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Author Topic: Need RV Size Musical Instrument  (Read 27348 times)

Bob McNabb

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2005, 09:15:45 PM »
My wife had always longed to learn to play the piano and, about a year ago, bought a Roland (baby grand) piano and started music lessons. She's so involved with those lessons, that I could see that our motorhome outings could be compromised, so I inquired about a professional keyboard and learned that Roland makes a couple of them. The sound that's produced would fool a well trained ear....tho the cost could scare you. I bought one for her and sprung it on her on our last trip.

I don't know how you guys figure it, but long ago I adopted the motto "happy wife, happy life" and all I can say is the happy music coming through our motorhome is well worth my investment. The Roland is a top-of-the-line instrument and not a toy. She's never going to be a concert pianist, but by-God she's a happy camper.
Bob McNabb
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San Diego, CA

Jim Dick

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2005, 09:45:29 PM »
Hi Bob,

You are one very smart individual!!! I agree with your theory about happy wives. Glad it has worked out and, perhaps, someday we will hear a great concert from your better half. ;)

Jim

Titusville, Florida
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Gottasmilealot

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2012, 11:19:02 AM »
Maybe a mandolin or fiddle. In the really small and inexpensive department is the harmonica.
Keith

PancakeBill

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2012, 12:26:55 PM »
Nice easy portable for steel guitar type instruments is a lap steel.  Use one of the little lunch box amps, create sound level of an acoustic.



Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2012, 12:33:57 PM »
An inexpensive option would be a ukulele you can make yourself from recyclable materials:

http://www.tubup.org/
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Jammer

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 12:59:02 PM »
I see an interesting old thread has come back to life.

I perform at a variety of outdoor festivals and through that have come to know many other musicians who have an interest in outdoor, acoustic performance.  As a rule we have to carry our instruments all day so as a community we have over time figured out some things that do and don't work.

The smallest, lightest, and most durable instruments suitable for performance are hand percussion (shakers, tambourine, finger cymbals, etc) and the "Irish" whistles.  There are a number of better quality sets of whistles out there and a few boutique makers who produce sets with a single fipple and interchangeable bodies to cover a variety of keys.  It takes at least three whistles to cover enough different keys to be useful for performance.

Next on the list are mandolin, violin, and flute, which aren't as durable but are still small and light.  We find that the mandolin is the smallest instrument that can, by itself, provide useful accompaniment to a singer.

While the guitar is a larger instrument there are backpacking guitars that work out OK, and a few of my friends use them for public performance.  My road guitar is a cheap Ibanez cutaway that has a built in pickup and tuner, which means I don't have to buy new tuners all the time (they inevitably get lost once in a while, and more often if you're a street performer).  I have a tuner app for my android phone but it isn't practical to pull it out in the middle of a show.

The accordion is the most portable of the keyboard instruments.  Newer accordions are typically smaller and lighter than those from the "golden age of the accordion" (1950s).  Mine weighs about 15 pounds.  The stylistic range that can be achieved by a competent player on a good instrument is considerable.  They're not just for polkas and waltzes.

I have a stage piano and while it is portable and can withstand the rigors of the road it's big and weighs 40 pounds, and I don't usually bring it along unless I have a gig that absolutely requires it.  It requires a stand, amp, speakers, stool, cables, and so on, although I guess there are consumer models that are self-contained and have little speakers built in.

I have trouble recommending some of the common folk music store instruments that lack expressive and stylistic range because it still takes work to learn to play them but they can't be made suitable for performance.  The psaltry, mountain dulcimer, and autoharp are all in this category IMO.
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BadjerJim

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #36 on: May 09, 2012, 10:35:02 AM »
Here's a vote for Voyage-Air guitar.  Full-size acoustic guitar that folds in half, and fits into a backpack case.  I used to take a full-size guitar in the 5th wheel (packed standing-up in the shower), but the Voyage-Air is just so darn handy.

