Is "Jamming" a Myth?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Bones, May 5, 2016.

  1. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    that's my kind of jam. Unfortunately, it seems that many "jams" these days are just about playing known (and already-overplayed) blues-rock songs as close as possible to the most-popular post-1970 version, while some guy spins endless solos. I recently played bass at a "jam". We started on a well-known and far-to-often-played classic rock number; it was boring as hell, so I started changing it up a bit. One or two of the guys got it right away, the rest were confused. Some of them followed along, and some of them looked pissed off, laid their guitars down and walked away. Some even made a comment about "waste of time, f---ing disaster..."
     
  2. srinivassa

    srinivassa Tele-Meister

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    Jamming is weird. A bunch of people who jam just bring their own stuff and play it. Not a lot of people can listen to what's being played and play along with it. I can often. Most people just all try to mash in their own stuff to what is being played. If people don't work together, it can sound like a mess. I usually take jamming as an opportunity to learn to play along with other people's stuff. Then, if someone calls for it, I'll play my stuff and let other people play along with me. It works better that way. You won't find many people who do it like that.
     
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  3. Twisted Kerle

    Twisted Kerle Tele-Meister

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    I grew up with nothing but jamming. Gpa would head to wherever the party was and just sit in. They would all sit down and just talk a bit and riff some. A little more social lube and some songs would start to pop out. By the end of the night we where all dancing and having a good time.
    When someone of equal skill to gpa would show up (or a big ego) it would sometime break into a 'head cutting' contest. IMO the cream of a good jam when done right. With a good backing band they can go on for hours with many players spanning allot of musical genres.
    Gpa was a natural born talent tho. He could pick up and play most instruments. (except harmonica... That drove him nuts...) he also would play WITH people, not necessarily lead them. He liked to have fun and play music with anybody & he could play with all skill levels.
    He never joined any specific band but sat in with lots of them.
    Person note: I would love to bring Gpa's NoCaster to a jam when it gets out of the luthier. Anybody on the Seattle / Pacific NW got a jam coming up? All this talk got me itching...
     
  4. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I will jam with ANYBODY...ANYTIME... until I feel I either am not able to contribute or the folks I'm jamming with aren't inspiring to me or each other. That rarely happens...

    The type of jamming I usually fall into is the several guitars, maybe a bass or acoustic bass and a couple vocal mics. Almost without fail there are no drums. That's fine! When you have lot's of guitars the opportunity to "fill in the cracks" becomes a building block to avoid duplication of guitar parts. If the folks you are playing with are perceptive and creative you won't need any drums. The rhythm of the beats and backbeats will cover just fine.

    I'm not a good player but I am able to find stuff not already taken and thicken up the mix. If everyone plays the same notes and the same rhythm it will put you right to sleep...
     
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  5. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister

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    No teles, but also no talk, no plans, no rehearsal, no songs)
     
  6. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I remember one jam in particular that was at my friend's party. There was about 10 of us, mostly on acoustics, a fiddler, a uke, and some percussion. I only knew 3 of these people. One of the guitarists I didn't know had a great idea. He said, let's play alphabetically, and it worked really well, it was fun, and it kept the jam flowing.

    Example: Let's say the 10 of us are in a circle. Someone starts with A. You can choose a song title (And I Love Her), or a band (Alice Cooper). Then it goes clockwise or whatever, with the next person doing B.

    Now maybe this method removes some of the spontaneity which makes jams special, but I like the fact that it allows everyone to participate, and eliminates the "ball hogs".
     
  7. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    God I wish jamming was a myth.

    Then there'd be no reason for the Sirius "Jam On" channel and all the bands they play on it...
     
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  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I wish I still had time to jam.
    Best one I ever had included a member of Billy Joel's band and a member of Frampton's band.
    Those guys could JAM!
    It would start with a basic tune that everybody knew, but then different themes came in and out...suddenly we were doing stuff in unison...the "jam band" thing was really happening.
    The key is everybody has to know what the f... they're doing.
    It also helps to have an audience.
    That way players feel like they need to keep listeners interested and it doesn't sink into wankery.
     
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  9. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    This sounds fun, great tunes!


    The other guy I'm playing with is working on his chops too. His parts are a little busy and so I look at/hear what he's doing and try and use other inversions. When you have two guitars, it's a great opportunity to rethink parts on the fly. On one song, I used my tremolo pedal to play whole note washes against what he was playing. It was fun.
     
  10. jddub440

    jddub440 Tele-Holic

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    Jammin is for real
     
  11. doc.d

    doc.d TDPRI Member

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    Exactly - when everybody understands it is not THEIR show, but everybody gets a niche to shine.
    Which in turn means, you gotta leave room for the other persons on stage to shine...

