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Am I ready for public jams?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JoeBbass, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. I can groove pretty comfortably to nearly all chord progressions written out for me but if I don't have any pre-set chords then I'm completely lost. Do I need to be able to tell the chords by ear? I don't really want to annoy the other musicians by constricting them to set chord progressions.
  2. IN my experience most jams songs intentionally stick to standard chord progressions. There is also no shame in asking "How does this one go?"
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    The jamming circles held here are all basic three to four chord songs. So it's a good bet the chords will be I-IV-V7 with a ii or vi thrown in for some flavor.

    So we do a lot of assuming and watching the rhythm guitar's fretting hand and change chords when he does, course it helps to have played rhythm guitar so you can recognize what chord he is making.

    The key will be called so you should have a pretty good idea which chords may come up in this specific song. Other than that, its get as close as you can. If you are trying, and not being a bother a jamming circle is a very safe and forgiving place to be. If you get lost - lay out and wait on the next song. I have yet to see any person get upset with a beginner that is trying.

    Go sit in the outer circle until you get a nod to join the inner circle. The experience of just being there will tell you if you are ready. Here in my home town we do not have to wait on the nod, if you are ready just move into the circle. Other places you need to wait on the nod before joining the inner circle. Only takes a few songs to figure that out.

    It is really a lot of fun. Go every time you get the chance.
  4. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Yep... You're ready. Get out there and jam!
  5. solvera2010


    Dec 9, 2013
    I bought my bass in November, jammed with a couple of guys in December, Joined a rock band in January, will likely be gigging in March. I have never played bass, but I have an ear and have performed before. Your probably more ready than I am!

    Who cares! Go jam!
  6. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    before i was able to read the fretting hand of the guitarist, recognizing the chords, it was a great help for me to just watch what the lowest note he played was. In many cases that's the root and will fit for the bass. In the rare cases where this is not true, i was at least playing some note of the chord and not completely off.
  7. BillyIVbass


    Sep 24, 2008
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    Go out with your bass and introduce yourself. If they're cool, they're probably set you up with an easy song or two. I mean most jam hosts I know are just happy to keep people in the building!

    Worst case you show up, everyone is awesome, yet a bit smug, scribble down some of the songs they play and learn them for next time.
  8. Technicality


    Feb 10, 2011
    Most musicians will be happy for you to join in and help you, and the ones who won't aren't worth worrying about.

    But yes, If there is a guitarist strumming chords the bottom strings on his guitar are the same as the bottom strings on yours. Watch what notes on the bottom two strings they fret and follow along. If necessary ask the guitarist to turn towards you so you can see what they are doing. If they are playing simple chords you can get through a whole song like this even if you can't hear them or yourself.
  9. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    It depends on what kind of jam it is. There are a few around here that are definitely "pro's only". Best bet is to go and just watch a few times. See how other inexperienced players are treated. Every scene has its own vibe.
  10. +2
    Don't worry about it too much, depends on the setting, there's a chance someone will want to jam over a progression he already thought of at home.

    Do ask! Don't be shy, even while playin to ask "what chord is this?"/ "So it's Dm, G7 and then what's the last one?", especially if it's in the first verses of a new chord progression.

    Even if you got something wrong, asking a question like one of the aboce will lead the other musician into making sure you got it right.

    Simple as that.
    Plus you can always play around while practicing and have some "ready-made" grooves\ chord progressions you like, tell us how it went!
  11. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    As I was reading the posts a few things came to mind:
    Some jamming sessions will call a tune and then the tune is passed around the circle. Everyone taking a verse or chorus. Other places, like here in my home town, the person calling the song plays and sings it all the way through, everyone else plays accompaniment. This is the easy way. If you do not want to sing and play (like in the first way I mentioned) all you have to do is lean back and the song progresses to the next person.

    Come with some songs you would like to call out. Yep, here you can have sheet music. Lot of the guys will have the lyrics to songs they want to sing, thus they have music stands and sheet music with them. So if you feel more comfortable with your gig book, bring it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasexplorer3128/139470651/in/photostream/ That camp stool music stand [with one leg shorter] in the middle of the circle is an example of what is used in Mountain View, Ark.

    Here is another music stand, with a light. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasexplorer3128/139470664/in/photostream/ Looks like its a wooden TV tray.

    As mentioned take notes of the songs being called and work on them at home.

    I bet there is a weekly circle within 35 miles of your place, find it and go join in.