/or sing. We’d like to encourage you to try your hand at learning to play an instrument. Who knows, you may be our next Coffeehouse or Open Mic performer!
To help you along, we have a great selection of acoustic instruments that can be borrowed by members on a monthly basis with a $50.00 security deposit. Most of the instruments were donated by two of our long-time volunteers.
We have instruction and song books for most of the instruments. You can see them on display at Coffee Houses and Concerts.
To participate, please fill out the form at the club.
We sometimes get requests for teachers who can give lessons on how to play these instruments. If you can teach someone how to play an instrument and would like to have your information available to members.
Joni Mitchell played Appalachian Dulcimer on her “Blue” album; you can play one too. The Club has 3 of these great instruments, and they are EASY to play. You slide your left forefinger up and down the strings and strum with your right hand. The music is in tablature which means you don’t even have to read music. You could be playing “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie” in minutes and go on from there.
The autoharp was made famous by Mother Maybelle Carter and maybe by your 4th grade music teacher. Why? Because it sounds nice, and it’s EASY. You press one key, and when you strum, you get a whole chord, perfect accompaniment for your vocals. The Club has three autoharps, two full size autoharps and one baby autoharp with only six of the most commonly used chords.
The Club’s banjo is a beautiful instrument. You could borrow it, and it could be the start of your career in a bluegrass band.
The Bowed Psaltry has the most etherial sound of all the Club’s instruments. To play it, you bow the little bow across a string along the edge of the instrument. The string vibrates producing a tone which continues after the bow leaves the string. If you play slowly, each tone shimmers over the next, and it’s really beautiful.
If the Piano Accordion is too big for you, how about the easy to handle Button Accordion? This is a diatonic instrument. That means a single button will play one tone when you pull and another tone when you push, but that doesn’t seem to slow Cajun bands down!
Do you like to sing sea chanties? Then you’d probably like to accompany yourself on the concertina. It’s the perfect small instrument whether you’re an old tar or not. This is a diatonic instrument. That means a single button will play one tone when you pull and another tone when you push. But there’s not too many buttons, so don’t let that stop you.
Call it a fiddle and play bluegrass or old timey, call it a violin and play Mozart. The choice is yours! The fiddle is a fretless instrument, so you will need to learn how to feel EXACTLY where to press your finger on the string to get the note you want. It will take a while, so first you can learn a bit of humility! And being able to play is worth it.
Let’s face it, more folk musicians play guitar than any other instrument, and you could, too! Strum chords or graduate to finger picking. The Club has two guitars that members can apply to take out on loan.
The Club’s Hammered Dulcimer has been out on loan more times than any other instrument. You play it by hitting the strings with little pieces of wood (called hammers). If you let the hammers bounce on the strings, you get a really nice tremolo effect.
Remember Tiny Tim and his Ukulele? Well the Club’s Ukulele actually predates him. The Ukulele only has four strings, and the strings are made of thin nylon. So you can strum chords, but it’s much easier on your fingers than guitar. (No calluses needed for playing the Uke!).