There are quite a few instruments you hardly ever hear anymore. You used to hear them on the radio or fro local musicians. Now, we rarely hear them being played. Fewer people are learning how to play them and it shows. Here are 10 instruments you hardly hear anymore.
Back in the day it seemed you always knew someone who could play the fiddle! But, now it seems there are fewer folks playing this classic instrument. From Irish folks songs to country tunes, this is one you just don’t hear as much these days.
2) Spoons and Bones
In parts of Europe they use wooden spoons. Here it’s more common to hear metal spoons if you hear them at all. And then there are the bones as well, which are also sometimes actually made of wood.
Here’s a wonderful clip from Amateur Hour of George Gilmore playing the bones in 1953! He can really go!
3) Whiskey Jug
As a holdover from the early days of jazz, jug bands could be found in many places around the country even after the advent of radio and records. As part of Appalachian folk songs and bluegrass, the jug also played an important role. With the folk music revival of the ’60s there was a brief resurgence. When was the last time you heard someone play a jug?
Seems like there was a short period in rock history when cowbells were pretty regularly used, but that has since faded. From “Born on the Bayou” to “Lowrider,” the cowbell made an appearance in so many classic rock songs from the ’70s!
5) Jaw Harp
Still a fixture for some bluegrass bands, the jaw harp or mouth harp isn’t relied upon like it was in the old days. That unique sound added so much to acoustic country and bluegrass acts!
Blues, jazz, and bluegrass all incorporate the harmonica extensively. It’s one of the most affordable and easy to carry instruments of all time. Even train-jumpers in the ’30s with few belongings often had a harmonica! It seems like the trusty old harmonica just isn’t played that often now.
From polka to jazz to swing to pop, accordion used to be a major player in many bands. Even the Beach Boys used accordion on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Nowadays, it’s too old-fashioned for many young musicians and fewer people are learning to play.
Ok, so this one isn’t exactly old-timey, but you so rarely hear saxophone in popular music anymore! In the ’50s the sax made appearances in many of the most popular songs, like Joe Turner’s version of “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”
Big band and jazz acts often had a xylophone player on board and even some rock musicians used the sweet sounds to enhance their songs. Modern tunes so rarely incorporate xylophones anymore!
From folk to jazz to pop, the organ used to be a very popular instrument. These days fewer and fewer people are learning to play it and it’s not so common to hear. If we do hear it’s usually digital and modified. But, we remember the old-fashioned sounds like “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians.
You may hear some of these now and again, but for the most part these instruments are fading from popular view. There are so many great songs that utilize the unique sounds they make and we remember them fondly.