How do you pick up guitar and cello if you can already play other instruments?

I have played violin for 10 years, piano for 4 years, flute for 2 years, and I can also play viola because it’s so similar to violin. I love the sound of cello and bassoon though, and guitar’s awesome and convenient. Is it hard to pick guitar and cello up with my prior instrumental background? Would I need lessons, or can I just learn these based on my prior knowledge of violin, viola, and chords/music theory?

Chosen Answer:

I play all the instruments you do, plus the brasses and oboe/English horn, but I’m betting I’m quite a bit older. I think being a jack of all trades is immense fun, and I love it when I’m called to sub in a group on, for example, euphonium, when my degree is in violin.

However, for cello….I’d suggest a few lessons because the left hand position is quite different from violin/viola, the vibrato technique is different, and the bow hold is quite different. It takes a lot more strength to play cello.

Bassoon is a big pain in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean *you* shouldn’t play it! There are elbendy-seven different fingerings for some of the notes, and the thumbs get a major workout. I agree it is a cool sounding instrument.

I always recommend a few lessons at the begininng with a competent teacher, to keep you from getting way off on technique that keeps you from progressing. Much better to spend some time and money up front so you get started right.
by: htmlquery
on: 4th July 10

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4 Responses to How do you pick up guitar and cello if you can already play other instruments?

  1. Cal says:

    because violins, flutes and cellos normally play one note at a time, you will need some knowledge of chord theory, but it can learned, and obviously, as you play piano, you probably do have some knowledge of such. cello and guitar are COMPELTELY different to each other, in sound, style and use. One thing I advise, is that if you want to make good use of music theory, i reccomend you learn jazz, as it uses music theory much more than other genres, and rock dosent take as much skill. i like all genres of music, but i realised that despite how technical metal can be, the music theory behind jazz is just incredible, and truly great players are jazz player, for instance, Giant Steps by John Coltraine. Also, you can play on your own more often with guitar, as cello is a more orchestral instrument, though there are songs like Prelude No.1 which are solo piecies.

    Also, In theory, you could play guitar in an upright position or like a piano: I play the guitar in an upright position quite a lot, and i also play it like a piano sometimes

    Good Luck =) just choose whatever one you are most drawn too.

  2. B.J. says:

    Not at all Becky. I’m a little like you. This is my 4th year in piano, I played the flute for only one year, and then went to the guitar. It wasn’t hard at all. As long as you know plenty of music theory, you can figure out the scales and even the chords, and there are thousands of ways to play them.

    When I first learned how to play the guitar, I first learned what the parts of the guitar was (sound hole, bridge, nut, pegs, headstock, etc.), some basic songs, scales, and chords (regular, barre, and power). This is not difficult at all. All you need to do is sit your guitar on your lap, pay attention, and you’ll be great in no time. Your fingers will get a little sore, but it takes getting used to.

    With guitar, you havae 9th, suspended, and different kinds of other chords. You may want to research them online.

    I don’t know how to play the cello, but I’m sure it’s the same thing.

    Good luck!

  3. htmlquery says:

    I play all the instruments you do, plus the brasses and oboe/English horn, but I’m betting I’m quite a bit older. I think being a jack of all trades is immense fun, and I love it when I’m called to sub in a group on, for example, euphonium, when my degree is in violin.

    However, for cello….I’d suggest a few lessons because the left hand position is quite different from violin/viola, the vibrato technique is different, and the bow hold is quite different. It takes a lot more strength to play cello.

    Bassoon is a big pain in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean *you* shouldn’t play it! There are elbendy-seven different fingerings for some of the notes, and the thumbs get a major workout. I agree it is a cool sounding instrument.

    I always recommend a few lessons at the begininng with a competent teacher, to keep you from getting way off on technique that keeps you from progressing. Much better to spend some time and money up front so you get started right.

  4. Kab says:

    Cello should come very easy. There are a number of differences, but if you work with a teacher or that you get a book with lots of pictures, you should do OK.
    Bow grip is different. Bass clef will take a short time to learn. Finding the fingering differences bothers some for a short time.
    Guitar should come quik also. Make sure you don’t skip around doing a lot of different things on the guitar. You need a course of instruction to follow. There are a lot of good books that if you take them one line at a time. Perfecting each line before going on, you will do great.

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