#1
I've been playing alone for like 5 years. Played with a bassist for like 2 minutes at guitar center, 2 years ago, which was really fun lol.

What do i need to practice on to get prepared and ready for jamming with other bassists and drummers?


I'll probably plan on jamming with other guitarist after jamming with a bunch of bassists and drummersI like a variety of music, from blues,folk, punk/alt, rock, to metal, so I can jam with all sorts of musicians.

Should i have a huge repertoire of full popular songs that i can play? I can play like 15 full songs front to back, im guessing have like 100 + ?

I'm a good rhythm and lead player. I'm guessing i should really focus on rhythm playing to be on point every time as rhythm is more important when jamming? and learn a bunch of chord progressions and chords? Even if you were mediocre at lead but were amazing at rhythm you could have better jam session than an amazing lead player and a mediocre rhythm player?

What typically happens as a guitarist jamming up with a bassist, drummer or both? Does it consist of mainly doing cover songs? maybe improving some riffs and ideas with them? Can you tell me your experiences with jamming with others?

Im thinking of jamming with a variety of people then eventually finding a band to join.

I basically want to be perfect before my first jam session, im a bit of a perfectionist.
Last edited by musicandthewave at Feb 17, 2015,
#3
Listening. Learning to really lock and and develop a "mind link" with your bandmates is the key to any jam feeling good.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#4
^posts above have invaluable advice, your ears are your most important tool in, well, anything related to music.

And don't be a dick. don't turn your volume up too much, be considerate of others and listen to their ideas and even if you try to reach perfection don't get frustrated if your first jams suck. It's a completely different thing from playing alone and it has it's own pitfalls. Even the simplest songs might take a while if you're inexperienced.

And I cannot stress this enough: Tune your guitar and learn to keep time. If you're out of tune and out of time the jam will suck for everyone.
#5
Keep in mind the context in which you're playing, i.e. no eight-finger tapping on a slow blues tune. (Unless it fits what you're going for of course).

Listen to the other instruments and try to play off each other. (Repetition, imitation, q&a, etc.)

Have fun.
#6
You'll improve much more between your first and second jam sessions than between now and then. Jamming with musicians is a huge part of being a musician and you'll learn so much from doing it. The cool thing about jamming is that a jam is never perfect - its a conversation, not a product!

When you're jamming with a bass player and you're not sure what chords he's playing, start by copying his root notes(If you can't do this by ear, look at his hands!), then harmonize with 3rds and 5ths or power chords. This will give you the key and chord progression and its very important to know!

Personally I like to start a jam by listening to the bassline + groove. Then I'll start throwing in little ornaments and accents, feeling my way around the jam, starting out real slow. Once I'm comfortable I can move into Phase 2 which could be a rhythm part, a solo, a buildup, a repetitive pattern. It depends on the jam.

Just be yourself, the other musicians will respect you for it. Don't be afraid to play real repetitive if you have to. It can be really fun to play something simple and just concentrate on locking in precisely with the drummer. Also don't be afraid of staring at the other musicians when you're playing. You can become very in tune with body language during a jam. Just listen to the music and try to blend in and have fun!
#7
That it sounds good and together regardless of what you play on all counts!

Do everyone follow and enhance each other to play at their higher levels or are each member in there own world and not doing any support to the music.

Is the drummer just boring? The bass? The vocals etc.

Can you go 1-2-3-4 and play a song you never tried to get to sound good?

Knowing the essential parts of any songs is kind the things you should know and not bring it up if you do not know it all. Solos can be improvised. In case of knowing only parts let everyone know that fact before you jam.

But listen and support your band.
#8
I think you learn to jam by just doing it. You can't really practice playing with other musicians by playing alone. It's a way different thing. Jamming is all about communicating. It's not meant to be perfect or anything, it's more like a "conversation". If jams get too thought out, I wouldn't really call that jamming any more.

It's very important to use your ears and listen to what the other musicians are doing. For example pay attention to dynamics. If your drummer adds more intensity to his playing, you also want to add more intensity.

Knowing some songs or having some riffs or chord progressions to show to the other musicians is always great. Because that way you don't have to start from nothing. You have at least something to start with if none of you know what to play for some reason. You may want to learn some jazz standards, and of course 12 bar blues always works if you run completely out of ideas.

