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If I could wave a magic wand and give you the ability to play an instrument that you don't already know how to play...


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Sometimes I think the physique adapts to the instrument it's regularly in contact with. Cellists and bassists often have what appear to be enlarged finger pads I've noticed. So it's more than unfamiliarity I think.

 

My piano teacher when I was in high school was a fairly tall guy (around 6' 5"), and he had the biggest hands of anyone I've ever seen - including other people who were taller than him. And he also had those "pads" at the end of his fingertips. He could easily play a 13th with one hand like it was completely effortless.

 

 

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Wow, cool story about your wife, Phil...I'm sure she made the right choice by going with the RCA deal.

I know it was required watching of the LW show at Luke Manor...every Sunday Night, so I probably saw your wife on one of her guest appearances.

 

I probably did too, but while I know the dates of the appearances, try as I might, I haven't been able to locate any tapes or videos.

 

You are right about the competent musicianship... the two guitarists, Buddy Merrill and Neil Levang were awesome.

Buddy was first, he went into the Army and was replaced by Neil.

 

When Buddy was discharged, LW, Paternalistic dude that he was, kept them both on...some cool guitar duets came out of thise guys.

 

I never met him, but my wife says he was a really nice person. I've read a couple of letters from him that he sent to her, and they certainly support that claim.

 

They also had an array of beautiful Fender guitars, supplied by Leo, Jaguars, Teles, Strats, Jazzmasters...oh, and the Fender Amps..just some awesome gear.

 

THAT I do remember! :)

 

PS..love the line about the Irish family occupations..a cliche but so true. :~}

 

Yes, it's an old cliche, but it certainly was true for our family. We even had a politician (US Senator / Attorney General and Ambassador to India) in the family. :lol:

 

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My piano teacher when I was in high school was a fairly tall guy (around 6' 5"), and he had the biggest hands of anyone I've ever seen - including other people who were taller than him. And he also had those "pads" at the end of his fingertips. He could easily play a 13th with one hand like it was completely effortless.

 

 

 

Certainly it helps to have hands like Paganini for playing fingered octaves and tenths on the violin. But I wouldn't say that playing said intervals will give one such hands, though they will probably make them more flexible. Nor would I suggest that playing the double bass will make one taller. It's funny though, I've seen otherwise normal looking cello players whose hands, particularly the pads, reminded me of tree frogs. :lol:

 

Perhaps it's just that such traits lend themselves to success with certain instruments. Not a requirement necessarily, but an advantage to some degree.

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My piano teacher when I was in high school was a fairly tall guy (around 6' 5"), and he had the biggest hands of anyone I've ever seen - including other people who were taller than him. And he also had those "pads" at the end of his fingertips. He could easily play a 13th with one hand like it was completely effortless.

 

 

I do envy players with those monster hands, but I console myself for my very average handspan by recalling the great Spanish pianist Alicia De Larrocha who was diminutive to say the least, and was quoted in a New York Times interview saying at age 72, "I used to be 4 foot 7," she said. "Now I'm 4 foot 6, or 4 foot 5." In other words, she is about as tall sitting at the piano as standing up...."I used to reach a 10th," she said. "Now, a ninth, with some difficulty."

 

My span is about a 10th in spite of being 6'2" - but I stopped complaining after reading the above.

 

nat

 

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I do envy players with those monster hands, but I console myself for my very average handspan by recalling the great Spanish pianist Alicia De Larrocha who was diminutive to say the least, and was quoted in a New York Times interview saying at age 72, "I used to be 4 foot 7," she said. "Now I'm 4 foot 6, or 4 foot 5." In other words, she is about as tall sitting at the piano as standing up...."I used to reach a 10th," she said. "Now, a ninth, with some difficulty."

 

My span is about a 10th in spite of being 6'2" - but I stopped complaining after reading the above.

 

nat

 

 

I used to complain about my small hands too, but there's really no point to it. They are what they are, and I'm thankful to have them, even if they're not ideal "musician's hands."

 

On piano, octaves are fairly comfortable for me, but a 9th is a stretch, and anything beyond that is impossible to reach. I'm 5' 8", but I think my fingers are fairly short for my height - the palm area of my hands are longer than the fingers are.

 

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Perhaps it's just that such traits lend themselves to success with certain instruments. Not a requirement necessarily, but an advantage to some degree.

 

I think it makes it easier to a degree if you have those big hands, but obviously you still have to put the work into learning.

