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Jam session tonight...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Not4You, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. Not4You


    Apr 6, 2006
    I haven't really played with other people in two years. I started out playing covers with some cool cats, and later played in an original band for a year...Then graduate school...Anyhow, I miss that experience and decided to post up on craigslist and see if I could find some folks willing to just just "jam".

    Anyhow, tonight I am heading over someones place...They sent me two of their originals to listen too...I tried my best to pick them up. I thought it would make for a good place to start.

    Anyhow, I am not the most "technical" bass player. I like to keep a solid rhythm and just enjoy the music. However, I am afraid of coming off as to "simple" for my lack of creative fills and such...

    Although I have been playing for a number of years off an on, I am a novice.

    Given all this, do you think it is wise to try and find some folks to jam with? OR should I be practicing more?

    Any advice?
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    Practice never hurts.

    I had my biggest quantum leaps in musicianship from playing in a progressive metal band for a few years when I was younger. Odd times, technical rhythms... stuff like that truly makes me happy. However, I moved to Albuquerque and met up with some cats who played the worst metal I've ever heard in my life, and stuck with them for a few months.

    Funny thing is, I learned a great deal from playing to the 2-3 chord songs. I learned how to wisely use sick fills and subtle tricks to enhance horrible music.

    I guess my point is, you can learn a lot in either situation. I like to be a sick bassist, so I practice a lot on my own. But I've learned a lot about how to be a great collaborator and how to use musical judgement from jamming with others.

    As far as these dudes go, maybe express that you are getting back into it and want to take your playing to the next level (if these guys are expecting someone really technical), over time. Dont stress too much and see if you like these guys or not. That can mean the world!
  3. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I agree with "don't stress." It's a jam. Go. Have fun. If they don't like your style you won't be invited back... it's not the end of the world. If you're not their style, you'll be somebody else's.

    As for practicing more before a jam, I'll just share my exprience. I had been playing bass for less than two months against CDs and mp3s. It seemed like it was coming to me way more easily than it should have been. I decided I needed a "reality check" and tracked down some guys to jam with.

    Next thing I knew I was the bass player in the band they were putting together...

    And no, I'm no great shakes. That disbelief of my apparent progress was well-founded: After a year I still consider myself a rank beginner (emphasis on "rank!") and barely adequate for what they're trying to do. I'll leave you to imagine how bad I was after only a couple of months when I first jammed with them. But regardless, we all had fun... and look where it led.

    No matter how much you practice you'll always think you could be better. If you wait until you're "good enough" you may never play with anyone, because you'll keep raising your standards.

    Just do it, and have a ball. ;)

  4. Zachass

    Zachass Peavey Partizan

    Holding it down in a jam isn't too hard, and once you loosen up it'll give you a chance to experiement a little. I doubt anyone's going to chastise you for not playing crazy fills, so bone up on some stuff before you jam just to make sure you're ready to play, and then go have fun.
  5. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Practise and rehersal/jams are two different things, and each will make you better. However individually each can only take you so far - you need to do both in a reasonable ratio. Perhaps 2 hours of solo practise per 1 hour of rehersal? (obviously this is a GROSS aproximation).

    Not enough practise, and you'll never develop new techniques or ideas, or "get good". However not enough rehersal with other people and you'll never learn to listen, lock in, react to, and interact with others playing.

    Get out there and play with someone - there's no one too bad to be in a band - just bands that are too bad for real gigs. If these guys are good, and you're straight with them, they'll understand what you can and can't do, and work with you to help you get better, and arrange things so you sound good (which makes them sound good!). You'll learn what you need to work on.

    Everyone who's played for a while has met the bedroom guitar hero - the guy whos been playing for 5 years, and has learnt the tab for EVERY metallica solo. Of course he doesn't know the endings, starts over every time he makes a mistake, speeds up during the easy bits, and keeps playing for 5 minutes after everyone else has stopped because he hasn't actually noticed. If that guy had been dragged into a band (no matter how bad) after a month or so he'd have learnt all of those basic skills. What usually happens next is that he gets frustrated that his "god like guitar skills" aren't working properly with a band, blames the band and quits (much to everyones relief!).

    OK - enough rant... Get out and play.

  6. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Dude, as long as you can find the downbeat and hold down a groove... I'll take the "simple" bassist any day of the week.
  7. Not4You


    Apr 6, 2006
    Funny you should mention the downbeat. I remember when I first played with a drummer...WE had a lengthy conversation about the downbeat, its role and how I needed to stay with it.

    Anyhow, thanks for teh responses. The reason I brought up the whole "simple" bass thing was because of teh originals they sent me. The bassist on the tracks was throwing in some cool fills, and that is just not where I am at yet (still working on major scales, circle of fifths thing).
  8. Not4You


    Apr 6, 2006
    OK, so I went and jammed with these folks...Overall, I was a little disapopointed...They seem to want to talk more about their "plans" than actually "jam". All I wanted to do was jam some of their originals a few times and maybe work on something that I hadn't already heard...but they just wanted to talk about shows, recording, etc...Not that those things are bad, but I am not their yet...I just wanna groove and have fun.
  9. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    That sounds like every jam session I've ever attended. When looking for a new band recently, I didn't respond to any ad that stated that they wanted to jam.
  10. RyansDad


    Jan 31, 2006
    Tolland, CT
    Sorry to hear that it was not as much playing as planning. IF it's any consolation, I've been in bands where they spend too much time on the latter for months at a time.

    I think you did the right thing. Practicing on your own is important; you can work on drills, chops, learing basic grooves, etc. However, nothing helps you progress as much as playing with others (I believe that this applies to any instrument, not just bass). I know people who are amazing musicians, but only on their own. Put them in a band and they can't jam at all and/or have no sense of how to mesh with others.

    Keep up what you're doing. It will all work in the end. Another possible idea: find open mic nights in your area. There aren't usually that many bass players and people will probably want you to sit in a lot.
  11. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    Wow... have things really changed that much?

    Back in the late 70s when I was very actively playing (keys and blues harp, not bass) but before I hooked up with my first band, I used to attend a jam in the back room of a TV-and-music shop every couple of weeks. It was just a bunch of random guys -- whoever could make it on that day -- playing music. Period.

    Has the definition of "jam session" changed since then?

  12. Not4You


    Apr 6, 2006
    Don't think I have the improvisation skills to "sit-in" but I can pick up a chord progression and play a solid rhythm. But I appreciate your advice.

    I hear you on the ability to "play with others"...The drummer they had was very good...HOWEVER, his playing was like listening to constant fills, with constant double bass sections. It kind of bothered me. I like a flashy fill just as much as any man, but I can also appreciate a simple beat. I guess knowing when and where to place such indulgences is part of becoming a "good" player, no?
  13. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    "Jam sessions" still exist, but you have to be careful that it's not an audition disguised as a jam session. A lot of people can't stand playing music and not taking it somewhere else.

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