Visit Doc

 All Forums
 Playing the Banjo
 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 first jam

 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print

Next Page

 

 

Page: of 2

Jer

United States
44 posts
since 8/19/15

01/11/2017 11:51:58 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I put together a beginners jam last week, I have been playing about a year-ish and mandolin player is about the same. Our

guitar guy is pretty good and helps us with chord changes and rhythm. It was a lot of fun, once or twice we actually sounded

not terrible (for about 10 seconds).  It made me realize my timing needs work and my backup chord changes are slow.

A lot of forum members say get involved in a Jam, and now I understand why. It was exciting, educational and motivating.

It helps me better understand what is needed to make music not just play an instrument.

 

 

eagleisland

United States
12591 posts since 12/2/05

01/11/2017 13:12:03View eagleisland's MP3 Archive View eagleisland's Photo Albums View eagleisland's Blog Reply with Quote

Well done, Jeremy!

Many peoples' first jam experience is a daunting one, particularly if they're playing with people they don't know. That you have a more experienced person on hand to help direct the jam is fantastic!

Keep at it!

Go to Top of Page

TexasbanjoPlayers Union Member

Moderator

United States
19179 posts since 8/3/03

01/11/2017 13:25:02 View Texasbanjo's Photo Albums View Texasbanjo's Blog Reply with Quote


Sounds like it was a success.  You learned something about playing with others and you also learned what you needed to work on the most.  The next one will be better, I'm sure.

Go to Top of Page

Peanutscreams

United States
255 posts since 5/18/11

01/11/2017 13:57:46View Peanutscreams's MP3 Archive View Peanutscreams's Photo Albums View Peanutscreams's Blog Send Peanutscreams a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

That's great. Now excitement, fun and learning jumps to a whole new level! Good for you. Keep us all posted.

Butch B.

Go to Top of Page

Old Hickory

United States
7813 posts since 6/2/08

01/11/2017 14:10:05View Old Hickory's MP3 Archive View Old Hickory's Classified Ads View Old Hickory's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Way to go!

Besides having fun and taking an important step, you learned a valuable lesson: that even a beginner's jam benefits greatly from having at least one experienced player to hold it together and be a leader (even if only informally).

There's a great and well-attended slow jam twice a month in NYC that works because there's a crew of jam leaders who provide control, guidance and even a bit of instruction. It's been going on for years.  There are quite a few experienced players who attend, using the slower tempo to hone some of their chops.

Go to Top of Page

Blackjaxe47

Canada
1157 posts since 6/20/14

01/11/2017 14:25:59View Blackjaxe47's MP3 Archive View Blackjaxe47's Photo Albums Click to see Blackjaxe47's MSN Messenger address Send Blackjaxe47 a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

That's great Jeremy, now you are actually making music. I have said this so many times before, "Find a Good Guitar Player who has the patience to both explain and show chord changes and help with Tempo". Finding a person like that helps make the transition to fitting into a jam session. You will learn so much from this, you will start using your ears and anticipate making the chord changes. Remember the Banjo is not a SOLO INSTRUMENT, let the other musicians take their breaks and work on doing back-up. Work on throwing in those nice little licks you have been working on Jeremy.

Go to Top of Page

Owen

Canada
1117 posts since 6/5/11

01/11/2017 14:49:55 View Owen's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Yep... my experience with "slow jams"  has generally been that  "help with chord changes and rhythm," or  "leaders who provide control, guidance and even a bit of instruction,"  or someone to "explain and show" are few and far between.   Kudos to you Jeremy for solving that problem for yourself.  

[P.S. Ken...given your comments in another thread about the lack of "things banjo" in Manitoba, what do you think my chances of success would be if I followed Jeremy's example out here in the hinterlands?   wink   ]


Edited by - Owen on 01/11/2017 14:58:55

Go to Top of Page

Blackjaxe47

Canada
1157 posts since 6/20/14

01/11/2017 15:27:20View Blackjaxe47's MP3 Archive View Blackjaxe47's Photo Albums Click to see Blackjaxe47's MSN Messenger address Send Blackjaxe47 a Yahoo! Message Reply with Quote

I think you could make it work Owen. Couple of things you could try, you could see if the local community club would be open to doing a Saturday or Sunday afternoon session. Put out some Coffee and Donuts or maybe someones house....which can get crowded really quick. Your main hurdle will be following Jeremy's example, you need to find a decent guitar player...he got lucky. Without someone who is a lot more experienced it can be a somewhat harder. Whatever you do start slow, too bad I live so far away from you. Anyways go for it Owen, let us know how it works out for you.

