How many instruments do you play?

January 24, 2006 at 07:23 AM · To everyone out there:

How many instruments do you play?

I'll start. I play piano, clarinet, violin, cello, and a little guitar.

Put the number of instruments you play at the bottom of your post.


Replies (62)

January 24, 2006 at 07:35 AM · Is this based on proficiency?

I play violin. I have played piano, the recorder, clarinet, cello, the marimba, and the viola.


January 24, 2006 at 07:56 AM · hmm... I too am a violinist overall. But I also play piano and percussion (auxilary, bass drum, marimba, vibraphone, chimes, cymbals, tympani, glock., etc.) with a local community concert band with enough proficiency to make our picky conductor proud. :)

I've also been singing vocal parts from tenor to first soprano since as long as I can remember. And I've had a brief but successful taste of viola and cello (viola more so, however). Recorder, aye, I did that one, too...

Wait! I also play electric fiddle, too. And I compose seriously; does that count for anything?

Let's see, I think that's about 14 instruments, but only depending on how you count! (That's why I don't bother!!)

January 24, 2006 at 04:01 PM · NONE!

But I try and play viola. :)


January 24, 2006 at 04:52 PM · violin, viola, piano, guitar


does conducting count as an instrument???????? I mean you wave a stick around and it makes noise.

January 24, 2006 at 04:58 PM · Please define "play".

January 24, 2006 at 05:13 PM · I play a score of instruments. So what.

How many do I play well?

How many can I play without causing people to run to the hills?

How many would I feel comfortable "playing out?"

One. Maybe two. Guitar. But only comping. Violin. But only harmony.

But I love to experiment with a lot of instruments. It is fun and really a great recharger. Mandolin, charango, sanza, recorder, kena, bongo, ukulele, penny whistle, ektara, zampon~a, harmonica, accordion, guiro, jew's harp, piano, glockenspiel, toy piano, viola, banjo, fife, amerindian flute, bugle, tom...

Those are some of our children's instruments above and beyond their violins and guitars. It is great fun to pick one up after a long time without it, and discover interesting things.


January 24, 2006 at 05:05 PM · I dabble with violin, viola, guitar (many styles, have grad degree in classical), electric bass, mandolin. I used to play piano, harpsichord, even studied organ. Way back, euphonium, cornet, a little flute and sax.

I'd trade all the others to be able to play violin really well.


January 24, 2006 at 05:24 PM · Ha! I agree, Mike!

In the past, I tried to play an accordian (PLEASE don't tell anyone, though). When I, 5, I tried to play the recorder. I've touched a viola before, and have played a cello a few times, but not to any proficiency. The only thing that really counts besides violin is piano, which I've played ten or eleven years, can't remember exactly.

So, violin and piano (but not both at the same time!)


January 24, 2006 at 06:25 PM · 8,300

January 24, 2006 at 06:40 PM · Hey John, can you name those 8,300 instruments?

January 24, 2006 at 06:49 PM · I "play" violin (amateur style, but since the age of 9). That's it. I'd really like to try the mandolin.

I have an uncle who plays the horses.

When I was younger I could speak 20 different languages, but none of them could be identified.

January 24, 2006 at 08:47 PM · Who the hell cares if you're crap at all of them.

January 24, 2006 at 08:58 PM · Carley, don't worry, apparently Vadim Repin played accordion too!!! I think even before he played violin, actually...

January 24, 2006 at 11:32 PM · With some amount of skill -

violin, flute, piano, voice- alto and soprano, bass drum

With less skill-

Chanter, Organ, Recorder, random percussion

With even less skill-

Viola, Cello, Mandola, Mandalin (sp?)

Should never again try to play-

Trumpet (or probably any brass)

January 25, 2006 at 04:51 AM · I like Jessica's way of clasifying:

With some degree of skill:




Various types of gongs (pacific rim)

Mediocre Skill and "Run away's she's got that thing out again!!!"





various hand drums


Bamboo flute

January 25, 2006 at 05:01 AM · I'm sure the accordian is illegal in most states, even among consenting adults. If it's not, maybe it should be.

I still can't play anything, but I did have another viola lesson today.


January 25, 2006 at 05:08 AM · My synth has several hundred sampled sounds so what's my answer?

I like to play various kinds of violin/fiddle, mandolin, guitar, piano, and viola. I also sing tenor and bass. I play some other instruments but not enough to please me (or anyone else for that matter).

