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First Jam Night - Relative Beginner Reports!

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(@geoff-h)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 28
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OK, thought I would provide a feedback on my first experience of a Jam night. I am still a relative beginner, having spent not many hours a week for the last few years with my beginner acoustic and 30watt Laney.

I can play a few songs from the GN Lessons, ‘Fields of Gold, ‘Losing My Religion' quite well, but have never performed them to anybody other than the Wife, and the wall!

I can strum along to a few ‘acoustic friendly' tunes, and can insert the odd fill (thank you GN for the lessons).

I know a couple of members of a local cover band who cover mostly 50's, 60's and 70's stuff. They encouraged me to come to their 2nd jam night held at a pub and ‘have a go'. They were great with encouragement and adamant that I would be ok.

Hitched a lift with the piano player and arrived early while the organiser was setting up. Introduced myself (and my modest playing level) and all were very friendly. After being assured that the first jam night only had a few players and even fewer in the audience, started setting up - quite confident I can do this.

It then began to get a bit busy! Several more guitar players and their (much larger) amps, each with a few mates for support. Space was a premium and I tucked my 30 watt at the back in readiness for what was becoming an anxious wait.

The organiser introduced the evening assuring that everyone would get a go and set off into the first 2-3 songs. I got a drink and sat in the audience and spoke to a guy tuning his guitar and another who it turned out was a drummer. Both were very friendly and hearing of my novice-like status, were supportive.

I had already spoken to the ‘controller' as instructed to let them know that I would like to join in at some point, but did not wish to have any particular focus or solo bit. The audience at this stage had grown to at least 60(OK – but it is a lot to me!)

Now, not having been to a jam before, I wasn't quite sure of the format, but enjoyed watching a few guitars get up and play what seemed to be fantastically well. The drummer rotated after every 3 or 4 songs as did the keyboard player. Guitar players hung a round a bit more and subsequently there appeared to be sometimes 4 or 5 up at a time.

My mood swung between fantastic enjoyment at watching other players do their stuff, and nervousness at how poor I might be. I also began to despair when several of the guitar players, just stayed up, soloing over everything, and clearly intent on ‘showing off'. This sort of put me off a bit, and at one stage I was telling my new ‘friends' that I think I'll just watch and learn tonight, and not participate.

After about an hour and a half, I got prodded by the organiser that after ‘Johnny B Goode' (I could have joined in with that!!) I could get up and join some guitarists (all playing electric) and strum along to ‘Burning Love'. Now I knew the song and was not embarrassed to rip the sheet out of my folder and check the chords. Several others had taken up sheets during their go, so I decided to take mine with me, just to be sure the nerves wouldn't erase my memory – after all, this was going to be my big moment!

My performance was not great, but I kept in good time, hit at least one D when I should have hit an A, then hitting F#m, but it wasn't a problem because I set up with a pretty low volume, and any mistakes were drowned out by the electrics. Felt brilliant at the end, and would happily have stayed up, but stupidly, did not know the chords for the next song (Jumping Jack Flash) and did not feel confident enough to pick it up along the way. Had a simple 'penny drop' moment - I always practice sitting down, but played standing up with guitar strap - daft or what?

I then sat back down with a beer, with a couple of encouraging words from all around me, satisfied that for a first jam, I did ok. I must say that the experience of playing was tense but brilliant, firstly to be welcomed by a clearly more talented bunch of people, and encouraged by all, and supporting me in trying to get better.

These are happening monthly, so I cannot wait for the next one. I have got over the first-jam nerves, and understand the format of the evening. After chatting again with the organiser, he encouraged me to pick 2-3 songs that I know, and he said that he would give me an opportunity next month to play them. This gives me the advantage of being able to practise in preparation knowing what I will be playing, having a slot, and he assured me that it would be part of an acoustic period.

Worst bit of the night (apart from the nerves) was too many electrics all up at once trying to out-play each other. Still, only a minor irritation on a great night.

If you are still following this – well done, and maybe I will report my progress towards and through the next session. Any tips are welcome. Having got myself there I was determined to play at least one song. Having achieved that I can't wait for the next one.

Hope this encourages at least one of you beginners to have a go.

Cheers all


   
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(@bloos66)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 334
 

well done Geoff, and thanks for the report. I am at a similar level to you, and my goal for the year is to do exactly what you did, go up and play one or more songs at a local jam session. I'll keep your experience in mind, it'll give me some confidence.
Cheers, b.


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Way to go Geoff! I've not had the courage to do that yet. Maybe one day.....

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2415
 

Nice job Geoff!! Sounds like a great experience.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@lue42)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 356
 

Congratulations... sounds like fun and I can't wait until I am ready for that.

My (similar) experience this week:

My coworker is very supportive of me learning and has been very helpful during my first couple of months playing.

