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Old 09-26-2023, 02:17 PM
xStonr xStonr is offline
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Default Acoustic Jam

I'm going to a Acoustic Jam for the first time ever. Is there anything I should know? Is there a certain courtesy involved? Should I recommend songs to play or just keep my mouth shut? Help!
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:20 PM
generalliamsayn generalliamsayn is offline
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It completely depends on the group and the style of music. Without knowing more it's pretty hard to say.
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:22 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Itíll depend on the people involved, but many jam sessions go round-robin when it comes to selecting songs to play. So you might want to have some songs to suggest when itís your turn to do so.

Have fun!

Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:27 PM
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crnazz crnazz is offline
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Iíve been to three unrelated acoustic jam groups.
In each of them, they did a song circle type of format. When it came around your turn, you would suggest and play a song, and the others would play along.

In two of them, the players would bring copies of the song for everyone to play along with. In the third one Iíve been to, music wasnít 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. Itís also a great way to progress in your playing as you pick up things from other players.
ďAll we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.Ē
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:27 PM
Mobilemike Mobilemike is offline
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Listen twice as loudly as you play.

Tune your guitar. Then tune it again.

Smile and have fun!
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:40 PM
67goat 67goat is offline
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Do you have any other information about the jam? Is it listed as a specific type of music? Do they mention anticipated level of those that join?

Most jams I have been to people are friendly and nonjudgmental. However, if it is labeled as a advanced level jam and you don't know how to play with other people, they might stop being so friendly.

Also, if a music style is mentioned, don't start suggesting songs outside the genre until you know the people more (or if it seems pretty common among those that called out songs before you).

When it is your turn to call a song, whether you sing it or just do instrumental, make sure you give everybody in the jam an opportunity for a break. Not everybody will take it. But if you play straight through without letting anybody get their licks in, it is generally seen as poor etiquette.

I generally like to sit the first couple songs out so I can get a feel for the group (and whether I think I can fit well).

If you're bringing a standup bass, be prepared to play every song or have people ask to use your bass when you are not playing.
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Old 09-26-2023, 02:44 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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I go to as many acoustic jams (the round-robin) type as I can for several reasons.

I do like the system which allows you to do a song ...or pass. I'm not a singer so very often I use "pass" option. If the song has a fairly easy or recognizable chord structure I can follow along and do some noddling and fill work.

I don't think I've ever been at a jam in which song sheets are handed out or are available. I know some long-established jams do that and I would like to have that available to me but that's not the case where I live.

I've just about given up on open mics for many reasons. I think to excel at open mics you must be or try to be a frontman ... which I'm not ... or have a bunch of musicians who can play along with me, which I don't have.

I also don't like going to a crowded open mic where you may have to wait three hours for your allotted 15 minutes of playing time. At an acoustic jam, at least in the setting I described, your turn will come around very quickly, unless it is a HUGE jam.
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Old 09-26-2023, 03:14 PM
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warfrat73 warfrat73 is offline
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Originally Posted by xStonr View Post
I'm going to a Acoustic Jam for the first time ever. Is there anything I should know? Is there a certain courtesy involved? Should I recommend songs to play or just keep my mouth shut? Help!
Do your best.


If you're paying attention, it should be fairly obvious whether calling or suggesting a song is appropriate (you may be asked directly).

Be courteous... among other things, don't bash your headstock into anybody's instrument, sometimes when we're a bit uncomfortable or in a new surrounding, we lose track of what's going on around us (I know, it should be obvious... but back when I went to a regular bluegrass jam, I had a newcomer do that to me several times, I called him out on it, and he kept doing it, I packed up and listened the rest of the night).
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Old 09-26-2023, 03:44 PM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
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Play softer. Listen louder.
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Old 09-26-2023, 05:31 PM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is offline
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Have fun and enjoy jamming with others! Best advice I can give.
Education is important! Guitar is importanter!!