 

I got into music out of a deep love for it, not because of my hand size. The hand size has always been a bit of an impediment - I honestly don't think I would have become a musician if it hadn't been for having perfect pitch and the sheer joy that I get from listening to music. There's a deep emotional connection to it for me that made it imperative that I learn how to play enough to be able to experience it from that angle and be able to express myself. I know people who are shorter than me and who also have small hands who just slay on their instruments - Phil Keaggy comes to mind. He must be all of around 5' 2" and his small stature has never seemed to slow him down. People like that (and Alicia De Larrocha, who Nat mentioned) remind me that small hands are no excuse! Dedication and hard work can overcome that minor disadvantage. :)

 

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Yeah, you're fairly tall Ken... I'm not surprised you can comfortably hit a 10th. For me, anything beyond octaves is really not practical, even if it's technically possible to stretch to a 9th. Heck, even when playing octaves, I often accidentally hit other adjacent keys. :0

 

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I think it makes it easier to a degree if you have those big hands, but obviously you still have to put the work into learning.

 

I got into music out of a deep love for it, not because of my hand size. The hand size has always been a bit of an impediment - I honestly don't think I would have become a musician if it hadn't been for having perfect pitch and the sheer joy that I get from listening to music. There's a deep emotional connection to it for me that made it imperative that I learn how to play enough to be able to experience it from that angle and be able to express myself. I know people who are shorter than me and who also have small hands who just slay on their instruments - Phil Keaggy comes to mind. He must be all of around 5' 2" and his small stature has never seemed to slow him down. People like that (and Alicia De Larrocha, who Nat mentioned) remind me that small hands are no excuse! Dedication and hard work can overcome that minor disadvantage. :)

 

You'll get no argument from me there, and I hope nothing I've said would seem in opposition. My Mother was 5' 2". Hand size didn't stop her either, obviously.

 

I am a mere 5'7". I don't have Paganini's hands either, but have played a fair number of his Caprices. One simply finds artful ways of handling or breaking large intervals that large hands can reach easily and hit square on, if necessary. A smaller, more compact hand probably has it's strong points as well for some things. There's of course a lot more to it all than the ability to reach large intervals. smiley-happy

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We have been enjoying this young lady's videos lately. It's no wonder Donovan wrote a song about the hurdy gurdy. Patty Gurdy plays hurdy gurdy in a German metal band, and this song is done by a Cookie Monster singer. We think she wrote the song, and why she doesn't take off on her own in a bigger way is something we have wondered.

 

The hurdy gurdy has several ways of making sound. The keys actuate frets, the crank drones in different keys, and the strings can be plucked. It's a pretty expensive instrument, even at entry levels.

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At least one male in the family was supposed to be a Priest or an Accordian player.

It was preordained.

 

Actually there is a lot that is cool about the accordion. I love it in Cajun and Tejano styles. The French accordion style is great, and so is accordion in bossa nova. I even like it in polka, though it took me a while to come around. It's funny to say this, but Weird Al is a card carrying accordion shredder. I love the polka medleys of popular music he does with his extended band.

 

 

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I do envy players with those monster hands, but I console myself for my very average handspan by recalling the great Spanish pianist Alicia De Larrocha who was diminutive to say the least, and was quoted in a New York Times interview saying at age 72, "I used to be 4 foot 7," she said. "Now I'm 4 foot 6, or 4 foot 5." In other words, she is about as tall sitting at the piano as standing up...."I used to reach a 10th," she said. "Now, a ninth, with some difficulty."

 

My span is about a 10th in spite of being 6'2" - but I stopped complaining after reading the above.

 

nat

 

Regarding large hand size, I don't think huge hands would necessarily give someone an advantage on piano. I regularly play a 10th in my left hand (in the key of F for instance, that would be an F and an A a 10th up). Playing a 12th might have some uses, but pondering the question I've not been able to see the advantages. Of course someone with huge hands could come along and innovate things none of us can imagine.

 

Erroll Garner was a freak of nature. In a wonderful way. He was 5'2" and sat on phone books when he played.

 

[video=youtube;UYS1QMorSxg]

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Saxophone! That way I'll be ready for the upcoming jazz revival.

 

IMO, It's one of the most expressive instruments there is. Like guitar, there's a wide range of playing techniques and variety of sounds that a good player can coax from one.

 

You should get yourself a decent student model alto or tenor and take some lessons Craig! :idea::cool2:

 

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Would like to say sax, I love jazz and would love that, but there's something about being able to wail on a guitar that I couldn't pass up. :) Think about it, what's the most popular "air" instrument........easily guitar.

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Would like to say sax' date=' I love jazz and would love that, but there's something about being able to wail on a guitar that I couldn't pass up. :) Think about it, what's the most popular "air" instrument........easily guitar.[/quote']

 

I gave up 'air guitar'...starting playing 'broom bass', had to fight the Groupies off after the swirch.

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