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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Jam busters......


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/381484

wrench13 - Posted - 02/22/2022:  04:57:41


In the local BG jam sessions, which re not hard core BG jams, song choice goes round the circle, instrumental or singer, doesn't matter. Occasionally someone will throw a tune or song that is not a 'standard' or has a more complicated structure. Its there that we can see a players versatility and ability to think on their feet. The structure is expected to be explained, any odd or one beat chords noted. Tunes or songs with specific rests are also laid out. I have no issues with any of that, but some of the pickers will b**** and moan when it occurs.

How are your local jams conducted? I'd like to get feedback to channel it thru some of the organizers of the local jams.

250gibson - Posted - 02/22/2022:  07:47:16


The way I look at it is if most people at the jam moan and complain about an off tune, then it is probably best to call another. No one will have fun except the person that called it. If it is only a few that moan or complain, then they can try to play along or sit out. With situations like these it benefits to cater to the masses.

Old Hickory - Posted - 02/22/2022:  08:10:39


At the jams I've attended, it's always up to the tune caller to clearly explain and even demonstrate any unfamiliar song. If they can't do that and if a consensus of the group is "we can't do it," it's a jam-buster and the person has to pick another song.



Went to my first jam in two years last night!  No jam busters. Don't recall anything with more than four chords. Only a few needed more than a moment's explanation. All intermediate-to-advanced players, so I think something more complex might have flown. It was great to see so many familiar faces.

phb - Posted - 02/22/2022:  08:17:44


Well, a bit of moaning and complaining is ok to me, it's like growing pains. I sometimes make some remarks that some would call moaning or complaining. But I'm willing to try pretty much anything. If I mess up, I spoil their song, not mine.


Edited by - phb on 02/22/2022 08:31:57

Texasbanjo - Posted - 02/22/2022:  08:27:02


In our jams, if we introduced a new song that has "off chords" or weird chord structure, we usually explain it before playing it. I used to take my guitar to jams when I introduced something new. People could watch my fingers and know which chords I was playing. That usually worked pretty well. If the majority liked the new song, we would work on it in future jams. If the song wasn't liked, it usually went by the wayside.

steve davis - Posted - 02/22/2022:  08:49:23


You need to be ready for anything when going to a jam.Some "fit" better than others.

Richard Hauser - Posted - 02/22/2022:  17:43:17


I think that identifying potential problems before they occur is a good idea. Some folks, me for instance, are distracted by other players mistakes. I have to credit software apps for my development as a banjoist, and these apps don't make many mistakes. You should not have players "hunting" for the right chords either.
And some players will not have to sit there with their instruments in their lap because they don't know a tune.

Finally, some folks P&M no matter what happens.

BeeEnvironment - Posted - 02/22/2022:  17:48:40


Pete Seeger and many other old timers only needed the key and time of the song (mostly folk), to accompany others, even if they never heard the song before. I hope to get that good someday!

steve davis - Posted - 02/23/2022:  13:50:26


Playing songs I've never heard before is my favorite part of a jam.

mrbook - Posted - 02/23/2022:  18:25:59


I started out as a kid in folk jams, where they announced the song and key, and I had to watch and play along. I learned quickly, and enjoy the challenge. I love playing a song I've heard for years, but never had a chance to play before. When my time comes around, I try to pick a song I like that I think everyone can play. Even if someone can't take a break I hope they can play in the background. Some players think of their turn as their chance to show off (which it is, to some degree), or they pick a song they love that is too complicated for half the people to follow. There are a lot of good songs that everyone can play, and the good players can still show off their hot licks.

wrench13 - Posted - 02/24/2022:  05:02:29


So I will note that singers can be fairly easy to get the hang of quickly and on the fly; heck I do sideman jobs with country bands all the time and all I need is the key to play a decent break -may not be THE break from the recording but... However, in jams, calling for an instrumental tune, especially fiddle tunes, leaves a lot of players in the lurch, hence the M&G-ing. I know when I call for one that's not well known, i go over the bare bones of the melody first; thems that improve over that are welcome to. Keeps the jam interesting and folks can learn new stuff. Only so many times one can play 'Cripple Creek' without looking for greener pastures.


Edited by - wrench13 on 02/24/2022 05:03:17

1935tb-11 - Posted - 02/24/2022:  06:45:19


i usually let the go through it once to see where everything is going ,,and most of the time i can get the progressions figured out enough to pick one. but for others it may be a nightmare or enough to just sit out,, which brings the jam down.

Richard Hauser - Posted - 02/27/2022:  09:22:50


It seems that there isn't a problem when the jammers are experienced competent players. Unfortunately, finding a jam like this can be difficult. Good musicians want to play with musicians have comparable playing skills. More than once I have seen a very good musician come to jam, and never attend the jam again.

steve davis - Posted - 02/28/2022:  15:14:01


I attend jams that are of professional musicians or folks that rarely leave the living room.
What keeps me coming back to a jam is the one that includes everyone.The jam that doesn't judge.

The "Roost" jam over in Gorham was very inclusive and forgiving of newcomers as was Dicky Pelletier's 4th weekend.I find players that happily include everyone to be the easiest to get along with and the ones I laugh with and respect the most.Lucien Mathiau comes to mind.

The jam at the Sail Power and Steam Museum every Sunday from 1:30 to 4 is a beautiful example of people from everywhere physically and musically getting together for whatever might happen.This one has a bit of an audience and anywhere from 10 to 20 musicians encircling the audience in the middle/no sound system.

Yesterday the drummer had a couple of solos...the last one being a nice syncopated "latin" beat on a mini drumset/small bass and tom.It was my turn next and I said his latin rhythm got me thinking of Caravan which surprised him and he loved it.I just played it once through with him and he was all over it.

Everybody seemed to like it,but twice through would have been overreaching.A couple of the guitar players were asking me about Caravan as we were packing up and I half expect them to have it learned next week.

wrench13 - Posted - 02/28/2022:  15:27:49


At the main one on LI, we will sometimes separate into 2 jams, one a slow jam for beginners, lead by one of the senior members, bring them back in later on to play with the full group. BTW 'Caravan' is great tune, which can be brought to bluegrass feeling, as evidenced by its inclusion in David Brombergs version of 'Lee Highway Blues'. I can see that being a bit of a consternation in a regular bluegrass based jam session, the middle 8 is a bit tricky. I get the stink eye when I call 'Minor Swing'.

Paul R - Posted - 03/01/2022:  10:23:11


At the jam I used to attend, we usually gave the song title and key. At first, most of the players were competent enough to go with that. If a song had a more complicated chord structure, players would sometimes print up cheat sheets and hand them out. Unfortunately, the jam grew, but the ratio of competent players to beginners diminished. There were evenings when some of us would break off and go to another room. In my experience, big jams are not necessarily good jams.

steve davis - Posted - 03/02/2022:  08:07:06


I think any musical experience has merits.

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