Quality Starter Instruments On A Budget
Beginner Bluegrass Band Instruments
If you want to form a bluegrass group, or join one, and don't have a lot of money to spend, here are some of my recommendations to get you playing. Low cost, but good quality blue grass group instruments with really good customer response from those who bought them. Most I have played, demo'd or know those who have one. The instruments usually ship free as well. (Click on picture to buy, read reviews, see specs or just get updated stock and pricing).
Traditional bluegrass is played with a fast tempo on (only) acoustic instruments, with the exception of pick up transducers added for extra volume. The instruments in a classic bluegrass ensemble are the fiddle, 5 string closed backed banjo, mandolin, bass (small upright or acoustic bass guitar), acoustic guitar and sometimes a resonator (also called dobro or steel) laptop guitar. You don't need all of them to get started. A banjo, mandolin, and either fiddle or acoustic guitar can get you started as a group.
Look at the Father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe on his mandolin bluegrass style, Earl Scruggs on the banjo and Lester Flatt on the guitar when you want to learn the basics. There are inexpensive learning books and DVD's to help you along as you learn the basics. There are also many online lesson sites that give out some good free information.
The bluegrass "fiddle" differs from the violin mostly in the technique that it's played, but some flatten the bridge as well.
Most traditional bluegrass groups play simple traditional tunes, limiting the variations of runs. In a typical bluegrass tune, each instrument will take a solo melody turn and build on it(called a breakdown) while the others play accompaniment. A simple vocal arrangement style would be harmonies with a bass (baritone), a tenor and the lead singer handling the middle melody.
Newer bluegrass groups might mix in harmonica, even percussion instruments, using electric instruments like the electric mandolin, while playing newer, more complex songs and runs and breakdowns.
For additional help on selecting a good mandolin, visit our sister site, Mandolin Buying Guide.
Fiddle (Under $80 For entire package)
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If you want to know more about mandolins and ukuleles, check out our Mandolin Buying Guide and Ukulele Buying Guide
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