Jump to content
Brucehum

Jam Sessions: when is one ready?

Recommended Posts

Hello,

Could someone give me a rough guide when a newbie player can consider himself more or less ready to participate in a jam session?

What should be the basics you need to know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Could someone give me a rough guide when a newbie player can consider himself more or less ready to participate in a jam session?

As soon as you can find some people to jam with!!! :yes:

Seriously - if you can find some players who don't mind a newbie sitting in, you'll have a lot of fun and learn a ton. Playing with other people does a lot to teach you rhythm and timing, and you can pick up a lot of very useful tips (and new songs to play) from more experienced players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bruce, I have a mess around every few weeks with my friend who is in a band, my Daughter joins in on drums and we get the Mics out and sing a few songs as well, I'm nowhere near as good as my friend but he helps me out and I learn quite a lot from him, so in answer to the question, if there's a jam session going on, I don't think the guys would object to you being there and as you've learnt a few chords and your way around the guitar a bit, you could join in, I think just being at a jam session would help with your playing as well, being around other guitarists does make you improve quicker, If one comes up, don't turn down the opportunity.:winkthumb:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As soon as you feel confident to play in front of people you should start as you learn so much that a book cannot teach.

The basics to know, tough question! I would say it depends on the others you jam with as the style you want to play. From my experience you will need at least:

Popular chord progressions in various keys (Blues is great way to start jamming)

Minor pentatonic scale in the minnimum of A and E and at least 2 or 3 possitions (If you want to play a bit of lead)

Good timming

Your own set list of popular songs to cover that you can play to bring to the jam (other more experienced will follow you)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a friend to pick with , we try to get together once a week, but very seldom do every week, we had to fig out what to play, he likes the newer stuff with distortion, and i hate it, i like 50"s and 60"s and country, so we decided on country, i has helped me learn much faster and better than playin by myself, then this summer at our family reunion my cousins brought there guitars and amps and we jammed for 11 hrs , i kept my volume down so as not to bother them and it helped me a lot, im pickin much better now, cant wait for next yr, i should be much better

Chuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for sure man, get out as soon as you can play a few songs. As long as you are comfortable playing at least one song, you should play with other people. You will get loads better, faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought I wasn't good enough to go and jam with someone ..

Jay Jay and Skinny in the video room have proved me wrong and I am jamming with anyone who will let me now ..

I still stink at playing but I am getting better ...Jam with people you know and understand what level your at , so you feel comfortable with what your doind in front of them ...

I jammed with some old guys recently who have been playing for over 50 years some of them and they just kept saying " Trev come on you can do this "

It was brilliant , jam with who ever you can find jam with people who understand what it is like to be a beginner ..

Happy playing

Trev...:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, sooner rather than later would be the better thing. Jamming with other guitarists etc is a great way to improve and enhance your playing skills and to learn new and interesting things.:winkthumb:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sooner you start, the quicker you may progress your own playing.

We learn from each other. Of course try not to pick out difficult stuff and that will build confidence for all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, too, am a newbie at guitar. I've been lucky to have some people who let me sit in with them and will switch from their normal country/rockabilly music to blues so that I can get a few licks in, although there are some of their tunes I can go with. The thing that stands out most for me is the sense of rhythm. They don't wait for me, lol. All of them have been patient and willing to help, though. I'll bet it will be the same for you, and it will accelerate the learning process. After the first time you'll be anxious for the next time, and it's a great way to learn (steal) some new riffs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can begin anytime you find yourself with other musicians who are willing to let you play. Don't worry about being "ready". We all had to start somewhere and most musicians who are truly MUSICIANS welcome the opportunity to help beginners who truly WANT TO LEARN!

There is great benefit in "jamming" with musicians who are more experienced than yourself. Just play when you can and hang in there the best you can--noone expects more.

Another thought--you might want to try "jamming" with some of the free online mp3 jam files. That would get you used to playing with others in the comfort of your own setting!

Keep it up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have jammed with mp3... when I say I only know 2 songs, I really should say I only know two known songs: "House of the rising sun" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door". But I have jammed with 6-7 no name songs, playing along, and those I know too, of course.