It comes with a back-pack case and the guitar with case weighs around 10-pounds!  Very handy for wandering around campgrounds to join a jam session that pops up from time to time.

Check them out at    www.voyageairguitar.com

KAS

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2012, 02:08:51 PM »
Retirement gives an opportunity to accomplish things that were impossible during hectic working days.  Playing a musical instrument would be one accomplishment that might be worth working toward.  The problem with misic and RV's can be storage.  A piano are not easy to fit into the average rv. Whatis an easy instrument to learn for someone with average ability, not much musical background but a desire to play?

I have a Mountain Ocarina and purchased Learning to Play Mountain Ocarinas from the same company and it is easy and for the first time I am actually beginning to be able to relate the dots on the page to the notes on my instrument!  It is fun for me and the accomplished players I have heard can get some soulful music out of one.

I also own an autoharp and I LOVE them!  Easy to chord, and lots of capacity for noting that I might someday grow into.  Another delightful instrument and the autoharp crowd of people are absolutely the nicest people.  Cyberpluckers is the list for autoharp discussions and I think some of them also RV.  There are some GREAT autoharp players out there who produce amazing expression in their playing.  I've several CD's of it on my computer. 

Both instruments are small and easy to find space for in an RV.  Also, neither requires electricity so it doesn't matter if I am powered up or not in the RV we are redoing ourselves.

KAS  8)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 02:26:19 PM by KAS »
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PancakeBill

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2012, 02:15:58 PM »
Certainly agrtee on the dulcimer.  I am sure there are many accomplished players out there, but back in FL we had 3 come to our jams, and each would get a turn and play at 1/2 regular speed.  Yawn.  Now I am not a very good dobro player, and would skip my turn, but dang, waiting through the dulicmer was painful.

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2012, 02:57:07 PM »
Jim,

[[ My problem is I really don't read music!]]

There are music books for various instruments for people who do not read music.  These books show the melody in so called   Tabs.

"Tabs" (or Tablature) defined- Tabs are a simplified way to notate instrumental solos, instrumental parts, melodies and songs, without having to formally read music"

In the case of a harmonica, for example, the tab will indicate hole 5, blow or draw  in a shorthand form which becomes second nature to read after very little practice.

This allows someone like me with virtually no ability to read music to play my favorite melodies on my harmonica.

Music for the dulcimer is much more likely to be in tablature format than in "standard" musical notation. You can also find several books of dulcimer music with CDs so that you can hear what you are seeing.

If you are at all handy, there are dulcimer kits available at rather modest prices. I built one for my daughter. Although I am far from an expert woodworker, the sound quality was comparable to quality, ready made dulcimers.

My one problem with it is that (like any similar instrument) it needs frequent tuning. I don't have a real good ear, so I need to use an electronic tuner.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2012, 03:13:20 PM »
Bob,

I think more people would tolerate the trumpet rather than the bagpipes. ;D ;D ;D

I have a bagpipe chanter which is generally far more tolerable than the whole bagpipe. I've not learned it, but I understand that once you can play the chanter, transitioning to full pipes is fairly easy.

Farther on up, somebody asked about storing a dulcimer for prolonged periods. Extremes of humidity can adversely affect anything made of wood. Other than that, just loosen the strings a little bit.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

Jim Dick

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2012, 04:30:20 PM »
Joel,

It certainly is true that moving from chanter to full bagpipes is much easier once you have mastered the chanter. As you probably know, the music is really played on the chanter. and the rest of the instrument is for accompaniment. The hardest part of the full pipes is getting your lip conditioned (helped greatly with chanter practice) and the lungs capable of filling the bag as needed. Getting the rhythm of breathing and filling is pretty easy with practice. Once you have all that you will be amazed at how easy it is to play the Great Highland Bagpipe!!

