The Woodshed

How do you roll?

1

I play in two bands in my area. Last night I went to a friends house. He is a local amp repair and build tech. He does a great job and has a weekly Jam session at his house. Just so happens that last night was their jam night. They welcomed me in with open arms. He actually walked up and handed me a Bass guitar and said here, play along. I'm no Bassist but I can hang, you know. After a while and a few head nods he handed me a guitar and plugged me into one of his amps. Great tone and what fun it was. I'll tell ya, if it weren't for playing on stage with the current bands I'm in, I would almost rather just jam with different people all of the time. I know that Crowbone and Billy D and you Noreastern guys get together and jam once a week but does anyone else do this on a regular basis? I can't wait til September comes and I get to jam with my buddies at the roundup.

2

I have nothing valuable to contribute but the fact that I can read lots of passion for playing with nice people out of your post. I have huge sympathies for that and I'd be in for jamming in a second if I was closer. Go for it, guys!

3

We have a once a month gypsy jazz/swing guitar jam that just kills. I've met some really great players that have went on to become very busy with touring etc. I know what you mean about playing with new blood, if I didnt have a steady band I'd probably be doing more stuff with other people. Only so much time for music when you work a day job, and I can't just start something new as it will jeopardize the current gigs, uggggggh!

4

I'm real lucky. I belong to bucks county acoustic meetup. One jam a week on Monday, open mike on Thursday, billyd open mike, and three different country/bluegrass jams per week within half hour drive. So much fun and zero pressure. Side note, they tolerate me.

5

Superdave, I'd happily jam with you but E'ville's at least a 3 hour drive one way---and there still isn't a direct route on decent roads. All the roads in Indiana are designed to get out of Indiana.

6

I agree Dave. Jamming can be more fun than practicing with a working band. Still, you need to have a gig now and then to validate your sound, IMO.

When working in Cleveland, I'll jam on Friday nights with some great guys there. They would fit in perfectly at a round up. No egos, have fun, experiment, have fun, have fun, have fun.

They saved me during my exile to Cleveland and got me back into playing and singing.

7

Yeah, I'm a victim of my logistics.

The day job and time with the wife do take priority. Wabash, you need to come to Nashville. You would have a blast. Oh, and I agree about getting around Indiana. Even I-69 hasn't made it tons easier yet.

That Jazz thing sounds like fun, Jazzbox. I would be better off in the audience on that but would probably enjoy it nearly as much. Love Jazz.

Munman, you and Bob are lucky to be near a lot of those places up there. There's a lot of great talent in my area but we all seem too busy with our own projects to do the open mic thing and if I'm really going to jam with some guys for the first time I'd rather not have an audience, per se. I have done it and it's still fun. I'm not shy just don't want to embarrass myself.

I'm sure it would be fun to try and keep up with you, Sascha.

8

I'll play with anyone any time as long as it doesn't cost money for practice time. The results vary widely, but when it's good, it's great!

9

Superdave, the only problems that I have with going to Nashville are having to cross over to the wrong side of the Ohio River, and the total lack of AC outdoors. The COPD is a serious problem when mixed with humidity. I'm always up for a jam, and can provide PA and keyboards as well my guitars, and, I know I'd enjoy it otherwise.

10

My only outlet to network and jam for many many years was a local Thursday Jam at a local blues bar.

Nowadays, I've been hard at work establishing a cover band and fill in soft spots with an occasional acoustic gig. But with a big house, two young children, anything more that that is stretching it. Even rehearsing with the band is difficult to schedule. Right now, if it's offered... I'd rather take the gig...

This does leave a bit of a creative hole. I'm not networking or simply listening to others play, which is extremely important to my growth as a musician.

11

About once a month I have people over for some noise, good fun.

12

I had a weekly Sunday jam at my local for 5 years that ended this spring. I can seriously tell the difference already in terms of losing a bit of endurance when I play a long gig as well as just missing playing tunes way outside my normal repertoire and comfort zone in style.

13

There are 25 or 30 people in my circle of players who jam constantly in every imaginable combination. Over a period of more than 40 years this has introduced me to a big variety of music and helped me learn styles of playing I might never have thought about studying.

This is lots of fun and a very sociable thing to do, but the benefits go way beyond that. It's a lead pipe cinch to put together just about any kind of band someone might want. We can mix and match musicians to play anything from old time square dance music to swing or rockabilly. I'm never more than a couple of phone calls away from a pretty darned tight sounding pickup band.

As I think about it, one very generous and talented fiddle/mandolin/guitar player is responsible for this happy pool of players. Now nearing 70 years old, he has always gone out of his way to bring younger players along. Most of what I know about being on stage was gleaned from years of gigging with this one musician. A couple of generations have been inspired by his stagecraft and musicianship.

Because of the constant jams all over town we have all realized another benefit. People of all ages, from teenagers to octogenarians are in the same circle of friends. Last week before a gig I pointed out to the other three players that I was a generation older than they were. One of them said "We don't really notice."

I love the constant jam and the music and friendships that result. I suspect (and hope) that this culture of musical cooperation will last long after I'm gone.

14

I must be in the minority because I don't like jamming. I love playing songs with a tight band. I don't enjoy rehearsing at all but love playing gigs. I only like to rehearse because I know we need to, and I would rather play a gig well-rehearsed than not. For me the fun comes when we know the song so well that if someone fluffs a cue or whatever we can cover it and no-one will notice. Or I can just ad-lib parts where appropriate.

But jamming just for the sake of playing doesn't really interest me. I don't know why. So many guys love it but to me it just seems like talking with no context. I like neat and concise and get bored by long solos. You need VERY good players to make jamming fun.


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