Jamming With Your Band

These are my ideas on how to make a really good jam with a group of people or your "band", so that you can leave with a smile thinking "Damn, that was fun!"

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Ok, some people may think this is just a copycat of the "How to play effectively with a band" column, but these are my 2 cents on how to make a good jam session with a bunch of your friends and actually come out thinking "Damn, that was fun!"

First of all, you wanna get alot of different kind of players to jam with, but who can all get along and are willing to learn new things. I've been playing for a year plus now, and i've jammed with alot of different people. The most important thing you have to do is be open to other people's suggestions and ideas. I've done alot of jams where everyone just wanted to show off what they can do, and i've literaly had about 3 different songs being played by 3 different guitarists at once, and believe me, its no fun. Everyone is too busy trying to show off and show each other up that nobody is actually listening to anyone but themselves.

Next, you want to make sure you have a good bass player. I haven't really played with that many bass players unfortunately because not many people play bass around here, but i have played with 1 really amazing bassist, who knew his scales and chords and as soon as he heard a song was able to play along without having the faintest idea what we were playing. That is really important, i think too many people underestimate how valuable a good bassline is in a song.

Now you need a good drummer. You don't necissarily need John Otto there but you need someone who can play along with the tempo of the guitarists and get the feel of the song quickly. You need someone who knows what they're doing, knows how to make a few nice fills when they're needed, and if they want who can pull out a solo without killing the entire song.

Finally, you need organization. I know this sounds weird but hear me out. Once you have all the elements together, what will make or break the jam is whether or not you are all on the same page. If you have people constantly trying to change what everyone is doing then nothing will ever sound right.

Now i know what you are all wondering, what is the point of all this? Well my point is, if you can find a group of people who you can actually jam with and make some songs that you know sound good, then my friend you may have just found yourself a band. I can't tell you how many people have seen me play guitar, invited me to practice with their band to see if i would want to join, and then completely turn me off because i cant play well with them.

