Power trio jamming - advice needed

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by walknbluez, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. I'm in a trio playing pretty straight forward rock and roll. I'd like to get the drummer and guitarist to jam out some songs. The guitarist is good at improvisational soloing and is willing to jam out the songs. Some ideas I have are key changes to keys not associated with the songs, time signature changes, or having the drummer (who has some jazz influences) jazzing out his drumming while the guitarist solos. Can anyone give me some very specific techniques on exactly how to take a simple song and do this and whats the best way to explain this to the other band members so we don't have a train wreck?
  2. J.D.B.


    Mar 11, 2007
    Until lately, I've played only in P.T.'s. Listen to the stuff you play and try(for starters) pulling it apart into its riffs or phrases. I like to break them up by going to half speed or by maybe going to a really tight double-speed break for a few bars. Stuff like that. It starts with picking the tune apart and trying things(usually during jamming). Another thought that you could try that's a ton-o-fun is switching tunes entirely right in the middle or so of the tune you started with. We do a thing with the Lemon Song that, because of the key allows us to go into Voodoo Child. People love it. It's a little surprise in the middle of a couple L.Z. tunes. These are just some ideas that come out of practice jamming. Sometimes you stumble across a cool path, take it, you might find some magic to run with. Probably the BEST advice I can give ya is to RECORD as much as you can, so, that if you do discover something cool, you can remember it by recording it. I can't tell you how many "air sculptures" have been created and lost forever into the air when not recording. I'm talking about just jamming at practice with a recorder going as much as possible, than later, going back and picking out the "gems" for future development. My long-time trio guys(Since about '78) and I "wrote" about 30 tunes this way over just a couple years using the "record everything" technique. Have fun, man, the possibilities are many.
  3. Thanks for the input. I was thinking about the half speed idea as well and dropping down a key. I did get them to do a "sandwich", i.e. one song sandwiched in between another and they like that.
  4. Another thing to try and do, is dynamics. Such as bring it right down to a whisper, say for a "jam" part, and then you can bring it back up to screaming loud, for the rest of the song. Or you can all use a whole lot of eye communication, and extend solos, or anything. Just try whatever you can or want out!
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Something else to try is to play two songs w/o stopping connected with transition section that ties them together. You figure out what the transition should be.
  6. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    My band is more-or-less a jam band, power trio. My guitarist shines at improv, and my drummer has a formal jazz background, too. The best piece of advice I can can give you is to just rehearse all the time and jam, jam, jam.

    We record all of our rehearsals and I have hundreds of hours of us just trying things out. There is no substitute for experience. You have to just try different things and see what happens. Record your rehearsals so you don't miss ideas. You can plan for stuff like key changes, etc, but the best stuff comes off-the-cuff.

    You have to just get used to reading each other non-verbally.

    Sometimes it *is* a train-wreck. It happens. Just keep going :bassist: You get better at reading each other the more you do it.
  7. I played in a trio that would jam out songs but with these guys we just end up playing the song as it was written (originals). Its not that they aren't open to jamming it out, I think its just a matter of finding the right point in the song. So at rehearsal, we go through the song and its tight. I just want to get them to do one a la Cream's "Spoonful" on Wheels of Fire or Rush's "Working Man" or Robin Trower's "Day of the Eagle".

    I think why I'm asking is the drummer will need a bit of training because he pretty much follows "the way its done" and sometimes chugs along so I need to say "at this point go to half time" or whatever.

    I'm going to listen to some of the above that I mentioned and see if I can apply it to our songs
  8. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Listen to each other and be ready to react to each others ideas (and mistakes).
  9. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    There's a reason most jambands don't make it very far. It's tough to do. I know it's not the answer you want to hear, but the only way you'll get better at it is to just fearlessly do it. You'll learn from every jam, good or bad. If there's just one person in the band trying to take too much control, or just one person not listening, it's not going to flow. If your drummer is just chugging along and not changing dynamics or anything, it's just going to sound like an extended solo section, not a jam. Tell him you want to hear him put more personality into the instrument, and who cares if he messes up.

    Another tip is to jam live. Don't worry about how it will turn out, just plan to jam at some point during a show and do it. Everyone reacts differently in front of a crowd since they only want to be playing what they are comfortable with, and that's where you'll REALLY see each other's personalities. Our live jams are always a lot different than our garage ones.

    Listening to the greats is helpful too, of course. Phish, Grateful Dead, Umphrey's McGee, Allman Bros, Gov't Mule, Cream, Moe. Try to hear the members react to each other.