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Go jamming!

Posted by erstokke on Sunday, February 10, 2008

In Norway there aren't any jams to go to, so I put in an ad and then invited them to my house. In the US, I guess you need a pretty large house to do that, but here it is OK. Three guys showed up, another one had got the flu.

I learned a few things: 1. My RK banjo is LOUD. There was no trouble cutting through the sound of a Martin HD28 and dobro. This however calls for caution. The best dynamic sound was when picking very quiet backup and then digging in on the solos. Anyway, this banjo rules!

2. My picking was much better than I thought. I was afraid that I wasn't good enough with my half year of bluegrass picking (not completely true, I played banjo back in the 1970s). But I was able to follow songs in almost any key and I even improvised a solo on 'Nine Pound Hammer' and a few other songs.

3. We all needed to practice more how to start and end the songs.

4. Everybody makes mistakes - but it doesn't matter much if you keep in tune and in tempo.

5. When playing with others, it is very important that each musician are aware of their instrument's role. And when someone plays solo, all the other musicians' task is to make that solo sound good.

But my main message to everyone is this: Don't just stay at home (well I was actually at home) but reach out and find other musicians. They can even be found here in Norway.

11 comments on “Go jamming!”

PruchaLegend Says:
Monday, February 11, 2008 @1:49:30 AM

Sounds like you had a great time. I'd sure like to join you but I'm in the US...a little too far away. You sure had a good idea about advertising or some people.
Just keep picking and grinning.

flowerofthewest Says:
Monday, February 11, 2008 @2:12:59 AM

Good tips :-)

Sounds like you had a good time and learned a lot.


wrightedward Says:
Monday, March 10, 2008 @1:06:32 PM

Yes you have had a good time and your Go Jamming is great .But i still must say thanks for the backup work you post for us to use and i use it ,thank you

wrightedward Says:
Monday, March 10, 2008 @1:07:05 PM

Yes you have had a good time and your Go Jamming is great .But i still must say thanks for the backup work you post for us to use and i use it ,thank you

stinkyfingers Says:
Saturday, March 15, 2008 @3:33:11 PM

I am even farther from you but I am still hoping to get some sort of bluegrass jam together here. Doubt there are any other bluegrass players but there's a decent art and music community here. If I can't make bluegrass then I can at least contribute a bluegrass sound to the local Gaucho music ;) There's an instrument down here called the Charango that I am also thinking about checking out, sort of a mix between a ukelele and a mandolin.

mr tatto Says:
Saturday, April 5, 2008 @3:38:07 PM

sounds like good stuff i just love to jam me and my buddies go down to the local bar each sunday evnin and we jam all night just for fun and the beer of course

Tam_Zeb Says:
Thursday, June 19, 2008 @6:13:40 AM

Good Afternoon Jan.

I really enjoyed listening to your backing tracks.. In particular Wildwood Flower by the Carter Family  which is a great favoritte of mine and one of the tunes which set me on the road to taking up the banjo.

You have a nice deep throaty sound on your guitar what make is it?

I have downloaded a few of your tracks to help me with my practice sessions. Thank you so much for sharing them with us..

I am heading out to my first jam session this evening after only two months learning to play.. I just hope I dont make too many mistakes.



erstokke Says:
Thursday, June 19, 2008 @10:18:27 AM

Good luck on the jam. You'll do all right if you are in time and in tune - and don't play too loud. The guitar on my backing tracks is a 1974 Swedish handmade guitar Levin model 174. It is a dreadnought with mahogany back and sides, spruce top and ebony fingerboard. It has one unusual feature - action is adjustable for each string separately. It is a great guitar, but not loud enough for live acoustic bluegrass. Levin Company was established in 1900 and made lutes, guitars and mandolins. They were among the best manufacturers in Europe. In the mid 1970s, Levin was aquired by C.F. Martin, but they close down the factory about ten years later. Levin made some D-18 guitars for C.F. Martin. there are some speculations on why Martin chose to close down the factory. Some say they aquired the company just to get hold of the huge stock of high quality woods, others say that Martin felt threathened by the superior quality of the instruments. The thruth, however, is probably that at this time, there was great competition from high quality instruments made in Japan. The Swedish made instruments became too expensive. In the US, Martin sold the Levin made instruments under the name "Goya". A picture of the guitar here (not mine, but same model): More about Levin here (mostly in Swedsish):

mweston Says:
Saturday, October 3, 2009 @3:00:52 AM

HI Thor,

I see you're from Norway. My wife is from Norway and I've visited there twice. I have something I think that can help you. It's called "Band in a Box" by PG Music. There are many sites you can go to to get BB songs. These give you BB background music to play along with, and it's fun. You want ot consider getting BB and make your own BB background arrangements.


townz Says:
Friday, April 23, 2010 @8:32:00 AM

Hi eric you living in oslo gives you a jumbo start on contacts the only attempt i have managed here in krager was when you came back after the festival in risr, i was so tensioned it went one way eh?have tried to get contact here abouts but no luck ,should maybe moveto the west country seems a lot more interest there than hereabouts, i recommend also the jamming dvd by pete wernick they are my house band?? by the way anyone else who reads this should be aware of the fantastic job you (eric)do in promoting bluegrass over here in the land of the trolls. hope to see you in risr. keep at it regards mick.

rickshunter1 Says:
Monday, January 3, 2011 @7:53:38 AM

I agree jamming with others is the way I like all your backup tracks you have will help me in my Banjo learning as a newbie

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