January 25, 2006 at 06:10 AM · The accordian is my dad's fault - he's played it forever. Used to tune to since we didn't have a piano.... But yes, it should be illegal. And everyone thought the viola was bad... LOL

January 25, 2006 at 06:33 AM · yes, the sheer number of instruments that one can play doesn't mean anything >___<

I only play violin, but I REALLY REALLY want to learn some piano. You cannot believe the trouble I have when my textbook says "go to the piano and try these following progressions". It takes me like five minuites to figure out each progression...

January 25, 2006 at 06:34 AM · It's spelled "accordiOn", folks. Thank you. :)

Violin, piano, some singing. Once upon a time, viola and a bit of guitar.

January 25, 2006 at 08:37 AM · Violin (studying BMus Hons on this)

Viola (used only for chamber music)

Clarinet (Use this for jazz improvisation module)

Piano (Use this for keyboard skills module)

-These are the instruments I play well, with violin by a long way my better instrument.

I'm also okay at cello, accordion (traditional highland scots), recorder and orchestral percussion.

So that's 4 instruments at an advanced level and 4 at intermediate.


January 25, 2006 at 04:54 PM · I play 8,299 , darn missed John by one.

Just kidding actually I play:

I play piano,violin, clarinet,

January 25, 2006 at 04:54 PM · I play 8,299 , darn missed John by one.

Just kidding actually I play:

I play piano,violin, clarinet, cello, and a little guitar.


January 25, 2006 at 05:04 PM · I can really rock a fisher-price xylophone...

oh yeah, violin too :) Not as proficient as I'd like to be, but good enough to soothe the soul.

January 25, 2006 at 07:54 PM · Hammer soloist, screwdriver, chainsaw (2nd power tool section)

Is classical and electric guitar 2 different instruments, or the same? What about an aria classical guitar and a yamaha one -)

I'm mainly a guitarist, mostly electric guitar these days, but i've also tried my hand at keyboards about 10 years ago (i sucked) and of course those little flutes in primary school. Electric bass for a few years, and just recently started learning violin. I also use computers to sequence and mix audio tracks.

Oh, and i fart in D major, for anyone who wants to know.

January 25, 2006 at 08:25 PM · Oh, hang on, it is only 8,299 - I never play viola

January 25, 2006 at 08:32 PM · I play washboard and also skateboard, so take my total up to 29.

January 25, 2006 at 08:33 PM · Let me be more specific. How many do you practice on a regular basis. Not how many you tried at and failed. And define the level of playing.


Clarinet-Late Beginner




January 25, 2006 at 08:46 PM · Play regularly:

Violin pretty goodbut still rusty

Guitar good basic chords guy

Mandolin learnin

recorder/pennywhistle/kena solid but basic player

charango learnin


mountain dulcimer

tenor guitar




train whistle



piano (terrible)

and everything else

January 25, 2006 at 11:11 PM · Let me be more specific:

Piano - Advanced

Clarinet-Late Beginner

Violin- Beginner

Cello- Beginner

Guitar- Beginner

Actually Daniel and I can only play 2 chords on the guitar but that still counts.

January 25, 2006 at 11:18 PM · Let me translate what daniel said.

"Clarinet" HE has been playing for about a year but does not have one anymore.

"Violin" Has had it for 7 months and never took lesssons, can play the twinkle variations though very scratchy and out of tune.

"Cello" recieved a week ago and can not play a single song.

"Guitar" Sister has had one for a week, and Daniel can play 2 chords on it.

"Piano" Fairly good, intermediate.

January 25, 2006 at 11:22 PM · just 70 more posts to get rid of this thread.

Come on guys help me out.

January 25, 2006 at 11:23 PM · 1

January 25, 2006 at 11:23 PM · 2

January 25, 2006 at 11:23 PM · 3

January 25, 2006 at 11:23 PM · 4

January 25, 2006 at 11:24 PM · 5

January 25, 2006 at 11:26 PM · How about revising the question:

How many instruments did Paganini play?

What about Heifetz?








January 26, 2006 at 01:30 AM · Thanks for the comfort about the accordion. Actually, full story must come out now.

So: my family got this CD of hymns arranged in bluegrass(? something like that) style, and I was in that "I-want-to-play-another-instrument" mode. So, after some contemplation (and hearing that my grandmother played the accordion, yada, yada, yada, my dad buys me this little accordion deal, with like...maybe eight buttons for LH. So, I "did so well" at that (::rolls eyes::) that we decide a bigger one (with all the buttons for LH) would be good. So, here we go again, and buy another. Except it's so big for me, and even though I do relatively okay at it, I'm just not that happy with it. (It actually had a kind of odor about it, and some of the keys stuck...can you believe we payed $XXX for it?) So, I'm getting tired of it, and so, it goes to the basement after they guy we bought it from wouldn't take it back.

