Instrument Jokes from HMT

Accordions and Other Squeezeboxes

If you don't see your favorite accordion one-liner here, check under 'Instruments you love to hate' jokes.

Accordions: three rows and you're out.

Bumper sticker seen: "Use an accordion--go to jail--it's the law!"

What's the difference between an accordion and a '57 Chevy? You can tune the '57 Chevy.

An accordion is just a bagpipe with pleats.

Celts are unique in that they can take the two instruments that annoy the most people in the world, and place them in the same band.

Have you heard of the all-female, topless accordion band? They're called the "Ladies of Pain".

To be a good accordion player, you have to be schizophrenic and both of you have to be excellent typists.

Q: You see a banjo and an accordion sitting in the middle of the road. Which one do you run over first?
A: The accordion. Business before pleasure

The Zydeco Polka
by Becky Krohn

A word of clarification from the author...this was hurriedly written for a silly gathering of German Village folk and it is my advertisement for the "Fun Bunch" who are the performance committee, booking agents, etc. It is the 10th year of The German Village Oktoberfest in its present form and we are honoring the accordion. I lobbied for many more kinds of bands which include the accordion in addition to the regular menu of polka bands but a least a Zydeco band from Louisiana was included - hence - the "Zydeco Polka." The tune can be any patter over a 12-bar blues progression with a zydeco feel.

We're going to Oktoberfest and what do you hear
While the folks are eatin' bratwurst and drinkin' that beer,
You lookover here, you look over there
You see those darned accordions everywhere
Push that button, Squeeze that box
It's the Zydeco polka (Zydeco polka)
(C C C C C Bflat C)

Germans aren't the only ones to play the squeezebox
The world is full of music played by squeezebox jocks!
Zydeco music in the Cajun bayou
Queen Ida is proof that ladies squeeze their boxes too,
Push that button, Squeeze that box
It's the Zydeco polka (Zydeco polka)

Accordions can be dangerous, They can be hard to play
Cause when women try to squeeze the box their ___get in the way
Accordions are just like men, you find the size to please,
You learn to pull and push, it's the organ that you squeeze.
Push that button, Squeeze that box
It's the Zydeco polka (Zydeco polka)

E-mail received:

From: Matthew Wright
Subject: Bizzareness
To: box
Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 11:28:35 +0100 (BST)

This week's Private Eye reprinted the following cutting from the `Portsmouth Journal Series':

"What the prosecution says is technically true," lawyer Henri Janssens admitted to a court in Brasschaat, Belgium. "Before prescribing contact lenses, my client, who is a state registered optician, did indeed frequently order women to strip naked and dance around his consulting room while he played the accordion. However, there are mitigating circumstances which I ask the magistrates to take into consideration. The fact is that the defendant qualified in England where, he assures me, such techniques are commonplace."

The defendant was later acquitted.

Unfortunately there are no details about the type of accordion, or the sort of music played...

Date: Wed, 06 Sep 95 09:08 EDT
Subject: accordion in the news

Naked musician Briefly in trouble
A naked man who played an accordion while four friends danced partially dressed in a Laundromat in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has learned his lesson, authorities said Wednesday, and neither he nor his friends are likely to be charged.

The five, believed to be students at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, had faced disorderly conduct charges. When Hancock, Mich., Police responded to a complaint early Saturday morning, two men and two women were dancing in their underwear to the music of the accordionist, who was naked.

Police said the man, a graduate student from Brazil, told them, "I can't play the accordion unless I am completely nude."

Police did not release his name because he hadn't been charged. "They realize that that kind of behavior isn't acceptable," said Hancock Police Chief Mike Beaudoin. Houghton County Prosecutor Doug Edwards said four of the students were wearing underwear that might be less revealing than beachwear.

"It's 3 o'clock in the morning, no one else is around -- what would you do?" said Edwards, tongue firmly in cheek.

But apparently at least two other women were in the Laundromat while the stripping was in progress. Both called police. One offered graphic details of the nude man's anatomy.

That's the report I'm waiting on," Edwards said.

