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ucme's avatar

Which musical instruments makes the best/worst sound, in your opinion?

Asked by ucme (50037points) May 1st, 2014

When played as they should be, professionally.
I love the sound that comes out of a piano & wish I could play.
I can’t stand the din that emits from bagpipes, strangled cat.

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30 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

I like all kinds of instruments, as long as they make a good piece of music.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I love the piano in this.
I like bagpipes at a funeral.

GloPro's avatar

Ugh. Although I’ve never met someone who played the recorder professionally, I can’t imagine anyone making that plastic crap sound good.

A stellar banjo player is top notch, in my book.

ibstubro's avatar

I like brass, horns. I’m not overly fond of violins unless they are really blended.

But I love fiddle playing. lol

longgone's avatar

Best: piano and trumpet
Worst: violin, unless played spectacularly.

filmfann's avatar

My favorite: Tenor Saxophone

The worst: a Jews Harp , which I guess is now called a Jaw Harp.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Hey, I’ve just remembered something: can the vuvuzela count as an instrument?

marinelife's avatar

Best: French horn.
Worst: accordion.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Those kind of grew on me at the World Cup.
@GloPro Listen to the lyrics in the second verse. ucme is a major football fanatic.

Stinley's avatar

The violin fits the bill – pure and sweet when played correctly and MY EARS MY EARS when played badly

thorninmud's avatar

Harp and cello top my list.

The sound of a Hammond B3 usually turns me right off, and struck cymbals (as on a drum kit) get quickly annoying. Oh, and cow bells belong on cows.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Hey, I thought everyone hate it.

If it counts as an instrument, then it is my least favorite one.

wildpotato's avatar

Best: Clarinet. But I’m highly biased, because that’s my instrument. I just love its rich yet subtle wooden bell-like tones.
Worst: Saxophone. It’s a damn clarinet wannabe that has rid itself of everything that makes the clarinet beautiful. Their parts are usually overly emotive, and by and large they just sound to me like a really condescending brass goose.

rojo's avatar

Trumpets and Saxaphones are the worst.

The Theramin is the best.

And there are some, like the violin/fiddle, that can either be annoying or enjoyable depending upon what is being played and who is doing the playing.

Strauss's avatar

@GloPro What you are problably used to hearing is classroom playing.Just for contrast, here is a group of professional recordists. The recorder can make beautiful music.

A toy harmonica sounds nowhere as fine as a blues harp in the hands of a master such as Sonny Terry. and Brownie McGhee.

@marinelife, I have played both French Horn and accordion. The accordion has had a bad rap since the Fifties, when every young boy in wanted to play “Lady of Spain” like Dick Contino.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’d prefer the ones played well. And (big surprise) those playing music I like.

Juels's avatar

I love brass. The French horn has a wonderful tone.

Don’t care much for high-pitch tinny drums.

ibstubro's avatar

Polka is great fun. I have fond memories of watching Lawrence Welk with Gramma Alice.

CWOTUS's avatar

Any kind of musical instrument in the hands of the inexperienced (or tone deaf) can be painful to hear.

dxs's avatar

Vocals both top and bottom my list.
Bagpipes are horrendous, pianos are amazing.

Cruiser's avatar

The sax is one of the most soulful sounding instruments and I love it! And nothing is worse than a poorly played clarinet.

SomeoneElse's avatar

Best – saxophone.
Worst – bagpipes.

thefox's avatar

Best – blues guitar
Worst – kazoo

kritiper's avatar

Worst, bagpipes.

majorrich's avatar

Best: Fingerpicked acoustic guitar.
Worst: Didgeridoo

28lorelei's avatar

I’d say it really depends on the context, the skill level of the player and what is being done with the instrument. That being said, there are still some instruments that I really like in terms of timbre- such as oboe and cello.

rojo's avatar

Wow! I didn’t realize the Cello was so versatile
With or Without You

sahID's avatar

Pipe organs when played by an organist who deeply understands the instrument definitely top the list. Close behind are the violin, especially when electrified, the cello, the French horn & the bagpipes. (I agree with what someone once noted: only people descended from either Scottish or Irish ancestry can stand their sound. I love them.)

Worst sounding in my opinion: the alto sax. I used to play it, and I agree with @wildpotato about their sound. Up close they really do sound like either a brass goose with a bad cold, or an unbent (unhinged?) French horn mired in depression.

Also on my worst sounding list is the Hammond Electric Organ. Worst. Organ. Ever.

ibstubro's avatar


(Ya gotta love NPR.)

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