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how much to know to jam

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    i am wondering how much i need to know to effectively jam with a drummer
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'd say there's only so much you can do before the drummer makes you look like a fool. What I mean by that is. You could ready well know gobs about how to rock out and keep it interesting, but if the drummer isn't listening to you, or if he isn't on the same page as you, it can still end up sounding wonky.

    But, assuming you and your drummer are like minded, and/or you have played together before, and/or you know he'll keep up or match you. It's really all about listening. He has to listen to what you're doing, you have to listen to what he's doing. You'll both be taking cues off him, he'll be taking cues off of you. That is... in essence... jamming.

    I would caution against trying to bite off more than you can chew with regards to techniques or playing approaches. In the bedroom you may slap a dap like wooten, but if it's not totally fluid, in a jam based improvisational setting, you will likely end up looking like a fool if you try and do something you're not really capable of doing(this also applies for the drummer, or anyone else)

    Basically, all you need to do is play some grooves, if the drummer is keen, he'll match them, add his own element that you can play off...etc. You don't want to get caught playing the same **** for 10 minutes though, which is where it gets tricky. You may want to change but the drummer isn't ready, or doesn't feel it.

    With just drums and bass, it's not too big of a deal though, and I'm sure you can pound out something.

    Just practice beforehand, come up with some ideas you like, get into the same headspace with the drummer, and take it from there.
  3. Flipside


    Nov 14, 2005
    What I do with the drummer of my band sometimes is i'll just start playing like a little riff, for example 0-3-5 of the E. And he'll start playin the drums then i'll match his rythm if he speeds up or something. A trick is to try and match his bass pedal. I do it and it sounds really cool. Just try it sometime you'll see it works
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Um...There's no '0' chord. Do you mean the 1 chord?

  5. He's speaking in tab.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wow, my fan club is growing by leaps and bounds! Maybe I should sell an officially licensed fan club package. Why, I bet I could sell up to one of them!
  7. Yeah. Soon we'll be releasing official Jimmy merchandise. I'm also in negotiations with Home Brand Cheese. It seems that they want you as their spokes person.

    Things are looking up for JimmyM!
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You should know a lot and have good preparation.

    After about 8 years of on and off playing bass (a few intense growth years mixed in), I am finally comfy jamming with just about anyone. However- this is because my band jams all the time during rehearsal and we have really strong cohesiveness. You have to share a similar mind and be able to riff off of each other's energy real well. Ive played in bands with musicians where jamming comes to a dead halt after about 30 seconds.

    Oh- some ideas. Have a broad mix of stuff to through out. Sometimes I do purely rhythmic/polyrhythmic stuff- staying on a single note. Chord progressions are good too, especially if they arent run of the mill chords. Riffs are a decent starting point. If I am dead on ideas, I play harmonic's and Wah.
  9. If you just want to play some mellow stuff for the crowed, try flat 5's.

    Just play E in second position and a C above it. Don't try it out at home or practice, it has to be spontaneous. Just get up on stage and play it. I can also suggest diminshed chords, they sound really melodic and consonant (spelling?) as well.
  10. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    all good info, but i feel i should clear something up.

    I have only been playing approx. a year. I have never jammed with a drummer. Ive jammed with guitarists a few times, but they, well, suck, and only know how to play tabs and songs and nothing else. We never just start making stuff up or improvising.

    The reason i ask this is i am potentialy about to enter a potentialy gigging band, and lack experience. Rock band, sabbath type stuff.

    This is all great though, keep it coming

    Edit: oh, and screw the open mike stuff. ill work on that later, for now i just need to know how to jam with a drummer
  11. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    Nah. Just get in there and pitch. It won't be fluid at first, but just keep playing. If there's a chord progression you are using, lock on to it (a priviledge of being a bass player). The most important thing is to keep going. Do not stop if it sounds wrong, don't let it crash out. At least a note a beat if you are lost or struggling -- you can do less if you have a sense of what's going on. Rhythm is far more important than notes. Play low notes if uncertain. If everything is unclear, take charge. After a few tries at this, you will suck less.

