What Music instruments do you take?

11:00 p.m. on April 14, 2016 (EDT)
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I once saw a guy with a banjo on the Appalachian Trail (AT). He was walking and picking away with each step. Until rencent I have never thought to take any thing. But a few weeks ago I started to learn the Irish penny whisle.  It's light enuff for me. But when I go backpacking. There are time when mother nature is my music. I was wondering if you came along someone play a simple flute,penny whistle,  or any other instruments.  Whole it bother you? What are your thoughts?

10:01 a.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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I played a harmonica for years, but haven't played one lately.

I have enjoyed playing percussion, mostly sticks on logs, maybe a spoon on a pot, and a stick on a wine bottle.  We used play African djembes at Dead concerts and Burning Man. My brother took drum lessons in Africa whenever their truck broke down like in Senegal.  Playing percussion in the woods with a group is great fun.  It is best to be in a remote location and not on a lake with other visible camps.

I have found that people start to really miss music after about 5-6 days.  On a Grand Canyon trip we played percussion with a large group on the last night of a week long trip.  It lasted maybe 45 minutes. When we finished, there was loud applause and whooping from another group down canyon.  That is big time stuff out there in Slot World.

10:21 a.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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I've come across hikers carrying guitars which doesn't bother me...What bothers me is the style of music they play....I down load my music that I like..I am hesitant at what they like..If it's blue grass I am gone with in minutes..I live in the Blue grass state but it's not my thing...Never mind what they think is popular today on the radio like Justin Beiber lol

10:45 a.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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I'm a life long guitar player and played professionally for many years (was my original vocation). But I rarely take one into the backcountry for several reasons.

One is that a guitar nice enough to satisfy my ear is too expensive to damage with humidity and temperature extremes. I tried cheap student guitars but they sound and play so badly that I'd rather not even bother. The Martin Backpacker was designed just for this purpose but I don't think they sound good at all.

But the main reason is what Denis states. Musical taste is very subjective and I don't want to ruin anyone's backcountry experience. Especially since as a guitar player I like to play many styles of music that I wouldn't necessarily listen to myself (like flatpicked bluegrass or funky jazz or some Irish and celtic type jigs).

I once took my mahogany Baby Taylor (about a $300 instrument) on a AT section and was asked to play around the campfire at Overmountain shelter near Roan Mountain TN. I strummed several well known rock type classics like Pink Floyd Wish you Were here and so forth; several hikers thanked me for doing it but I could tell not everyone was into it.

I'm also quite cognizant of the fact that I often seek solitude and quiet myself so I'm really sensitive about not disturbing others if I'm near them.

I was recently dozing off on a grassy spot near Derrick Knob in the Smokies when some hiker came along blasting heavy metal over the speaker of his phone which was strapped to his packs shoulder harness. I found it totally obnoxious and anathema.

4:39 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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Harmonica.  It does a goods job of keeping people away for some reason :/

4:40 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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Guitars are common on the PCT.  I grew up listening to bluegrass especially in VA and WV.  I would travel a long way to hear some.  West Coast bluegrass is turning into a movement.

4:52 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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When I hike solo, I'll carry a harmonica or flute to pass the evening.  I may also take instruments when hiking in a group, but usually do not impose my noise upon them, for the reasons others have cited.  Packing an instrument works out best when traveling with other who have brought along their own noise makers, with the understanding there will be evening jam sessions. 

As for the penny whistle, harmonica, and other instruments possessing limited harmonic depth:  I would suggest it is hard on the ears of others to be subjected to a captive solo performance lasting more than a few minutes at any given time, no matter how skilled the musician.  These are instruments best heard accompanied by other instruments IMO.  You might opt for a recorder flute, if you intend to serenade others at the campfire. 

Regardless of what members of your group think about camp music, obviously you should respect the quiet of other campers in the area, and attenuate your volume level accordingly.


7:03 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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Not very musical myself, but now that you bring it up I am considering taking up the tuba...pack weight is way down so I have some flexibility there, and while I usually solo hike when I have gone with friends They often make similar noises at night anyway.

8:53 p.m. on April 15, 2016 (EDT)
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FlipNC said:

Not very musical myself, but now that you bring it up I am considering taking up the tuba...pack weight is way down so I have some flexibility there, and while I usually solo hike when I have gone with friends They often make similar noises at night anyway.

 Reminds me of Tuba man on the AT and he was well known...LOL

12:22 a.m. on April 16, 2016 (EDT)
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I've considered the harmonica. I have no musical talent so I've been hesitant but I guess the plus side would be no man or animal would be anywhere near me.

9:47 a.m. on April 17, 2016 (EDT)
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They are portable. You can play on the trail if it is flat. You can play while you are driving.  I used to play waiting for rides, hitch hiking to trailheads.

For anyone that has never tried percussion, give it a try.  People miss music, especially on longer trips.  Find someone to start a rhythm and maintain it and have everyone else follow.

10:15 p.m. on May 6, 2016 (EDT)
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I tend to whistle, beat box, clap, stomp my feet and sing.  It's so ultralight!

5:13 p.m. on June 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I don't bring any instruments, it's really my time for solitude. My son is a guitar player and he plays every single day, so it's a nice welcome to get away for a while. Don't get me wrong he is good, it's just nice to be in the woods and hear the wind and the tree leaves and sounds of rivers and water falls for a while. I have heard some amazing sounds out hiking. The coolest things I have heard were owls actually singing all night long and elk during mating season bugling all night. It was so cool! 

I don't think I would be opposed of some good music on the trail though, it would be kinda nice maybe to hear the ukulele being played by someone who knows how to play it well. I guess it depends on how long I'm out there, if it's along hike then I am sure I would welcome music of any kind. 

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