There are some artists who seem destined for the instrument they play. It’s impossible to think of the Beatles without Paul McCartney and his left-handed Hofner bass or the Who without microphone-swinging Roger Daltrey center stage.
As most musicians can attest, being able to play more than one instrument is a skill that lends itself to all sorts of creative endeavors.
For example, Prince‘s debut album, For You, listed one personnel credit: Prince. “For me, there’s nothing like working in a recording studio,” he told Insider in 1978, shortly after the LP came out. “It’s satisfying. It’s like painting. You being with a conception and keep adding instruments and laying tracks down. Soon, it’s like the monitors are canvas. The instruments are colors on a palette, the mikes and board are brushes. I just keep working it until I’ve got the picture or rather the sound that I heard inside my head when it was just an idea.”
McCartney has worked similarly many times over the years, including 2020’s McCartney III, which features just him playing nearly all the instruments – from guitars to bass to percussion.
But being a multi-instrumentalist isn’t merely a grandstanding skill; it’s a practical one, too. Below we outline 10 musicians who have filled the gaps and switched from their original instruments to entirely different ones for the betterment of their bands.
10 Musicians Who Have Switched Instruments
For these artists, flexibility was key.