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WikiProject Musical Instruments (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
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Untitled section[edit]

i wanna know what multiple percussion is & what we call the players

People who play multiple types of percussion instrument are percussionists. --Stevefarrell 22:03, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

When adding to the list[edit]

Barry Burns is a noted multi instrumentalist- he undebiably meets the criteria for the definition, and he is noted because Mogwai's albums are considered important, frequently making best-of critics lists. You don't have to sell as many albums as Radiohead to be noted- unless you plan on changing the definition to "commercially viable". - Pediamedia1

The list needs to be kept as short as possible. I created List of Multi-instrumentalists for new additions. This is meant to be an article on what a multi-instrumentalist is and does, not a list of names, no matter how 'big' or critically-acclaimed they are or aren't. If people go to the main list, they'll see Barry Burns' name and they might have a look at his article, just as they might for the other names that aren't in this article. The list in this article should really have about 15 names at the most, in my opinion. It's just examples of multi-instrumentalists, of people who one ordinarily associates with the term - household names a lot of them. It's not meant to be a list of every critically-acclaimed or even every famous multi-instrumentalist who's ever recorded an album. --Stevefarrell 13:14, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Please please don't add any more artists just because you happen to be a fan of theirs. You may love Michael Jackson but to the majority of people he is not seen as a multi-instrumentalist; in fact he is not seen as an instrumentalist at all. That is all.--Stevefarrell 22:22, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Additional. The list of 'noted multi-instrumentalists' is supposed to comprise people who are proficient on several instruments and are known to the general public - as well as their fans. You can't just keep adding to the list. Not everyone who's a multi-instrumentalist is notable for being so, although they may be a notable singer, guitarist or pianist. Notability doesn't mean 'they're a multi-instrumentalist', it means 'they are very well known in this field'. You wouldn't say everyone who's got a masters degree in science at Cambridge is a "notable scientist", would you? Please stop adding random people indiscriminately to the list --Stevefarrell 11:36, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Stevefarrell, I think you may be right to remove George Harrison from the list, as he's mainly known as a guitarist even though he also played sitar. But I think it makes sense for Dave Grohl to be on the list. In my opinion, part of his fame comes from having been hugely successful as both a drummer and a guitarist. --Allen 13:57, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps; though, really, does two instruments count as 'multi'? I don't think it does. We need to reach a consensus on what is actually meant both by 'multi-instrumentalist' (i.e., does playing two instruments to high proficiency count?) and 'notable' (do we mean they're notable as musicians, or notable as multi-instrumentalists, in that the phrase 'multi instrumentalist' is one many people think of when talking about that person, as it is with, say, Mike Oldfield or Beck?). For example, Stevie Wonder is considerably talented on a number of instruments, but is most known as a keyboard player, so should he be on the list; even though he is undoubtedly one of the most notable musicians listed? --Stevefarrell 16:46, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I think you're right about notability; they should be known as multi-instrumentalists to a lot of people. Especially because being able to play multiple instruments fairly well is probably the norm rather than the exception among great instrumentalists. As for whether two counts as multiple, I guess I don't really have an opinion; I can see both sides. --Allen 17:26, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I can't help wondering if the list should be there at all. People just keep coming along and adding whoever their favourite musician is (Michael Jackson was here at one point) and it renders the list silly when anyone who's touched both a piano and a guitar can be added. It may be better overall to rewrite the opening section to expand on what a multi-instrumentalist is, giving a few examples of musicians rather than a hundred - that's what "Category: Multi-Instrumentalists" is for (although that's got a few wrong people in). --Stevefarrell 21:03, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
You're right. It didn't even occur to me that this was an article, not a list. --Allen 22:21, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Another suggestion[edit]

