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Need an easy instrument to strum on
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Wistasona
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Joined: 31 May 2019
Posts: 1
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:09 pm    Post subject: Need an easy instrument to strum on Reply with quote

Hi everybody! I need your recommendations, I guess.

I am in my 70's and need some advice on what stringed instrument to pursue for easy strumming along as I sing folk songs and favorite old singers like Elvis and the Everly Brothers. Strictly for my own enjoyment. I was a very novice 6 string guitar player almost 50 years ago. When I tried both steel and nylon string 6 strings recently I realized I have no muscle memory, have lost strength and flexibility in my fingers.

I started researching 4 strings which then took me to ukuleles so I got overwhelmed quickly. I am starting from scratch and welcome any advice, so:
Tenor 4 string, cigar box, ukulele (if so, which size?)? I even saw a 3 string being played on YouTube. Suggestions?

Easiest to play?

Steel, nylon or steel over nylon?

String notes? Anything where I can get away with mostly only needing to use 2 fingers?

Specific models and brands?

Thanks in advance!
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Thomas
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Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 3194
Location: Glasgow, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a parlour guitar, they're fairly inexpensive, small bodied and shorter scale so easier to play, and they sound great. A secondhand Gretsch Jim Dandy would cost around 80-100.
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not really an answer, just more to get confused about, but have you thought about playing slide guitar?
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kingkiller
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Joined: 02 Jun 2017
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steel string would probably be easier to play once you start to learn a bit more, nylon string guitars tend to have necks that are a little bit wider so fretting becomes a bit more difficult. Best of luck!
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Nick
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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Location: Albany, NY

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try tuning something up to open chords instead of standard tuning. Could be a ukulele or even a cigar box guitar. Banjo also seems easy to play with the small necks and light strings
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paul_
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are these Loog learner instruments



And while decidedly not a "strummer", there are these "church basses" with 2 strings and 5 frets



As far as regular small/cheap stuff goes, I'm frequently tempted by the $150-$200 lines of Recording King acoustics, which are pretty pawnshoppy parlor guitars (though they also make dreadnought and 000 models)


Link

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fran & paul are some of the original gangstas of the JS days when you'd have to say "phuck"
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robroe
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy a telecaster. Play in drop D with a capo

It's what everyone else does to cheat and use 1 finger....you can too!
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NickS
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a chap local to me who is "Dan" in the band "Dandy Man" (geddit?) and he uses a 4-string tenor very effectively. It could be cheaper to put only 4 strings on a six-string. Comfort could be a major consideration; nylon will be easiest on the fingers to start with but most nylon-string guitars have a wide flat fretboard and you may find the neck on a steel-string more comfortable. Can you get to a music shop to try?
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Ankhanu
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Joined: 10 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A dulcimer might be right up your alley. Tuned in a chord, fretted so that all positions are in key, and easy to play.
https://www.amazon.com/Seagull-Merlin-Mahogany-Dulcimer-Natural/dp/B00PPYIPAI/ref=lp_11971231_1_4?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1559347685&sr=1-4
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George
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silk and steel strings are much easier to fret than other steel acoustic sets.

You could also detune whatever instrument you decide on and use a capo so the strings are looser

Open tuning may also be useful to look in to
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sunshiner
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Joined: 02 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lighter gauge of strings on Affinity Squiers. Their necks are somewhat narrow, if you put 7s or 8s and tune a half step lower you'll be good I think
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Doog
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul_ wrote:


And while decidedly not a "strummer", there are these "church basses" with 2 strings and 5 frets





lol I had to research to make sure that was indeed a fake

https://babylonbee.com/news/fender-introduces-new-two-string-bass-guitars-for-church-bassists

Quote:
Pearlman actually began testing these designs in churches across the country over the past few months, but no one noticed.

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sunshiner
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol wtf? I thought it was a joke

However there should be three strings. They completely failed and should be anathematized
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Fakir Mustache
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doog wrote:
paul_ wrote:


And while decidedly not a "strummer", there are these "church basses" with 2 strings and 5 frets





lol I had to research to make sure that was indeed a fake

https://babylonbee.com/news/fender-introduces-new-two-string-bass-guitars-for-church-bassists

Quote:
Pearlman actually began testing these designs in churches across the country over the past few months, but no one noticed.

The fret distance is too long for that kind of scale.
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paul_
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Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh damn, I thought it was real because of the alt-rock cross.
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Aug wrote:
which one of you bastards sent me an ebay question asking if you can get teh kurdtz with that 64 mustang? Mad

robertOG wrote:
fran & paul are some of the original gangstas of the JS days when you'd have to say "phuck"
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Nick
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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Location: Albany, NY

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George wrote:
Silk and steel strings are much easier to fret than other steel acoustic sets.
seconded, thought to come back to this thread to say this, I use them on my old Stella parlor guitar.
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paul_
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Used those on my Martin for awhile after being converted by a friend til I missed the volume, they're swanky and especially nice for fingerpicking.
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Aug wrote:
which one of you bastards sent me an ebay question asking if you can get teh kurdtz with that 64 mustang? Mad

robertOG wrote:
fran & paul are some of the original gangstas of the JS days when you'd have to say "phuck"
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Doog
can i get uhhh


Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sunshiner wrote:
lol wtf? I thought it was a joke


Uh, it is.
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sunshiner
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sunshiner wrote:
Doog should be anathematized

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matte30is wrote:
Someone man up and get a balloon.
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George
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paul_ wrote:
Used those on my Martin for awhile after being converted by a friend til I missed the volume, they're swanky and especially nice for fingerpicking.

Very true about volume and something to bear in mind. I instantly get drowned out by other guitars, especially because I fingerpick, but I mainly play on my own or plugged in.
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