The End.

That's why I said not to tell anyone.

(We just gave it away...I'm relieved it's out of the house!)

January 26, 2006 at 01:50 AM · oh alright then (:

Electric guitar - advanced

Classical guitar - intermediate/advanced (lacking practice these days)

Sequencing/programming - advanced

Bass guitar - beginner/intermediate

Violin - wannabe/beginner

> How many instruments did Paganini play?

I know he was an above-average classical guitarist, and even favored the guitar over the violin for a while.

January 26, 2006 at 05:42 PM · Kim and Luke: When did your mom aprove of guitar? I thought she didn't like that instrument. And I STILL HAVE A CLARINET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I can play many songs on the violin and cell. As for the PIANO> I AM WHAT PEOPLE CALL ADVANCED!!!!!!!!!!!!! INTERMEDIATE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN"T PLAY THE PIANO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THE CELLO AND GUITAR CAME OVER TWO WEEKS AGO, AS OF JANUARY 26 AND 27. THE GUITAR IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS BUT I THINK I KNOW MORE THAN LUKE AND KIM COMBINED.

January 26, 2006 at 05:47 PM · Luke I have been playing the clarinet for almost 6 years. I only had one year of lessons though. So don't spread malicious rumors that I can only play a little bit. People can teach theirselves if they set their mind to it. I just think that you and Kim can't teach yourself and that's why your jealous.

January 26, 2006 at 05:53 PM · OK children, back to your Xanga, NOW!

January 26, 2006 at 06:09 PM · Oh yeah, well my daddy is stronger than your daddy and your big brother combined.

So there.

January 26, 2006 at 06:27 PM · Kids, am I really behind because I only focus on the violin?

January 26, 2006 at 07:00 PM · yes, you must be a virtuoso on at least 5 instruments :-)~ (apparently)

January 26, 2006 at 08:38 PM · Enescu was a stunning multi instrumentalist.

I believe that he was a virtuoso on at least 5 instruments actually.

Prince the popstar is also remarkably talented as a multi instrumentalist.

January 26, 2006 at 08:52 PM · You can listen to me playing some of the instruments I play here:

Click on discography, then "One Man Band" to listen.

My wife & I play flute in our church's orchestra. I also played saxophone in the Army band for 4 years. (I've since given up on reed intruments because of the hassle of keeping and maintaining reeds.) I also play piano - strictly non-legit - I make up my own arrangements, but have made decent money playing for weddings and such.

I have a bunch of instruments I don't play much on anymore (harp, steeldrum, harmonica etc.) but could play ya a few tunes on 'em.

The most recent instrument I've learned is violin. I'll make 2 years this March. This weekend I'll be playing "Moondance" (the Van Morrison one) on the violin with my friend's band. Should be fun.

As for how many instruments I play....I'm really not sure.....

January 27, 2006 at 02:41 PM · In order of proficiency:

Piano (Advanced)

Voice (Advanced - I sing with two professional groups)

Violin (Intermediate)

Flute (Beginner-Intermediate)

Viola (Beginner)

Do kitchen pots and pans count?

January 27, 2006 at 04:31 PM · Heck, can't resist the pull of this thread any longer.

Violin, fiddle & voice, mainly (classical soprano).

For a while I was serious about the clarinet (wait, isn't that an oxymoron? Can you put "serious" and "clarinet" in the same sentence?), and played both viola and cello. Then there was my multi-year affair with the xylophone and the snare drum. Oh, and the two weeks in the fourth grade when I played flute. Recorder on and off through the ages. Harp, sort-of, after I fell in love with it while writing my senior thesis. Mandolin, when I can figure out the whole picking-instead-of-bowing action. Guitar when I need to accompany someone, 'cause even though I can sorta play beginning piano, I don't like to. Oh, and I have a little concertina in the closet that's old and out of tune, does that count? :) Let's see, if you count all of them, that makes...lucky 13! Do I win a prize? ;)

January 27, 2006 at 04:40 PM · Eric: In addition to violin and guitar, Paganini must have played the viola. After all, he did commission the Berlioz (Harold in Italy), and refused to play the viola solo only because there wasn't enough virtuoso writing for the viola (even though he may have liked the piece).

