How To Control Your Band When Jamming

Solutions and discussion on how to jam with your band and get music done. A guide on how to get your band started.

Ultimate Guitar

This article is on how to control your band. As many of you know, atleast the ones that are in a band or have had a band, jamming and getting your music DONE is the hardest part. Controlling your band is even harder. This will help you progress your band from making loud noises to making good music.

One of the first annoyances that I found the first time I got together with my band was "control." I could never get them to just stop playing and listen to what I had written for the band. Sure it's easy writing your own stuff by your self, but once you throw in a bassist, another guitarist and a drummer then it's out of control. The most annoying member of the band can be the drummer. The drummer is the key part of the band, but is very loud when he's just fooling around on drums. You can't hear anything. And when it's your first time jamming nothing will get done! So what I did was got my bassist and guitarist and told them to meet me in the park after school with there gear. So we had an unplugged jam in the quite park with no amps and no drums. That means you can get your bassist's parts down the 2 guitars down and the vocals. Never be afraid to sing it's the story of the song. A song just isn't a song until the vocals are thrown in. After we had all the guitar and bass parts done, we decided to jam with our drummer. It was easy! We just played what we had and our drummer threw in his drum parts. Once all thats done you can manage a song. Mind you some people prefer just getting a song done with amps and drums on. Theres nothing wrong with this meathod if you're used to it.

A key part to get your band to listen to what you wrote is pretty much just to tell them to shut up. There's really no other way if you want your band to hear what you wrote. A good way to work together is to write music together. Just because your the vocalist doesn't mean that you write all the lyrics. Or if you're the guitarist your bassist can help you with guitar parts. This is a very good meathod for managing the music. If everybody helps everyone will have their part in it and like what the band wrote.

The next step is equipment. A guitarist only needs ONE guitar for jamming. If your playing a "gig" then you'll need two. Theres always that chance of breaking a string on stage. You'll definetly need an amp louder then your drummers drums. If you are just jamming in your friends basement for example a 65 watt amp will be all you'll need. If you're playing a gig you'll obviously need a higher wattage amp. Some places will have there own amps, but you can't always count on them. Another part of control is to make sure you all want to play the same genre. If your bassist likes metal and your drummer likes ska then it's getting a little over the top. Although you can always compremise. You don't always have to play the same stuff. Make sure your all at the same skill level thats an important factor. You don't want a guitarist who can't even play something you wrote. Make sure your all in the same range.

Well, that's all and I hope this helped you.

