Blues Jams

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassfart, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    I went to a Blues jam recently and had a great time. I played 3 songs with players I never played with and the songs worked out pretty good. The singer called the songs and quickly ran down the changes for us, but I would like to know what kinds of questions I should ask when I don't know the arrangement of the song? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Most jams are just 1-4-5 jams. Ask him if it's a shuffle or a walk. That's what I do. It's worked so far and they love me.
  3. The blues progression is pretty predictable. Once you know the key it is to be played in assume the basic 12 bar progression and hang on. This site talks about what some of the progressions are called, i.e. quick change, etc. Make some notes on things the person calling the song may say to let you know what specific progression to use.

    Watch the rhythm guitar's fretting hand and change chords when he does. If you get lost the tonic chord's pentatonic scale or the tonic chord's blues scale will keep you in the mix.

    Jamming is like grenades and horse shoes, close counts. Just do the best you can and have fun.
  4. Fast 4? In on the 5? Hang on the 1 at all? Any shots? Bass solo?

    The last one's a joke :D
  5. Just keep your ears wide open, and concentrate on the music rather than the little blonde in the audience who's giving you the nod. You'll likely hear the changes as they occur.
    I sub in a band where the singer/rhythm guitarist has 2000 (!) songs at his disposal, across near every genre you could think of. I get no rehearsal, and even the singer doesn't know what he's gonna do next until it's time. I have not even heard many of these songs, let alone played them before. Add to that he does'nt call a song or key, he just launches into it. Most songs I can anticipate where or roughly where the progression is going, but some throw me right out. His advice the first time I played with him was to keep the pulse going... do NOT hesitate. He said an off-note is not noticed by 99% of the audience, but a stumble is.
    This advice has stood me in good stead on many an occasion when I'm playing in impromptu situations.
    Hope this helps.
  6. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    All great advice, thank you all so much. Bass solo, hahaha.
  7. Igotsoul4u


    Nov 3, 2011
    thanks for the link!!