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callen3615

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Ok, well last weekend I had my first really jam session with some guys my neighbor knew. I was told that there were these 3 guys that were amazing and I should go play with them. Well I get there and its just a bunch of stoners sitting around in this little house-like structure. Well we met and started to get ready have a good time.

Well I kinda let the guys know I was a newbie and didnt know much as far as music theory goes. I said if they just gave me some chords or a riff or something I could do that. BUT they said na were just gonna "jam". I was confused, I also just wanted to "jam". So the drummer starts a beat, the lead guitarist is standing beside a keyboard and his brother is holding a mic. The lead guitarist starts improvising on the keyboard, his brother starts rap/singing to the "music". I stood there for 12 minutes until they were done, I just stood there holding my guitar. Afterward the drummer said, "hey bud you looked kinda lost". I said yeah I was. So the lead guitarist said what do you know. So i started playing panama, I figured there was enuf stuff for everyone in that tune. The lead guitarist watched me play half way through the solo and said he didnt like that one. Then the lead guitarist picks up his sg and the bassist starts a riff and they just go with it again. After another 10 minute long song full of a 8 minute improv guitar solo and drum solo they stop and just laugh. Then he played about half of hysteria by muse, then tush by zztop. I also observed his improv solos and vocals on both of these songs.

I left after another reggie-ish song they made up complete with 2 solos and vocals all from the lead guitarist. This was my first experience with "organized" music.

 

Is all bandlike environments like this? I thought we would play actual songs.

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You were in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time. But don't beat yourself up, "Jaming" like that isn't for everyone, and it's not "Organized" and only loosely structured. You have to be able to work off keys and rhythms, and have at least some understanding of how music works, theory wise. This kind of spontanious and often Avant-gard jamming is an aquired taste and sometimes falls apart right in the middle of it. That seat of the pants flying is part of it attraction.

 

It's sort of cross between Folk Music and Jazz, but you use any sort of musical influence you can think of. You listen to each other for little musical suggestions and changes. It the Drummer start to speed up and add a little swing, Swing back and pick up the tempo. If your doing a Major thing over a simple chord change and the bass player starts slipping into minor runs, start playing minor chords. If the guitarist starts to accent every 4th beat of every other measure, the drummer should catch on and start accenting right along with him. If you feel Regae in the beat, answer it with some back beat pop.

 

And when it comes time to take a lead, it's time to put those Scales To Work. And I don't mean running through them as fast as you can, but carefully choosing notes and lines from them, and bending and holding notes to make musical passages.

 

Like Jazz, Jamming's not for everyone, and not everyone who thinks they're Jamming is doing it right.

 

For Jam Roots, listen to live Cream. For good Jam, listen to Little Feat. If you want to explore Jamming the whole sub-genre that goes with it, check out www.jambands.com/

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If your doing a Major thing over a simple chord change and the bass player starts slipping into minor runs' date=' start playing minor chords. If the guitarist starts to accent every 4th beat of every other measure, the drummer should catch on and start accenting right along with him. If you feel Regae in the beat, answer it with some back beat pop.

 

[/quote']

 

Am I supposed to know what any of that means???

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Yep... To improvise/jam-improvise you really need to have a great ear or at least a moderate understanding of theory so that you can determine what key "they" are jammin' in (so that you can join in with lead, if you like)... For example, if they start jammin' to a little 1-4-5 progression in C ( i.e., C-F-G chords) then you can do some lead work in C major/A minor...

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I play bass in a band like that with a real brother and two of my step brothers. And I love it.

 

Up untill that time, I had been in bands before. But we had only gotten together to play covers, other peoples songs. But now, every Sunday, for about 8 or 9 hours, I'll get together with my brothers and we'll hang out in the basement and play some long Floyd/Rush/Sabbath type stuff. It's great.

 

Then we record all our improvised jams on a video camera, pick out the ones we like later, write lyrics to them, and then put them on youtube.

