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Guitar Players Jam Strategies and Solutions

Mar 28, 2008
Name some of the best strategies to learn how to play with other people. Well I got a few up my sleeve. The sooner you put your skills into use the better. At least in the direction you want to go. Bands form everyday, new drummers develop their skills. Bass players develop their chops and get involved also. Never a shortage of people to play with. No matter what level you play at.

To be a one man band, such as the great Ben Pestage, you only need yourself, equipment, a car and a designated driver. Ben is a local favorite, he is going to make it big soon. He is that good. You can see Ben and learn more about him in My Space. Ben's style is good old fashioned finger-pick-in'blues. Finger pickers use the low E and A strings as the bass line. When you use your fingers to pick the top four strings you get your lead going, all at once. It's called Travis picking.

No strategy necessary here. Book a gig and show up. The only person to blame if the drummer doesn't show is...uh..yourself.... or Ben in this case. No musical politics either! Pretty inviting.

Realistically speaking, Not every one wants to be like Ben or has the talent either. The rest of us need to know what strategies you can when you jam or gig. There are several ways to go. If you disagree with any of these strategies, I urge you to share yours. Other people have formulated good strategic methods of jamming too.

Make sure the person leading or hosting the Jam is knowledgeable. Their should be someone who has a good idea of dealing with new players and their fears of playing with other musicians.

Have a list of a few, maybe two to four easy songs, especially for a Beginner guitar players jam session. I may repeat a couple of paradigms periodically, because they are important. Some things will overlap, however, it should go without saying that maybe strategies mentioned twice are twice as important.

Learn what Guitar tablature, tabs, tab is, and how to read it. There is plenty of solid information about learning an easy method to read music, even at an elementary level.

Put a few Guitar chords under your belt. Make a commitment to learn the mandatory chords recommended for everyone. Yo gotta know a few chords or you will really get frustrated. Play them over and over. To have fun and amuse yourself, try learning how to play the twelve bar blues structure.
It's the easiest way I know of to learn some elementary tunes.

Take turns with the other guitarists. Don't be a stage hog like me. Depending on how many guitar players show up, take a break every twenty minutes and give another axe man or drummer or bass player a chance to show his wares. Be courteous to everyone who shows, anyone with the nerve to show deserves to play and be supported by all the members. Even if you think you stink.

Note: It's a natural Phenom to think you stink. You are probably better than you give yourself credit for. It is also why we strive to get better as guitarists. Humans are competitive with each other and themselves.

Use some of the online tools and lessons when you are practicing at home. The metronome and tuner are your best friends. See if you can't beat or wear out a metronome. Good Luck!

Most important. Have fun and enjoy. Let other people help you. Never quit, you will become a regular jam member and keep improving as a player by continuing to jam. It's a tried and true method to Jam. Someday new people will show that you can help. I guarantee!

Learning to play classical guitar is a bit different. Classical guitar teachers have recitals. Usually, every month the teacher hosts or maybe a student hosts a recital. Everyone learns a piece of music and gets on stage and plays it. It's fun and important to play for people. But it is not like Jamming with a bass player and drummer. Needless to say, it's like comparing apples and oranges in terms of playing styles.

That's the strategy many guitarists use. We are all in the developmental mode, always! Start to Jam and watch/hear for yourself and grow.
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