A Short Guide to Folk Music Instruments

Even though it seems hard to believe at first, but there is a growing interest in the folk music and the folk style of life, including the musical instruments, of course. And there is a wide variety of those, so any musical player could choose his or her best and find something suitable. There are many unique things you probably have never seen or heard of, which makes it even more exciting to read through a short guide to different instruments our ancestors used. We’re only including actual instruments here, not folk vocal techniques like throat singing, etc. But we know that the voice is also an instrument and well worth learning.

Knowing Traditional Folk Old Time Instruments

  1. Brought to America by the African slaves, made with the pigs’ or goats’ skins, the banjo is widely known among people and is still quite a popular thing. And a lot of people have heard this famous “Susanna” song, where the banjo plays its role.
  2. It’s versatile, it’s widely known in Eastern Europe and is still popular in old songs there. You can say that accordions are quite complicated, but they definitely sound good and funny.
  3. Everyone knows fiddle, which you can meet on the pages of the books and old stories, it’s used in the classic country as well as in bluegrass.
  4. This is something quite common still and many kids have one as a toy. However, in the hands of a professional, it can make amazing sounds and get people all happy and emotional. They are small and portative and is one of the most known American country instruments.
  5. This is really easy and simple and probably we all had played spoons at least once as kids. But some people really can master the sound and make it great. And you can use just ordinary kitchen spoons!
  6. There are many different unusual folk instruments, but this one is definitely something. It’s really just an old time washboard, the kind your great-grandmother probably used, but people play it. Mostly with their fingers, which possibly hurts after a while.
  7. Jew’s harp.
    There is nothing common between this instrument and Judaism, but for some strange reason, it still is called this way. This is probably one of the oldest instruments and it’s amazing in its simplicity. It’s small and you can easily fit it in your pocket, but it can produce a lot of different sounds in the hands of a master.

Why Should You Play Folk?

It might seem that folk music is not popular, it sort of outlived and can’t be of much interest. But it’s really deep and varied and everyone can find something for himself. But the best part of it is the way it touches your soul and reminds you of the good old days and the time gone by. It’s amazing to see the move of history through the music and to be able to touch it and get a grasp of the centuries. And of course, it’s something unique and new, which makes it more than an exciting hobby!


As you see, the world of folk music is wide and unique. Each instrument has its own story and can tell you a lot of history. That’s why even by learning a bit about it all you can feel how deep and natural this music was and get an understanding of what our ancestors really enjoyed.