 

I can see how this kind of system might not work for everyone, but I absolutely love the stuff we play. I've been playing bass for almost three years now, and I've finally reached that point where I can just hear someone play a guitar riff and then I can join in. Its amazing.

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It's great to learn how to improvise but sounds like those guys really need some focus. You could try driving them in that direction. Heck, they may not even realize that you're doing it. If not, it was a learning experience if nothing else. Fun to do for a time but ultimitly very unproductive, band-wise.

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I have an idea as to how you feel. I am too a newbie when it comes to play with other guys. I would have more opportunities to play but I don't do country so in those instances I would just sit there with no input. Don't really know more than one country run.

 

Now playing hard rock and pop in the last jam sessions have consisted of playing a few songs and also improvised jamming but in a simple way.

 

For improvisation I played a couple of chord progressions to a drum machine beat and my friend who's been on fire lately plays lead. I jump in with "fills" when I can. To make things interesting I vary the attack, sustain and effects. We went on 20 minutes the other day and I can tell you it felt good. Probably an actual musician think we suck but hell we have a lot of fun.

 

We have a guy now to play bass so next time we improvise I will ask the other guitar player to do the blues call-and-response thing. I am not sure we will do it technically right but we both have decent ear so it should sound good.

 

Jamming means something different for everyone.

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So i started playing panama' date=' I figured there was enuf stuff for everyone in that tune. The lead guitarist watched me play half way through the solo and said he didnt like that one. Then the lead guitarist picks up his sg and the bassist starts a riff and they just go with it again[/quote']

 

Big mistake man, stoners HATE Van Halen. Van Halen's more for the beer drinkin' party man.

 

Like everyone else said its time to learn some music theory. You don't have to devote your life to it, but having a basic understanding makes a world of difference. Even if you don't learn a lot music theory really helps train your ear.

 

Now about the guys you jammed with. Chances are they are a little on the picky side in terms of music. A lot of stoner musicians are. They usually have the air of "we are really good at what we do" while still being nice guys. It's all the pot.

 

Some guys when they jam like to make new music, which is cool because the whole point of that type of jamming is to work out new ideas spontaneously that you can bring back later. These guys are probably a little too impressed with their own abilities to do other peoples songs.

 

This sounds like a good idea for you to work on rhythm guitar. Next time just jam on Breathe by Pink Floyd. Almost the entire song is Em to A and its guaranteed hit with stoners. While your jamming too don't think about how Pink Floyd played it. Try and create a musical conversation with the other dudes, especially the rhythm section.

 

Then once you've got one good jam underneath your belt start making your own two chord jams. Eventually you and the other guys will learn how to have a musical conversation without planning beforehand.

 

VERY IMPORTANT thing for playing the rhythm guitar though. Don't worry about the notes you play. Try and work out a groove that fits the jam by rhythmically playing off the bass and drums. Once you can do that you'll be a powerful addition to any band.

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Big mistake man' date=' stoners HATE Van Halen. Van Halen's more for the beer drinkin' party man.

 

[/quote']

 

 

Hahaha, see I wouldnt kno. I dont do either, I just think it rocks.

 

Anyway I dont think you guys get what im saying... I dont have to play 3 solos I just wana do SOMETHING. Those guys played 5 songs I played 3 power chords in two of them. They knew I couldnt keep up with them, I dont think they cared.

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Have no fear man. You will get where you want to in time.

 

When you're young you NEVER get to play in a situation that you really want. If you do then milk it for all its worth.

 

Anyway I dont think you guys get what im saying... I dont have to play 3 solos I just wana do SOMETHING. Those guys played 5 songs I played 3 power chords in two of them. They knew I couldnt keep up with them' date=' I dont think they cared.[/quote']

 

I do understand, and I feel for you man. I've been there before. These guys clearly think they are the bees knees and are convinced that what they do is "right" or "the best."