On Saturday, both of us were invited to a small poker night at a friends house. Neither of us being very good at poker, we decided to bring our guitars for when we inevitably lose. Well, we did and Saturday was the very first night I played in front of anyone else except for my wife. He is an amazing guitar player with almost 27 years experience. We played around with a bunch of easy songs for me to play. I loved playing the rhythm on Hey Joe while he solo'ed away. He played a bunch of blues 'backing tracks' and I played around with some scales. It sounded pretty good to me. I have a decent grasp on all the basic chords and some more obscure ones. So, with him naming off chords, I just strummed along for a while too.

It was a great night and I can't wait for the next 'poker night' to do it again. I am hoping that I will be ready to join him on one of his own jam nights in the next few months. During my normal daily practice, I am reserving a few minutes per night these days learning some party songs so that I can join in in these types of occasions.

Saturday also had a big moment for me... while we were playing around with Hey Joe it actually sounded like "music". Part way through, I got mixed up and stopped for a second. And, you know what? The music stopped! It was just him playing around with the solo. I suddenly realized that *I* was making that music! I hope that makes sense.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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(@kroikey)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 232
 

I know what you mean about the music stopping, sometimes I get that way when I think I'm just listening to the music and then it suddenly stops...and then it clicks. :)

Well done Geoff, it sounds like I'm probably slightly ahead of you in playing ability (from what you posted) but miles behind you in the gonad region lol. I probably could find a small audience of locals, I know a friend of a friend who has a cover band and plays all over in my region, and yet I just feel about 1cm tall when someone introduces me to a musician as '...my mate here can play guitar, he's REALLY good'...

You know every one of your faults, and how loose your rythmn is, how sometimes the pick doesnt feel comfortable at all, and how quickly you can kill a song. My friend introduced me in exactly this way to a guitarist who played guitar for over 17 years and gigged all the time. All on the back of an completely beginner version of Bon Jovi's - Wanted Dead or Alive. I went a lovely colour of red and lost the ability to speak for a while.

Seriously, well done for getting yourself out there!


   
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(@roundi)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 98
 

That sounds great, I have been only playing a year and I am definitly not ready for a semi public function. Jamming with one or two others though is a goal of mine. The poker nite jam sound perfect.

Enjoy


   
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(@clideguitar)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 375
 

Had a simple 'penny drop' moment - I always practice sitting down, but played standing up with guitar strap - daft or what?
Cheers all
No, same thing happened to me the first time I played. The guitar was bouncing around and made it hard to fret the chords.
It just so happened that after that, we started using stools so he could use his drumstick, volcalizer, etc.

Why don't you bring your own stool? I'm sure someone else would use it! If there allot of people up there I don't see why not?

Also, when you practice, practice with the music! If you run into problems have the sheet music (or tab) and practice along with that! You'll be ready when you can play the song without the tab and just play along with the music.

Since you'll be playing with other people you can really relax!!! I have often stopped when I lost my place, and picked up when I'm ready because my partner is playing. He has done the same with me, usually playing a SOLO while I'll play rythym. (see song below).

Start out with an easy song!!! Knockin on Heaven's Door - everyone likes it. The more experienced players can.... do leads,,,baselines, etc.

Bob Jessie


   
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(@geoff-h)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 28
Topic starter  

Hope this is in the right sub-forum, I am happy for it to be moved if the Mods know where it sits best.

Just a shorter update on my second jamming night, I attended a week or so ago. I started out with a lot more confidence having got over all the unknowns about the format of the night, and the first night nerves last time. Set up my amp at the other end of the stage from the electrics and all their amps. Got up and played twice during the evening, each time joining in with 3 songs. did Maggie May, Hey Joe, First Cut is the Deepest, and a couple of ADE 'bluesy' things.

Felt much more comfortable with playing and spent some more time chatting to some guys I met last time, picking up tips. Another all round good night. Again everybody was very friendly and full of encouragement.

Here is the bonus - got asked by a mate I knew who plays sax, if I knew a particular song, and would I like to get up with him to play a particular song on my acoustic next month!!!! Must be doing something right.

Have not practiced as much before as I have this last few weeks. I feel it is having a 'goal' to achieve rather than just plugging away in front of my computer.

Will continue to update next month if anybody is interested. Off now to practice.

Cheers


   
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(@rparker)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

That sounded fantastic Geoff! I'm envious.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Will continue to update next month if anybody is interested. Off now to practice.

Of course we're interested! It sounds like you're progressing and learning and also having a wonderful time. And making music! Why wouldn't we be interested?

These are great reports, Geoff, and I can't wait to read the next one.

Peace


   
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(@lue42)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 356
 

Here is my little update... I went to our next poker night, as as usual, my co-worker and I brought out guitars.

And, wouldn't you know... I don't know how I did it, but I won...

So, game over, night over... no time for playing :(

Oh well, the winnings will pay for the next couple of poker nights, and my next few weeks of lessons.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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