One-man band

A one-man band is a musician who plays a number of instruments simultaneously using their hands, feet, limbs, and various mechanical or electronic contraptions. One-man bands also often sing while they perform.

One-man band; photo by Knox of Athol, Massachusetts in 1865
Jeff Masin, a one-man band in New York City

The simplest type of "one-man band" is a singer accompanying themselves on acoustic guitar and playing a harmonica mounted in a metal "harp rack" below the mouth. This approach is often taken by buskers and folk music singer-guitarists. More complicated setups may include wind instruments strapped around the neck, a large bass drum mounted on the musician's back with a beater which is connected to a foot pedal, cymbals strapped between the knees or triggered by a pedal mechanism, tambourines and maracas tied to the limbs, and a stringed instrument strapped over the shoulders (e.g., a banjo, ukulele or guitar).

Since the development of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) in the 1980s, musicians have also incorporated chest-mounted MIDI drum pads, foot-mounted electronic drum triggers, and electronic pedal keyboards into their set-ups. In the 2000s and 2010s, the availability of affordable digital looping pedals has enabled singer-musicians to record a riff or chord progression and then solo or sing over it.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article One-man band, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.