Date: Wed, 10 May 95 11:21:13 +0200
From: (Jeroen Nijhof)
Subject: Golden Cup Midget 8 Bass Accordion Operating Instructions

Now the Operation Instructions
(Only the English translation, my Chinese is almost nonexistent; not all spelling errors are mine):

The advantage of the Golden Cup Midget 8 Bass is new style that is easy to play for children, which key and bass are select specific read, accurate accent, fine timbre, sonosous volume. It's bass with pull and push produce different scale arrangement. To learn the use of fingers methed able to lay good fundation from now on, also for play larger one.

How to hold the accordion
Put the leather strap on shoulder when playing. The right-hand are employed in manipulating the keys, pushing and pulling are effected by the left wrist during performance and the palm is engaged in supporting the bottom of the instrurent. In the course of pushing and pulling, the bellows should assume the shape of a fan and move inward and outward quite naturally following the force of motion. The bellows roughly when no keys are pressed, since the bellows might be damaged andleakage would result.

The method for the five fingers are the music - book 1. thumb finger (firs finger) [up to] 5. small finger (fitfth finger)

The method for right hand finger accompaniment. Press the key with the first and second finger of the right hand and the two notes 1 and 2 (dol and re) will be produced by successive pushing and pulling bellows in the same manner press all the keys exrecise repeat.[...]

The method for left hand finger accompaniment. One is to use middle and index finger. Another one is use ring and middle finger. Any kind of finger methed must quick in action than accompaniment is succes.

While playing a tune accompaniment is achieved by pressing with the left hand the bass and harmonic buttons. The bass side is equipped with eight round buttons. Evey two buttons are one set. Notice that the sound, produced by pressing the bass buttons, should be a short one, which means the button should be released immediately after being pressed. The sounds "boong" and "sah" are made by alternatively manipulating the middle and index finger.[...]

Additional accordion humor is sprinkled throughout the HMT Squeezebox Catalog


Q. Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
A. To get away from the noise.
- OR -
A. Moving targets are harder to hit.

Q: How does an accordion differ from a vacuum cleaner? A: The accordion has a vibrato.

Q: How does an accordion differ from a lawn mower? A: The lawn mower has a blade.

Q. What is the difference between a accordion and a chainsaw?
A. The grip.
- OR -
A. You can turn a chainsaw off.
- OR -
A. The chainsaw has a dynamic range.
- OR -
A. Your neighbor gets upset if you borrow his chainsaw and bust it up.

Q. What's the definition of a quarter tone?
A. A bagpiper tuning his drones.

Q. How can you tell if a bagpipe is out of tune?
A. Someone is blowing into it.

Q. Where do you put a capo on a set of bagpipes?
A. Around the piper's neck.

Tom: "Hey, Buddy. How late does the bagpipe band play?"
Buddy: "Oh, about a half beat behind the drummer."

Concerning bagpipes: the Irish invented them and gave them to the Scots as a joke, and the Scots haven't seen the joke yet.


Yes, I know I could have stuck a lot of these jokes in the Instruments You Love to Hate section, but somehow they seemed more apt here. Incidentally, I am a banjo player too, so don't bother sending me hate mail.

Q. How many banjo players does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Five. One to screw it in and four to complain that Earl wouldn'ta done it thataway.
- OR -
A. Four to argue about what year it was made.
- OR -
A. Four to argue about how much it costs.
- OR -
A. Four to ask what tuning he's using.

Q. How can you tell if there's a clawhammer banjo player at your door?
A. The knocking speeds up, and he doesn't know when to come in.

Q. What's the difference between a foot massage and a banjo player?
A. A foot massage generally bucks up the feet.

Q. What's the difference between a banjo player and an uzi?
A. An uzi only repeats 40 times.

Q. How can you tell the difference between all the banjo tunes?
A. By their names, of course.

Q. What do you call a good musician at a banjo contest?
A. Lost.

Q. What do you say to the banjo player in the three piece suit?
A. Will the defendant please rise?

Q. What do you call 25 banjos up to their necks in sand?
A. Not enough sand.

Q. What will you never say about a banjo player?
A. That's the banjo player's Porsche.

Q. Why do so many fishermen own banjos?
A. They make great anchors. A. They make great paddles.

Q. What's the fastest way to tune a banjo?
A. With wire cutters.

Q. Why do fiddlers pick on banjo players?
A. Because they can't pick on their fiddles.

Banjo players spend half their lives tuning and the other half playing out of tune.

