Instruments used in folk music – Part 1

Folk music is associated with many random and interesting instruments to perform with. The instrument for folk music is usually regarded as a simple object found in your room or garage, but it must have the particular sound type. Of course, if you want to play with a well-build instrument, you might need to craft and amend it yourself or bring it to the nearest crafts store. Keeping this in mind, if you want to start your folk music band or even just learn basics from the internet, we are here to present you top folk music instruments to use and maybe you will decide which one you like better!


This instrument comes up first on our list not because it looks crinkly and sounds loud, but because it is a functional adjustable instrument for every type of music. You can hear accordions in any kind of music, for example, in country, polka and klezmer. But for folk, it makes the songs sound uplifting. 

The instrument itself might seem that it has one design and only the outlook changes. However, the features of different accordions vary and include many keys. So, if you get a smaller one, you would not have access to more keys to perform folky tunes with. While the keys are pushed, they trigger to different chords and it pushes air through narrow reeds. You must definitely try out to play accordion as it is entertaining as listening to it.


The name we use nowadays for this instrument came from the past when they were brought to America by slaves from Africa. They were using the name for the instrument with various endings, for instance: banjars, banzas and banias. The slaves were not allowed to perform with drums, but they found a solution – they started making a banjo, usually from a preserved cantaloupe. They would chop the top of the cantaloupe and wrap it up with any sort of skin they could find, sometimes it came from goats, pigs or even cats. After that, they get wood from the forest, make a neck for the banjo out of the wood and add 3 or 4 strings.

The banjos we use in the present times are made with 5 or 4 strings and usually used in another popular music genre – jazz. The instruments are played in many various ways, it depends on the performer, but for folk, it is a great addition as it makes the sound more vibrant and apparent.


The harmonica is held as the most comfortable instrument to carry around in a pocket and you can easily have a performance anywhere! It is also simple to play it with only your 2 hands and a voice. If you have a thing for music to be played around a bonfire – you must buy a harmonica! You can simply reach into your pocket and take out the harmonica in order to create an incredible folk music performance. 

This instrument is commonly made of plastic or wood and covered with metal to make the sound a bit more folky.

It vibrates when you blow through the reeds of the harmonica and that is how it generates the sound that’s so enjoyable!