With bass, my first line is Pink Floyd's "Money". I mainly learn music theory, scales, etc (which I then apply to guitar!!) I have a nice toy to jam with my bass now (There is an equivalent for guitar): Tascam MP-BT1. You can get same effects with computer software, but I like it being portable. This allows me to play bass anywhere in my house.

For guitar, my new toy is Jamlab. I didn't really need it, but I had to pay 20€ transport as I wasn't in the free packaging yet, so I got this, which is 29€. :)

About musicians, maybe I'm wrong about my area, but there don't seem to be jams, or open mic nights. There are some jams in Barcelona... I could go there. Will have to go some day and ask about musicians entering. The guy who sold me the POD XT with bass extensions was a musician that left Barcelona to Berlin to be able to do something as he had lots of trouble here to find anything. On the other hand, my bass teacher plays in a band that play new-Cabaret and with the classes and that he seems to be doing well.

On the other hand, on my town there are two rock bands (5000 people town) that I know of. But, haven't got them to tell me yet "yes, you can come to jam with us". Here many bands just have time for once a week training, and they prefer to use it for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can hang with jam tracks or play along with recorded music then you should be fine in a jam session. My guitar work is not there yet but getting close, but I have played harmonica 30 years now and still remember my first jam sessions. One thing I can tell you is pick your spots wisely to stand out and don't try to do to much. Add to the rythm of what is being played and just relax and enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am genuinely always happy to encourage new players of any standard and will welcome them to jam with me at jam nights. Playing with other people is critical to your development as a guitarist, and all guitarists have a duty to encourage each other.

But I am a pretty grumpy old jammer so follow the following advice carefully if you are ever likely to share a stage with me (that’s a real physical stage or anyplace where there is an audience of at least one).

1. You are ready to jam with me when:

You have tuned up. Seriously, there are great headstock tuners out there and they are not too expensive so don’t come near me with an out-of-tune guitar. I don’t want to listen to you tuning through a Marshall 100-watt stack with all the knobs on number 10: it is too boring. Tune up BEFORE you get on stage.

2. You are ready to jam with me when:

You have learned some basic good manners, such as:

a) Wait your turn – don’t solo at full blast during someone else’s turn (even if you think they are useless) or when someone is trying to sing.

B) Watch your volume

c) Watch other players and listen to what is going on – watch the singer for cues (for breaks, etc).

d) Clap wildly, cheer and whistle loudly at everyone else’s contribution

e) When you are not playing you are part of the audience – don’t clear off and arrive back just in time for your solo spots, expecting everyone else to stay and listen

f) Finish the song at the same time as everyone else – the end of a song isn’t just an opportunity for you to show off – a jam is about working with other people, not trying to upstage them

3. You are ready to jam with me when:

You are prepared to swear on the lives of family members and all you hold dear NOT to use the top of my amp as a convenient resting place for your beer glass.

4. You are ready to jam with me when:

You understand that there are two common forms of 12-bar – one that goes to “IV” in bar two and one that stays on “I” all through the first four bars.

5. You are ready to jam with me when:

You can remember to bring your own guitar, strap, pick, tuner, spare strings, leads, bottlenecks, effects with batteries and a capo (and maybe amps, mics, mic stands, etc. unless house gear is provided)

6. You are ready to jam with me when:

You are smart enough to find out what key we are playing in before the start. Don’t assume you know already, even if you know the song really well – the singer might need it in a key different to the one on that recording by your favourite artist.

7. You are ready to jam with me when:

You don’t feel the urge to show off between numbers by playing “Smoke on the Water” so loudly that I can’t hear what the next song is, what key it is in or the count to start the next number

8. You are ready to jam with me when:

You have learned to tolerate grumpy old jammers who like to lay down the law.

Gosh. That’s not many rules. I’m sure I can come up with more.

Oh yeah. Just because a band is on stage doesn't mean it is a jam night so don't expect them to hand over the stage or a guitar to someone they don't know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some jams in Barcelona... I could go there.