Go to Top of Page

Jer

United States
44 posts since 8/19/15

01/11/2017 17:29:49 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Thanks for the positive feedback.
Today the guitar player called out the chord changes and I
really worked on trying to hear/anticipate the changes.
He is a good player and singer but he wants to work on
his flat-picking breaks so the slower pace is beneficial to
him also. Everyone in our group seems excited to continue.

Another benefit I forgot to mention is getting use to playing in front of other
people. Someone posted about the 20% rule. I think that's spot on.

Go to Top of Page

RioStatPlayers Union Member

United States
3652 posts since 10/12/09

Online

01/11/2017 18:06:07 View RioStat's Classified Ads View RioStat's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Jer

Thanks for the positive feedback.
Today the guitar player called out the chord changes and I
really worked on trying to hear/anticipate the changes.
He is a good player and singer but he wants to work on
his flat-picking breaks so the slower pace is beneficial to
him also. Everyone in our group seems excited to continue.

Another benefit I forgot to mention is getting use to playing in front of other
people. Someone posted about the 20% rule. I think that's spot on.

This is good news for you. Having a guitar picker who can sing and is willing to shout out the chord changes will help you immeasureably.

If you get no one else to join your "jam", and the 3 of you can becomes friends (at least musically), and pick regularly, this thing will be invaluable to all 3 of you.

If the guitar picker wants to practice his flat-picking breaks, then you should you learn to do some "vamping" and provide the rhythm, while he's doing his guitar breaks.

The mandolin picker should be able to (or learn to) chop some chords to also provide rhythm for the guitar breaks (and banjo breaks).

I've picked with 2 other guys, regularly, for about the past 8 years steadily, (picked with one of the guys, off and on, for about 25 years) and between the 3 of us there are 3 guitar pickers, 2 banjo pickers, 2 mandolin pickers, 2 bass pickers, 1 fiddle player, 2 lead singers and 3 harmony singers.

It helps that we've been friends since before we started pickin', but playing together on a regular basis has made all 3 of  us better "musicians".

We've developed good timing, rhythm, and have learned how to tastefully blend the different instruments, to fully complement each other, to what's needed in an "ensemble" of Bluegrass music.

We'll  never be "up on stage" (and don't really want to be) but when we go to open jams, or Bluegrass festivals, we're good enough to attract other (usually better) pickers to our group or campsite, and it's just a hell of a lot of fun!

 


Edited by - RioStat on 01/11/2017 18:14:41

Go to Top of Page

RB00Players Union Member

United States
788 posts since 3/10/06

01/11/2017 18:47:29 View RB00's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

A few years ago I started a slow jam for us newbies. The first one we were so bad. No one knew any song endings so we just played on until a point were nobody was playing anymore! But I can assure you we all had a great time and got better each time. About the second jam I got a good guitar player to join us and it was a tremendous help to us all. It became apparent that a good guitar player is the rock upon which we all stood. He was the glue that held us all together so I agree with the comments above. It was a blast and I was sorry when it had to end. Wonderful experience and it really helped my playing. I highly recommend it.

Go to Top of Page

RB00Players Union Member

United States
788 posts since 3/10/06

01/11/2017 19:21:15 View RB00's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

On further reflection..... we had 2 beginner fiddles and the screeching was amazing but still music to my ears! My wife and son would go upstairs and hide behind closed doors. The cat would slink out of the room behind the furniture but my dog, Dixie, reveled in the experience and the attention. Hot chocolate, wine, occasional beer and many laughs. Such good memories. I need to do this again now that I think of it.

Go to Top of Page

southernman

United States
46 posts since 4/3/09

01/11/2017 19:36:02 Reply with Quote

Jeremy congrats....I sure wish I was closer and could join in. Haven't had lots of luck up here in North Mississippi finding any pickers to get together with.

Go to Top of Page

eagleisland

United States
12591 posts since 12/2/05

01/12/2017 05:11:26View eagleisland's MP3 Archive View eagleisland's Photo Albums View eagleisland's Blog Reply with Quote

Jeremy, a suggestion: though it's great that your guitar player is willing to shout out the chords, that actually interrupts HIS musical processes.