Banjos are to music as Spam is to food.

Frets ain't nothing but speed bumps on a banjo.

Listener: Can you read music?
Banjo player: not enough to hurt my playing.

A guy walks into a bar and announces " Hey, I got a great new banjo joke!" The bartender says "Let me stop you right there son. You see that karate black belt hangin' up behind the bar? That's mine. And I play the banjo. See that mean lookin' feller in the Harley t-shirt. That's my brother - and HE plays the banjo. And that big ugly old guy in the corner with the big scar across his face? That's my Pa - and he plays the banjo. NOW, are you sure you wanna tell that banjo joke in here?"

"Well, no. Not if I'm gonna hafta EXPLAIN it three times!"

Them Banjo Pickers
by Mason Williams

How bout them banjo pickers ain't they fine
Same damn song for three or four times

Them banjo pickers all they know
Is Cumberland Gap and doe see doe

Them banjo pickers talking bout strings
Banjo pegs and other such things

Them banjo pickers them poker faced mugs
They never do smile they just play Scruggs

You want to be a banjo picker you don't need a ticket
Just get yourself a banjo, rare back and pick it.

The Doc Stock Banjo Method
or Any jerk can play the banjo so why not you too?

by Jim Rosenstock

Lesson 1: Beat It!

The most common mistake of the beginning banjo player is to play too gently. True, musical instruments require great care and special handling, but banjos should not be confused with these. There are three basic licks that are used in playing the banjo: the hit (abbreviated h in tablature), the harder hit (H), and the beat (B). Learn these three licks, and soon you'll be able to play anything! Remember -- Hit 'em again, hit 'em again, harder, harder!

Lesson 2: Stage Presence

A dignified stage presence will do more than anything else to create the impression that you are a serious, professional musician. This is to be avoided at all costs--you have a reputation to maintain, after all! While playing on stage, you should: (1) slouch, (2) drool, (3) pick nose, (4) bump fiddler, (5) cross eyes, (6) pour beer on self, and/or (7) stare off into space. The more you can do at once, the better.

Lesson 3: Tuning your banjo

Musicians make a very big deal about "getting in tune." Fortunately, you're a banjo player, and therefore need not be so hung up. There are three basic ways to tune a banjo:

(1) With a tuning fork: Tap the fork on a hard surface. Listen to the clear bell-like tone. Make sure none of your strings duplicate this tone.
(2) With an electric tuner: Tap the tuner on a hard surface. Continue as with method (1).
(3) With a fiddle: Tap the fiddle on a hard surface. Continue as above.

Lesson 4: Tunes and Tablature

It's a well-kept secret that there are really only four tunes in old-time music: the G Tune, the A Tune, the D Tune, and the C Tune. It's an even better-kept secret that these four tunes sound exactly the same. Tablature is a simplified form of musical notation used by musicians to preserve music on paper. Avoid all tablature--you will get nowhere as a banjo player by imitating musicians.

Lesson 5: Drugs, FastFret(tm), pizza, strawberry pie, & Banjo Playing

Just say, "Why not?"

Lesson 6: Playing with Musicians

Playing with musicians is always scary for the beginning banjo player. You should not be intimidated, though, because musicians like to have a banjo player or two around. Even the most mediocre group of musicians will sound great by contrast when a banjo player is added. So get in there and start jamming!

Lesson 7: Banjo Paraphernalia

A capo allows the banjo player, once out of tune in one key, to quickly be out of tune in any other key.

A case protects your banjo from abuse, except when it is being played. This is really unimportant, but where else can you put all your cool bumper stickers?

A dog will follow a banjo player around and keep everyone uncertain as to which is responsible for the odor.

Beer is the experienced banjo player's favorite liquid to spill on the dance floor, dancers, and/or musicians. Sometimes it is filtered through the kidneys first.