Maybe too short notice, but I found this posted on the London Blues Jams Yahoo groups site

" Not exactly London!!! I'm Hosting a blues jam at Sala Valhalla, 68 Carrer dels Tallers, near to Placa Catalunya, Barcelona on Wed 16th of Jan (this wednesday) and Wed 30th of Jan, starts at 10pm an goes on until late (1.30am last time I hosted)"

I think it is hosted by this band Home (which has a link to their spanish myspace site)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info and all the counsels!

I liked the "you are ready to jam with me" points. All of them logical. I am not ready to jam with you... I don't know point 4!! But I will in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great tips from a "grumpy old jammer" there, Ben. :yes:

I read a 'gripe thread' about jam sessions on another board recently that gave some similar etiquette tips. A guy was complaining that a little metalhead showed up at a blues jam with his giant amp and pointy guitar, going "wheedlywheedlywheedly" over 12-bar blues and trying to make the whole thing into a "Crossroads"-style headcutting contest. Didn't go over too well with everybody else there. Other guys chipped in with their war stories and some offered good tips/pointers about how to behave at a jam so that you're not treated like a leper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer the Jams that I am doing. No 12 bar allowed! No previously known songs allowed! No different tunings allowed! (unless it is me in a dropped D lol)

It really has been quite refreshing to walk into a room, with a Bass Player and a drummer and just start to bash about. Get a drum beat going, let the Bass player realise where you are and what key you playing in (by ear usually) then corrupt and adapt the riff to suit the background created.

It is quite surprising how a good drummer can effect the emphasis and dynamics of a rhythm riff, it is also fun that a good bass player just makes the sound seem like it should, done this with just me and a drummer and the sound was always a bit flat and hollow.

To BruceHum, I would say that you probably know a few musicians, just because we tend to gravitate together, try and set up something not to formal.

I did it by suggesting to a few people that we get together and do something, just to get a little practise, for fun..something to do, and for the laugh. Then there is no pretense or obligation to 'write' or play live or learn songs, you can just go and play.

Our sessions are very different, they go from being hard core metal to absolute jazzy ethereal head music all depending on how we feel on the day. We also rarely play the same thing more then once, only if we enjoyed it and want to play it again for the fun of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I run a jam club from work. We have all the backline gear, drums, PA.

Because we use a room where I work, because of insurance issues we can only allow people who work for the company and their relatives. We have about 25 members we have a shindig at a local club every couple of months, which attracts about 150 family and friends, and we have bloody good night. I started the club a little under 2 years ago with some money donated from the company I work for. I knew there were folk at work with instruments at home doing nothing. I had got 6 people at all different levels of playing to help me run the club, so we can take on beginners. we can use the room 7 days a week if we want but we cant crank up the volume until 6pm (when all the offices shut. since we started we have got 4 groups on four different nights, ranging from a beginners group (all people in their 40's and 50's) and they love it, We have a group that plays rock and pop , and the group I'm with, that plays mostly blues based music and the twain does meet. We all have a big passion for playing and 2 bands have formed from the club. Because the company I work for is a massive global tractor company, they are very interested in making our club global within the company, IE inviting other players from other facility's around the world. We all work towards a common goal,(playing better today than we did yesterday) everyone has an input on song choice and we all roll our sleeves up on gig nights to set up. We have someone appointed to do sound and lighting, and someone who does all the admin for us. We reckon we have got the right formula. Any gigs we do are done for a local hospice, so far we have raised about £2000 for them. But most of all all though it's hard work at times we have a blast. Jamming for us has done has does wonders for our playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As soon as you can find some people to jam with!!!

Absolutely the best advice. I am "teaching" a complete novice by the method of being in a band (Not that I'm any good - after 35 years I still don't know any scales). He really can't play but he is very excited when he hears himself as part of a proper sounding group. This is the motivation everyone needs and he is learning step by step. I showed him a few cheats and he's up and running, we've played two gigs.

Enthusiasm is THE most important aspect, disregard of others' opinions is the second. Rock on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×