I hope you decide to learn how to play. Once you do you will find it very rewarding. I still carry a practice chanter in the coach. Finally took the pipes off last year after having carried them for 11 years and only practice a couple of times. i do miss it but I'm just not in one place long enough to join a band which is the very best way to learn!!
Jim

Titusville, Florida
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SeilerBird

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2012, 04:48:53 PM »
... I'm just not in one place long enough to join a band which is the very best way to learn!!
Amen brother. That is the one thing that really bothers me about full timing, I want to be in a band again but it is impossible when I am living in a new town every week :o
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Jim Dick

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2012, 06:09:30 PM »
Tom,

I spent about 20 years with an Irish Pipe Band, starting as a side(snare) drummer, moving to Tenor drummer, and then on to the pipes. I was struck by the beauty of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards' version of Amazing Grace. I only wanted to learn to play that tune.

After many months of practice with the band pipers I was asked by the Pipe Sergeant when I was going to play on the street. I said I wasn't ready but he disagreed. I finally did and our son took the tenor from me. It was probably one of the most rewarding accomplishments I have ever had and marching in parades was exhilarating. Of course, the good times after where really fun. ;D ;D

I doubt I will ever play with a band again but I still enjoy listening to them and reminisce of those good times. :)
Jim

Titusville, Florida
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SeilerBird

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2012, 06:35:26 PM »
Jim - I was in the orchestra and marching band in high school. One of the high points of my life. We marched in many parades and half times doing the formations and the whole 9 yards (pun intended). I played a tom tom with aluminum handle felt mallets and had a ball. Our band leader, Mr. Earl Jardine, wanted the drums as loud as possible so he had a standing offer of a chocolate malt to any drummer who broke a drum head while marching. Of course you aren't going to break a properly tuned plastic drum head with a felt mallet, but that didn't stop me from trying. I remember coming home with bleeding hands and having to wash the blood off the drum. The outfit was wool and weighed a ton. I remember marching in the Palm Springs Easter Parade and almost passing out from the heat.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2012, 06:37:04 PM »
Jim - I was in the orchestra and marching band in high school. One of the high points of my life. We marched in many parades and half times doing the formations and the whole 9 yards (pun intended). I played a tom tom with aluminum handle felt mallets and had a ball. Our band leader, Mr. Earl Jardine, wanted the drums as loud as possible so he had a standing offer of a chocolate malt to any drummer who broke a drum head while marching. Of course you aren't going to break a properly tuned plastic drum head with a felt mallet, but that didn't stop me from trying. I remember coming home with bleeding hands and having to wash the blood off the drum. The outfit was wool and weighed a ton. I remember marching in the Palm Springs Easter Parade and almost passing out from the heat. Of course we spent a lot of time playing "Wipe Out". ;D
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Gottasmilealot

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2012, 08:47:44 PM »
Travel Banjo
Mandolin
Uke
Harmonica
Fiddle

Whatever you decide to try, purchase a quality instrument that's set up correctly.
Keith

Luca1369

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2012, 09:59:33 PM »
Whatever instrument you choose, make sure that you purchase it because you want to play it, not because it saves room.  Acquaint yourself with the instruments that are on your list and choose accordingly.  Think ahead.  That harmonica will fit in your shirt pocket but will you have the wind and tongue/lip coordination to play it?  Are your fingers too big for a mandolin or uke?  Will you buy a guitar and three months later decide you don't like having to learn chords, or worse yet, you have no rhythm?  Does the dulcimer create a sound that soothes your soul and urges you to express yourself?  Just saying...choose that which moves you and you'll enjoy it more.  And when you have chosen, play it, play it, play it...
Steve
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inflt

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2012, 11:46:02 AM »
If you are interested in guitar, check out this one:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product/guitar/silent_guitar/

The top hoop dismounts making it small for storage. It comes in steel or electric string and has a built in amp for headphone use. It also has 2 levels of built in reverb, and an input for a CD player (for you to play along with) and an output to an amp. The sound is acoustic, even though you have to use battery or plug in for it to work. OTOH, you can practice finger exercises relatively silently, while watching tv, etc, especially on the nylon version. Finally, the playability is phenomenal. Very low action, very friendly neck and frets. Brian May uses one in some of his shows.