I've jammed with Metal Rockers, Hip-Hop enthusiasts, Classic Rockers, Blues Lovers, and some people who don't even fit into any category that I can think of. But the best jams have always come with a little bit of everything. In the end all that matters is what you can make with your friends. All that matters is whether you make music, or just noise.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    blueweezer
    I'm trying to start a band, and I think that your article was excellent. I now know that you have to be more open to others songs, and not just turn them down every time they play a song thats just stupid because they might actually know what there doing and it may also sound better in the long run. Thanks!
    shaunty
    one thing that does my head in with my band. my guitarist has got tyrat syndrome(i think thats how u spell it lol) and wen we r playing he like his hand would twitch and he'd go really fast and it sounds stupid shall i get a new guitarist???
    starLips
    my band will blow all of u out of the room! there's 8 of us! so deal with that!!!!!
    hippypants
    8 of you? What do you all do? I'll guess and say drummer, bass, 3 guitars, decks, 2 vocalists or maybe a wind intrument?
    Bassman13
    it seems alot of these people haven't been in bands, and some not even for long, why do u make the process so weird, get some friends, and learn to play, i've been in a band for 2 years
    MJ6Music
    OK, thanks for the comments everyone, I didn't think i would get so many comments about this . . . To all those who complimented me: Thanks! This was my first article and i really appreciate it. To all those who said its just about the obvious, all i have to say is if its that obvious how come so many people can't seem to do this? Please realize i would have gone alot deeper into each aspect of the jam/band but i wrote this article in about 5 minutes. Hope to get more comments soon, thanks everyone! PS - All those who wrote shiyet like "i hope u die" can just go blow a goat . . . I don't see you writing any articles or trying to help out someone who doesn't really know anything about how to start a band :-D
    magpies
    this article's really good. but i don't really have a problem with my band. i mean, it's just the three of us girls and we really get a long together very well. coz' one of them is my twin sister and the other one's a good friend of mine from church. but this article would really be a big help to those who wanna go jammin' with their friends...good job!
    joestrummer
    im primarily a drummer and have jammed with a few different people in the school. i have been fortunate enough to play with the most talented guitarist of my age group i have ever seen/heard. and the main point, you cant beat a good jam
    joestrummer
    whoever said bass is boring - bass is only boring if all you do with it is play root notes etc. all you have to do is look at the funky bass lines that flea comes up with, bass is only boring if you make it.
    the fendernator
    the best way to make band practices fun is to puta hamster in the bass drum and fight each other whilst playing. it dusnt sound that cool but its fun
    talking_goat
    I like jam too. Seriously though, a good jam is measured not in what it produces, but what it means to the band members. Nothing better than a good session of about 3 hours where you don't do anything but play.
    Bassman13
    listen if u guys are SERIOUSE about your band, the best thing u can do to learn about it is reading this book, the "Indie Band Bible" or something liek that... it's written so well, points out everything you'de ever need to know!
    blueweezer
    I'm trying to start a band, and I think that your article was excellent. I now know that you have to be more open to others songs, and not just turn them down every time they play a song thats just stupid because they might actually know what there doing and it may also sound better in the long run. Thanks! BLUEWEEZER
    SoulsAfterDeath
    Your article is really good, what sucks is,... I CANT NOBODY! ! But this article is inspiring me more that i was already ! THX FOR TIPS MAN!!!
    tightrope_SRV
    I Agree man, jamming with 3 or more can be hell, its no fun when your tryin to play the same song and the other guy is screwing it up. or hes a classical player showboating and im playin country, doesnt fill. Jam with a diverse group. Nu-metalers, goth, punk, blues jazz ect. ive learned alot that way!!
    Riplackish
    I jammed with my band today, we finally finished a song (our first) and we started another one today. Even though the guitarist isn't the greatest, it is a blast! One big problem with a band that when one person comes up with an idea/good riff, then the bass and drummer have to make parts up to it. it gets very chaotic. i suggest have people take their turns. and don't switch song ideas until one is complete.
    DefTool
    im not even in a band and i dont get to jam with guys very offten but when i do its the greatest thing ever. and its true when one or two guys are doing their own thing it really f***s stuff up, at least for me. so anyway nice artical and maybe those *******s who messup jam sessions will learn something.
    turinbrakes
    that sucked, you were literally just saying get a good drummer, a good bassist and a good guitarist...WELL DUHHHH
    one_people
    That wernt s*** it may of been kinda obviously but has some valid points dunnnit?
    PeaRce
    Pretty good. My problem is that we are makiing a CD for a college course. There are seven of us. All together it is 3 guitarists, 3 bassists, 2 crappy drummers, 1 crappy pianist and 2 trumpeters! Now, anyone got an idea for that one!
    bassrevolution
    this is an excellent article. i think that my band has a good orginazation and we fit into every catagory and we have fun practcing. but now i am going to have to be open to other people's ideas because i am not open to other people
    TBCIV
    I like how people that have only been playing a year are writing all the tips articles. This is a pretty "no duh" article. If u had some real specifics it would be better (i.e. starting slow counting off beats) and Monty if your drummer is too loud, you can put a pillow in his bass drum and tape up his other stuff to muffle 'em. if that doesn't work you can get earplugs and turn the guitar/bass way the *** up.
    hippypants
    *** i need ear plugs but then you don't get the class sound of a real crunchy distortion. and i like the high pitched buzzing in my ears after a good jam, y'know its bad but its really good. drummers need to learn to shut the *** up sometimes.
    Munje
    Is that so? Can you link one of your songs please, you asshat?
    TheFourHorsemen
    "I haven't really played with that many bass players unfortunately because not many people play bass around here, but i have played with 1 really amazing bassist, who knew his scales and chords and as soon as he heard a song was able to play along without having the faintest idea what we were playing. That is really important, i think too many people underestimate how valuable a good bassline is in a song." I agree. A bassist should know his scales and chords. I only know a little bit of the C scale BUT I know a whole lot of chords, so I can just pick up a bass and play along by playing the root of the chord being played. What helped me learn my chords is that I played guitar before playing bass. I am bass in a band with a _VERY_ good drummer. He modeled his playing after the drummer for Dave Matthews, and he's been playing for at least 10 years... I suggest you seek out someone who has at least one influence in the drummer position.
    dcoyle4040
    "Finally, you need organization. I know this sounds weird but hear me out. Once you have all the elements together, what will make or break the jam is whether or not you are all on the same page. If you have people constantly trying to change what everyone is doing then nothing will ever sound right." This means communicating with the rest of the band even if it means someone has to step up and say hey lets try that again a little slower, or faster or what have you. Dont just say nothing like a song sounded good when everyone knows it didnt.