Lesson 8: Name That Tune

As mentioned previously, there are only four tunes, and they all sound the same. It is definitely uncool, however, to let on in public that you know this, so here's a list of titles for The Tune:
Turkey in the Straw, Bug in the Taters, Bonaparte Crossing the Turnpike, Fire on the Mountain, Billy in the Lowground, Drugs in the Urine Sample, Christ on a Crutch, Monkey in the Dog Cart, Logs in the Bedpan, Ducks in the Millpond, Pigeon on a Gate Post, Water on the Knee.

Lesson 9: Three Myths Dispelled

Myth Number 1: It takes hard work and talent to play the banjo.
Fact: The only talent most banjo players have is a talent for avoiding hard work.

Myth Number 2: You can make good money playing the banjo.
Fact: People will frequently pay you much better money to stop.

Myth Number 3: Your banjo will make you friends wherever you go.
Fact: This is only true if you never go anywhere.

Lesson 10: The Universal Banjo Tune

----H----B---h---B----------H-------B---B-H-------- --h---H--B---------B--------H---H---B-H-B---H------ ---------B-----h-----B------H-B---------B-----H---- -----------h-----------h----------h---------------- ------------------------------------------------B-- h=hit it! H=hit it harder! B=beat it!

This article was reprinted from the February 1990 issue of The Daily Clog, Julie Mangin, editor. 12 issues for $8.00. 95 East Wayne Avenue, Apartment 312 Silver Spring MD 20901; (301) 495-0082.


Q. How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None - they're all too laid back to bother.
- OR -
A. None, the piano player can do that with his left hand.
- OR -
A. Only one - but the guitarist has to show him first.
- OR -
A. Six: One to change it, five to fight off the lead guitarists who are hogging the light.

Q. Why is there so little solo repertoire for the string bass?
A. Misery loves company.

Shortly before a band began to play, they discovered their bass player was missing. After a short search, the guitar player found him in the back alley beating the heck out of some guy . . .

Guitar Player: Sam, what are you doing?
Bass Player: This guy de-tuned one of my strings!
Guitar Player: Why are you beating him up?
Bass Player: He won't tell me which one.

During a jungle expedition, the travellers became aware of the natives drumming. Whey they asked their guide if this was a cause for concern, he replied: "As long as drums playing, no problem... but when drums stop, something TERRIBLE about to happen!". Suddenly, the drums stopped, and the terrified travelers asked the guide what was about to happen now. He sadly replied: "Bass solo start now".


Q. What do you call a groupie who hangs around and annoys musicians?
A. A bodhran player.

Q. How do you know when there is a bodhran player at your front door?
A. The knocking gets faster and faster and faster.

Q. What's the best thing to play a bodhran with?
A. A razor blade.

Bowed Instruments

String players' motto: ``It's better to be sharp than out of tune.''

Q. How can you tell if a violin is out of tune?
A. The bow is moving.

Q. How do you tell the difference between a violinist and a dog?
A. The dog knows when to stop scratching.

Q. Why do violinists put a cloth between their chin and their instrument?
A. Violins don't have spit valves.

Q. What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle?
A. A fiddle is fun to listen to.
- OR - A. No one minds if you spill beer on a fiddle.

Q. What is the difference between a viola and a violin?
A. A viola burns longer.

Q. Why are violins smaller than violas?
A. They're not. Violinists heads are larger.

Q. Why are viola jokes so short?
A. So violinists can understand them.

Q. Why is a violist like a terrorist?
A. They both mess up bowings.

Q. What's the difference between a violist and a dressmaker?
A. A dressmaker tucks up frills.

Q. How do you tell a viola from a violin?
A. The viola is the one playing whole notes.

Q. How do you make a violin sound like a viola?
A. Sit in the back and don't play.

Q. How do you know if a viola section is at your door?
A. Nobody knows when to come in.

Q. How do you keep your violin from getting stolen?
A. Put it in a viola case.

Q. Why did the violist walk right past the tavern, without even thinking about going inside?
A. Because he thought it was a vile inn.

