5 Underappreciated Instruments You Should Try Out

It seems everyone wants to be that lead singer with the guitar, but there are lots of lesser known instruments that are just as important and valuable as their better-known counterparts. The great thing about using these kinds of instruments is that it can add that special touch to your work. Everyone knows what a guitar sounds like, but not the vibraphone!

Here is a list of some underappreciated instruments that any musician should take a moment to consider.

1. Viola

The viola is often called the middle child of the string instruments and comes under just as much flak. However, despite the jokes, the viola has throughout history been used for more harmonic melodies that support higher pitched instrument like the better-known violin.

While somewhat niche, it specializes in its role.

2. The Vibraphone

The vibraphone is an interesting instrument, not unlike the xylophone, that is in the idiophone subfamily of the percussion family. The vibraphone uses long metal bars and electric resonators to achieve its unique, mellow sound.

3. The Timbales

These punchy, high-pitched shallow single-headed drums are sometimes used in Latin style music. They can be played very fast and have a “dance music” feel to them.

Some examples of their usage are System of a Down’s drummer John Dolmayan, along with the Ohio University marching drum line.

4. Bagpipes

This might seem like a joke, but this traditional Scottish wind instrument can be used in surprisingly contemporary ways. Guitar solos are great, but what about the bagpipe solo in AC DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top?”

Even today, music is being remade to incorporate this distinguished instrument.

5. The Sax

The saxophone is most commonly known for its usage in jazz and later in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but this instrument is truly exciting and very interesting. Almost no one uses it these days, so hearing it can be quite the surprise and really makes your stuff stand out.

As silly as it may seem, the sax made George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” what it is today.

Musicians today seem to turn a blind eye to these five instruments, but they really can make an impact. Everyone loves guitars and pianos but using something lesser known adds a unique twist to your work like nothing else can.

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Sean Harris is a writer in the midwest US who plans on majoring in computer science or physics at college. He enjoys listening to music, blogging, and reading.

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