[Dixielandjazz] Re:Hardest instrument to learn

Ron Going rongoing1@earthlink.net
Thu, 20 Jun 2002 08:21:04 -0500

Hi Bill and all,
When you were listing washboard players of note, you left out Hal Smith 
and Mr Devine of Bo Grumpus, both of whom have to be in the short list 
of "very best" W. B. players
Ron Going

Bill Gunter wrote:

> Hi Listmates,
>> I don't know the hardest instrument to learn but I do know the 
>> easiest....
>> probably washboard!
> The washboard, like any percussion instrument, offer the easiest way 
> to elicit a noise of some sort by simply hitting it with a stick or 
> whatever sort of hammer is handy. Anyone, including infants, can do 
> this simple exercise . . . "take a stick and hit it."
> But to imply that this is 'learning how to play a washboard' is like 
> saying that to fart is learning how to play a wind instrument! This 
> is, of course, poppycock, balderdash and a vicious canard!
> A washboard, while appearing to be a simple concept, offers as much 
> challenge to the musician as learning to play any instrument in the 
> percussion section. Elements of phrasing, timing, articulation and 
> technique, timbre, all offer unique challenges which only practice and 
> dedication can overcome to produce groovy stuff!!!
> I am but a mere student, a humble practitioner of the art and the more 
> I learn the more I need to learn . . . just like the ax you play!
> I listen to such virtuosos as Ralf Reynolds and am only beginning to 
> get successful at stealing his licks!
> Any discussion of contemporary washboard players must include Stephen 
> Joseph, Bob Raggio, and Ralf Reynolds who have advanced the art form 
> from a simple whacking on an appliance to an exciting rhythmic element 
> which can add color and excitement while it drives a band into one hot 
> chorus after another.
> And this doesn't even include a discussion of the washboard bands of 
> the 20s and 30s which were immensely popular.
> Just my 2 cents worth and respectfully submitted,
> Bill "Thimbles" Gunter
> jazzboard@hotmail.com
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