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Thread: Going to my first BG jam

  1. #1
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    Default Going to my first BG jam

    Hello all, want some advice. I have only been playing mandolin for six months. I know all major and minor cords (3 finger). I hear or can find the key the song is being played in but have trouble with songs like Cold Frost Mourning ( that are fast with more than four cords) My timing is pretty good till I have to think about what cord is next. I can play some simple melodies. The question is do I take my mandolin and try to play or leave it at home and just observe? Thanks

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    I'm sitting here waiting for fedex to deliver my first mandolin but been playing guitar for 50+ years, in my lil ole humble opinion I'd take it and play what changes you can hear and lay out on changes you don't hear...plus it'll be a good learning experience and bluegrass player's seem to be a much more understanding and supportive group of folks, you'll be fine...

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    I'm four months in on mandolin and am looking for jams. I've done them on other instruments and my opinion is to go for it. If a song alludes you watch others and play softly to yourself to try to lock in.
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    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    I totally agree with CBFrench. Go for it and you will get better the more you go and then get back home and practice and prepare for the next jam.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Go for it.

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    One million percent take it. Every bluegrass jam I have ever attended has been super cool about beginners joining.

    As long as you donít show up and try to command the spotlight from day one people are super supportive.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Jams are fun, can be but been to some where its way too many pickers and out of tune pickers-man tune those things! But still great to learn to play well with others, learn new songs, licks, runs, breaks etc...Also its a good way to practice, when I was growing up and playing guitar and mandolin I would jam in a CD, tape or record and play along-that's great practice as well. Everyone is always/usually kool with a beginner, just watch the guitar player for changes "if you know a little about guitar-luckily most of the old grass is 3chords with the minor in what ever key. Have a great time as that's what its all about!

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Take it and play it. Have fun. If you are concerned about stepping out find a spot and just play along quietly. Nothing will speed you music along like playing with others and having fun doing it. You may even come into an impromptu lesson. Here's todays …. Most songs as William Smith points most 'grass songs have three or four chords. In the key of G , most popular that would be G,C ,D and Em…. Those are the I IV V and VI minor chords in the key of G. The Keys of A, D, Bd and C are the next most popular keys. Learn the I,IV,Vand VIm chords in those keys and how to change quickly between them. Annnndd you are off . Enjoy. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Prepare and take it. Look thru Parking lot pickers book (The Baldassari/Flinner book looks good too) or get a list of maybe a dozen tunes and listen to lots variations on youtube. Record yourself playing rhythm: chord-chop-chord-chop, get it even and smooth chord chages. try a few ways to start a break (but not w/rhythm track at full speed): harmonize the melody or move it up/down octaves in kind of a call-response, change the rhythm up etc.
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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Absolutely take it with you. Sitting in is the best practice. Especially if the group is willing to slow it down for the new guy. I am 6 months into the mando but have played with A lot of groups on drums. I am lucky to have a group to play with that knows I'm new and nobody is going to Nashville. G,c, d and a minor chord. Have fun with it

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    Default Re: Going to my frist BG jam

    Ok, I have never got bad advice here at MC. The mandolin is going with me and I will hope to find some understanding folks. The jam is in Flora, Il July 11-13. If you see a guy that looks lost or a little out of place that will be me. I'll post my out come. Thanks

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to my first BG jam

    One thing a guy told me early on, “Get the tune in your head then, tell your fingers where to go.” That little tip has served me well for many years, get the roots of the tune in your head first, you can tweak it later.
    It will be fine!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Going to my first BG jam

    I just got back from my first jam. What can I say, had a great time with my mandolin. There was an older gentlemen there ( about 70) that was a great guitar player. His fills and voice could of been on any label. This man made me feel right at home. He would start a song slow ( so I could find the key and changed) then would look at the bass player ( a female adopt 65) and start to speed it up. He would look at me ( I'm 58) and say "come on kid" lets do this. Bluegrass Folks that I've come across are more then helpful. They gave me some soles ( that were very simple). I ended the night getting phone numbers of people that will let me know when they get together. I know, I as way out classed but they made me feel that I was part of the experience. I got to learned new songs, and helped my timing. Going back to tomorrow night and Saturday. To anyone who think there ability is to low to play, I'm telling you that you can find a helpfull person out there. Thank you to all the post that told me to try to play. I'm more then hooked
    Last edited by Eric "Trapper" G; Jul-12-2019 at 12:55am. Reason: Added to it

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to my first BG jam

    Glad you had fun!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Going to my first BG jam

    My very first jam as a mandolin player (just 14 months in) was yesterday with *ahem*...

    Mike Marshall, Tony Trischka and Michael Daves.

    ...along with a dozen or more other pickers who were invited to the ArtistWorks studio in Napa to join in the streamed masterclass — some of you may have seen it. Some of you reading this probably were there, too.

    I stuck to chopping rhythm in that one, but it was a great thrill, and what a way to dive into the jam pool!
    But in the small mando breakout group with Mike, I did make myself take breaks on John Hardy. I had practiced the heck out of it in previous days, felt I was playing it quite well, and I knew I’d never forgive myself if I wimped out. So off down the ski jump I went...

    My right arm suddenly felt like it weighed 30 pounds, tension transferred to my pick and slowed it down, I could scarcely hear my own playing (someone told me it sounded good and that’s it’s just the way sound from an instrument projects to the front), and of course my horror at all of the above distracted me so that my left fingers we’re finding what was at best a suggestion of the melody... In short, everything you don’t want to have happen when you’re in the spotlight at a jam. But...

    I’d “seen the elephant,” as Civil War soldiers said of their first battle. I survived. And had fun. What an inspiration it was to “keep it up,” as Mike wrote on my souvenir poster. And nothing to fear now from the weekend pickin’ sessions back home, I guess.

  20. #16
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    Default Re: Going to my first BG jam

    Callmegina, I totally get it. I was shaken like a leaf, ( this was the first time I've ever played infront of anybody). You know these grasser's made me feel right at home. I'd say after about three songs played I settled in. I just got back from the 3 night of jams. Each night I found folks willing to help out a newbe. I learned of songs that I'd never heard before. I took notes and will look them up in the weeks to come. One song that really touched me was " Just an old body", after loosing my mother just nine months a go. I have a lot of things to practice and songs to learn. I can't wait to find another jam in my area and absorb more material

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