So here's a suggestion: get a small white board and eraseable markers. Prop it up on a music stand. The guitarist might be willing to quickly chart out the song for the rest of you - and if you're smart, you'll snap a picture of each chart and circulate it to your buddies so he only has to do this once.

This will also help if you add new players to your circle.

And I'd start looking for a bass player if I was you! wink

Go to Top of Page

Jer

United States
44 posts since 8/19/15

01/12/2017 06:46:54 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by RioStat
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jer

Thanks for the positive feedback.
Today the guitar player called out the chord changes and I
really worked on trying to hear/anticipate the changes.
He is a good player and singer but he wants to work on
his flat-picking breaks so the slower pace is beneficial to
him also. Everyone in our group seems excited to continue.

Another benefit I forgot to mention is getting use to playing in front of other
people. Someone posted about the 20% rule. I think that's spot on.

This is good news for you. Having a guitar picker who can sing and is willing to shout out the chord changes will help you immeasureably.

If you get no one else to join your "jam", and the 3 of you can becomes friends (at least musically), and pick regularly, this thing will be invaluable to all 3 of you.

If the guitar picker wants to practice his flat-picking breaks, then you should you learn to do some "vamping" and provide the rhythm, while he's doing his guitar breaks.

The mandolin picker should be able to (or learn to) chop some chords to also provide rhythm for the guitar breaks (and banjo breaks).

I've picked with 2 other guys, regularly, for about the past 8 years steadily, (picked with one of the guys, off and on, for about 25 years) and between the 3 of us there are 3 guitar pickers, 2 banjo pickers, 2 mandolin pickers, 2 bass pickers, 1 fiddle player, 2 lead singers and 3 harmony singers.

It helps that we've been friends since before we started pickin', but playing together on a regular basis has made all 3 of  us better "musicians".

We've developed good timing, rhythm, and have learned how to tastefully blend the different instruments, to fully complement each other, to what's needed in an "ensemble" of Bluegrass music.

We'll  never be "up on stage" (and don't really want to be) but when we go to open jams, or Bluegrass festivals, we're good enough to attract other (usually better) pickers to our group or campsite, and it's just a hell of a lot of fun!

 

That's awesome, I hope to be in a similar place musically in the future.


 

Go to Top of Page

Jer

United States
44 posts since 8/19/15

01/12/2017 06:49:34 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by RB00
 

On further reflection..... we had 2 beginner fiddles and the screeching was amazing but still music to my ears! My wife and son would go upstairs and hide behind closed doors. The cat would slink out of the room behind the furniture but my dog, Dixie, reveled in the experience and the attention. Hot chocolate, wine, occasional beer and many laughs. Such good memories. I need to do this again now that I think of it.


 

That's funny, I can relate, my wife and kids give me funny looks and i'm smiling from ear to ear

Go to Top of Page

Jer

United States
44 posts since 8/19/15

01/12/2017 06:56:56 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by eagleisland
 

Jeremy, a suggestion: though it's great that your guitar player is willing to shout out the chords, that actually interrupts HIS musical processes.

So here's a suggestion: get a small white board and eraseable markers. Prop it up on a music stand. The guitarist might be willing to quickly chart out the song for the rest of you - and if you're smart, you'll snap a picture of each chart and circulate it to your buddies so he only has to do this once.

This will also help if you add new players to your circle.

And I'd start looking for a bass player if I was you! wink


 

That's a great idea, I will get a dry erase board. Towards the end of our session he would just nod his head for the chord changes but with the white board I 

would know what chord was coming in advance and anticipate the change.

Go to Top of Page

Jer

United States
44 posts since 8/19/15

01/12/2017 06:59:36 View Jer's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by southernman
 

Jeremy congrats....I sure wish I was closer and could join in. Haven't had lots of luck up here in North Mississippi finding any pickers to get together with.


If your ever passing through my area give me a heads up and maybe I could get some 

people together. If nothing else we could meet for lunch/dinner and talk banjos.