Does anyone fancy starting a List of Multi-instrumentalists article before the list here gets unwieldy and people start forgetting that it's supposed to be an article about what constitutes a multi-instrumentalist, and what their role is in modern popular music? There's already over fifty people on the list, and it would be three times that if I didn't keep checking the list for accuracy and vanity additions. If nobody wants to start the article then I deeply suggest, once again, that the less famous artists listed (eg Eric Dolphy) are removed. --Stevefarrell 11:16, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Created the list; all the lesser artists have been moved there. Please add new entries to that list unless they are sufficiently notable for inclusion in the short list here; by which I mean they have a number of hit records as a multi-instrumentalist, and are a name the majority of people will recognise. --Stevefarrell 17:29, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Given the separate "List article", it seems the bar for inclusion here should be quite high. I've edited out most of the list and wouldn't mind seing it shortened a bit more, but feel free to argue with me on this. I've also inserted a few comments hoping to redirect some editors who might enter some inappropriate names. I think to be named here artists should both be very well known individually, and well known for proficiency on several (i.e. more than two) instruments. And that their musicianship should be clearly highlighted in the article about them (why send someone to an article on Beck that doesn't even describe his musicianship?). -MrFizyx 20:30, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
This is exactly what I was wanting to do myself. It looks so much better now without people adding everyone who's played both a piano and an electric piano. I do feel that Beck warrants inclusion in the main article, since he plays the majority of his music himself, but it doesn't matter too much. This is exactly how I wanted to see this article, just a few examples instead of a lengthy list. Much tidier. --Stevefarrell 20:00, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


why isn't prince on here ? are you racists?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

He has not been forgotten. See List of Multi-instrumentalists. He would be a better candidate for an example in this main article if the article, Prince (artist), went into some more detail about his musicianship. This article is not intended to be an inclusive list, just a few examples are given where readers can learn more. If you read the short list you will find there is also some diversity of race and nationality. -MrFizyx 23:08, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
I note people are still coming along and adding to the list meaninglessly. I'm not sure why someone felt they had to come along and stick in John Lennon and George Harrison. Prince I can understand; he probably should be there, since his multi-instrumentalism is quite well documented (although apparently not on wikipedia). I just don't understand why people are still blindly adding when there's a clear disclaimer that says 'please don't add any more names to the list'. Still, it's happening in the Keyboardist article as well. --Stevefarrell 03:19, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
It is almost a type of vandalism, or possibly they don't read the disclaimer. I think the pattern goes something like this... Someone writes or works on an article for their favorite musician and they don't want it to be labeled as an orphan so they begin making links in other articles that might relate. They may be well intentioned, but it causes disruption and the build up of lists in articles that should have sentences and explainations. I see the same thing in music genre articles all the time, its a constant struggle. Prince does belong here, but I'd like to see someone write more about his musicianship in the Prince article first. Best, MrFizyx 17:11, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Addition to the List[edit]

Hi, I recently added Jay Easton the disputed list. The reasons are as follows:

1. He is not a musician of popular music. This, I believe, adds variety to the list and shows that multiinstrumentalism can also branch to other genres of music as well. The article hints mostly at popular music, but in a lot of other music-related fields such as education and "classical" composition, multi-instrumentalism is preferred or required.

2. The amount of instruments as well as the type of instruments he plays (all the saxophones; many strange and unusual woodwinds primarily the lower-pitched instruments) show incredible talent and in my opinion is a definitive example of a "true" multi instrumentalist. After all, he is not an "average" (I'm not trying to belittle anyone, honestly) guitarist/keyboardist/drummer/singer/etc which is common in the popular music scene; he significantly stands out as a multi-instrumentalist.

3. He is known principally for his ability to play those instruments (including saxes) and it is his specialty.

Hope this clarifies it. I also think we should make the article less pop-oriented too, but more later... --Horncomposer 21:00, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

List of multi-instrumentalists[edit]

Please note this list has now been deleted from Wikipedia. This does not mean that you should start adding all the multi-instrumentalists that were on that list back to this article. This article is fine as it is.

