Original Instruments in Country Music

Country music isn't as flat as you may think

Some of the more engaged readers to this site have often commented on the nature and tone of the content here. Even as far as going to call me a "hippie" which is about as far from the truth you can get without falling off the side of the planet. But that is a topic for another essay. And the King David's harp doesn't come from India people. I'm sorry if you think that, I have never made that claim here or elsewhere.

Because of this I decided that it would be good to do a write up about the different music direction country has had and the exposure to different instruments and methods of play. And while I don't suggest that you use the KDH this way, as I have stated, it takes the tone you give it. And that is something to behold.

So let's begin.

Dobro

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The dobro was developed by two brothers back in the 1920s.

I'm sure some of you may be accustomed to this one though, and point out its grand history.

First played by Bashful Brother Oswald back at the Grand Ole Opry, it wasn't until Roy Acuff's, adopted it that it began to pick up steam.

The dobro really made its mainstream jump into country music when it began seeing use in bluegrass music thanks to names like Josh Graves of Flatt and Scruggs.

Pedal Steel Guitar

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This is one that you have to see to believe, hear to appreciate, and try for the shear joy. The pedal steel guitar was developed by Alvino Rey, back in 1939 and played a role in country music well into the '50s.

The Country Music Hall of Fame® has a pretty good sample, along with some good suggestions if you want to zip over to iTunes and try some of the songs listed. Highly recommended.

Washboards

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How many of you recall fond memories of banking on the pots and pans and playing the washboard with your mother's wooden spoons? I know I sure do and if this is a viable musical instrument there isn't any reason the begena doesn't make for good company.

Zither

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Where would country music be without the zither. I know any of you who has even a little exposure to music will know the zither. And you'll surely know its importance in the country music scene.

You'll take it for granted that this is in fact another fascinating instrument with an illustrious history.

The instrument itself is a flat sound box covered with strings, and doesn't look like much on its own. But I bet you'll be surprised where it ended up, keep reading.

The first example of this beauty comes to us from the Chinese guqin. Talk about family history.

Still the name itself is a German translation of the Roman word cithara.

Sound familiar?

Let's fix that up a bit.

Here is a modern word that stems from cithara, see if you can pronounce it, "guitar".

It is incredible how many amazing instruments we use everyday without even thinking about them. The few that I highlighted here are just a small portion of those.

Interested in more? This is a partial list, and a more in depth look at each and more can be found on the Country Music Hall of Fame®, which I highly recommend you taking a look at. Even if country isn't your thing there is plenty for the avid musician to keep you entertained.

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