    I loved the last two sentences - Excellent point: audience, they're less forgiving. Your fellow bandmembers may let you noodle your 20 minute 1/32nds solo, with hardly more than a sigh, but an audience might get bored.

    (...then again: in 20 minutes I can hardly get through all my preprogrammed sounds... ;-) - I really hope y'all know I'm only kidding...)

    doc.
     
  12. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Love the stories....maybe some day I'll really be able to jam?

    Here is a Newbie Jam
    I Listen to my friend Chris bulldoze thru part of a Beatles song.
    Then, he listens to me rip the guts out of an AC/DC song.

    We go back and forth until we run out of riffs that we know...or fall off the stools laughing. I ended the last belting out Strawberry Wine.

    Then we have a beer and try and catch the end of the Tigers game.

    I really admire folks that can play. I aspire to get there someday!
     
  13. Coach56

    Coach56 One of the Boys

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    Yes, yes it is.

    A year or so ago one of my neighbors invited 7 musicians over to his house. Most of us had never met and Larry was the one connection. We had six guitar players and one mandolin player. Everyone had an acoustic, two of us had 12 strings, and I also brought my Strat and a small amp over.

    We started playing around 6:30 pm and did not stop until after 2:00 on the morning. It was the most perfect musical experience since my youth.

    It can be done if everyone checks their ego at the door and you all just really want to play.
     
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  14. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    My friends and I always have great jam sessions. I recommend keeping jams set to chord progressions that keep the song in the same key throughout unless everyone is very familiar with the other players. My top songs to Jam to are
    1. Muffin man- easy to pick up, and it can go on for hours without losing the fun

    2. Maggot brain- standard E minor blues, but super fun

    3. Watermelon in Easter hay- if you want to jam outside of the standard chord progressions this is your best friend

    4. Astronomy domine- warning, quite a few key changes

    5. Green onions- great for when you have keys in the jam session

    6. Any jazz standards- super fun, but never do any standards unless EVERYONE is well versed in modal playing and key changes (unless you want a wreck)
     
  15. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    My experience with it is mixed and entirely depends on the skill of the musicians involved to pick up and follow something they may not have heard before. I usually have no problem picking things up quickly and adding to the music because I have always jumped at the opportunity to do so and the experience helps a lot. As long as at least one person can anchor the rhythm and establish chord changes without absurd and unexpected weirdness I can fit in. I look for this skill in others.

    I do a regular informal gig with a mixed group of talent that, while most of the tunes we play again and again, we are always open to someone bringing new tunes. Most of these tunes are usually very easy to pick up, at least for me.
     
  16. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Which one was Cheney?
     
  17. Darkness

    Darkness Tele-Afflicted

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    Jamming is infinitely more enjoyable than regurgitating music written by others. If I want to hear that "song", I'll put the CD or Vinyl on.
    Musicians aren't meant to be automatons, but creative forces. For me, the only exception to this rule is if you're getting paid to regurgitate said "songs" at a gig.
     
  18. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    My experience is it's usually terrible. A bunch of guitar players killing time till they solo over really simple and boring changes. I love improvisation and love jazz but most rock based "jam sessions" are pretty dismal. "ok, now watch me stomp on this pedal and play MY collection of pentatonic licks!"

    Unless the musician are really good, you need a lot of structure to make something like that work. I'm not saying it's never useful, clearly it can be, but I generally avoid those things like the plague unless there is somebody in charge with a set of songs and a sense of limits.

    How many times have i seen people stand around and say "i dunno, what do you want to play?" Once I proposed "allBlues," the miles tune, at a jam session and most of the people there did not know how to play an Eb9. That's kind of where I gave up on "jam sessions."

    I think learning songs is better practice--you focus on form, you ideally listen for dynamics, you work on playing parts that work together, instead of eight guys standing there playing the same rhythm part and waiting for the chance to noodle over major triads

    Edit: Realize I sound like an unbearable snob here. My attitude is "do what you can to make the best music with the people you are with." So it's not that I'm against beginners. Not at all. But the "jam session" idea reinforces the worst tendency of the bedroom wanker
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
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  19. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Lol. That station is one of the only reasons I keep satellite radio.
     
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  20. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Are jazz musicians a myth? Every jazz musician can jam, or they're not a jazz musician.
    I played a gig where the artist I was backing up decided to make up a song on the spot, just because he felt like it. Everyone improvised parts, including other vocalists, it ended up with different sections and an actual structure, and it wasn't blues, jazz, nor did it use a 1,4,5. It was so good we made up a second, completely different song, and those two songs might have been the best moments of the night. No overplaying or noodling, just thoughtful musicianship and spark. I don't think anyone in the audience believed we made them up on the spot.
     
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