No connection with the product, except as a very happy user.

YMMV

Lee

Bob Buchanan

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #49 on: July 03, 2012, 01:33:36 PM »
If you are interested in guitar, check out this one:
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/english/product/guitar/silent_guitar/

I use the Silent Brass system for trumpet by Yamaha. One could hardly hear the sound from 5 feet away, whereas the sound in my headset is almost pure trumpet. Plus there is a lot of flexibility for recording and such with the control unit. They will range from $99. to $150. according where purchased. I paid $120. at a music store in Austin.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 01:35:18 PM by Bob Buchanan »
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Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2012, 01:40:06 PM »
That Yamaha instrument, or its bugle equivalent, might have been a good gift for one of our local Delta characters. Hal Schell, who lived full time aboard his boat on the California Delta; He was well known for rising at dawn while anchored in some secluded (peaceful?) slough and playing Reveille on his bugle. Hal passed away in 2006, and nobody has stepped forward to take his place playing the bugle at the crack of dawn.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 01:42:15 PM by Tom »
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PancakeBill

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #51 on: July 04, 2012, 06:22:14 PM »
Did they bury the bugle with him?
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

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garyb1st

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #52 on: July 04, 2012, 06:35:12 PM »
Yamaha 76 key synth.   Now if I could only lean to play it.  I keep it and the stand in a soft padded carrying case.  It's about 1/2 the size of my golf bag and much lighter.  Great way to unwind.   
Gary B1st

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Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #53 on: July 04, 2012, 06:54:31 PM »
Quote
Did they bury the bugle with him

LOL Bill, I have no idea.
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Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #54 on: July 20, 2012, 07:08:44 PM »
While visiting the home of a fellow ukulele band member today, I was introduced to the charanga aka charango, a Peruvian instrument. It's about the size of a small-medium sized ukulele, but has a different shaped back and 10 strings. Tuning is like ukulele 'C' tuning, but with an extra 'E' (GCEAE). The middle two 'E' strings are tuned an octave apart.

The instrument is part of the lute family, so it has a brighter sound than a ukulele, and the extra strings give it a fuller sound.

This Wiki says that the back was originally made with the shell of an armadillo, giving it the unique shape. But it's now made from wood, retaining the original shape.

Here's a You Tube video of a Peruvian playing the charango and the zampona, a pan flute. Interesting mix of sounds, and an interesting strum on the charango.
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Luca1369

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #55 on: July 20, 2012, 07:48:14 PM »
Wow, those guys are pretty good!
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
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For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #56 on: July 20, 2012, 08:15:53 PM »
Aye that's true Steve. I just don't have 10 fingers on my left hand  ;D

The pan flute might attract some complaints in a campground, but it sure adds to the eclectic style of South American music.
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Luca1369

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #57 on: July 20, 2012, 08:39:21 PM »
I just don't have 10 fingers on my left hand

Simple enough to play, at least if you have any experience with an 8 string uke or a mandolin...five pairs of strings, learning the chords and scales would probably be the hardest part I would think.

I would love to learn how to play a Sitar, but after researching it there's a let more to it than meets the eye, it's a hole 'nother can of worms, not to mention it would require more storage than your ordinary acoustic guitar.
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
http://seaworthy.com

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

Tom

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #58 on: July 20, 2012, 09:10:41 PM »
Thanks Steve. The sitar is another interesting instrument.
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Luca1369

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Re: Need RV Size Musical Instrument
« Reply #59 on: July 20, 2012, 09:14:25 PM »
Right Tom, I never could get the grasp of tuning the instrument.  The frets are movable and are tied to the instrument.  I'm amazed just to watch Ravi Shankar and his daughter play. 
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
http://seaworthy.com

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

 

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