To learn more you must jam!

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To learn more you must jam!

Postby leftyguitarman » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:40 am

I think this is my new philosophy. I started jamming with a guy down the road who had emailed me after I put a thing on Craigslist looking for people to jam with. He's in his mid 30's and plays with another guy his age and has me over all the time for jam sessions. I've noticed my ability to solo and to improvise has greatly increased since I've been jamming with him.

When I lived in Washington, I jammed with my buddy Victor all the time (at least twice a week) but I never really got any better. Mostly, I think, because he was such a great guitar player, I couldn't keep up with him with improvisations and solos, so I only played rhythm. This guy I'm jamming with now encourages me to take the lead (and while he is a better guitarist than me) and I can keep up pretty well. I've usually always felt comfortable with playing rhythm, but I've learned so much from jamming with this guy that now I am comfortable playing lead.

Anyways, I guess all I'm trying to say is jamming really, really, really helps you out. It has helped me tremendous amounts. I fell like I've made more progress in the last couple weeks than I have in the last few months.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby jeffl » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:59 pm

Yeah Lefty, and it gets you accustomed to playing with other musicians, which can be a big step for some people, but it's a major element of playin' music.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby CashWiley » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:32 pm

I love jamming. Especially with folks who have diverse backgrounds. You also discover something about your own musical leanings, I've learned I play blues tinged with a lot of funk/r&b when I'm in a live improv setting. I was originally and art major way back when, and improvisation really kindles the creative flame in a way simply playing cool songs close to the recording does not.

My main gripe about jamming is that most open mics around here START at ten pm. Don't people work any more? How about we start jamming after dinner and shut it down around ten (we do have one great jam a month that does that). Then the kids can come in and play metal or something.

I just learned one of our most veteran gigging bluesmen lives a couple blocks from my house (from my postman who played bass in a band named after a Freddie King song), so hopefully I'll have a solid jamming partner. Not sure how much he plays for fun anymore, but worth a shot.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby boogiechillun85 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:24 pm

Yes, and you must also play live. Those two things quickly help you discover that you're not as good as you think you are. 8)
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby leftyguitarman » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:20 am

boogiechillun85 wrote:Yes, and you must also play live. Those two things quickly help you discover that you're not as good as you think you are. 8)


Or in my case, it helped me discover that I'm better than I thought I was.

Today I was at school and my good friend John introduced me to a kid he went to high school with. The kid loves blues and plays drums. Well the other two guys I've been jamming with love blues and have been looking for a drummer. So tomorrow will be my first ever jam session with drums, bass and two guitars. Should be a blast! I'm stoked! :mrgreen:
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby CashWiley » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:37 pm

That's wicked! I'm envious of your cherry-poppin. Enjoy the moment.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby maxx england » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:18 pm

leftyguitarman wrote:Today I was at school and my good friend John introduced me to a kid he went to high school with. The kid loves blues and plays drums. Well the other two guys I've been jamming with love blues and have been looking for a drummer. So tomorrow will be my first ever jam session with drums, bass and two guitars. Should be a blast! I'm stoked! :mrgreen:


:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby Bournio » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:46 pm

That's cool! Have fun man!

THe title made the thread sound like it was gonna be one of those like Nico's haha.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby texas blues » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:07 pm

That's great Lefty. Personally I don't like jamming with other guitar players. It invariably turns into a "big dick" show. Drum machine and a looper serve me well when I get the itch.....and they don't have egos to get in the way.

Cheers, TB.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby Hublocker » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:05 pm

Yup.

I was a bassist for years and years, even though I've been playing guitar on and off for 41 years.

I started jamming playing mostly rhythm guitar in a little blues jam/group a year ago and the lead singer/guitarist kept giving me solo breaks and it seems every time I do it now, I learn something, or make a mistake and realize what I did, or I try a new lick I took off Youtube or a lesson book and the improvement is noticeable.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby jeffl » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:27 pm

texas blues wrote:That's great Lefty. Personally I don't like jamming with other guitar players. It invariably turns into a "big dick" show. Drum machine and a looper serve me well when I get the itch.....and they don't have egos to get in the way.

Cheers, TB.
I just jam with friends, in a house. No strangers... no egos. No limitations on what we can play. We play out about 3 times in any given year...it's more fun to stay at a safe comfortable place. I feel lucky.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby rockitmarty » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:01 pm

good tips guys, everyone has their own way but its good to hear how others do their thing
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby BluezOldy » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:15 pm

CashWiley wrote:...My main gripe about jamming is that most open mics around here START at ten pm. Don't people work any more? ...


Know what you mean.

The couple of pub jams I go to each week start around 8pm but go through to around 12:30am. They are so much fun that I just have to stay until the end. As I have to get up at 6am I'm always tired (being an old fart has nothing to do with it! :wink: ), but, hey, it's all about the music. :D
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby jeffl » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:40 pm

I've played open mics before, and I prefer the "house jam" I play at weekly. Open mics take more courage, which isn't an issue for me, but it can be a deterrent to newcomers. When open mics get to the point where they aren't very "open" anymore, but rather a situation where all the regulars know each other and they know the same tunes, it can be difficult for a new guy to cut his way in-- unless you can really play the lights out. Nonetheless, it's still great experience for a relative newbie. I prefer the jams hosted in a private setting, not in a pub or bar. My current group has played at the same guy's house forever, and it's dialed for the band..with a "stage" for the drummer, plenty of outlets, plenty of chairs, and a real open environment for guest musicians to come into, which happens occasionally. Mostly, we have musicians come by who know we play there every Tuesday nite. My previous jam bunch was incorporated as a non-profit, so we could funnel our earnings to designated charities, and we could rent public facilities without being denied. So, we secured a lifetime slot at a city park facility for the official cost of $10/nite. They had to beg us to free it up when somebody wanted it for a wedding party or anything else. The cops were always tryin' to cruise by and catch us doin' somethin' illegal, but they never succeeded, and they didn't try too hard obviously. With both groups, it was always the same bunch, plus guests, but the music changed constantly: everybody is constantly workin' on tunes we haven't done before and bringin' 'em to try out. You can smoke or drink anything you want, but gettin' loaded is considered bad form 'cuz it hurts the music quality, and we play 7PM to 10PM, without a break, and anything that gets in the way of the music (like conversations that are not "off to the side") is discouraged. If you play too loud, sometimes somebody'll call it to your attention, which is fine. If you need help figurin' a tune out, somebody'll coach you. It's a great setup.
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Re: To learn more you must jam!

Postby stewie » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:52 pm

I agree completely that jamming/playing with others can greatly improve your own playing. For years I only played on my own and just did it for fun and always enjoyed it. But in the last year-and-a-half I have started playing with a couple groups of people and I do believe I have improved quite a bit in that time. One group is all acoustic and the other is amped so I get the best of both worlds :D The acoustic group is roots-type music - folk/country/blues - which is what I have always loved and always played. We have a nice mix of instruments - guitar, harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, squeeze box, banjo - and I generally play slide since no one else does so it's my contribution to the mix. With the amped group we play some regular rock/blues-type songs but also play more pop-type material which I never played before. Even though some of the songs are not ones I particularly like, it's fun to play them because it forces me to adapt my style of playing to musical styles I normally don't play. Jamming has been especially good for making me step outside of my musical "comfort zone" and forcing me to experiment and try new licks and rhythm styles.
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