What the Instrument You Play Says About You


You can learn a lot about people from the instrument they play. Have a friend who plays the jaw harp? Your friend is either really into the Civil War or really into the music of Central Asia. And you have unusual taste in friends.

Whether you're selling out arenas on the strength of your sitar solos or just plucking some chords on your new ukulele, your instrument is an extension of your self.

Here's a look at nine popular (and not-so-popular) instruments and the personalities who play them:

1. Electric guitar

You're the life of the party and love being the center of attention.

Each morning you genuflect before your Yngwie Malmsteen poster, polish your Les Paul Goldtop and head out the door with your leather jacket slung ever-so-casually over your shoulder. You're not convinced that André 3000 can do Jimi Hendrix justice, but you'll still be first in line to see All Is by My Side when it hits theaters (wearing your favorite headband and your "Purple Haze" t-shirt, duh).

And though you'd never admit it, sometimes you really do just want to sit around and play "Stairway to Heaven."

2. Banjo

You're a traditionalist at heart, preferring twang to techno any day.

Earl Scruggs is your Patronus and you have mixed feelings about Mumford & Sons. Your right hand has morphed into something of a claw, which is fine because it makes you a better player, but it does creep people out a little on first dates. You hate being asked if you've seen Deliverance (you have!) and your uncle's "Paddle faster…" joke was funny, like, once.

3. Acoustic guitar

You are, in a word, sensitive.

Like fellow tasteful troubadours James Taylor and Dave Matthews, you don't need flashy guitar licks or walls of distortion to get your point across. You often find yourself in coffee shops (if you don't already work in one) sipping tea and reading Eric Clapton's autobiography.

You've told a date on at least one occasion that their body was, in fact, a wonderland. And you may or may not wear mandals.

4. Drums

You're that kid who drove teachers crazy tapping on your desk during class. And we're all grateful to you.

A little on the ADHD side, you see drumming as both a hobby and an outlet for pent-up energy. You worship Def Leppard's one-armed drummer Rick Allen, and have tried to master his single-armed assault to mixed results. The first time you broke a stick you immediately posted a photo to Instagram.

5. Didgeridoo

You are unique, and you want everyone to know it.

Having grown weary of the glut of acoustic guitars on your college campus, you decided to pick up the Indigenous Australian "drone pipe." Because even if your ancestors are from Western Europe, you feel camaraderie with Aboriginal Australians that transcends mere genetics.

You strive to be like Jamiroquai's fur-crowned king, Jay Kay, and not just because "Virtual Insanity" is catchy as hell. In your spare time, you crochet beanies and compete in hacky sack tournaments.

6. Bass

You've always been a bit of a wallflower. Unless you also play guitar, in which case you're just a really cocky guitarist.

You prefer a nice dinner with a few friends to a raging party, though, when you do let loose, you go all out. A bit of an introvert, sometimes you feel like no one notices you. Like a solid bass line, though, you're the backbone of your friend group, and you pride yourself on being dependable.

Deep down, all you really want is to be as cool as Victor Wooten so you can slappa da bass all day long.

7. Cajón

You don't just think outside the box, you sit on it.

You tried playing drums but felt restricted by all the bulky equipment. The cajón gives you freedom to just be, man. Nothing frustrates you more than someone doubting the talent that goes into cajón-playing, because you know that one misplaced finger can ruin an entire song. You've probably made one too many cojones jokes, but it's just too easy. Slap away, just try not to fall.

8. Piano

Responsibility is your middle name.

You always take your parents' advice and probably got into an Ivy or two. As a kid you eschewed classical music in favor of pop, but now that you've graduated to the working world you appreciate nothing more than an evening in with "Moonlight Sonata" and a nice Chianti. You've debated Billy Joel versus Elton John more times than you care to recall and, deep down, still haven't made up your mind.

You can play "Chopsticks" in your sleep. But you won't.

9. Saxophone

You're cool and sophisticated and can't be bothered with life's more pedestrian concerns.

You wear a lot of black but only smoke Marlboro Reds, because you bet that's what Charlie Parker smoked too. Sometimes you forget to take your sunglasses off while indoors, but hey, it adds to your mystique. Framed records by John Coltrane adorn your walls, but you secretly indulge in a little Kenny G when no one is listening.

You totally would have voted for Bill Clinton. In fact, you might even be Bill Clinton.