Re: FW: FW: [nwbluegrass] Ten Commandments for Playing Bluegrass
- Jeff Johnson came up with a nifty little treatise on Jam Etiquette that may
also be of interest... -Peter
by Jeff Johnson (with a few additions by Peter Langston)
Jams are governed by a complicated set of unwritten, unspoken rules.
Newcomers learn the rules by observation. Based on my observations
in jams over many years, here are the rules of jam etiquette that
seem to be most widely followed:
- When you join a jam, figure out what genre of music is being played.
Then, when it's your turn to call a tune, pick something far outside
that genre, so others in the jam don't get stuck in a rut. For
example, in a bluegrass jam, call a Sting song. In a swing jam,
call a Sting song. In a Beatles jam, call a Sting song. Etc.
- If you don't know the chords, don't bother to try to learn them.
You can just play lead over every chorus.
- If you can't hear the person who is soloing, play the chords louder
to encourage them to play louder.
- Ask the group if you can play one of your own originals, preferably
one that modulates several times and has uneven numbers of measures.
Or is in a strange tuning. Assure everyone that the chords are easy
to pick up. Ask the person next to you to take a solo after you've
sung one verse.
- Using a capo on the first fret is always a good idea since it leads
to keys that would otherwise be neglected, and gives people who
don't have a capo valuable practice with barred chords.
- If others in the group are slow to call a tune when it's their turn,
call one yourself and immediately start playing it. This keeps the
- If you happen upon a jam that sounds interesting, walk right up and
begin playing along. Don't waste time tuning your instrument first.
- In swing, latin, bebop, or string quartet jams, never provide a chart.
It's more challenging and spontaneous that way.
- In a song-circle, wait at least four measures, then start playing
along with the songwriter to make the song sound better.
- Call a tune you don't know how to play all the way through, or one
you don't know all the words to. This gives others a chance to take
- If a less experienced player joins your jam, don't let them solo or
call a tune because they'll just mess it up for everyone else. Of
course, advanced players should never do this to you.
- If a tune doesn't sound like the record, stop the jam and explain how
it is supposed to go. Reference to Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, Ella,
Elvis, Sting, or Sonny and Cher will usually quell any disagreement.
- When you take a solo in a bluegrass jam, speed up 25%. This gives
others practice in following the leader and in playing fast.
- Set up your jam within 25 feet of another active jam. The other group
will recognize that your music is more fun than theirs, and join you.
- Guitarists who arrive at jams containing more than 12 guitarists
should feel free to join in, because one more won't be noticed.
- If you're a bass player, insist on soloing on every song, especially
in folk or bluegrass jams.
- If another player passes on their first opportunity to take a solo,
be sensitive to their wishes and skip over them for the rest of the
night. Likewise if he or she passes on picking a tune, skip. . .
They probably would have been lame tunes, anyway.
- --- In email@example.com, Peter Langston <nwbg@...> wrote:
>Those are some good ones ... lol ... I bet that Joe Craven could find a way to make a Sting song work in a Swing jam ...
> Jeff Johnson came up with a nifty little treatise on Jam Etiquette that may
> also be of interest... -Peter
There's one more that was forgotten:
** If you're out of tune, just keep playing. Wait until the next tune starts before tuning up. After all, if everyone else is playing, then they won't hear you tuning up.
- Just got a reply to a request for info re: the Osoyoos, BC Bluegrass
Festival. NOTE: misspellings are not mine -- this message is as received.
" Our Bluegrass does not bring in or hire head line performers. The
musicians that attend arethe entertainment. The weekend begins on Friday the
5th of August, and enda on Sunday the 7th of August.
The gates open on the thursday August 4th but there is no stage preformances
until Friday, there is jaming around the RV's. There is a food concession,
and the stage preformances start at 10 AM on the Friday. There will be Open
Mike's, a Band Scramble, 50/50 Draws, and a whole lot of jaming around the
RV's. The cost isRV's $7.00, and $10.00 per person and a day pass for
Flyer says DRY camping only. $7.00/vehicle + $10 per person. Day
passes are $5.00 "Stage shows" Friday & Sat at 2:00 & 7:00 PM Band
scramble on Sat. Gospel Show on Sunday. Contact Brian Chadsey
brimar2@... Sponsored by Lions Club
For those who don't know ... Osoyoos, BC is directly north of Oroville, WA
and is within about 3 miles of the border. 2.5 hours north of Wenatchee.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "P. Liley" <pliley@...> wrote:
> Just got a reply to a request for info re: the Osoyoos, BC Bluegrass
> Festival. NOTE: misspellings are not mine -- this message is as received.
Thanks for the additonal info about this event. I have added the info to our NWBluegrass calendar and the info already there about the Osoyoos, BC Bluegrass Festival:
Osoyoos' parks are used for both recreation and to host events such as the annual Bluegrass and Country Festival held in August. For four days, the banjo's twang and harmonica's wine fill Desert Park and might drown out the sounds of Fore! coming from golfers at the nearby Osoyoos Golf & Country Club. Visitors may either come to listen only or bring their own instruments and join in the numerous `jam' sessions that take place during the festival. This event is a great one for those who love music and would rather RV than stay in a hotel as it accommodates self-contained RVs.
INFO: Tel. 250-495-6061
Address: Ogopogo Media Inc
216-1626 Richter St
Kelowna, BC V1Y 2M3Phone: 250-717-1075