Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 57

Thread: taking a break at the jam

  1. #26
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Kernersville, NC
    Posts
    2,038
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    I always thought it was a 'break' in the singing. I dunno

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mark Wilson For This Useful Post:


  3. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    11,701

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Like so many things bluegrass mandolin, I credit that term to Bill Monroe hisownself. In all the interviews and performances I've read/seen of him, he never used the term 'solo' to indicate such.

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to AlanN For This Useful Post:


  5. #28
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    3,988

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I always thought it was a 'break' in the singing. I dunno
    That seems to be the general consensus. We use slang terminology to say "taking a break" or "playing a break", when it would be more accurate to say "taking the lead during the break" or "playing the lead during the break". The break, of course, being the break in singing.
    Keep that skillet good and greasy all the time!

  6. The following members say thank you to Tobin for this post:

    JL277z 

  7. #29
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    2,906

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Like so many things bluegrass mandolin, I credit that term to Bill Monroe his own self. In all the interviews and performances I've read/seen of him, he never used the term 'solo' to indicate such.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    That seems to be the general consensus. We use slang terminology to say "taking a break" or "playing a break", when it would be more accurate to say "taking the lead during the break" or "playing the lead during the break". The break, of course, being the break in singing.
    Thanks for explaining.

    Obviously Bill Monroe was NOT exactly a jazz player, so of course he would use other terms to express stuff.

    I get it, it's the 'break in the singing"!

  8. #30
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,178
    Blog Entries
    49

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    If your break would be greatly enhanced by knowing the tune, which I believe, then I would think one of the most important things one could do is learn the tune. I mean ahead of learning how to formulate a break or a strategy for improvising.

    I think the prelude to learning how to decorate a tune, or cleverly do variations on a tune, or even depart from the melody, is to learn the tune and be able to play the melody.
    Last edited by JeffD; Mar-28-2017 at 1:47pm.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  9. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  10. #31
    Registered User wildpikr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    571

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by jasona View Post
    Bookmarking this, because I too would love to learn this method
    I'm with jasona...would love to learn it too.
    Mike

    Those who think they should think, like they think others think they should think, need to think out their thinking, I think.

    No envejecemos, maduramos. -Pablo Picasso

  11. #32
    Natural Born Tar Heel Perilous Deep's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Since no one's posted it yet, board member Brad Klein filmed a great conversation with Michael Daves about mimicking vocal ornamentation with a mandolin to come up with variations on the melody. Throw in some double stops, fills, and turns, and you've come a long way. It's right on target for this discussion and really well done.


  12. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Perilous Deep For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


  13. #33
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Oak Park, IL
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    That is great. I love that guy. I might have to spring for some vocal lessons sometime.

  14. #34
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Southern Maine USA
    Posts
    566

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Learning to first play melody is definitely the way to go. Some other thoughts: Your job as a beginner is to become a really strong rhythm player. Learn to keep the chord progression in mind when you're soloing. Use some of the chord tones as jumping off points in a solo. Especially on the last two bars in a section. Also, find a player you like and analyse how they construct solos. You don't have to sound like this player. The idea is not to copy but to look at the structure of soloing. Memorizing solos is a good way to do this. This can be part of listening closely to your favorite recordings. I would never play a solo I've memorized at a jam, but some people do. Learning to sing what you play and play what you sing is great for musicianship.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Joel Glassman For This Useful Post:


  16. #35
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    11,701

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Glassman View Post
    I would never play a solo I've memorized at a jam, but some people do.
    I tend to follow this, but some solos are so iconic that it's hard to not play them:

    - Bush on Old Train (Tony Rice)
    - Dawg on Janice (solo after the head)
    - Dawg on Kissimmee Kid (Old & In The Way)

  17. #36
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    I took a few months of Michael's vocals class and totally agree with his comments about 4:15 in that it has greatly increased my understanding/appreciation of the ornamentation of even relatively simple melodies. Singing is tough!!