Please don't add names to the list at the end of this article; it's unnecessary and just clutters up the page. I appreciate that you may be a fan of so-and-so multi-instrumentalist, but if he's not listed here already, he probably shouldn't be. Thank you. --Steve Farrell 23:45, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Argh! Wish I had seen the debate at the time. The deletion arguments given were weak and show ignorance of the real situation on Wikipedia. Not only had you been maintaining the list article in a reasonable way, but having it really helped us to maintain this article. Very disappointing. -MrFizyx 16:20, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
They've already started, I see. Regine Chassagne, indeed. I'm tempted to put the list up for undeletion on WP:DRV, but I don't know if I want the hassle of convincing people why it should be restored on account of there being a thousand other lists that are far longer and messier. --Steve Farrell 23:33, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Lennon and Harrison[edit]

Both John Lennon and George Harrison has to be on the list; with Paul McCartney, they were the first to explote the potential of multi-tracking.

John played several types of keyboards (electric and acoustic pianos, organs, harpsichord, clavioline, mellotron, Moog synth and harmonium); lead and rhythm electric and acoustic guitars; 12-string acoustic guitar and spanish guitar; 4 and 6-string basses; percussion (tambourine, cowbell, maracas, congas, handclaps and finger-snaps); harmonica, banjo, kazoo, etc.

George played 6 and 12-string lead and rhythm electric and acoustic guitars; spanish guitar; 4 and 6-string basses; percussion (tambourine, cowbell, maracas, african drum, claves, handclaps and finger-snaps); sitar, tamboura, swaramandal; harmonica, ukelele, kazoo, harmonium, Hammond organ, Moog synth, etc.

This is well documented on beatles and solo carrers albums and books, just to name a few sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, they are multi-instrumentalists, no they should not be on a very short list of multi-instrumentalists that's just there as a short paragraph at the end of the article. Their being there just looks like some Beatles fan has come along and added their names to the article at random. Which there's nothing particularly wrong with, but it doesn't look that great. --Steve Farrell (talk) 09:19, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Steve. There really is no need for this list to grow, at least not in the direction of adding more Beatles. -MrFizyx (talk) 21:23, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Examples of Multi-Instrumentalists[edit]

Some of the musicians you have listed as examples, like David Bowie, really don't do the article justice. For example, Curtis Mayfield could play each and every instrument on stage. Keisuke Kuwata, ranked in the top 10 in Japan (who plays Western music too, if that's the issue), recorded an entire record playing every single instrument. Finally, how can you ignore Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks? In the same concert, she'll switch from dobro to banjo, to mandolin, guitar, and accordian. I'd say these three multi-instrumentalists being from entirely different musical genres are just as deserving (if not more so) than most of the names you have listed. Or, is the list only for Western rock musicians??! At the least, keep Curtis Mayfield and Emily Robison. --leahtwosaints (talk) 13:17, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I've never heard of some of the people on the current list. I didn't make the list myself. The list is fine as it is. Of course, if seven people hadn't voted to delete List of Multi-Instrumentalists because it wasn't a 'practical' list and that it was 'too long', in spite of three hundred lists that are ten times longer and more confusing, we wouldn't have this problem at all and fans of Curtis Mayfield and Keisuke Kuwata and Emily Robinson would be able to list them there, instead of making this list three times as long as it should be. If it's that important to you to list them here, then list them here; but right now I'd be happy if I came on one day and the list was gone entirely. --Steve Farrell (talk) 20:02, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

why Jones?[edit]

i mean i got no problem with him, but who knows him outside the rock world, i mean i would rather suggest paul Mccartney, not only one of the best bass players but also plays a lot of other instruments, is the most successfull songwriter of all time, played in the most influential band of all time and the best-selling, he had collaborations with other greats like stevie wonder and mickeal jackson, so i think he#s a bit better than Jones for the list, and yeah, we could also mention the 3 Beatles, i mean right now it looks like a stones fan wrote this site, but with three multi-instrumentalists the beatles should be the example. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Um... no.[edit]

"The Bachelor of Music degree usually requires a second instrument to be learned (unless one is studying composition), but people who double on another instrument (e.g., guitar and piano) are not usually seen as multi-instrumentalists."

