100 Interesting Facts about Musical Instruments

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51 Brain surgery

Brain surgery

An increasingly common method for brain surgeons to ensure that a semi-conscious patient is OK during surgery is to have them play a musical instrument or sing during the procedure. Various patients have played saxophone, guitar, banjo, violin, and even sung opera while under the knife.

52. When guitar player Steve Vai joined Frank Zappa’s band as a teenager, he was so good even then that Zappa would credit his guitar parts as “stunt guitar” or “impossible guitar parts” on the liner notes of his albums.

53. In the song ‘The Sounds of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkle, the lyric ‘Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again’ was created by Paul Simon often playing guitar in the bathroom with the lights off and faucet running.

54. When John Lennon received his first guitar, his aunt Mimi (his guardian at the time) told him, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” Three years later, The Beatles formed.

55. The popular steel slide guitar sound of Hawaii was taught to them by visiting Cowboys from a small town in California.

56 Volkswagen


Volkswagen once had a promotion where every car came with a limited edition electric guitar that could plug into the car as an amplifier.

57. Garth Brooks once stopped singing “The Dance” in the middle of his concert to give his guitar to a woman with cancer in the front row. She had a sign that said “Chemo this morning, Garth tonight. Enjoy the Dance.”

58. After Beethoven heard Mauro Giuliani playing the guitar, he commented that the instrument was “a miniature orchestra in itself”.

59. When Joan Baez sent her legendary guitar to Martin Guitars for refurbishment, they discovered a message from a previous luthier which read “Too bad you are a communist”.

60. The guitarist from “Mad Max: Fury Road” was able to shoot out flames from his guitar (which weighed around 132 pounds) with the use of his whammy bar.

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61 Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson is such a big fan of “Lost” that he has “The Numbers” tattooed on his arms. Also, Naveen Andrews played guitar with him.

62. Charles Darwin dedicated 40 years of his life studying earthworms. To figure out how their auditory system worked, he would play piano for them.

63. The soundtrack of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was mostly David Bowie songs translated into Portuguese and performed by a Brazilian samba artist on an acoustic guitar.

64. Pete Buck of R.E.M. band had been playing guitar only a year before joining the band at 23 years old.

65. Cliff Burton, a bassist of Metallica from 1982 to 1986, practiced bass guitar for 6 hours a day, even after joining with Metallica.

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66 Justin Vernon

Justin Vernon

After breaking up with his girlfriend, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) wrote ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ in his father’s remote hunting cabin. He hunted deer for food, once having to trade venison to afford repair of his guitar. After months of relative solitude, he emerged, having recorded all 9 songs.

67. Astronauts have to relearn how to play the guitar while on the space station because they tend to overshoot the frets due to weightless arms.

68. Bob Dylan’s guitar from the controversial 1965 concert where he “went electric” was missing for almost 50 years. After it was found and authenticated, it was sold at an auction in 2013 for a record-setting $965,000.

69. As a child, John Mayer became so obsessed with his guitar that his parents took him to a psychiatrist twice.

70. Musician Dave Carroll wrote a song about his experience of how his guitar was broken during a trip on United Airlines. It caused 10% fall in United Airlines’ stock price.

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71 Longest name of a place

Longest name of a place

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the longest name of a place on Earth. It Translates to, “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who traveled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”

72. The wheel was invented thousands of years after boats, woven cloth, rope, sewing needles, baskets and even the flute.

73. Ferrari engines are musically engineered to sound perfect by utilizing 3rd and 6th harmonics on the air intake, like a flute or organ.

74. A carved bear femur called Divje Babe Flute was found in 1995 and is suspected to be a Neanderthal flute, indicating the existence of music 43,000 years ago.

75. David Carradine was an accomplished flute maker and custom made the flute he played in Kill Bill from bamboo he planted on the Warner Bros lot.

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