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  • Traditional instruments

    Guitar and bass might be the obvious ones that can be used, but just wondering what else anyone uses (or would use) in ambient works?

    There are a few I own that I have considered but never got round to, but probably a couple more that I don't yet own that I will buy sometime.

    In particular flutes have been on my mind and I'd like to buy a shakuhachi (a fake one as real ones cut from the root of bamboo are very expensive), an Irish flute (again, probably a keyless one as they're cheaper) and a native American flute (I'll be sure to buy a Native American made one so will also be expensive).

  • #2
    I think any woodwind such as clarinet or oboe would sound great (or is flute woodwind? )

    We still have my daughters starter clarinet (total waste of money, pretty much unplayable, though can't complain as she took up guitar insteadf ) laying around so maybe I'll give it a go one day. Maybe even if just for sample fodder.

    I love playing long drones on a harmonica but have never managed to record it very well, always lose all those overtones (I guess) that make it sound so good.
    Latest release: never to be repeated

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    • #3
      Cello, I can't play it but Fitch can

      One instrument that might appeal to your flute fetish could be a doudouk. I first heard Levon Minassian playing one on Tony Levin's World Diary album. It has a very expressive sound.

      here are a couple of examples:-



      and with Peter Gabriel:-

      http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x67...c#.UPSFsCcz18E
      Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GaryG View Post
        I think any woodwind such as clarinet or oboe would sound great (or is flute woodwind? )
        Depends how it's played I guess - I also play alto sax, but find it hard to think of that in terms of ambient, although never say never...

        Yes, flute is woodwind (even though concert flutes are made from metal).

        Originally posted by GaryG View Post
        I love playing long drones on a harmonica but have never managed to record it very well, always lose all those overtones (I guess) that make it sound so good.
        Have you tried playing it through amp sims?:rockon:

        Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
        One instrument that might appeal to your flute fetish could be a doudouk.
        Woodwind for sure, but not blown like a flute - it's a reed instrument. I know the sound of it, but have never played one (or any double reed instrument for that matter). The only reed instrument I've played is sax, which is single reed, but one of these days I might branch out a little.

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        • #5
          Long cello lines, mysterious cello articulations like sul pont, harmonics - artificial and natural, tremoli - with the right FX processing these sounds fit perfectly into ambient music. The same goes for dark brass sounds like French horn and trombone playing e.g. long dynamic swells, then Bassflute comes to my mind, a wonderful instrument with such a full and round tone - it all depends on how you play the respective instrument and how you integrate it into the track.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by robojam View Post
            Guitar and bass might be the obvious ones that can be used, but just wondering what else anyone uses (or would use) in ambient works?

            There are a few I own that I have considered but never got round to, but probably a couple more that I don't yet own that I will buy sometime.

            In particular flutes have been on my mind and I'd like to buy a shakuhachi (a fake one as real ones cut from the root of bamboo are very expensive), an Irish flute (again, probably a keyless one as they're cheaper) and a native American flute (I'll be sure to buy a Native American made one so will also be expensive).
            I don't think Native American flutes are that expensive at all. Certainly a lot cheaper than a guitar or keyboard... or even some softsynths! The trick with Native American flutes is finding a brand that will play in tune with your regular instruments... because traditionally they are individually tuned to suit the player. So be careful when you're picking one out. I think most of the ones you might encounter will be tuned to a western scale, but not always.

            I've been playing these for quite a long time now! I have several flutes that are really good. Amon Olorin flutes are very good. But my very favorite one is one that I picked up when I was in Sonoita. It's a High Spirits flute by Odell Borg. They come highly recommended (and not just by me) and are definitely professional quality.

            http://www.highspirits.com/
            Last edited by Nemo; 01-15-2013, 02:00 PM.
            My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sequent7

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            • #7
              I'm looking into percussion instruments and the like. glockenspiel and some other things on my list :-)
              www.soundcloud.com/phoenstorm

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              • #8
                As far as getting all sorts of non traditional "percussion toys", dulcimers, flutes, etc., usually there seems to be at least one "folk instrument" store in town... if you live in a fairly big city and perhaps especially if you visit a University town. For online purchases, in the past I have gotten stuff from Lark In the Morning. Places like Renaissance Faires and other gatherings (e.g. the local Dulcimer Festival around here, for example) can also have some interesting items... and of course if you travel you have access to the "real thing" as it were! But for online, Lark seems to be a really good all-around one stop shop for all sorts of odds and ends.

                http://www.larkinam.com/
                My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sequent7

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                  I don't think Native American flutes are that expensive at all. Certainly a lot cheaper than a guitar or keyboard... or even some softsynths! The trick with Native American flutes is finding a brand that will play in tune with your regular instruments... because traditionally they are individually tuned to suit the player. So be careful when you're picking one out. I think most of the ones you might encounter will be tuned to a western scale, but not always.

                  I've been playing these for quite a long time now! I have several flutes that are really good. Amon Olorin flutes are very good. But my very favorite one is one that I picked up when I was in Sonoita. It's a High Spirits flute by Odell Borg. They come highly recommended (and not just by me) and are definitely professional quality.

                  http://www.highspirits.com/
                  When I say expensive I mean compared to say software, but agreed that they're cheap in comparison with guitars, keyboards, etc. I have seen them for sale on reservations in NC but they seem very overpriced and just thrown in a box. I'd like to find somewhere that makes me feel that it's made by a craftsman for a musician - that site looks really good and they're actually somewhat cheaper than I have seen with a cursory search of teh interwebs.

                  Even if a flute doesn't play in tune, it's always possible to pitch shift a little so as long as it's in tune with itself it's not something I'd be too concerned about.

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                  • #10
                    my daughter and I have been incorporating a ukulele into a couple of pieces that are borderline ambient pieces, nothing I'd post up just yet as we have just started working together.

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                    • #11
                      You'll have to keep the reverb down, or there may be an acrimonious split.....lawyers, managers, PR.
                      Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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