How Many Instruments Did Prince Play? Wednesday November 24 2021, 6:30 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How Many Instruments Did Prince Play?

The 27 Instruments Prince Played

The prolific artist, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor was known to play over 20 instruments, and I'd like to break down each one to get a feel for how talented and driven this legend really is! His debut studio album "For You" released in 1978, credits him for singing and playing the following instruments listed below. 

Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Bass, Fuzz bass, Singing bass, Acoustic piano, Electric piano, Poly-Moog, mini-Moog, Arp Pro Soloist, Arp string ensemble, Oberheim four-voice, drums, water drums, synth drums, clavinet, bongos, slapsticks, finger cymbals, congas, orchestral bells, wind chimes, brush trap, woodblocks, finger snaps, tree bell, and handclaps.

You may be thinking, "okay, some of those are very similar, and should you really include the handclaps"? But yes, you should definitely include the handclaps and consider each one a separate instrument. The creativity involved in being a one-man band can call for some of the most simplistic things to still be a very vital part of the music creation process.

Many couldn't quite yet see the greatness of his artistry from his first project. "For You" actually received very polarizing reviews. AllMusic and Blender, for example, gave the project 2 stars out of 5. Sure, they were impressed by his ability to create, but people thought this first project lacked a lot of magic and depth in his songwriting. 

How Many Songs Did Prince Write?

His first project was only the start of his journey, and the more Prince wrote, the better he became over time. It is estimated that he wrote at least 500 songs over the course of his career, with a large amount being unreleased or under a different name. Prince started in his teens and dedicated himself to perfecting his craft, which many people say takes 10,000 hours. I bet that those 500+ songs of his were what allowed him to really grow into the star he became, and I hope that these facts inspire you to go work on your 10,000 hours right now!

Did Prince Read Music?

Prince is one of those musical legends that didn't get that deep into theory and reading music, just like many other pop and rock stars. While he didn't make reading music a core part of his process, he was very familiar with the basics of music theory since he was in a high school band known as Grand Central. Prince was the type who liked to move fast based on inspiration when it hit and did all of his writing and arranging by ear. 

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Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!

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