    Alan....your jams are nowhere near like the ones I go to apparently. We're lucky to get everybody through Salt Creek.
    Drew
    2016 Skip Kelley Vintage F-5 (#54)
    2003 Flatbush V4
    2015 Eastman MDA815 (mandola)
    https://www.facebook.com/3rdCreekBluegrass

    "Thank you for making it through a truly unreasonable amount of mandolin playing" - CT

  18. #37
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    A side note....

    to a jazz player, "taking a break" at a jam session means you stop playing and get off the bandstand!

    I find it interesting that in the BG world what we jazz players call a "solo" is called a "break".

    I wonder why the divergence in terminology.
    Well, the most common use of the term "break" would be the one in this quote from Wikipedia:

    A solo break in jazz occurs when the rhythm section stops playing behind a soloist for a brief period, usually two or four bars leading into the soloist's first chorus. A notable recorded example is Charlie Parker's solo break at the beginning of his solo on "A Night in Tunisia".

  19. #38
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Whereas this quote from the same source is sheer nonsense: "A breakdown is an instrumental form that features a series of breaks, each played by a different instrument. Examples of the form are "Bluegrass Breakdown" ..."

  20. #39
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    11,701

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Egerton View Post

    Alan....your jams are nowhere near like the ones I go to apparently. We're lucky to get everybody through Salt Creek.
    Too wise. Not to say that the Dawg tunes are played often but when they are, I tend to stay close to the pole. Another one is 16-16, fortunate to have a bass man near me who knows it. Also, Dawg's Bull.

    I follow the Johnny Gimble approach: I never play the same thing once!

  21. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to AlanN For This Useful Post:


  22. #40
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,178
    Blog Entries
    49

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    I follow the Johnny Gimble approach: I never play the same thing once!
    Splorted my coffee.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  23. #41

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Well to clarify, what i wrote, was , this was OK when you dont know the melody.
    My point was the skill of being on the spot.

    For me, depending on tempo, and if i "get " the melody, or changes, i can find often it from knowing my scales -my fingers know where to go. Sometimes, i dont get the melody. Sometimes if it starts on a fourth, ive never heard it, etc., it can take me a moment to dial it in. On the fly, then , thats too long.

    There are many other skills involved in being in a group, listening, in unknown territory, and steering the bus. And, sometimes one has to start.

    Inb reading more of Marks posts, it is clear he does not have deer in headlight syndrome, nor is he a beginner, which was a possible thought regarding solos.

    I totally agree knowing the melody and then deviating is the best for a meaningfull solo.

    But, for me, i learned to walk before i could run. I too did the endless play along jamming. Its not the melody, but, it has also revealed some nice things from time to time.

    I agree too, learning covers is a great insight into the essence of a performance or style.

    This has given me insight, however. Perhaps all those smiles and tolerance at jams are...not what i thought.
    Last edited by stevedenver; Mar-29-2017 at 9:33am.

  24. The following members say thank you to stevedenver for this post:


  25. #42
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,178
    Blog Entries
    49

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    This has given me insight, however. Perhaps all those smiles and tolerance at jams are...not what i thought.
    Yes. But the eye rolling I get is unambiguous.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  26. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  27. #43
    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Pine Hill, New Mexico
    Posts
    2,529

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    This video from Don Julin shows the same things Butch taught. I'll go ahead and do this for "Little Girl from Tennesee." Since it's not one that I normally play, it will be good for me to go through this method on it for my own good. It will take me a little time to put a video together.



    Obviously this is not something you can do in a jam session, but if you do this to enough songs, you'll start to recognize what's happening in a song you don't know. You will have developed some vocabulary that you can use to play a break.
    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://www.HillbillyChamberMusic.com

  28. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Don Grieser For This Useful Post:


  29. #44

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    At any level,you can only use the tools you have, and you'll develop more over time. Hearing the melody and finding the first note and recognizing if the phrase goes up or down in pitch is, for me, the basic step. You can then use scale tones, chord tones and rephrasing as simple tools to work with. For many tunes, hearing the entire melody and being able to replay it won't be possible at this stage, especially if you have the first break, so you'll play notes that work, even from a pentatonic scale. Don't apologize for it, everyone uses those notes even if they denegrate the 'pentatonic' scale. And if you can play the straight melody, nothing wrong with that.