 

Still, playing with a$$holes is great training for when you're older and you still have to play with a$$holes every now and then because its a way of life.

 

This is why I strongly suggest you start working on your rhythm playing. A great rhythm guitarist can do whatever they want without treading on other players while accentuating the song.

 

If you want to PM me I can send you some of my special rhythm guitar secrets and you will never get bored or feel left out again.

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wrong place wrong time, my guess is those guys jam alot, so they are very comfortable with eachother

 

aswell as comfortable with trying new weird things,

 

the first band i jammed with was like that, but it wasnt untill i had been going for a bit that i realized they have more sense of what theyre doing than i thought

 

i wasnt particularly good that period of my life so it was hard to just "jump in" on any arrangement of music

 

 

with the band im in now, i have realized that those really long improve jams are exactly what you need to learn how your fellow musicians play, (so you dont have a 1/2 beat, simple bass line and a soloing guitar for 2 ,min) with that said after many occasions of long jamming your jams get tighter and you as a musician start to learn what the other guys do in certain situations,

 

and eventually you have an unstructured song but you know exactly how the drummer plays the parts, you know what sort of sounds you make before and after a solo, you know what the bass line turnarounds are,

 

and cant forget to mention that with practice practice practice everybody's solos get tighter and shorter in duration,with all the really good parts compacted into a really wicked solo

 

all compacted into a really solid jam

 

oh man im jamming with the band today....i cant wait

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this is such a funny story!

i never understood why stoners were such "musical elites"

 

dont get me wrong i love jam bands...they are fun to listen too but when an album has 3 songs extended to about 1 hr 15 min...its gets a bit tedious as well...nice for listening on a porch in summer but sometimes you wanna rock out to some billy squier!

 

i get it...

 

i think its funny how just because they are seemingly enjoying the music more than a sober person...it makes them the authority?

please!

next time you are there start busting out some Baroque Metal!

ahahhahahahahahahaha

or some Scandinavian Death Rock!

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i think its funny how just because they are seemingly enjoying the music more than a sober person...it makes them the authority?

 

I agree with you that a lot of stoners are music snobs but as a chronic weed smoker, music really is more enjoyable when you're baked. Food really does taste better too. While everything is better when you're high, everything is also less exciting when you're not. There's always a trade-off.

 

Let me also say not all stoners are like that. I can't stand jam bands and in college I was in an 80's cover band who performed Panama. I do not enjoy playing Panama or doing anything related to Van Halen but I still learned and performed it no problem because the other people were great guys. No matter what your thing is all musicians should treat each other with respect.

 

Jamming with people is almost like having sex. It's no fun if it's just one person doing all the work. When everyone is more involved you might not get to do everything you wanted but at least everyone is happy and had a good time.

 

 

 

I really wanted to say something a little bit more graphics there but since a bunch of people have been banned lately I figured I wouldn't.

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hahahahaha gotcha mr swmcv2007...and do not confuse me with a pot hater!

 

not at all...i just found it weird that people become music snobs is all!

they are so open minded with everything else...aka...peanut butter and ice cream sandwiches!

 

who else but a stoner would enjoy that...oh yeah thats me!

hahahahahahha

regardless dont worry about getting kicked off im sure the powers that be have a sense of humor...and if they dont...who cares!

i do!

hahahaha

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Now about the guys you jammed with. Chances are they are a little on the picky side in terms of music. A lot of stoner musicians are. They usually have the air of "we are really good at what we do" while still being nice guys. It's all the pot.

 

.

No, it's not "all the pot". Now, I'm not sticking up for the guys in the band that callen3615 dealt with, but to say their aloofness comes from Pot is just too easy. Musicains think their Hot Snit in a Chapagne Glass, and when they're Improv Nuts, They're absolutley Sure of it, Dope not withstanding. I played a lot of Jam in the 90's. It was the thing for the party scene at the time, and just like any other group of players, some of them were Stoned, Some Drunk (now that's a real problem), Some were Sober, some were Hippies, Some were Bikers, Some were History Proffessors looking for diversion.

