Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have never played any instrument. Now I want to learn some instrument. My deciding parameters are - it should be compact, inexpensive and can be learnt without a teacher.

I search over internet and found recorder and Harmonica as my options.

Please suggest if these can be the options.I recently developed this option as I need to impress a girl who likes music.

share|improve this question
1  
Although you may not want a teacher, you'll never reach your fullest potential without one. –  American Luke Nov 21 '12 at 14:50
1  
Maybe not never, but it'll definitely take longer! –  luser droog Nov 22 '12 at 5:37
1  
If you're starting any instrument from scratch, even with excellent teachers, you're going to need a few months to build up stamina and muscle memory enough to even play one slightly impressive song well. If this is your only strategy, I would guess your girl would have moved on by then. Probably best to look at other options for now, and learn an instrument because you want to. Or at least as a preparatory strategy for next time. –  naught101 Nov 23 '12 at 23:02
2  
This is for you –  bobobobo Nov 28 '12 at 4:23
    
An harmonica is very compact, you can bring it everywhere you want but you have to choose the right one... Chromatic harmonicas are cool because you can play in any key, you do not need a specific harmonica for each song you play nor transpose a song in a different scale. However, they are a bit more expensive than diatonic harmonicas. What genre of music would like to play? –  esmitex Nov 30 '12 at 14:44
show 1 more comment

9 Answers

I think a guitar is the best bet.

You can play and sing with it, which can not be done with blow instruments, and someone else can join in the singing.

Ukulele sounds OK too, but I never used one - except in a store the other day, and I kind of liked it. And it is small too.

Keep in mind that plain harmonicas or "harps" can not readily play all notes, unless bending notes, which takes time to learn, plus they are somewhat fixed as to a key or scale they are tuned too. Harmonicas are great, though. I also play them, but they do amount to cost. I sometimes play harmonica together with guitar with a neck brace. So maybe don't limit to just one choice - except for starting - and for starting, I think the guitar is better, and I mean an accoustic one, which needs no gadgets and is more portable.

Harps may be cheaper than a guitar, but they do go bad, then you may have to buy another one, since repairing is not that easy.

I think it should be more to what you like more than hoping to please others, which is inherent if you like and dedicate yourself to it. But this is just my thought, and surely not a total truth.

share|improve this answer
    
Why has this answer been down voted? I see nothing wrong with it (except the grammar). –  gingerbreadboy Nov 27 '12 at 15:31
add comment

I recommend Harmonica since it is probably the easiest instrument to pick up and play right away. If you are looking for a easy to moderate challenge pick a ukulele. Do not see it as a smaller guitar though. It really is an instrument on its own.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Electric Keyboards are fairly inexpensive.

You can get some for around $300 which have light-up keys to show you what to play.

Lots of teach-your-self books out there too. However, a few lessons would be very helpful.

Otherwise, the recorder is a great instrument. If you have big hands start with an alto (also known as treble). It has a lovely tone, more mellow than a descant. Buy a plastic one - yamaha is a good brand - cost about $60.

share|improve this answer
    
I've found Aulos also has a good alto. It's about $30. Both brands are pretty good, though. –  American Luke Nov 27 '12 at 14:38
add comment

Your voice.

It is very inexpensive, very portable, and you already have a great deal of familiarity with it. Granted, there may be some work to be done to learn how to use it musically, but that is true for any instrument. Also, as with any other instrument, a good teacher is highly recommended, especially in the beginning.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would recommend xaphoon. Not much more expensive than a recorder, similar to play, but the saxophone-like sound is definitely more impressive and it is applicable to a wide range of music styles.

share|improve this answer
    
Especially for Woodwinds I would not suggest someone to begin learning without a teacher. It is very hard to get rid of a wrong embouchure. So imho at least the first few months should be supervised by a teacher. –  eL. Nov 23 '12 at 12:51
add comment

I suggest harmonica (if you prefer blues) or MIDI keyboard plugged to computer. MIDI keyboard with Reaper (a computer program)& VSTi plugins is powerful instrument maybe not for playing live, but for creating music.

Have you thought about any guitar? There are some minified versions, which have less frets, but are still playable. After learning just a few chords you can play almost all songs-remember girls love guitarists :)

share|improve this answer
add comment

I suggest you get a ukulele.
It's fairly compact and rather easy to get started playing some chords on. With only three chords you can soon play millions of songs! However you should probably be able to sing ok along with playing - beginners ukulele alone isn't too impressive after a minute or so...

share|improve this answer
1  
Interestingly, almost all the rock and metal guitarists and bassists I know now take ukuleles on tour with them - just for plinking and jamming. –  Dr Mayhem Nov 22 '12 at 0:31
    
I like this suggestion. Anything from that Eddie Vedder album is sure to impress. –  luser droog Nov 22 '12 at 5:35
1  
It's also appropriately hipster, and sure to impress ;-) –  user3169 Nov 28 '12 at 6:05
add comment

It depends on the girl, of course. It also depends on your taste in music.

If you and she both like blues, then blues harmonica would fit your criteria.

The instruments are compact and inexpensive. Note that harmonica players tend to end up buying several instruments, since you need a different one for each key.

You can learn "tricks" that sound impressive fairly quickly, from books, videos etc., and of course you can improve forever.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Try the recorder, that's what used to be taught at school :-)

share|improve this answer
3  
Agreed - this is a very easy instrument to begin on. However it may not fulfil the 'impress a girl' requirement :-) –  Dr Mayhem Nov 21 '12 at 10:03
2  
Unless she's into classical music. :P –  American Luke Nov 21 '12 at 14:51
1  
Unless she's into horrible screeching. Heh. Even a well-played recorder sounds terrible IMO. –  Matthew Read Nov 22 '12 at 19:35
3  
@MatthewRead I pity your lack of musical taste. Listen to this piece, or this one. Horrible screeching, my foot! There's a reason the recorder is called "sweet flute" in Spanish. –  American Luke Nov 23 '12 at 1:17
    
@Luke Alright, I won't call that screeching ... but yeah I don't like the sound of the recorders. –  Matthew Read Nov 23 '12 at 2:30
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.