Played by George and Don, the bodhran is a single headed frame drum that is used in traditional Irish music. The first written record of a bodhran is in the 15th century. However, it is believed that the ancient Celts used a similar drum ceremonially . The bodhran did not gain wide recognition until the resurgence of Irish traditional music in the 1960ʼs. Now bodhrans are played throughout the Celtic music world. The drum is usually played in a seated position and is held vertically on the playerʼs thigh. A wooden stick called a tipper is used to strike the drum with glancing blows. The sound or pitch can be controlled by the supporting handsʼ pressure on the skin inside the drum.
Played by George. The original Greek bouzouki was a three course/six-string instrument. In the 1950s, a four course/eight-string version was developed. The newer bouzouki was introduced into Irish traditional music in the mid-1960s by Johnny Moynihan of the popular folk group Sweeney's Men. Shortly after Andy Irvine returned from Eastern Europe, he met Dónal Lunny and gave him a Greek bouzouki he had brought back. Being left-handed, Lunny reversed the strings and, replaced the octave strings with unison strings changing the instrument's character. Later, Lunny and Irvine went to Peter Abnett and commissioned a flat-backed instrument with the same specifications as the modified Greek Bouzouki, thus the Irish bouzouki was born. In 1972. Irvine,credits Moynihan with having "brought the bouzouki to Ireland" in his lyric to "O'Donoghue's".
Played by George, the conventional bowed psaltery is triangular in shape, allowing each string to extend a little farther than the one before it, so that each can be individually bowed. Chromatic bowed psalteries have the sharps on one side and naturals on the other.
It is a psaltery in the traditional sense of a wooden sound box with unstopped strings over the soundboard. It significantly differs from the Medieval plucked psaltery only in that its strings are arranged to permit bowing. The soundboard has a sound hole or rose in the center. In the United States, it is normally played with a small bow.
Played by Bob. In the 1930s, musician and inventor Paul Tutmarc from Seattle, Washington, developed the first electric string bass in its modern form. Bass bodies are typically made of wood, although other materials such as graphite and other lightweight composite materials have also been used. While a wide variety of woods are suitable for use in the body, neck, and fretboard of the bass guitar, the most common types of wood used are; alder, ash or mahogany for the body, maple for the neck, and rosewood or ebony for the fretboard. Most electric bass guitars use magnetic pickups. The vibrations of the instrument's ferrous metal strings within the magnetic field of the permanent magnets in magnetic pickups produce small variations in the magnetic flux threading the coils of the pickups. This in turn produces small electrical voltages in the coils. Many bass players connect the signal from the bass guitar's pickups to a bass amplifier
Played by Lew. Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are commonly cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud; the latter was brought to Iberia by the Moors in the 8th century.
At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina (Latin guitar) and the so-called guitarra morisca (Moorish guitar). The guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes. The guitarra Latina had a single sound hole and a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, and these two cordophones were simply referred to as guitars.
Played by Lew, a mandolin (Italian: mandolino) is a musical instrument in the lute family. It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard comes in many shapes, but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single round or oval sound hole. A round or oval sound hole may be bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling, but usually doesn't feature an intricately carved grille like a Baroque era mandolin. Early mandolins had six double courses of gut strings, tuned similarly to lutes, and plucked with the fingertips. Modern mandolins—which originated in Naples, Italy in the 3rd quarter of the 18th century—commonly have four double courses (four pairs) of metal strings, which are plucked with a plectrum.