Go to Top of Page

SteveMurtha

United States
237 posts since 1/8/13

01/12/2017 07:56:31View SteveMurtha's MP3 Archive View SteveMurtha's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Here's another solution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bexIdm0awwo

Go to Top of Page

eagleisland

United States
12591 posts since 12/2/05

01/12/2017 08:03:36View eagleisland's MP3 Archive View eagleisland's Photo Albums View eagleisland's Blog Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by SteveMurtha
 

Here's another solution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bexIdm0awwo


bigbigbig

Go to Top of Page

teakinmnPlayers Union Member

United States
147 posts since 11/4/14

01/12/2017 08:34:06View teakinmn's MP3 Archive View teakinmn's Photo Albums View teakinmn's Blog Reply with Quote

I go to a great beginner's jam every other Tuesday night, and an open, faster-paced jam on Thursdays which is attended by the guitar player that leads the Tuesday night session. He's a rock-solid rhythm guy, annouces the chords at the beginners jam and keeps us all on pace. Sometimes he doesn't make it to the Thursday night deal, so if we don't have another guitar player it means rhythm is (supposedly) kept by banjo, fiddle, and mando players. Almost all tunes tend to speed up by the time we finish them!

Go to Top of Page

Craig_BPlayers Union Member

United States
619 posts since 11/22/09

01/12/2017 12:04:58 View Craig_B's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Jermey, hang onto that group - they're worth their weight in gold. A few friends and I tried to set up a similar, regular session, and it fell apart due to conflicts in schedules. Everyone could make it to the near-pro-level Tuesday night sessions, but every other Saturday for the slower, relaxed, beginner-friendly one wasn't do-able. Go figure.

Go to Top of Page

Tim13Players Union Member

United States
2787 posts since 4/1/08

01/13/2017 13:04:24View Tim13's MP3 Archive View Tim13's Classified Ads View Tim13's Photo Albums View Tim13's Blog Reply with Quote

My advice to you is to find a bass player, and an advanced beginner/intermediate fiddle player, and then close that jam.  A small group or jam band is where you will learn in spades.  Once a jam starts to grow, and you approach or exceed double digits in participants, then a jam can actually be detrimental to your playing, and it's only value will be for the social aspect. 

Right now it's perfect for working out chords, timing, and backup.  If the jam grows, it becomes people playing too loud, over the wrong chords, and you can forget timing.....lol.

Tim

Go to Top of Page

Kenneth Logsdon

United States
12233 posts since 8/14/03

01/13/2017 14:45:36View Kenneth Logsdon's MP3 Archive View Kenneth Logsdon's Photo Albums View Kenneth Logsdon's Blog Reply with Quote

Yept.. That's not really a jam.. Just a group of friends makin music at someones house.. Best thing in the world to learn and develop at. Then as you/everyone progresses, expand as you get skills/ ready to attend a full blown jam..


Edited by - Kenneth Logsdon on 01/13/2017 14:47:15

Go to Top of Page

Beardog

United States
1499 posts since 8/20/08

01/13/2017 17:01:38View Beardog's MP3 Archive View Beardog's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

Good thread. I've enjoyed reading it. People holding guitars at jams are a dime a dozen. But, a good rhythm guitarist is getting very hard to find. If you have one, keep him/her happy! A good banjo player is nice in a jam, as is a good fiddler, mandolinist, and bassist. However, without a rock solid rhythm guitarist, you often find yourself wandering aimlessly through songs.

Go to Top of Page

Ybanjo

United States
415 posts since 11/15/09

01/17/2017 13:51:17 View Ybanjo's Photo Albums Reply with Quote

I hate open jam sessions. They just never seem to work out. The good players do good and the weak players feel bad. Plus, they are too controlled and organized. About a year after learning the banjo, my teacher put together a small group of us "older beginners" and we learned how to play as a group. It was the most valuable part of learning the banjo. That was six years ago, and that group is still getting together every week for a jam session. We work on songs as if we were playing at some event, even when we aren't. We have played at several local events, though. Sounds like your group is much like ours. Stick with that kind of group for as long as you can.

Go to Top of Page

 

 

Page: of 2
Next Page

 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print

Jump To:

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!




You are not logged in.
Log In


Not a member? Create an Account (FREE!)



3246 BANJO LOVERS ONLINE

HOME | FORUMS | MEMBERS | MEDIA ARCHIVE | TABS & LESSONS | CLASSIFIEDS | REVIEWS | LINKS | CALENDAR | STORE | TERMS OF USE
Viewing desktop version - switch to mobile version