    I don't know what jackmurray meant, but E to C isn't a flat 5. It's an augmented 5th. Bb is the flat 5 of E.

    Good luck.
  12. For me jamming is mostly about just letting things flow/go. If the drummer starts try and hear a bass line that goes along with it, try and match the feel and in some ways the melodies he/she's implying (if they're a real good drummer). I am very much against the "match the bass drum" method, as it tends to lead to both of you losing freedom: you stop playing off eachother and having a conversation and start saying the same thing, doing the same job. It's really a trial and error thing though, you just have to get to know the person. After a while you get instantly connect with other players (if they work well with you) but when your first starting out it can be very hard to lock in with someone. I would also say practice a bit with a metronome so that you can make sure you're playing in time.
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I'd say you dont need to 'know' anything. Preconceptions of how you should play just that, preconceptions. For example, in rock, we probably all try to lock in with the kick drum, but that doesnt make it muscially 'correct'.

    Just listen and play something that sounds good with what the drummer is doing and you're making music! Enjoy it!
  14. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Open E funk or Open B funk grooves. I can do that for hours. Boring for a listener but fun for a bassist and drummer.

    Listen to different styles. Pick out patterns you like and 'vamp' on that for a while. Gotta start somewhere.
  15. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Now would be a good time to start learnign modes and scales... at least a couple of them

    Work on 1 or 2 modes like mixolydian over and over. Since it is just you and the drummer, you can start this mixolydian scale anywhere on the fretboard.

    Have him make up a beat and have you start playing single notes from this mode you practiced in different ways. Usually play a note on his strong beats like snare and kick drum. Or play one note per high hat hit. Mix it up, leave stuff out.

    Remember fast isn't better and grooves can be simple 2 note patterns. If the drummer is busy, you can kick back and dont have to play a COMPLIMENT NOTE TO EVERY SINGLE SNARE OR KICK DRUM HIT.

    Here is the mixolydian scale for you right off the bat. This one is called A Mixolydian because it starts of with an A note.
    5th fret on the low E string.
    G ||---------------------------------6--7--9------
    D ||------------------------5--7--9---------------
    A ||---------------5--7--9------------------------
    E ||--(A=5)--7--9---------------------------------

    Play this over and over up and down, up and down. Make it comfortable and make it a reflex. Nothing is worse than trying to groove when you don't know where to go next.

    Now one other thing, if you play the same thing on say the 10th fret, it is no longer A Mixolydian, it is D Mixolydian.
    G ||----------------------------------------11--12--14------
    D ||-----------------------------10--12--14-----------------
    A ||------------------10--12--14----------------------------
    E ||--(D=10)--12--14----------------------------------------

    The cool thing is that there are different modes. 7 of them. Essentially a key is just 7 notes. Each of these 7 modes looks different, sounds different and has a different fingering but consists of those same 7 notes.
    IONIAN (1)
    DORIAN (2)
    PHRYGIAN (3)
    LYDIAN (4)
    AEOLIAN (6)
    LOCRIAN (7)

    Take the key of G. These are the notes in that key.
    G - A - B - C - D - E - F#
    1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

    Mixolydian is #5 so you would play D Mixolydian when in the key of G...
    Associate the number below the key with the mode you can play over. These 7 moves "map" your fretboard with what notes you can and can't play.

    It is because of famous musicians knowing scales like this that allows them to move up and down the fretboard doing solos and whatnot and still sounding awesome. Those 7 notes can be played in a ton of different spots. It is when you hit the wrong notes that it sounds crummy.
  16. How long did it take you to write all that?
  17. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    5 minutes tops.... hehe

    I get carried away. I think I am going to make my own website with just a bunch of stuff... Like an online sanctuary for all those who need help with bass playing. Help kill off the steep learning curve I had to go through and make people better and maybe quicker. Plus i am a computer programmer so websites are cake for me.
  18. Sounds like a top idea. If I can think of any good lessons or ideas I'll send them to you, but you've probably already thought of all the good ones anyway.
  19. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I kind of started it a week or so ago but me being mr perfection is always not happy with it. Any things you may think of would be appreciated though....

    PM me if you want to share your thoughts on the "perfect" instruction site.