Q. What's the best recording of the Walton Viola Concerto?
A. "Music Minus One."

Q. Why did the violist marry the accordion player?
A. Upward mobility.

A. How do you make a cello sound beautiful?
B. Sell it and buy a violin.

Q. What is another name for the cadenza in a cello concerto?
A. Comic relief.

Q. What's the difference between a cello and a coffin?
A. The coffin has the corpse on the inside.

Q. What's the definition of a string quartet.
A. 1 good violinist, 1 bad violinist, 1 really bad violinist who became a violist, and 1 cellist who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.

Did you hear about the violist who bragged he could play 32nd notes?
The rest of the orchestra didn't believe him, so he proved it by playing one.

Without the bow, violins would be plucked.

Why buy an old, rare bow when you can have a new one well done.

A violinist says to his wife, "Oh, baby, I can play you just like my violin."
His wife replies, "I'd rather have you play me like a harmonica!"

Jacques Thibault, the violinist, was once handed an autograph book by a fan while in the greenroom after a concert. "There's not much room on this page," he said. "What shall I write?"
Another violinist, standing by, offered the following helpful hint: "Write your repertoire."

"Haven't I seen your face before?" a judge demanded, looking down at the defendant.
"You have, Your Honor," the man answered hopefully. "I gave your son violin lessons last winter."
"Ah, yes," recalled the judge. "Twenty years!"

A man goes into the local violin shop, walks up to the counter, and takes a violin out of the case. He says, "There's something wrong with my violin - just listen to the G string!", and plays it. A horrible grinding noise comes out: hhhrrroNNNNK! The guy behind the counter says, "You need to talk to the owner, he's out to lunch now but he'll be back shortly. It's a nice day, why don't you wait outside on the stoop?". So the guy goes outside and sits down on the stoop.

After a minute he decides to take the violin out and play a little, but there's that horrible sound again, hhhrrroNNNNK! He is about to put the violin back in the case when he hears a voice speaking softly into his ear "Check the bass bar." He looks around but there is no one there, only a chestnut horse with a white stripe on his forehead. So he plays another note on the violin, there's the hhhrrroNNNNK! again, and again the voice says, a little louder, "Check the bass bar". He turns around and realizes that THE HORSE IS SPEAKING TO HIM!

Up he jumps, grabs the fiddle and case, runs into the shop and up to the counter, and starts shouting incoherently about the horse and the violin and the bass bar. At that moment the owner walks in and says "Calm down, and explain to me exactly what happened".

"I was sitting outside playing my violin, and this horrible sound is coming from the G string, and this horse walks up to me and tells me to check the bass bar!"

"Was it a chestnut horse?"


"With a white stripe down his forehead?"

"Yes! Yes!!"

"Aw, don't listen to him, mister! He doesn't know a thing about fiddles!"

At a rehearsal, the conductor stops and shouts to the bass section: "You are out of tune. Check it, please!"
The first bassist pulls all his strings, says, "Our tuning is correct: all the strings are equally tight."
The first violist turns around and shouts, "You bloody idiot! It's not the tension. The pegs have to be parallel!"

A violist and a cellist were standing on a sinking ship.
"Help!" cried the cellist, "I can't swim!"
"Don't worry," said the violist, "just fake it."

A violinist noticed at the end of each rehearsal break, one of the violists would look at the inside flap of his jacket before he sat down to resume rehearsal. This continued for several decades, and the violinist became quite curious about it. One day, during hot weather, the violist took off his jacket and went off on break. The violinist waited until everyone was off the platform, looked around, and sneaked over to the jacket. He pulled back the flap and saw a little note pinned on the inside. It read: "viola left hand, bow right."

A viola player went to a piano recital. After the performance he went up to the pianist and said, "You know, I particularly liked that piece you played last--the one that started with a long trill."
The pianist said, "Huh? I didn't play any pieces that started with trills."
The viola player said, "You know--[hums the opening bars of Für Elise.]"

The first viola player in the orchestra comes home after a day of work to find a charred, smoking hole where his house used to be. The police captain takes him aside and explains that, while he was away, the conductor came to his house, broke in, stole his valuables, ravished his wife, beat up his kids, and then firebombed the house. The violist exclaims excitedly, "the CONDUCTOR came to MY HOUSE?"