January 27, 2006 at 08:09 PM · I teach violin 456&7, guitar 6,12&7 strings, bassguitar 4567&8 strings, mandolin, banjo 5&6 string, and drum kit and I seriously havent found any thing I cant play at 255 bpm (as fast as my metronome will go)on violin & guitar and can flawlessly excede 255 with guitar on well known pieces as on violin but not with out notes being off sometimes at totaly insane speeds...for now, I'm a practice junky and have been for 14 years when it comes to violin so it makes guitar boreingly easy with 10 years experiance behind me.

I play piano also but my right hand is not so good and my left can do Liszt & Chopin etudes at 208 bpm probibly becalse I play strings constantly. Trombone and tablas (indian drums) I do ok.

I can play cello and viola & contrabass but not very well I also dable in marimba, vibes & glockenspiel and misc. percussion

So I would say 5 insturments I "play out" If an isturment has the same or almost the same tuneing intervals I classify it as a variation not a diferent instrument. Other wise it would be 9 I play out and over 24 total! I have never counted them all before thats a staggering number concitering and I'm a little embarassed and proud (but I hate bragging and feal like I am) to tell I just turned 19 years old on Dec.27. And concequently have almost no life outside music.

January 29, 2006 at 06:25 PM · Here is an update:

I found out I only play the violin.

January 29, 2006 at 06:32 PM · Daniel:

Of course we are not allowed to play the gutair, what made you think we could? :)

January 29, 2006 at 10:36 PM · "Of course we are not allowed to play guitar?"

Why on earth would that be the case?

January 30, 2006 at 10:29 AM · Isn't it just amazing how much you can tell by reading ever so slightly between the lines of most posts? Beats per minute? You think that is what constitutes mastery, or even proficiency? The extent to which you are missing the point was incomprehensible to me until you, in attempting to prove you weren't missing it at all, proved instead that you had no idea of so much as the point's existence in the first place.

"I have read the Bible. It's a story about how stuff happened, some of it supernatural. It involves God, quite a bit. Some of the later chapters are about members of His Family. I'm theologically literate. Really."

So many times I want to respond to threads like this but the yawning chasm in the understanding of what is meant by fairly basic terms always ends up making me drop my hands from the keyboard in dismay. Where does one begin to explain to someone who reads the Bible for plot points that they're not getting it? Where does one begin explaining to someone who drives a particular model of car for the radio it has that they've missed the point of a personal vehicle? Where does one begin to explain that if you have to explain and defend that you do, in fact, play an instrument - especially to those who know you from offline - that this constitutes the clearest proof that you don't?

And then, in the endless discussions of "who was/is the greatest composer/performer/teacher?", how is a professional to even try to BEGIN understanding someone who judges a composer on the length of the score, or the performer on the extent of body motion, or the teacher on choice of cologne? What do people like that listen to, or for?

February 6, 2006 at 12:52 AM · Double Bass- Intermediate/Advanced

Violin- Intermediate

Cello- Beginner/Intermediate

Viola- Beginner/Intermediate

Piano- Beginner

Sehtar- Beginner

February 6, 2006 at 01:50 AM · Well put, E.C., what I follow of it. By the way, you come across differently in person, but not in a contradicting way. Maybe you adapt to your audience :)

Multi-instrumentalists. I've known maybe a half-dozen guys who could seemingly play a passible anything. Drums in one jazz band, any brass in another, piano at an after-hours jam, sub on French horn, play in-tune cello in easy quartets. They might or might not be brilliant soloists on any instrument, but they're fluent enough to express themselves. I think it's a talent all its own, and they amaze me even if it's just two or three instruments. When you consider the social aspect is the main one to amateurs and most of us are that, it's a very useful personal skill, and I'd really encourage it.

February 14, 2006 at 04:39 PM · Get ready for this:

Violin (currently teaching self fiddle method as well)



Yes, trombone....can't read bass clef, though!

February 14, 2006 at 06:18 PM · I play the violin.

Since my son began playing the piano, I can say that I have almost mastered Suzuki Piano Book 1, though I'm seeing through his lessons that there is quite a lot of detail about piano that I was unaware of.

I am a complete hack on the mandolin, but when the third-grader parents get together for a party, we all bring the guitars and mandolins and have a little jam session, which I actually do enjoy quite a lot.

So. I play the violin. :)

February 15, 2006 at 07:19 PM · I play the CD player, the radio, but not very often...too much homework. I also play with my curling iron, my telephone, and my computer...once in a very great while I will play the television. Also on occasion, I play the "cat" (by pulling the tail, of course).

So...I guess that's 7

February 15, 2006 at 08:59 PM · I play my micrometer, my strain gage, my sextant, and my compass, as well as my dividers, drop-compass, and beam compass and of course my VTVM, ohmmeter, galvanometer and oscilloscope.

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