Week 5

We had some fun jams this last week! We were joined by a terrific lap slide player and some upright bass. We also added some new tunes to our repertoire including: "Folsom prison Blues" and "You've Got to Move" (see the Chords and Lyrics page for updates). I happily accept new songs into the jam; all I ask is that you bring chord charts and be prepared to sing the song you bring in.

One thing came to mind yesterday as we were exchanging solos. I want ALL participants to feel free to experiment in their solos. That means you will make mistakes, clams, etc. When you stretch out and take chances you are bound to hit a few bad notes. Great! keep going. This is not a performance. It's a friendly jam and we are learning. At the same time, I want folks to be able to follow the chord changes. Our first responsibilty in a jam situation is to provide a solid groove. Most of our songs are simple 3 chord arrangements -- structures will vary in length: 8 bar, 12 bar, 16 bar, 18 bar...but the chord changes themselves are pretty easy. Of course, not every one has to solo. Every player is welcome to just kick back and play rhythm. Part of learning to jam is fitting your instrument's voice in with the others. Even if you are just playing rhythm you can experiment with your sound: play quiet...play loud...alter you picking attack. If some one is soloing but you can't hear him/her then you need to play softer -- soloists also need to be cognizant of their volume and make it louder if they can't be heard. There is a lot of give and take in a jam session. It's not just playing all your hot licks. Also, jammers should feel free to stop and listen -- sometimes when you are so concentrated on playing you miss the overall sound. Take a break and REALLY listen to what others are playing. You can always jump back in on the next 12/16/8 bar.

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