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how do you jam with other people?

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(@megalomaniac)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

i dont usually and now over the summer thats one of my goals to help improve myself,
but well how do you jam with others?
try to find songs you both know and go from there?
just screw around with a couple of chords here in there in a certain key or something?
or trying to find what you both have in common musically?
i'm not really sure! can you try to explain how you might jam or collaberate with other musicians in a way to organize yourselves so your both on the same page?


   
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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

well - I guess jam can be all sorts of thing really.

is there an audience?
do you know each other?
will you meet again?
do you share some musical taste?
...

For a "one-night jam" i'd say it is good to know a lot of "jam-standards" - Beatles, Simon&Garfunkel, CCR, ... things "any" guitarist have played. You can go "how about this one?" and you're rollin'. A good thing too is if you know something "unusual" for some of the songs - harmonica, mandolin part, vocal harmonies... everybody knows the cool guitar solos, but if that is all that both of you know it is gonna a be a tough jam ;)

Practice intros and endings and progressions and lyrics so you can actually do whole songs.

Bring a capo

You will experience a million times that the other guy goes off in another direction - it turns out that while you have been busy learning the entire Crosby Stills, Nash catalogue - the other guy son't know a single CSN song, but covers the entire David Bowie song book ...

Or - you can just open a bottle and start of with a 12-bar blues in E - you can have a good time all night then :D

Should be lot of fun - this is a very good thread by the way (at least before my posting :lol: ) - we should have a "jam-faq" in here with suggestions for what songs/things to know for jamming - I'm sure the good GN-folks could come up with a "10-songs that every aspiring jammer should know" list

lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

two kinds of jamming...wait three kinds.

1. pick a song and play it.
2. play 12 bar and take turns with licks and ryhthm.
3. make it up from the get go.

number 1 is easy. you just pick songs and play them. if you have a drum beat you can change the tempos for fun.
number 2 is easy. you each take 12 bars for your solo. when not soloing you work your rhythm. you pick the key.
number 3 is harder but most fun. it helps when there are more than two playing. a drummer and bass and a couple of guitars or an organ, horns, etcsomeone starts off and the opthers then join in. you have top mlisten and add not overpower. knowing when not to play a note, chord etc, is important.
I jam this way lots. if you scroll down on my soundclick page you will here examples of jamming. I noted which are jams.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I think of jamming as on-the-spot arranging. I rarely play what anyone else is playing, but try to make the tune better by adding fills, sparse chords or intervals voiced in the frequency space that won't interfere with other instruments or the vocal. I like to work counterpoint rhythms and harmonies instead of the mainstream. The best jamming situation for creativity is if there is tight rhythm section laying down the foundation: rhythm guitar and drums or maybe bass and percussion -- enough of a substrate so the vocal/lead melody is well supported. When that's in place I start to "hear" the possibilities for other parts -- maybe horn-like staccatos or a sad viola or a chimey upper register chorded part, and I add that in. The smallest additions go a long way. In fact, often the smaller, the better. Leave room for others. Leave some space. Think about phrasing that leaves space.

If you want to become a welcome and appreciated jammer, you need to earn a rep as at least one of: solid rhythm machine, guy/gal who knows lots tunes, singer, tasteful fill player, change-up instrumentalist (even if only to a solid tambourine!). And you should never hog the stage. Short solos, sparse playing -- a jam is about sharing and trading ideas. And not only does it become the opportunity to arrange, but sometimes a true musical conversation. That's often difficult for many regardless of experience; but if you try to enjoy everyone's playing and leave your own ego at home, good things will happen.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@cuppajack)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

How soon in a guitar playing career should one start to think about playing with other people?

Being able to sit and play with other people is near the top of my list of goals on the guitar, and after just about 4 months of playing I'm not sure when I'll be at a place to be able to. Or even if I'll KNOW when I'm able to...


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

cuppa,

It's hard to say. The best is obviously to start as early as possible. Personally it was about a year or so into playing before I did something liek that and when I look back I feel sorry for some of the people I jammed with, if you can call it that. Smokingdog from this forum was one of the first and man was I pathetic but you have to start somewhere.

If you don't know full songs that will limit you a bit but you can always do the 12 bar blues thing which never was my cup of tea, but it's a good place to start because each can take turns playing the rhythm and then lead.

If you have friends that are just starting that's probably the easiest. Playing with people you don't know when you just start can be a bit indimidating although the Dog was very nice to me and didn't call me a hack to often!

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I say you should go ahead and begin playing with others. of course there will be several ability levels form player to player. the newer ones get better and the older ones get less sloppier and fine tune the ear.
playing with others involves thinking on your feet, listening and responding, making space, playingoutside your comfort zone.
I like playing with better players as they make me try harder.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

yep. start any time. you will learn more quickly. just remember: there is no shame in light participation and sitting out now and then. such behavior is often considered a positive.

-=tension & release=-


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

Unfortunately dog what you said is kind of conundrum if that's the right term. we all want to play with someone better to help us elevate our skills so where does that leave the poor beginner's like me?

I think if you're a beginner the best bet is to find someone slightly better than you that is not so far advanced that they will get bored with you, unless they are your friends then it's a little different but finding a pure stranger that's advanced and wants to spend his time playing with a beginner may be tough.

But like everyone has said the faster you get out there the better you'll be and then you'll be able to hang with anyone.

Good luck!

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

cnev...no catch 22 there as there is bound to be someone playing better. my point is the better player merely raises the bar a bit. the beginner learns by keeping up.
jamming together is not about one up man ship...it is about sharing and creating somethi9ng from nothing.
when I play with someone newer I have patience and encouragment.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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