101 comments sorted by best / new / date

    people are so harsh im play drums in my band and im not a pain in the ass so it depends on the and anyway...
    black bucket:But yeah the article sucked, he is/was a control freak.
    Splinters: That's a horrble article. To even try to control your band means your a perfectionist and you don't care.
    silent deftones:That's the dumbest thing I've ever read. This was a stupid lesson.
    I thought this article was pretty good, except for the "lyrics make up a song" part.That was bs, you can have a straight instrumental song and make it a legend without vocals but I admit I like songs with vocals better than instrumentals. You had some good tips in here I dont know why everyone is hating. Keep it up people who critize non-constructivly are usually the ones sitting on their asses not ready to write an article willing to help others themselves,so instead the just put the ones who did take the time down. Keep up your good work,much respect.
    I have a guitarist that can't keep up with me its really hard good player but not a fast treble picker, hell ya the drummer can be annoying!!!!
    I am the bassist in my band, and even when we sluff off, we stop after about 5 minutes. This article is not helpful unless you are practicing for a deadline. Being in a band is about making music and having fun, and if you're good, then you'll go far. It's not about being perfect all the time. And to all you people who say "this artiklesux!!1!!11" you all need to calm down, it is pretty useless, but don't constantly bash on it. My view is that there are no standards for how your band works. So this is just a help to those completely lost, if you are so disgusted by this, write your own article.
    nice stuff, i'll probably use this soon. me and some friends have just jamming a little, nothing band-worthy. i use a 60 watt for practice. 175 watt for when i really wanna rattle the windows...
    our drummer tends to go a little crazy at times, but we are actually really under control. we write all our music together but i write all the lyrics. and the amp wattage thing, i practice with a 15 watt crate, which is plenty, but i use a 250 watt Marshall half-stack for gigs and it kicks ***in ass!!!..
    my drummer tends to go off on his own, then i get mad. but i go off on solos too, only difference is he goes on for like 5 or 10 minutes with me staring at him with that look that means shut the *** up, and when i solo or something, i stop after a little while. the loser cant just understand that you cant hear a thing when hes playin.
    yeah i disagree with a lot of this stuff.Im in a band, and the other guitarist and I both use 15 watt amps, but the drums are insanely loud. But thats probably cuz we practice in the this really small basement.and about the goofing off thing, our drummer doesnt goof off really. We actually have four people who can keep a decent beat on drums, so its usually one of the other three just trying something out on the drum set
    i disagree w/ a lot of this, first of all the first few times all u need to do is jam, and then if everyone doesnt want to be serious, it might be time to find someone else if they cannot be convinced. also, at least bring your drummer along w/ u and ur other guitar and other bass, just so he can get some ideas.
    Perfecting it do a degree where it's not your own music is fake is what I'm saying.
    Splinters: That's a horrble article. To even try to control your band means your a perfectionist and you don't care.
    u retard, taking time over a track and trying to perfect it shows that you do care about how your music sounds. Some things are great straight away but doesnt apply to anything and everything. But yeah the article sucked, he is/was a control freak.
    thats a good article and i got that problem too but there isnt much chance of one person controlling them all that just makes you an ass hole you gotta let it flow and hope for the best
    I'm the only girl my band. Just something i noticed well, i think my drummer were the only gay....
    Okay big guy, you're going to have to learn to put your articles through spellcheck before you submit them, MAYBE you could even proofread. By the way, the article was awful, you're band is going to go nowhere, you're an ignorant control freak.
    just make ur drummer play on plastic cups and dishes....atleast its quiter. lol
    My two watt Peavey Micro Cube goes over the drummer for practice... Definately disagree with amp watts, practice I use the Cube or my MG50DFX, yet I also gig with my MG50DFX... fifty watts is gigable
    [I found the best way to shut your drummer up is by hiding his drumsticks!] im buyin the drummer in my band brushes for his bday.
    brokenbenjamin0 have a band...we have like almost a whole album put sux..! But its all good cuz u are jus trying to do your thing so gotta give u some credit...
    I agree mostly on this article. When jamming, I say make sure all of the band members that work out of amps have close the same wats and are powerful enough to sound as loud as the drums if not just a bit louder. Also, no one should overpower anyone else in the band because that can lead to unwanted arguments between everyone. Another thing while jamming: If someone has something to say about someone of the band on how they act or whatnot, do it before you jam to solve future problems. If someone has a riff made, everyone needs to listen, and if it's alright with all the members, start playing around it. You never can form a song. Always keep things level with everyone of the band, and have fun!
    I think there is an artical in there somewhere. Someone has to cunduct practice, NOT control it. My band does three song sets then takes a break to decide what everyone wants to play next, or to discuss what just happened on the last three songs.
    Hi. I wpuld just lik to say that i sort of agree with the bit wen you say
    a song just isn't a song until the vocals are thrown in