The Friday performance was about to begin but the conductor hadn't shown up. The musicians were anxious and unsure what to do. Finally, one of the violists stepped forward and said "Don't worry, I'll conduct." This caused a little turmoil among the members of the orchestra but they realized that no one else could be spared. So with some trepidation they agreed that if the conductor didn't show up, the violist would conduct. . .

Well, the conductor didn't show, and the violist conducted quite well and the performance went off smoothly. The next Monday at rehearsals the violist who had conducted went back to his regular chair and the violist who always sat next to him leaned over and said "So where were you last Friday?"


It Happened On alt.humor.puns

> > > > > > >For the most part, the symphonies of Jean Sibelius are very
> > > > > > >nationalist in sentiment. Experts are quick to point out, however,
> > > > > > >that this is not the case with his famous "Unfinnish Symphony".
> > > >
> > > > > >A little known fact about Sibelius' later years is that he was homeless,
> > > > > >and had to look through trash cans to get paper to continue composing.
> > > > > >He came very close to completing his last symphony.
> > > > > >He died in a Fin alley.
> > > >
> > > > >Bravo! I don't think I coda done better myself!
> > >
> > > >Aw, shucks. You're embarrassing me. Please refrain.
> > > >(Though it WAS suite of you).
> > >
> > > Well, it's sonata my intent to make you uncomfortable. You have my deepest
> > > symphony and I'll make a concerted effort to stop.
> > >
> > This is the First Movement in the right direction--hopefully a Prelude to
> > more.
> >
> > It's nice to see everyone getting along in such harmony. Please continue
> >to make these kinds of overtures!
> >
> > > By the way, I was going to eat in an outdoor cafe in the rain, but
> > > couldn't order because I got the Minuet. Fortunately my hair stayed dry.
> > > I was wearing my Bourree.
> >
> > I was driving by your cafe in my car, and couldn't avoid splashing you,
> > but I tried. Though I was unable to divert, I ment to.
> >
> You guys are scherzo-phrenic, andante-social. Let's keep this ng free
> of violins, ok?
I wouldn't have saxpected, orguessed-a guy like you would chime in at this time. I'd give a tympani bit to avoid a bransle. (ask if you need to, fellas). But what do you expect, Mozartists are temperamental, I've heard. Like Anna Magdalena Bach said, chaconne a son gout, and there was a woman who knew how to conductor affairs. Unlike some of us . . .

Been having a little treble with the boyfriend lately - I don't know how he stanza my puns, but I'm sure glad he doesn't just staff me in the back. I get so crotchety at times, it's just my mean temperament, I guess...sometimes I don't know quaver to laugh or cry. The punster's life is a lonely one - I'd give anything for a paradiddles.

Last summer, the local orchestra decided to play Beethoven's 9th symphony. However, it being quite hot, the players were working up quite a sweat, until a neighbor let them use the ventilators in her house. However, the wind from these ventilators was causing the music to blow all over the place and the music stands to rock back and forth, so they tied the music to the stands and packed the stands in garbage cans. The din from the ventilators was so bad that the bassists decided it didn't matter if they downed a few drinks and got royally drunk. Two of the bassists got so drunk, they passed out. One of the violinists, in disgust, decided to go home but slipped and fell . . .

Thus, it was the bottom of the 9th, the bassists were loaded, the score was tied with two men out, the stands were packed and the fans were roaring wild when one of the players slid home.

Two Sheds Jackson
The Decomposing Composers


Q. What do you do with a person who can't play his own instrument?
A. Give him a stick and call him a conductor.

Q. Why are conductors' hearts coveted for transplants?
A. They've had so little use.

Q. How many conductors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. 99. 1 to do it and 98 to do it a different way following the same directions.

Q. What's the difference between an conductor and God?
A. God knows he's not a conductor.

Q. What's the difference between a bull and an orchestra?
A. The bull has the horns in the front and the asshole in the back.

A musician calls the symphony office to talk to the conductor. "I'm sorry, he's dead," comes the reply. The musician calls back 25 times. Always getting the same reply from the receptionist. At last she asks him why he keeps calling. "I just like to hear you say it."

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14 February 1996