This is a pretty crappy and inaccurate statement. It should just be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Original Research?[edit]

There seems to be a lot of discussion about who is/isn't a multi-instrumentalist worthy of a place on this list. Surely, regardless of people's opinions this is just original research. I thought that Wikipedia's policy was that statements must be backed up by reliable sources, so surely unless an artist is described as a multi-instrumentalist by a reputable source then regardless of their talents/influence/scope they should be kept off the list.

I've found reliable sources for Prince (, Brian Jones ( for example so I would say that they could appear on the list. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arnie Side (talkcontribs) 16:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

The list of musicians:[edit]

... should be in the alphabetical order of the SURNAMES, for heavens sakes !! AlterBerg (talk) 07:56, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

The list is bogus/fake: it does not consist of multi-instrumentalists[edit]

The article clearly defines what multi instrumentalist means (someone who is not just merely capable of playing an instrument but is proficient). Yet many if not most of the artists mentioned on that long laundry list are just artists who CAN play instruments but are not measurably proficient. They don't make records playing those instruments (this is something that can be deduced from song credits). For example if none of Madonna's records have her playing drums/guitar then she should not be on this list. Just to avoid misunderstanding: this does NOT mean Madonna cannot play those instruments - it has no baring on her ability - it just only means that she should not be titled a multi instrumentalist (not all who can play multiple instruments are multi-instrumentalists).

"detailed multi-instrumentalists"[edit]

What is the intended meaning of "detailed" in the following sentence found in the Jazz, modern, and contemporary music section?

       Many famous jazz musicians including James Morrison, Don Burrows, and Brian Landrus are detailed multi-instrumentalists.

The word "detailed" ought to be replaced or omitted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Link (talkcontribs) 03:41, 23 February 2014 (UTC)


Singer Ronnie James Dio started as a bass player and plays keyboards in the beginning of his solo career. He should be added to this list too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:30, 8 June 2014 (UTC)


Singer Ronnie James Dio started as a bass player and plays keyboards in the beginning of his solo career. He should be added to this list too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:30, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

persistent overreach[edit]

I'll begin with In bluegrass music, it is very common for musicians to be skilled on a number of different instruments, including guitar, banjo, fiddle and upright bass. This must go, as it's at very best an unsubstantiated claim, or rather a string of them.

Having the ability to chug along on guitar barely makes one a guitar player, much less a guitarist. The same can be said for just about any common instrument.

Throughout the article claims are repeatedly made on the order that "many musicians are multi-instrumentalists" and that someone known for one instrument will "often" also play others. The ever-expanding list (lists?), frequently inflated by eager fans, only clouds this further. For instance, Madonna deserves recognition on many fronts, at least as a singer, dancer, performer, and songwriter... certainly NOT as "a multi-instrumentalist."

I'd contend that if it's truly all so common, the designation "multi-instrumentalist" thereby ceases to be notable, and any listing of examples should be greatly pared back if not deleted entirely. It's a display of "Syndrome's Rule": when everyone is Super, no one will be Super.

How is it that the term embraces someone who plays both electric guitar and electric bass (really near-identical instruments), yet not someone demonstrably proficient at both flat-picking and finger-picking? Why do keyboard synthesizer and Hammond organ seem to be treated as different instruments? and considering the learning curve involved with keyboard synthesizers, shouldn't performance proficiency with a plugboard monophonic Moog be seen as wildly different from mastery of a Yamaha DX1? and certainly the ability to effectively program a big synth is a skill differentiable from just playing one that has been set by someone else. If Geddy Lee gets lauded for playing electric bass and foot-pedal synth controllers simultaneously, doesn't every organist who employs the bass bars thus also qualify as "a multi-instrumentalist"?

The unfounded superlatives that pile up in Rock and pop music certainly need to be beaten back. These can be marked out in quotes and then attributed to a credible source... or chopped. Entries in this listing are probably redundant with the following List of multi-instrumentalists; if a musician deserves recognition as such, then the proper place for that is in her/his own article.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 07:32, 10 April 2017 (UTC)