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Notes from the Field

Yes we can all get along

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I was at an OT jam a couple of weeks ago. The jam was southern Appalachian at its core.

And a second mandolin showed up, and he was much more of a bluegrasser.

So as the jam progressed we traded breaks. I would play the melody, which is what I do, and then do a chorded OT back up while he took these flights of fancy entirely out of character of old time. Then he would hand it back to me and I would play the melody, which is what I do, while he did a chord backup a little heavy on the chop, and so on. Meanwhile the fiddles stayed on melody and the banjo stayed on (clawhammer) melody, and the guitar provided tasty support.

It was great. Really great good fun. While the other mandolinner's breaks were over the top for more orthodox OT, they were interesting, and kind of fun, and provided a different kind of enjoyment. And I figure we left orthodoxy behind when I joined the jam with a mandolin in the first place, or even before, the banjo not being fretless.

I am not saying all OT jams should be this way, or that a precedent has been set, just that often times having a good time with each other is more important that getting it the way we might individually prefer.

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