 

callen3615 - If your going to be a sober player (and that's a really good Idea for more reasons than I care to post right now), you have to be able to put you prejudice aside and play with a Stoner, or a Jock or whatever you don't like about the player. Just say "Naw man I'm cool, lets get to jamming." If they are cool with that, they're there for the music, if they pressure you into "Doing It", they're there for the party.

 

You're a musician now, your peers are now Musicians, not the clowns you used to hang out with. You've bettered yourself in a way others only wish they could. If you take your love of music to a Philisophical level, you too may become a little aloof. And I hate to say it but, No they shouldn't have come down to your abilities, You needed that reality check. You should have asked them questions like "What were you guys just doing? Why did you change the way ZZ Top did that song? What the hells really going on?" They sounded pretty laid back, I bet they'd have given you a couple tips. Just because you can play the notes that Eddie Van Halen can play, doesn't mean you know what Eddie's doing. If you're going to be self taught, those are the kinds of situations you'll be learning from. They don't call it the "School of Hard Knocks" for nothing.

 

I've already gone on too long about it, but one more thing. It wasn't Panama or Van Halen that turned them off, it was playing it as written. To a Jam artist, playing anything the way it was recorded is the ultimate TABOO. If you would have done say, "Panama with a Back Beat" they may have taken off on it with you.

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It wasn't Panama or Van Halen that turned them off' date=' it was playing it as written. To a Jam artist, playing anything the way it was recorded is the ultimate TABOO. If you would have done say, "Panama with a Back Beat" they may have taken off on it with you.

[/quote']

 

No it was that they didnt know it and they felt uncomfortable. And I can play all the notes of panama, the thing is they couldnt. They were probably too stoned to remember how to play it. And I do want to be completely sober.....but thanks for your help.

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No it was that they didnt know it and they felt uncomfortable. And I can play all the notes of panama' date=' the thing is they couldnt. They were probably too stoned to remember how to play it. And I do want to be completely sober.....but thanks for your help. [/quote']

Hey, I hope you don't think I'm bagging on you, I'm really just trying to help you get something out of your next jam. And I hope you want to have a next jam. The kind of experience you had can turn a guy off to improv all together, as happened to a couple friends of mine when they had bad jam experiences.

 

The thing is, You know all the notes to Panama and that's just not what they were into doing, if you brought that to a Cover Band practice you'd be the Man. If they can improv for as long as you said, incorporating Rap, Funk, Metal, and Rock, then I can nearly guarentee you that they can play Panama. They can probably put together a 40 song set list and run the Bar circuit, But They Don't Want To. Just like trying to get a Jazzer to play Wild Thing without substituting a chord or flying off on a tangent. He would be bored to tears, same with a Jam artist.

 

And don't sell yourself short, you're only about three weeks away from forming your own solos, if you have the right material to wrap your head around. If you can read Tab and get through an EVH tune, lead and all, then you should be getting Guitar Player magazine and reading every lesson they have. If you can, get Back issues of Guitar Player, Guitar, and Guitar World and learn the lessons in the lesson section, Start with the beginner and intermidiate lessons and work up to the Advanced stuff a little at a time. You'll find Jam is somewhere around late beginner early intermediate (If they were any better at improv they'd be playing the Blues and Jazz ](*,) ). The lessons are done in Tab and 100 times easier than learning a whole song by Tab and you'll have an easier time learning whole songs after you understand a little theory. It's not as hard to understand as most musicians would have you believe, and just a little goes a long way, you don't have to be able to diagram a chord chart, but knowing what makes an A an A and what makes an A minor and A minor will elevate your playing to a level you can't even imagine right now, and it's easier than learning a Van Halen song.

 

When you say "I Can't" make sure you put a "Yet" on the end of it. And remember, you don't have to do it well. It might not be your cup of tea, but you gotta know how to brew it.

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