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Old 09-26-2023, 05:47 PM
Wardo Wardo is offline
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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.

Ones I go to usually each player does a song by themselves. Sometimes someone will ask for a bit of backing and Iíll throw in some riffs here and there or use partials without playing exactly the same thing as the other guy.

Some jams they use the Nashville system so you get a bunch of numbers thrown at you for the chord progression in what ever key theyíre using. Thatís usually at intermediate/advanced level.

I like doing open mics because itís just me and a guitar donít have to account for anyone else. Only problem with them is that you sit there for a while waiting to play for 10-15 minutes and then thatís it.

My favourite is going to actual band style jams where we have maybe four or five people and select a few songs before hand to get familiar with for lead parts and so on.
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Old 09-26-2023, 05:50 PM
llew llew is offline
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I invited a friend who is a relatively new player to a local jam. He didn't want to go because he didn't think he was good enough. I told him that when I go to a jam or song circle I want to be the worst player there as I'll have the most opportunity to learn. I've found players at all levels are more than willing to show you new things or help you get whatever it is you might be missing. I never come from a get together worse off than when I got there!

And has been said above ^ enjoy it!
You can never do the wrong thing by doing the right thing...
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:01 PM
JKA JKA is offline
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If you're playing with other people, play to make them sound better.
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Old 09-26-2023, 08:51 PM
slimey slimey is offline
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I'm a crap singer, really crap, the guy who makes Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen sound like choirboys. I'm a decent guitar soloist through, not mind blowing just decent.
There's a local jam every Tues at Sat morning at a local coffee shop, basically a bunch of old farts calling each other names and occasionally playing a song. Typically it goes around the circle and I mostly pass just to save the guys hearing and mental health. Upon saying " pass " at a recent jam one of the guys promptly quipped " quit being a pass hole and sing something"
Just in case he's at the jam you're going to I'd suggest having a couple of songs ready, nice simple songs.
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Old 09-26-2023, 08:54 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I've been going to lots of varied acoustic jams for around 15 years. Here's what I recommend, some of which has already been mentioned. This all comes from stuff I've seen and heard.

1. Get there a little before it starts. Find a place to stash your case, find a place to sit, tune up quietly and smile. Don't bring a songbook, sheets of paper, an iPad loaded with tunes or any of that.

2. Don't noodle! Others are trying to tune up. Don't noodle between songs either.

3. Jams are a little different - some are song circles where everyone takes a turn leading a tune. Some are songwriter circles where everyone takes a turn performning a tune while the others listen. Try to find out before you go what you're in for.

4. Everyone knows you're new, and most want to welcome you. They'll probably cut you some slack. Cut them some too. Don't over think every comment, look, chuckle, etc. You're getting to know each other.

5. Don't play or sing louder than the song leader or the person taking a lead/break. Don't put in a lot of fancy grace notes, fills, etc. You can always fancy it up later, but you don't want to come off as a showboat at first. Don't bring an amp, mic, etc.

6. It's usually ok if you pass the first few times when it comes your turn to lead.

7. When you choose to lead a tune, make it a standard that most people know or at least have heard before. DON'T insist on playing an original song, obscure chordy number, unusual interpretation of a well known song, etc. Unless you're at one of the songwriter circles where everyone else just listens. But be careful - overplayed, shopworn chestnuts (Wagon Wheel, Brown Eyed Girl, Wonderwall, etc.) might not be welcome at all jams.

8. Don't argue or get pushy about "well that song is supposed to be in F#" or "well that's not how it sounds on the record." Don't get defensive if someone offers some advice.

9. It's ok if you don't know every song. Just watch and listen if you don't. DON'T try to accompany by doing guitar percussion or random notes here and there.

10. Keep your eyes and ears open and focused on the song leader. Not down staring at a chord/lyric sheet, or at your hands.

A lot of this seems pretty obvious to me, but I've seen all the above and more.

Basic courtesy, respect, etc. is really all it is.
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