Remember that it's not so serious. Making mistakes doesn't matter. Jams aren't meant to be perfect. If something cool happens, it happens. Some jams aren't that special, some jams are awesome.

Once we had a jam that lasted for like an hour and it was just two chords (Fm9 and Dm9). It was awesome. It was so spontaneus - people just grabbed different instruments and started playing.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
Practice with a metronome and playing to records - jamming is all about timing. Functional theory is important also.

You should really just get at it now. Once you've met and played with the people you'll be jamming with you can tailor your practice to what needs to get done. Playing with a group of people who play covers is not at all the same as jamming with jazz musicians - so figure what your priority is and seek out people with the same interests.
#10
When I jam with other musicians, I look first to the drummer, trying to copy and accents he may be playing. Then I look at the bass player to see how he's fitting in with the drummers groove. I start out slow with little melodic lines to see how they react. Eye contact is key when playing with other people. Also, its not all about you! Its about making the group sound good.
#11
Quote by Jet Penguin
Listening. Learning to really lock and and develop a "mind link" with your bandmates is the key to any jam feeling good.


This. This. This.

The most important skill in a jam is the ability to listen, to hear and react to what your bandmates are doing.

A jam should not be four people in a room soloing next to each other at the same time, although they sometimes become this.

It's also totally okay to talk and agree on what your basic chord progression is. I mean, it's great if you all know the same standards, but if you don't, don't worry about it. Talk to each other.
#12
TC, I'm in the same boat.

I have been playing a couple years by myself. Don't really have friends lol so I end up playing alone always. Who knows maybe Ill run into someone one day. But, thanks for posting this cause I was wondering the same thing .
Just another Sheep in the design of the Almighty Machine.


-GEAR-
Gibson 60s Les Paul Tribute (Sunburst)
1999 Ibanez RG470 (TitaniumIce-MIJ)
Jackson RR3 (Trans-Red)
Peavey 6505+
Podx3
#13
The guys in Phish used to do an exercise, where one you start off with a riff or something, and the others would latch onto it.

And then, when they were all locked in, they would say "hey."

And the point was that if everyone was really listening, they'd all say "hey" at the same time.

The point is: listening to each other is hard work and requires practice. There's a real temptation to focus on your own playing, but you want to not be thinking about what you're playing, just letting it flow while your attention is on the other musicians.

Obviously, this requires a certain core level of competence.
#14
I find jamming is good when the rhythm guys are playing a known riff, an original riff, or just making it up on the spot. From there, if you know at least your basic keys and scales, you can join in over the top with what ever. Maybe an accompanying riff, or some lead work.

To be able to improvise or work out a chord sequence being played, knowing keys and scales and where these are on the fretboard is important. I wouldn't worry about being a perfectionist. A jam is a great place to discover what you need to learn and practice.

even if you don't know your scales very well, you can use it as a time to develop your musical ear, and work it out as you go. there's no pressure to always hit the right notes.

Most of all, it is about having fun playing your instrument with other musicians. You'll improve as you go.
#15
Quote by Jet Penguin
Listening. Learning to really lock and and develop a "mind link" with your bandmates is the key to any jam feeling good.


^^^ This! Use your ears and really lock-in with the other players. Jamming is more about communication than pyrotechnics. I am a certified jamaholic and will jam with anyone anytime... once. If they listen well and we have a connection we will jam again. Forget perfection because it's the wrong goal post. Communication and creating those magic moments where everyone is on the same groove will overcome a few goofs or fat-fingered boingers that will always come out when you stretch yourself a bit.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#16
Quote by HotspurJr
The guys in Phish used to do an exercise, where one you start off with a riff or something, and the others would latch onto it.

And then, when they were all locked in, they would say "hey."

And the point was that if everyone was really listening, they'd all say "hey" at the same time.

The point is: listening to each other is hard work and requires practice. There's a real temptation to focus on your own playing, but you want to not be thinking about what you're playing, just letting it flow while your attention is on the other musicians.

Obviously, this requires a certain core level of competence.


That's pretty interesting....
I'm also a huge fan of Phish. One of the best live shows I've ever been to.
Just another Sheep in the design of the Almighty Machine.


-GEAR-
Gibson 60s Les Paul Tribute (Sunburst)
1999 Ibanez RG470 (TitaniumIce-MIJ)
Jackson RR3 (Trans-Red)
Peavey 6505+
Podx3