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  #16  
Old 09-26-2023, 08:59 PM
rstaight rstaight is offline
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I attend 4 jams on a regular basis. They all are song circles.

It was probably a good year or more before I quit passing my turn. I just wasn't comfortable with singing. But we were short on people one night so I thought at least I would attempt it. After all, I should be at least good enough that the dogs won't bark.

It went well. Now I look forward to taking my turn.

Just remember the 1, 4, 5 rule. If somebody calls out key of G its G, a, b, C, D. Relative minor is the 6th. In G that would be the Em.

But most importantly, HAVE FUN.
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2023, 09:28 PM
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Well said, all of the above.

1. The comfy part of playing with others in a big circle is that you can quietly blend into the background if you're lost - no one will notice. It's not all hanging on you to make every song work, especially your first time there.

2. If/when it's your turn to solo, play something concise with a beginning, a middle and an end. Nail the dismount.

3. If you get to choose a number, it's always better to play a simple song well than to goon something overly ambitious or tricky.

Last edited by tinnitus; 09-26-2023 at 09:37 PM.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2023, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crnazz View Post



In two of them, the players would bring copies of the song for everyone to play along with. In the third one I’ve been to, music wasn’t handed out, but the key of the song was announced, and perhaps a couple of the chord progressions. Sometimes various players would take turns doing some lead riffs during a break in the verses.

I really enjoy the jams. It’s also a great way to progress in your playing as you pick up things from other players.
I used to do a ukulele jam and everyone got the songs before hand in an email. It was okay, but I prefer the ones where you just know the key and figure it out. A tip, watch someone across from you and you can often figure it out by watching what chords they are playing. It isn't as hard as it sounds.

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Originally Posted by Wardo View Post
I don’t like the song circle thing. Nothing worse than 10 acoustic guitars all playing the same chords and it kinda walks all over any nuance that you bring to your song.

.
The jam I go to usually has two or three guitars, a couple fiddlers, a dobro, a bass player and sometimes a banjo, and the guitars are usually doing their own thing, not playing chords in unison like a ukulele jam. I don't really like those either. I like playing with other instruments.

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Originally Posted by tinnitus View Post

1. The beauty of playing with others in a big circle is that you can quietly blend into the background if you're lost - no one will notice. It's not all hanging on you, especially on your first night there.

2. If/when it's your turn to solo, play something concise with a beginning, a middle and an end. Nail the dismount.

3. If you get to choose a number, it's always better to play a simple song well than to goon something overly ambitious or tricky.
I think these three tips are golden.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2023, 09:47 PM
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The acoustic society to which I belong hosts jams. Players of all ages and level are welcome.

I second Mandobart’s seventh suggestion—if it’s your turn to lead a song, don’t try something overly complex. And try to be within the genre that seems to be prevalent in the room at the time.

I sometimes call out chords or run through turnarounds. If there’s a tricky part, show it.

I play to make others sound good. Listening is as important as playing.
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  #20  
Old 09-27-2023, 02:52 PM
xStonr xStonr is offline
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Thanks for all the excellent tips. I'll be on my way shortly.
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  #21  
Old 09-27-2023, 03:20 PM
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The responses above show how varied jams are. One of the best bits of advice is to observe and get a feel for which type it is.

I'm terrible at jamming and rarely do so, but I go for social reasons and often bring a guitar just in case. The main jam at my favorite brewpub is primarily electric-guitar focused, with lots of bluesy and Grateful Dead-type jamming, with a house band that sort of sets the baseline while making room for others to join, or sub them partially, or completely replace them for various mini-sets. It's friendly but you have to assert yourself sometimes if you're not already known. The etiquette is usually very good; regulars notice, unfavorably, if you don't toss over room for solos and such. We've had amazing nights and more run-of-the-mill as you would expect. I've never seen music handed out there, though a couple tablets have made an appearance.

We have a much more acoustic jam maybe twice a month that I sometimes participate in. It's more Americana/semi-bluesy and I'm a folk-pop guy, but I've learned a song or two where I can back up others, which turned out great recently when a female vocalist wanted to do her signature song and I was spring-loaded to handle guitar. Had a blast. On another evening, a couple of musicians who could jam to anything and were game to do so jammed a few of my pop-folk songs with me where I took lead. Great fun.

I'm much more at home at open mics, where I know what I'm going to play and can prepare for it. The waiting around part is real, but again, it's also a big social occasion.
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  #22  
Old 09-27-2023, 03:26 PM
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I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2023, 03:42 PM
DianeA DianeA is online now
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There are a lot of good tips if you Google "Jam Ettiquette".

I come away from every jam with mixed feelings: great joy and disappointment
Because when everybody gets going in the same direction it is really fun! And usually someone else does or I do something that could be done better.

