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Jam Session Too

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Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1704
Topic starter  

Had a jam session this weekend with a friend who is a much better guitarist than I. We had a great time. Six hours of playing guitar, telling stories and drinking a few beers. It doesn't get better that that. But here are a few things I learned that night. (1) I suck. There is nothing more frustrating than to hear your friend tear into a lead and then, when he's done, pick up the rhythm so you have a chance to play lead and all you can do is bend a few notes. It's the hardest thing NOT to compare yourself to other guitarists. I play because I love it and even with my limited ability, I get the greatest satisfaction out of playing the stuff I know and experimenting on my own. I had the best time jamming and in the end, walked away feeling both elated and somewhat discouraged. Like I said, its difficult not to compare yourself to others. I think it's a skill you have to teach yourself. Have a great time with your current skill level. Enjoy it for all its worth. As Vic Lewis mentioned in an earlier post, “jamming with other people is great way to get better”. I couldn't agree more.

(2) Don't stay in your comfort zone too long. We worked on three different songs that night. (All the Young Dudes –Mott the Hoople, Beyond the Realms of Death- Judas Priest and Ziggy Stardust- Bowie). Each one of these songs made me stretch my ability. I can't say we “nailed” each of these that night, my friend had just taught me the chord progressions, but we were eventually able to get through them from start to finish. I even sang! Woo hoo! So the moral of the story kiddies, (for me) was that it felt good to go beyond my comfort zone and test myself. I would encourage you all to do it.

Lastly, I've gained a new appreciation for those playing in a band. The local guys as well as the pros. It takes many hours of practice to get the timing down and getting things to click. I can't even imagine the feeling pros have when they find that magical connection. It will make me listen to AND hear music in a different way!

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

Good points all of them. I actually think playing a band (for the limited time I did) was easier than just jamming with a buddy. Felt like the mistakes werent so pronounced.

I, like you, encourage everyone to get involved with another musician(s). Sometimes it is just hard finding someone that you click with.


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459


I know the feeling, I had a jam at my house on Friday and Wes from here showed up. he's a really good player and I always get a bit nervous when I'm around someone that much better but he's very helpful and suppostive which made for a lot of fun.

but I know what you mena about being elated and discouraged at the same time. I've been feeling that way for awhile.

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

Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348

I am so happy yoou discovered the joys, rewards, and self realization of jamming. I have been jamming every week since the mid ninties.
I agree with everything you say.
fun outweighs suck by far.
getting outside the conmfort zone puts all those things you've practiced into play.
one has to think fast.
there is nothing better than real time playing with real friends.

I do know better than to compare myself. after all these years I still do. it is human.

one of the secrets of jamming is the feeling that lasts for several hours after the ear ringing goes away.
that elation is special. there is no word for it.
keep jamming. your abilities will increase drastically.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

Just picking up on a point or two......

There's no such phrase as "I SUCK!" didn't suck, you just didn't nail it first time. There's all the time in the world to get better - and if you're dealing with an unfamiliar chord progression, all you can do first time out is get the chords in the right place. Next time, you'll know the chords - you'll know which should be accented more strongly, you'll have a rough idea of strumming patterns, etc.

You enjoyed it, your mate enjoyed it - so that to me is a positive result. You'll enjoy it more when you've got better!

I've found, playing with Stu, he's a far superior guitarist to me technically - but after years of strumming along with CD's, I've got a good sense of rhythm and I can add little riffs and fills around a chord - nothing fancy, just 6ths and 7ths, hammering on and pulling off - that help flesh out a song. And there are times when I surprise him - he taught me "Stuck In The Middle" a couple of years ago in open D (I put it in Easy Songs) and when we played it in the pub, I added a melody line in a couple of places. The big difference between us is taking solos - I'll try and get as close to the original as possible, he'll use the original solo as a base and improvise around it in his particular style.

Tonight we're going to have another go at "Stay With Me" and we said we'd have a go at "Cindy Incidentally" - I've also got "More Than A Feeling" worked out for two guitars, so I'll take that round and we'll have a mess about with that. Should keep us busy for a couple of hours!

Remember, jamming should be fun - and even though you might not think you've learned anything, you probably will!

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

Oh and something I forgot to mention - three new songs in one night is an awful lot of new territory to cover! Just a suggestion, but I'd work on those three till you've got them down - then maybe introduce one, perhaps two new songs at a time. I don't know the Judas Priest song, but I'm guessing it's a different kettle of fish entirely to Dudes and Ziggy - I know both songs quite well to play. There's quite a few chords in Dudes, I had quite a time working that one out for myself!

Anyway - good luck! And good jamming!

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)