    becasue my bands songs are much more enjoyed with vocals becasue it means we can sing along to them and identify them . I say that the key part to a song is catchy vocals. Thats what all the average people notice who cant play an instrument. However saying it isnt a song is going a bit too far.
    oh yeah also that thing about the amps is not true, in fact your generally lower when you play shows then when you jam because you practice in a smaller space which makes for less room for sound to carry which inturn makes everything sound muffled and makes you have to turn up to hear your guitar line over the drums. Also, it depends on the placement of your amps, when we play out i have a cab on each side of the drums and a bass cab on each side as well so the sound is equally distributed and no one is missing out on anything cause theyre on a different side of the room.
    Good article but only to those who have that problem. Im sure alot of people like myself are just naturally in the swing of things with their bassist and drummer. When we mess around, its the only time that we get anything done. Ill play then my drummer and bass player join right in without thinking and they usually turn out to be kick ass songs. I guess you just have to have people who are good enough to be able to jump right in. However, still a good article, keep it up.
    Well i don't care for criticism much. But i wasn't trying to make a statement or offend anyone just trying to put out a few pointers. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani aren't a band. They are solo musicians. MUSICIANS. This is an article on how to control your band. I'm glad some of you liked it. But most of you hated it or had something gay and offensive to write but, whatever. By the way there weren't many spelling mistakes in this article at all. And if there was i was typing quickly and judging from what half of you wrote maybe you should spell check yours too.
    i have used this before....its really important to have a guitarist/bassist practice.....because if youyr drummer is anygood he should be able to pick up your song and make a beat fairly easy...good article
    Evil Noodle
    Well, i half agree...Keeping everyones attention focused is hard...We all like to goof off and play our own shit...or just do a duet with the drummer (i'm a guitarist)...There's alays room to have some fun...There's lots of time to make music...The only annoying thing is when your rythms guitarisy is out of time...Or just doesn't ***ing wanna play...Gah! I think skill level is important...Drummers rock, it's pointless without them...
    Bulletbass man
    i should give this to my guitarist so he looks at my songs his songs blow its not even funni he comes and i rewrite 90% of it and he calls it his own when were jamming
    yeh this aint to bad cept your talkin alot of crap man. i need a jcm800 to hear my guitar over my drummer when we jam. if you start tellin everyone to shut up then your not going to come across as a nice bloke to jam with.
    ever heard of a guy named joe satriani? maybe? possibly? or steve vai? "a song isnt a song until it has lyrics" or some crap like that, tell that to them. and also ideas SPAWN while you are jamming, watch john petruccis rock discipline tape, he even says thats how they write their songs. how about walk this way, if the "annoying" drummer wouldnt have come in with that intro then the song wouldnt have been half of what it was.
    Kyle Curl
    drummers usually do mess round but it can be a good thing. My last drummer, before he took off to indiana, was a complete nut. But we still seemed to get through a jam without problems. and as for "controlling" your band, think of some kind of siganls. I just kind of give my bassist and drummer a head nod or yell at them, they get the point.
    Bassplayer17: I am the bassist in my band, and even when we sluff off, we stop after about 5 minutes. This article is not helpful unless you are practicing for a deadline. Being in a band is about making music and having fun, and if you're good, then you'll go far. It's not about being perfect all the time. And to all you people who say "this artiklesux!!1!!11" you all need to calm down, it is pretty useless, but don't constantly bash on it. My view is that there are no standards for how your band works. So this is just a help to those completely lost, if you are so disgusted by this, write your own article. [POSTED: 01 November 2004 - 21:43]|
    Pointless article. DO you know what "controlling" your band will do? It'll lead to a huge fight and you losing some friends. so true
    drummer(s) that i jam with are not that bad as they always listen everyone else but my friend plays guitar and he always has his amp up the loudest and always have to play the songs he wants so now we just ditch him or don't ask him
    for jamming you can also have your drummer use "hot rods" (the little sticks all wraped together) he will be alot quiter and its easy to jam when someone is not way over everyone elese...also try not to start power wars..have an agreement that if someone has a cool riff or peice to show yall turn off your amps put down your sticks and listen to him.....
    your not supposed to control your band when jamming! thats why its jamming! its supposed to be improvised thats how you get alot of your ideas.
    Pyro. I think you mean a Roland Cube, not Peavey..? Or maybe you are lying to us all and can't play worth a dick.
    Apart form the fact that you said a song needs vocals is aload of bull the rest is gd.
    The park idea is indeed the highlight of the article. However, the -attitude- toward the drummer could've been approached more respectfully, as well as treating them as an essential part. And on a much more important note: why would you want to control creativity?
    Emergancy Exit
    lol i think the 65 watt+ is a lil over the top but whatever my idea of keeping the drummer under controll is to be incharge of his drumsticks.....
    Burn in hell
    You guys suck... The first time my band got together we whent through all the popular songs we knew and wrote 3 instrumentals.
    ^ah yea j/k...i do have a band though...i wish i had an album...hell...i wish i had a microphone and a recorder...