    If it sounds good, it is good.
    Play it like you mean it.

  30. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Bill McCall For This Useful Post:


  31. #45
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    22,178
    Blog Entries
    49

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    There is always the option of sitting out the break until you know the tune.

    I'm not trying to be snarky, and I am not "taking a stance". But I just remember being really surprised when someone in some similar thread asked "well what do I play if I don't know the tune?"

    How do you drive to grandma's house if you don't know the way? You find out the way.


    I will admit up front that I am not a full time bluegrasser, so it may be a genre culture thing. I have said at jam sessions that if I knew every tune I would never get to drink.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  32. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JeffD For This Useful Post:


  33. #46
    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Pine Hill, New Mexico
    Posts
    2,529

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    OK, Mark, I had some time today. Sorry that my strings are 3 months old so the mando doesn't sound its best. The Monroe break at the end of the video is more advanced, but I thought I'd give you a taste of that as well because this song lends itself to it nicely.

    A lot of playing a song you might not know is chasing the chords. Can you read the chords from the guitar player's hands? You can hear where the melody goes up and down. If you follow the melody's contour and play "D stuff" of the D chord and "A stuff" over the A chord, etc., you'll be fine. Play the rhythm of the melody with your right hand--that's also a key.

    The kickoffs you can pick up from listening to other mandolin players and figuring those out. There's lots of them. Same with the ending licks. If you start off great and end great, people won't notice what you play in the middle.

    Anyway, I hope this helps you the way learning this method from Butch helped me. Glad to share it with you.

    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://www.HillbillyChamberMusic.com

  34. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Don Grieser For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


  35. #47
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Oak Park, IL
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Thank you Don, and everyone who has replied. There is a wealth of information and good advice in this thread. I think it will be helpful to many of us -- I know it will be to me!

  36. The following members say thank you to Mark Miller for this post:


  37. #48
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,740
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    If you think of music as a language , then you can listen to and repeat specific techniques, melodies, scales and chord forms as vocabulary of that language. Fiddle tunes become stories , single lines paragraphs and single words chords and tones. Music theory, scary words to some, becomes construction plans counted in base seven 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 ....... Soooo ..... listen and count. AlanN makes a great point about transcribing ..... taking a solo , or anything else, apart is a great way to begin understanding how and why something works...... R
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  38. The following members say thank you to UsuallyPickin for this post:

    AlanN 

  39. #49

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    Perhaps all those smiles and tolerance at jams are...not what i thought.
    Yer gettinit.

    The salty reality of a Bluegrass jam: Tune starts. It's goes around. First time/break everybody honors the melody. If I hear chord arpeggios instead of melody, I think to myself that person has yet to get ahold of the melody. It's not a Cardinal Sin. In fact it is better than passing. My experience, if you pass twice, you may get passed up permanently. If you get a second break, you play everything you know. If it contains chord arpeggios, at this point, you've earned it.

    There's some pretty stock melodies in Bluegrass. Let alone the chord progressions. Just be prepared to play in B or Bb.

  40. #50
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    11,701

    Default Re: taking a break at the jam

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    Yer gettinit.

    The salty reality of a Bluegrass jam: Tune starts. It's goes around. First time/break everybody honors the melody. If I hear chord arpeggios instead of melody, I think to myself that person has yet to get ahold of the melody. It's not a Cardinal Sin. In fact it is better than passing. My experience, if you pass twice, you may get passed up permanently. If you get a second break, you play everything you know. If it contains chord arpeggios, at this point, you've earned it.

    There's some pretty stock melodies in Bluegrass. Let alone the chord progressions. Just be prepared to play in B or Bb.
    You said it, buddy. We grassers can be an unforgiving bunch. Shake off a break too often, you run the risk of being pushed to the cornfield. And depending on the jam, it can be tough to get back in.

    And if you get 3, try a twin to the melody. We picked Ol' Joe Clark. After everybody did their thing, the main picker and I did the twin. Good way to say bye-bye to Old Joe....

  41. The following members say thank you to AlanN for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •