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#281380 - 07/19/16 03:11 AM Musical Instruments and Survival Situations?
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2982
Loc: Alberta, Canada
It occurs to me that music is a big part of most people's everyday lives. And when there is a big disruption, big stress, music tends to settle me (and many others) down -- there's a thread of normalcy that helps tie things back together.

I just saw a little hint of that, and it reminded me again to post the idea. When I sit down at the end of the day and noodle around on my old six-string, my hounds just settle into their beds and close their eyes. They are content; they do this every time; they know this means everything is okay.

Does that translate to humans? There isn't much that's more effective at drawing disparate groups together like music around a fire. I can see the value in a stressful time. Kids at least will respond well.

If nothing else, the original instrument is, of course, voice. In my younger backpacking years, wheezing out a stirring ballad on a tough ascent seemed to give me that extra psychological "oomph" to persevere and keep going.

So, thoughts? Experiences?

Anybody play an instrument around here? Would it be worth taking in a bug-out or pulling out when bugging in?

Edited by dougwalkabout (07/19/16 03:12 AM)

#281381 - 07/19/16 05:05 AM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
Lately, AM talk radio is my primary means of calming me down. A host with a nice, mellow voice is like music to my ears. The host is usually talking about something interesting or newsworthy. So, I get to learn something at the same time. The feeling that my IQ may be increasing further calms me.

Also, a nice melody on an acoustic guitar or a piano cannot be beat.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#281385 - 07/19/16 06:43 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 857
Loc: Southern California
I've found that getting in some time behind my horn (concert trombone) relaxes and rejuvenates me. Unfortunately, the only time I can play it is open (un-muted) is when everybody else is out of the house. Come to think about it, nobody else likes my harmonica playing either. Though I will admit I'm a dilatant on the tin sandwich.

Since so much of dealing with a disaster involves waiting for the situation to change, morale, welfare, and recreation (MW&R) become important. Games, reading, and of course, music is all part of it.

Bugging in - Any acoustic instrument, except the stuff in the soprano range (piccolo and parlor trumpet). Piano and acoustic guitar is probably the best for group amusement.

Bugging out to on foot - There are travel instruments like the Strum Stick guitar and pBone plastic band instruments. For the most part, I would stick to pocket size stuff (Harmonica, Ocarina, Recorder, Drum practice pads, roll up keyboards). I keep a harmonica in the glove box for times when I'm just cooling my heels.

Bugging out via vehicle - If you can fit it in the car, and it can tolerate the temperatures in the car (most brass instruments don't like anything over 120F), take it. If you're likely to end up in s shelter or a hotel, make sure whatever you take can use earphones. I can't imagine that opening up with a full power brass instrument in a shelter is going to be very welcome.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

#281386 - 07/19/16 08:06 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
M_a_x Online   happy
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1126
Loc: Germany
Music can be good for the spirit, especially when it is something to sing along. I play harmonica, tin whistle, six string guitar and banjo. Harmonica and tin whistle are small enough for taking along. They are meant for that.
The guitar would be worth pulling out. My skills with the banjo however make it unlikely that my play will raise the spirits wink.
If it isn´t broken, it doesn´t have enough features yet.

#281388 - 07/19/16 11:01 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Jeanette_Isabelle Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2552
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
Most of my music is on iTunes; I still have one CD. If it hits the fan but we still have electricity, I'm good.

Because of what we are now seeing, I recently added two inspirational but relevant selections: "Hands" by Jewel and "God Bless The U.S.A." by Lee Greenwood.

Jeanette Isabelle
“Birds of a feather sure know how to clip each other’s wings, huh?” Lutz, Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 2 Volume 4

#281392 - 07/20/16 10:16 AM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1469
So where can I buy a tactical survival guitar? Is there like an SAS or Navy SEAL Les Paul model? Maybe it comes with a fire starting kit in the neck? (Shavings from the guitar itself provides tinder.) The strings can be used as a wire saw, or perhaps to garrote a bad guy.

#281393 - 07/20/16 01:54 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Les Stroud once tried to make a trap out his guitar. (Sierra Nevada episode, I believe.) He didn't catch anything, but it seemed like a good idea to me. Tactical guitar, indeed!

When bacpacboy was small, I used to wear a tiny harmonica around my neck, along with my micro photon. That necklace has since been abducted and lost by my kids. We didn't make what anyone would consider music with it, but it sure was a good child amuser! In fact, I think I'm going to go on a hunt for another one. Thanks for the reminder! wink
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#281394 - 07/20/16 03:16 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: bacpacjac]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 857
Loc: Southern California
Hohner makes some 4 hole mini harps. Model 38 IIRC
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

#281395 - 07/20/16 03:36 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: Mark_R]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Colorado
I'd have a heckuva time bugging out with my piano in tow. That's the only instrument I can play well. I'm trying to learn the ukulele these days - my first stringed instrument.

But a uke is not small enough to bug out with, unless you've got a big vehicle and extra room after all your other gear is loaded. A harmonica sounds like the way to go for disaster situations. Small, and I assume they're pretty sturdy as well. Unfortunately, for me, I can't say for sure if I find the harmonica pleasing, or annoying. Maybe I just haven't heard someone good enough playing one. I think the harmonica might be like a violin. When an expert is playing, it's beautiful. When your kids are trying to learn it, you want to run out of your house and jump off a cliff.

But back to the original thought of this thread - music DOES soothe me. I can be in a bad mood or stressed out, and after a few minutes playing the piano I am all settled down again. That's when playing something I can already perform. Learning a new and difficult piece is not always relaxing at first!

#281397 - 07/20/16 04:44 PM Re: Musical Instruments and Survival Situations? [Re: dougwalkabout]
Jesselp Offline
What's Next?

Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 264
Loc: New York
We lost power in my home for 15 days after Sandy rolled through. At the same time, we were sheltering another family with us, for a total of five kids.

Keeping the kids entertained without the use of electronic devices was a challenge. Until one evening I pulled out my acoustic guitar.

The evening was the best night of the entire experience. Think campfire sing-along, but with flashlights and no fire. Everyone had a great time, and was in a good mood the next morning, despite the great stress we were all under.

Now, I don't know if I'd grab my full-size Martin Dreadnaught in a bugout situation, but for bugging in, it made things much nicer to have it around!

(And FYI, Martin makes a very small "Backpacker" model that I have seen on hiking trails in the past.)

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