Please don't judge the jam from the first one. Every jam could have different people attending, with different songs, and maybe you make a new friend or hear a good song at each one.

Remember that a jam is where everyone plays together, not do personal performances.

Hope that you had fun!!
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  #24  
Old 09-27-2023, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscom View Post
The responses above show how varied jams are. One of the best bits of advice is to observe and get a feel for which type it is.

I'm terrible at jamming and rarely do so, but I go for social reasons and often bring a guitar just in case. The main jam at my favorite brewpub is primarily electric-guitar focused, with lots of bluesy and Grateful Dead-type jamming, with a house band that sort of sets the baseline while making room for others to join, or sub them partially, or completely replace them for various mini-sets. It's friendly but you have to assert yourself sometimes if you're not already known. The etiquette is usually very good; regulars notice, unfavorably, if you don't toss over room for solos and such. We've had amazing nights and more run-of-the-mill as you would expect. I've never seen music handed out there, though a couple tablets have made an appearance.

We have a much more acoustic jam maybe twice a month that I sometimes participate in. It's more Americana/semi-bluesy and I'm a folk-pop guy, but I've learned a song or two where I can back up others, which turned out great recently when a female vocalist wanted to do her signature song and I was spring-loaded to handle guitar. Had a blast. On another evening, a couple of musicians who could jam to anything and were game to do so jammed a few of my pop-folk songs with me where I took lead. Great fun.

I'm much more at home at open mics, where I know what I'm going to play and can prepare for it. The waiting around part is real, but again, it's also a big social occasion.
Ours is not as organized. It is just a dozen or so musicians who get together on weekends. Seldom more than five or six show up on any given time and we generally meet in a machine shed on a farm that one of the guys owns. I guess you might say the guy who owns the shed is the leader, but it has a life of its own.

It is pretty much by invitation, except anyone can invite anyone and no one cares. There is kind of a core group and then sometimes others show up for a session or two and then never come back. I don't know, some people don't like how it has no structure and that everyone is just doing their own thing. Being good is not a prerequisite. We had a banjo player who quit coming because some of the others were not good enough for him to play with, that is the story.

Anyway, I love it, it is my kind of jam. But there are some unwritten rules and one of them is giving people breaks in the songs. Several people show up just for the breaks, it is their thing. They feel left out if they don't get one, especially the fiddlers and harmonica players. Also we are a country/bluegrass jam. I mean, we will probably play anything, but if it isn't country/bluegrass it doesn't get a lot of enthusiasm. It isn't hard to tell what we play.
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  #25  
Old 09-27-2023, 04:06 PM
Dave Hicks Dave Hicks is offline
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I like guitars, but sometimes enuff is enuff, so I bring a mandolin and some harmonicas, too.

D.H.
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  #26  
Old 09-27-2023, 04:09 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKA View Post
If you're playing with other people, play to make them sound better.
See below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardo View Post
I donít like the song circle thing. Nothing worse than 10 acoustic guitars all playing the same chords and it kinda walks all over any nuance that you bring to your song...
One of the reasons I rarely bring a 6-string guitar to open jams anymore, instead going with alternative instruments and serving in a primarily accompaniment role - usually a 12-string, tenor banjo in drop-G uke tuning (GCEA low-to-high), and/or electric bass guitar. I'd ask about the latter in advance, though: some venues/gatherings permit discreetly-amplified instruments (meaning a practice-size amp, no louder than the loudest acoustic instrument in the house) while at others it's strictly unplugged - which can also be a clue to the type of music being played if you have certain stylistic preferences...
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  #27  
Old 09-27-2023, 10:27 PM
xStonr xStonr is offline
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I have to say that I think it went very well. People there were happy that I showed up and were very supportive. How this one seems to work is that songs are requested ahead of time and the sponsor of the the meet up sends out links to tabs so everyone can be on the same page, literally and figuratively. People there had tablets and phones. I brought my iPad and had all the songs available except one so I was prepared. I wanted to just blend into the background this evening but to my surprise I was asked to sing. All in all I enjoyed myself and plan to attend the next meetup.
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  #28  
Old 09-28-2023, 02:31 AM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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Good advice above. High on my dos-and-don'ts list.

- Don't noodle on top of someone else who's singing.

- Only start songs you can sing and play all the way through.

- Stop playing from time to time to give others space.

- Have fun!
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  #29  
Old 09-28-2023, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xStonr View Post
All in all I enjoyed myself and plan to attend the next meetup.
We have a winner!
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  #30  
Old 09-28-2023, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobilemike View Post
Listen twice as loudly as you play.

Tune your guitar. Then tune it again.

Smile and have fun!
Words to live by
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