Folk Music Instruments: Which Ones Do You Need?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re looking to get into folk music, you might be wondering what instruments you need to get started. In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the most popular folk music instruments and give you an idea of which ones would be best for you.


‘Folk Music Instruments: Which Ones Do You Need?’ is an article that will introduce you to the instruments used in folk music. Folk music is interpersonal music usually passed down through families or within a community. The instruments used in this type of music vary depending on the location, but some of the most commonly used instruments are guitars, violins, upright basses, and banjos. In this article, we will discuss which instruments are necessary for you to start playing folk music.

The Fiddle

The fiddle is one of the most important folk music instruments, and it’s also one of the most popular. It’s a string instrument that’s played with a bow, and it has a very distinctive sound.

There are different types of fiddles, and each one has its own unique sound. The most common type of fiddle is the violin, but there are also violas, cellos, and double basses. The fiddle is often used in country music, but it can also be used in other genres such as bluegrass, jazz, and rock.

If you’re just starting out, we recommend getting a violin. They’re the easiest to learn how to play, and they’re also the most popular type of fiddle. If you want a more unique sound, then you can try out a viola or cello. If you’re looking for something really different, then you can try a double bass.

No matter which type of fiddle you choose, we guarantee that you’ll have a lot of fun playing it!

The Banjo

The banjo is a string instrument with a long neck and a round body. It is usually played with the fingers, although some people use a pick. The banjo originated in Africa and was brought to America by slaves. It is often used in folk and bluegrass music.

The Guitar

The guitar is perhaps the most popular folk music instrument, and with good reason. It is relatively easy to learn the basics, it is portable, and it can be used to play a wide variety of music genres. If you are interested in playing folk music, the guitar is definitely an instrument you will want to consider.

There are a few different types of guitars that are commonly used in folk music. The most popular type is the acoustic guitar, which is what most people think of when they think of a guitar. Acoustic guitars can be played unplugged or plugged into an amplifier. If you are planning on playing mostly unplugged music, then an acoustic guitar is a good option. Another popular option is the electric guitar. Electric guitars are typically played through an amplifier, which gives them a much louder sound than acoustic guitars. They can be used for a wide variety of genres, including folk, rock, and blues.

In addition to the guitar, there are a few other folk instruments that you may want to consider if you are interested in playing this genre of music. The banjo is a popular choice among folk musicians, and it can give your music a unique sound. The mandolin is another option that can add some variety to your repertoire. If you want to add some percussion to your folk sound, then consider adding a drum or two.

The Mandolin

The mandolin is a small,stringed instrument that is played with a pick. It has a body that is typically oval-shaped and has a neck with eight strings. The mandolin is held against the player’s chest and strummed or plucked with the right hand; the left hand stops the strings as needed to produce the desired notes.

The Harmonica

The first instrument that you might think of when it comes to folk music is the guitar. While the guitar is certainly a popular choice, there are other instruments that can be just as effective in creating great folk music. One such instrument is the harmonica.

The harmonica is a small, portable instrument that can be played by anyone, regardless of age or experience. It is relatively inexpensive, and it can be played solo or in a group. The harmonica is a great choice for folk music because it can create a wide range of sounds, from simple melodies to complex chords.

The Accordion

The accordion is a portable, freely vibrating reed instrument. It consists of a keyboard and bass mechanism that are joined by a bellows. The keyboard is used to play the melody, while the bass mechanism is used to provide either a chord accompaniment or a bass line. The accordion is commonly used in folk music around the world, and it can be played either solo or in an ensemble.

The Bagpipes

The bagpipes are a type of musical instrument that has a number of pipes that are played together. The pipes are usually made out of wood or metal, and they are connected to a bag that is filled with air. The player uses their mouth to control the amount of air that goes into the bag, and this is what makes the bagpipes produce sound.

Bagpipes are often associated with Scotland, but they actually originated in Ancient Greece. They spread to Europe during the Middle Ages, and they eventually made their way to Scotland in the 1500s. Bagpipes have been used in Scottish music for centuries, and they are now one of the most iconic symbols of Scotland.

There are many different types of bagpipes, but the most common type is the Great Highland Bagpipe. This type of bagpipe has three drones, which are the pipes that produce a constant note while you play. The Great Highland Bagpipe also has a chanter, which is the pipe that you use to play melodies.

If you’re interested in learning how to play the bagpipes, you’ll need to purchase a set of pipes and a practice chanter. You can find both of these items at most music stores or online. You might also want to consider taking some lessons from a qualified instructor so that you can learn how to play correctly and avoid damaging your instrument.

The Dulcimer

The dulcimer is a staple in many American folk music traditions. It can be played solo or in a group, and it has a wide range of tones that make it versatile for different styles of music. If you’re just getting started playing folk music, the dulcimer is a great choice.

The Autoharp

The autoharp is a folk music instrument that is played by plucking the strings with the fingers. The autoharp is a very versatile instrument that can be used for a wide range of genres, including folk, country, and bluegrass. The autoharp is a very popular choice for beginners because it is relatively easy to learn how to play.

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