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Do you take along a musical instrument?
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David Moreno
(nerrek2000) - F

Locale: North East Ohio
Do you take along a musical instrument? on 07/23/2014 10:52:36 MDT Print View

A thread on dulcimers got me to thinking. Does anyone carry a musical instrument with them backpacking? If so, what is it? Is it MYOG?

I carry a Native American Style Flute with me on occasion.NAF

Michael Gunderloy
(ffmike) - MLife
Re: Do you take along a musical instrument? on 07/23/2014 11:17:51 MDT Print View

I bring a harmonica from time to time. This may be why I end up hiking solo...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Do you take along a musical instrument? on 07/23/2014 11:23:54 MDT Print View

Dr Hal makes an ABS flute that sounds as good as my hand made cedar flute. Perfect for hiking.

Dr Hal flute

I'm a percussionist, so pots and other tin are always game. Egg shakers, finger cymbals (zills), Audubon bird calls, jaws harp are some of my favorites.

I need to learn to play a harmonica!

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 07/23/2014 11:31:44 MDT Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 06/23/2015 14:33:34 MDT.

Mitchell Ebbott
(mebbott) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Do you take along a musical instrument? link to the Harmonica thread on 07/23/2014 11:42:47 MDT Print View

I've taken a harmonica sometimes, but I'm not particularly good with it. I've thought about taking the ukulele, but technically it's my wife's so I'd be a little nervous about breaking it.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Do you take along a musical instrument? link to the Harmonica thread on 07/23/2014 17:28:55 MDT Print View

I don't, but here's this too.

Xaphoone - Pocket Sax


David Moreno
(nerrek2000) - F

Locale: North East Ohio
Re: Do you take along a musical instrument? on 07/24/2014 03:38:36 MDT Print View

Thanks Dale.

I've checked out the site before and had forgotten about it.

I just looked again. I was hoping he'd released one that's in the key of G or preferably in the key of F# but he hasn't yet. The key of A is too high pitched for me (it hurts my ears).

I've heard a lot of different plastic models, but his sounds the most like the wooden ones, just a slight bit less breathy than soft wood.

Hopefully he'll come out with lower keys soon.

I also play the Native American hand drum, but it's too heavy and bulky to take along.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Music on 07/24/2014 10:51:38 MDT Print View

I play guitar but would not take even the Martin "backpacker" on a backpacking trip...

But I have seriously been thinking of getting one of these to take on trips - inspiration to learn to play which I've always wanted to do...


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Harmonica (I wish) on 07/26/2014 15:48:41 MDT Print View

I wish that, like Survivorman, I could play a harmonica well, then I'd take one.

But... I CAN play a radio - and my I-Pod. Does that count?

Edited by Danepacker on 07/27/2014 15:27:05 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Music on 07/26/2014 15:59:36 MDT Print View

What is the name of that flute Phillip - looks like a "snake charmers" flute (Eric take notice). Virtually every culture seem to have there own version, and it is hard to keep track of them. "Tin" flutes such as the Irish whistle are pretty good choices, and cheap, light, virtually indestructible are easy to learn to play. But as I wrote some year back on here I think, even the mellow Native American flute which I can play a bit sounds like a freight train in my ears after a few days solo, so I don't even try anymore. I think it might be different with more people around.

The ones I took, when I took them, were DIY instruments made out of PVC (Shachuhachi and NA flute) so they were cheap, waterproof, and unbreakable. Can even be chucked at a bear in a pinch.

Top to Bottom: Clarks Irish Whistle (a classic), plastic NA flute (bought), PVC Shakuhachi (made), Bamboo 1.4 Shakuhachi (made), last row animal calls I have used to mess with critters, owl call, hawk call, wounded rabbit call makes the Coyotes (the kind with fur) and foxes (not the kind you probably wish) come running for a photo.

If only there were a wounded plant call maybe Bob Gross could get more pictures of bighorn sheep in the mountains.


Apropos if wilderness travel and multi-purposing, the rumon/legend is that in addition to aesthetics the heavy root end of the traditional (and heavy) Japanese Shakuhachi was usable by the traveling monks who played them as a club for protection.


Edited by millonas on 07/26/2014 16:51:12 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: reed flutes on 07/26/2014 16:17:38 MDT Print View

Some reed-based flutes can take an enormous amount of air to play. Bob and Ken could probably muster it :)

The Susato penny whistles are fantastic and come in a wide range of keys/sizes. They make all kinds of wind instruments.

David Moreno
(nerrek2000) - F

Locale: North East Ohio
Re: Wind Instruments on 07/27/2014 02:24:32 MDT Print View

I also have 2 bamboo didgeridoos, but they're a little heavy and bulky for backpacking. Both are carved and burnished as well, so I don't want them damaged.

I have Native American rawhide rattles too, but without other instruments being played along with, it doesn't exactly sound melodic.

I personally like the "breathy/raspy" sound of the wooden Native American flutes. But the higher pitch keys, Middle A and higher hurt my ears, so I prefer Middle F# and Low E. That does make for larger bores and longer lengths though, as well as more weight.

A number of NA flute makers offer backpacking models in wood. Same quality flutes, just basic models without adornments. They're a bit less expensive, so not as bad if you break it.

Some even sell kits that are pre-bored, so you just finish them up with some sanding and varnish or wax and you're good to go (even cheaper this way).