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Thread: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

  1. #1
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Every Tuesday about 2 miles from me a few people get together and play blue grass. (There were a couple of banjo players, a few guitars and I was the third mandolin player.) I got the nerve up and went last Tuesday. I brought my mandolin; I think next time I'll go with a 6-string. I'll be able to keep up a bit more.

    I really don't know a lot of tunes, but I can follow along even on the mandolin when they are playing in certain keys. (I'm still working on that pinky for four finger chords. Then the key they're playing in won't be an issue.)

    And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

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    Registered User spud3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Bravo! Hope it was a welcoming group and you had a good time!

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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Excellent!
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

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    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    They were all very nice. It was a bit difficult to 'keep up' on the mandolin, I've really only been seriously playing for about 6 months. (I'd say I play about 2 hours / day, with about 45 minutes being 'serious practicing'.) Not having yet developed that pinky strength to play four finger chords, really puts me at a disadvantage when one yells out a song "in Bb". I'm far from great on the guitar, but I'd say I'm on the high side of mediocre!!! I'll definitely bring the mandolin with me for when they do play in a key I can keep up with.

    It's also difficult that most of the tunes were brand new to me. That too will come with time I'm sure.

    And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    I find knowing how to play guitar helps me at jams - I can watch the guitar player's fretting had to see which chord is being played, and then I can play it on mandolin. I STILL find Bb difficult!

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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Keep at it and you'll get the standards down pat. It does take some time but it sounds as though you are motivated. Way to go.

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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    I find knowing how to play guitar helps me at jams - I can watch the guitar player's fretting had to see which chord is being played, and then I can play it on mandolin. I STILL find Bb difficult!
    Agreed on both counts,... Bb is like the worst key ever,... Just IMHO
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Go with three fingered chords. You don't need those <censored> chop chords.

    And Bb is not that hard of a key to play in on the mandolin. Try these chords, from the low G to high E string (x means don't play it, mute instead):

    Bb 335x
    Eb 356x
    F 233x or 578x

    After playing swing music for several years, I have gotten to love the keys of F and Bb, in addition to my favorites G, D, and C.
    "Those who know don't have the words to tell, and the ones with the words don't know so well." - Bruce Cockburn

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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    Congrats on your first outing. One for the memory banks. Next visit take a field recorder and work with the recording at home. It makes a world of difference in a short time. Don't give up on your mandolin. I generally take two or three instruments to a jam and fill in where needed.
    Keep in mind that mandolins are tuned in fifths. So when playing in closed positions, using no open strings, when you move from a higher pitched string, example E to A, you are going from playing a I / 1 to a IV / 4 change ….. The One chord, ex. A Four chord, D, and Five chord, E, scales are " all right there" close to one another. Some fiddlers call using this closed position playing " using a finger capo". It opens up playing double stops and pieces of scales with very little position shifting. R/
    Last edited by UsuallyPickin; Yesterday at 9:49am. Reason: Added thought
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  11. #10
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    I actually got back from my second jam. I did 'cheat' a bit by bringing my guitar. (No one hits a guitar player when s/he takes out a capo ). I brought my mandolin too.

    I've been practicing the major scale stuff jazzmando.com. Wow, I never realized how under developed my pinky was! I'm also learning songs from mandolessons.com. Now I just need to learn the four or five different chord progressions that make up the majority of what we play there. Rome wasn't built in a day!

    Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement.

    And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

  12. #11
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Went to my first Blue Grass jam

    The more you go, the better you will recognize where you think you need to work on. The four finger chop chord will get easier after you get more used to it. Be strong.
    I was running the channels and ran across an old Porter Wagoner, show with Jim and Jesse and I was reminded that Jesse uses a LOT of three finger partial chords and play in Bb and F with out skipping a beat.
    Nothing wrong with changing between guitar and Mandolin, good to,give your fingers a little change sometimes too until you really get “hardened”. It gets easier, just go as often as you can.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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