At WKMT we have several talented multi-instrumentalists, who may specialise in one instrument but can also play at least another to a basic standard. Becoming a multi-instrumentalist can be born out of desire, necessity or even boredom with one’s chosen instrument. In this article, I will discuss some of the benefits of learning more than one musical instrument.
Most students start out with one instrument, with popular options being the piano, guitar, violin or singing for example. However, once a student reaches a certain ability level with their instrument, they may think about branching out to a different instrument. The student doesn’t need to be a virtuoso at their instrument, it’s not a matter of mastering one instrument before moving onto another, it’s just recommended to not take on too many at once!
It makes sense to pick an instrument related to one that the student is already playing, for example, many guitar players take up a bass guitar and violinists could take up the viola, while they are differences between these instruments, the basic layout, technique and theory remains similar across them. Another common thing is for a student to take up singing alongside an accompanying instrument such as piano, guitar or bass, by doing so the student will be able to accompany themselves and perform songs as a solo act.
Besides the fun factor of playing several instruments, there are some potential career benefits for musicians looking to make a living out of music. Firstly playing multiple instruments well makes you a more employable musician, with budgets shrinking, many people are looking to hire as little people as possible, so as a session musician playing multiple instruments will get the musician more work whether it is life or in the studio. Secondly playing multiple instruments will allow a musician to understand how to compose for multiple instruments, be it a band or a small ensemble
Here we share with you all another piece of advice by Thomas Rickerby for all those learning how to play the guitar. Either if this is your second instrument or the main and only one, you will like the topic analysed.
Why and when to use a guitar capo
Guitar capos are a very commonly used tool for guitarists. They essentially allow the pitch of the open strings to be raised to whichever fret the capo is placed on. So typically the open strings from low to high would be: E, A, D, G, B, E. If the capo were to be placed on the first fret, these open strings would be become: F, A#, D#, G#, C, F.
Capos have several uses, for starters, it is a great tool for a beginner guitarist to move the ‘easy’ beginner chord shapes such as Em, Am, C, G etc... to a different key. This can allow them to play along to songs that may be in an awkward key such as F minor or Bb Major. Though one shouldn’t substitute learning Barre chords and other chord shapes for just using a capo all the time, as they will be missing out on some vital growth as a guitarist and musician.
It is not just beginner guitarists that use capos however, many professional guitarists use capos to play chord shapes in keys that wouldn’t be possible with Barre chord shapes, and sometimes this use of a capo can be combined with alternate tunings to create unique and experimental chord voicings
Here are some examples of professional guitarists using capos
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Cabron (Live)