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First open blues jam tonight... pointers?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Linas, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    I know standard blues like the back of my hand and have had countless blues jams with my friends, but this is the first time going to play at an open jam. I have a vocabulary with my friends and i know there style, but with this im not sure what to expect. Its going to be at buddy guys ledgends. I have been playing for 7 years and this is the first time i have done something like this and i am actually nervous for some reason. I dont have much gig experience which im sure lends to my anxiety. Any tips or pointers you can give me to make it a successful night?
  2. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Use your ears four times as much as you use your fingers :)

    Relax and keep your lines simple and predictable. At blues sessions, it's usually up to the bass player to "use his turn signals" so none of the people who are following him will get lost, miss a turn, or run off of the road into an awaiting ditch.
  3. I have a few rules of thumb for these situations (I apply these all to myself):

    - you are probably a better bass player than you give yourself credit for
    - you know the idiom so the foundation is solid
    - everyone, EVERYONE, makes flubs/mistakes bigger/smaller: they will almost ALWAYS go unoticed unless it's a real train wreck
    - everyone is there to have fun
    - when you're with mature players they are far less likely to judge harshly
    - read my signature quote

    Have fun. It'll work out great!
  4. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Be simple, clear and solid-- and supportive -- and they'll love you.
  5. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    1) bring a 5 or 6 string bass
    2) use lots of effects
    3) slap and pop a lot
    4) have quite a few real stiff drinks before the jam
    5) if there are any mistakes, blame it on the drummer and guitar players
    6) don't let the vocalist or guitarist push you into the background--remember--the bass is the star of the show


    relax, have fun and enjoy!
  6. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    having run a successful blues jam here in phoenix for the past several years (and going to others), this is what, no matter who i've played with, has gotten me through 99% of tunes i may had never played before.

    if you don't know the tune being called, ask

    structure? 8 bar, 12 bar, 16 etc?
    what's the style (boogie, shuffle, etc)
    start from the....? 1, 4, or 5.
    is this a quick 4?
    what key?
  7. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    Get a good tone.
    Play solid, strong, supportive, bass lines.
    Lock in with the drummer.
    Don't worry about "solo's" or over-playing.
    Make everyone else sound good.
    And they will love it.
  8. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    excellent advice
  9. mdiddium


    Jun 21, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    All great tips so far.

    I would also suggest to stay focused throughout the jam. It's easy to get lost in the groove when you jam with some great players, but you can't miss that IV chord!
  10. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Be all tuned up before you hit the stage.
    Keep your eyes open to watch for signals, such as the all-important stops and endings.
  11. dlb1001


    Jan 30, 2007
    All of the poster are dead-on; I have used all of these ideas, except I need to remember to keep an eye on the person leading the song. It is very easy to get lost in the groove then completely miss the break.
    But, from what the OP wrote, he should get through the jam without too much problem.
  12. taterlog

    taterlog Guest

    Jan 4, 2008
    Stay relaxed and enjoy...
  13. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Who typically decides this?
  14. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    +1. If you know where the progression is going, help everyone else to know, too. Walk up or down as necessary to lead everyone through the changes. Start those walks as early as is feasible. You will IMMEDIATELY get a rep as a bassist who's "easy to play with".
  15. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    the guy calling the tune.
  16. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    agreee completely. a bassist that pays attention and plays with the music instead of on top of it, is one that people will look forward to playing with.
  17. I'm printing this out and sticking it to the back of my bass forever. Beyond brilliant! I love it!
  18. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    How do the sessions usually work? Are they going to be playing songs mostly, or progressions? If songs, will someone have a chord chart?
  19. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    how much standard blues theory and structure do you know?

    do you know what 1/4/5 is/means?
    do you know the diff styles? medium shuffle vs. medium swing?

    your answer will help me word my next response.
  20. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Yes i know what a 1/4/5 is. I dont necessarily know the difference between those two tempos (is that right, tempos?) But i can pick up quickly to the feel of what is going on.

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