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Thread: Anyone else have no players near them?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone else have no players near them?

    I live in a small town in Southeast Coastal Georgia and, despite advertising for years in Craigslist and Facebook I've yet to find any other folks to jam with. Is anyone else in this situation? What do you do? I practice daily and read tunes from various websites that have fiddle tunes of all kinds. I occasionally play with back up tracks available online. I love the mandolin and especially twin mandolin playing but can't find anyone within striking distance. I'm retired so time is not the issue, but long-distance driving is becoming more difficult. Just looking for how other folks who might be in this same situation handle it??
    Daniel Kaufman

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    FrDNicholas, I hear ya, I never minded driving an hour one way to jam, now I look for as close as possible but it doesn't always fit my interest. Unfortunately real time virtual jamming just isn't there yet.
    a few years back when we were forming a band, some of the guys advertised in craiglist or other local swap meets, and with very surprising results, so it doesn't hurt to wear a sign board at times.
    Some local establishments ( bars or coffee houses) will have jams or open mics, always a good place to maybe strike up a musical friendship or at least a conversation. If they don't have one, maybe you can host and organize one?
    The problem with never playing with other musicians is you get locked into your own phrasing and timing, and its just way more fun when 2 musicians of relatively the same playing level can interact.
    Backing tracks and metronomes help, but we don't play mandolin ( or any instrument) because we like to practice ( or at least I don't).
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Daniel, I just checked the map and you and I are actually in the same situation. I am also retired and live one hour from New York Cityóit looks like you are 1 hour from Savannah. My closest music friends are about 30 minutes away and others are more like an hour. I started an old time jam session a dozen years ago and met quite a few people who found it. Somehow I can't imagine that a moderate size city like Savannah would not have a variety of musicians to play with. If you find someone you could either split the difference and meet halfway (if possible) or else take turns driving to one location or the other. I imagine you have tried all this, but I am curious.

    Hey, I just searched for music stores in Savannah and both Bob Benedetto and Randy Wood are located there. Maybe play with them or at least ask them who they know.

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    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    My suggestion would be to find bluegrass music playing in your area and talk with the bands / venue. They may provide some local-ish jams to attend etc.

    That said, driving 30 minutes minimum one way is fairly normal for most jams in my experience regardless of where you are. I've been in San Diego for about 13 years and while there's a good music scene in my town, the bluegrass scene specifically isn't really around me. I have to drive at least 30 minutes - sometimes an hour - one way to get to a jam.

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    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Here in northern New England, playing with other people can mean traveling. I've often driven two hours each way just to jam. But since Covid struck, I've had to reduce my music travel considerably.

    Someone above mentioned that you're not far from Savannah. There should be a few open mics and whatnot there.

    Good luck! I know how frustrating it is.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Someone above mentioned that you're not far from Savannah. There should be a few open mics and whatnot there.
    I did a quick search and found this coffee house that has a monthly open mic: https://www.sentientbean.com/events/...a9-rj4nd-feh8e

    Then I did a search for bluegrass in Savannah and Randy Wood's site came up.

    Here's one more, an article about bluegrass and OT music in and around Savannah published a few years ago.
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and help. I've been to Randy Woods, which is a wonderful place. Unfortunately, it's over an hour away and my back won't do the drive, then sitting for a jam and then driving back. I'm at a place where driving is somewhat difficult but I'll keep looking. I guess I was spoiled living in Albuquerque where I had fantastic jams within minutes of my house. I thought coming back to Georgia,(we had lived in Atlanta for a long stretch) I would be able to find lots of musicians, if not totally bluegrass, at least acoustic styles similar to my own. We have an army base here so lots of young people. The folks that do play music are more into louder styles of music that I'm unable to play with. Folks also seemed to find it difficult to make a commitment. Anyway, enough griping...
    Daniel Kaufman

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    FrDNicholas asked:

    Anyone else have no players near them?


    They seem to be scarce when I'm playing the bagpipes.

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    I'm in freakin Chicago, which is lousy with country bands. Been trying to put together something bluegrass based but all I get are banjos, fiddles and other mandolins. I just need one guitar or dobro or anything lower than my register but no.
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Warning, Iím going tangential here. I play in an Ontario Cape Breton session that was twice a month in the good olí days. Naturally, an hourís drive from my home. We just had the first indoor session (private event by invite and rsvp, all masked and vaccinated, no messiní around-in fact the invite specified no singing or dancing!) in almost two years. It was at a downtown Royal Canadian Legion. In fact, it just happened to be the place I played my last gig with the band, on March 14, 2020.

    Which got me thinking, because I know very few jokes and they are all lame like this, I just donít expect to find myself in them. Itís about the banjo player and accordion player who had a New Years gig. Wait, donít get ahead of me, thatís not the punchline.

    Their show went really well, with an adoring crowd. Now dammit, I told you, donít get ahead of me cause thatís not the punchline either!

    The pleased manager in the joke, like the one in the Legion on March 14 2020, asked us to plan to return the next year.

    In the joke the banjo player looked at his accordion accomplice and they said what I could have said 20 months ago ďsure, is it OK if we leave our instruments here?Ē

    Iím lucky I only have to drive an hour to find players who will put up with my jokes. Couple more years and I may even get invited again.
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    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble óThe Oxford Companion to Music

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Stein View Post
    I'm in freakin Chicago, which is lousy with country bands. Been trying to put together something bluegrass based but all I get are banjos, fiddles and other mandolins. I just need one guitar or dobro or anything lower than my register but no.
    Mitch, have you tried Old Town School of Folk Music?

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hand View Post
    Mitch, have you tried Old Town School of Folk Music?
    Great place
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    I had the same problem. I also tried Craigslist and the rest.
    But I ran across the Old Time Fiddlers Association which had a chapter in my State and a district in my area. It has turned out pretty good. Only a couple mando players, but lots of fiddles and singers. In fact, I am meeting with two fiddlers and a guitar player tomorrow. I am confident there is one in your state. There might be several.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Daniel:
    I should have been clearer. I understand your not wanting to drive an hour each way on a regular basis but perhaps you could either attend a jam further away in order to meet folks who might know folks closer to you. I would bet there are other people in your area who already travel that far. Or contact some folks like Randy Woods or people who run jams or coffeehouses or open mics too far away and see if they have any folks on your mailing list who could live closer to you.

    Ah, Albuquerque! My sister lived there for many years and I also had a girlfriend from there. I met some wonderful musicians in that town. But now, have few connections there.
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    I'm in the middle of the flyover country of South central Washington state. Yet (before COVID) there were about 12 acoustic jams a month I could attend (if I didn't work rotating 12 hour shifts). In reality I was lucky to attend a couple per month. All were about 15 minutes away or less.

    One of them was Old Time Fiddlers (mentioned previously). I know there's a chapter near you. Another was a folklife society. You likely have one of those nearby. One was at a local music store. Do you have any? Have you asked? Once weather allows, go to bluegrass festivals. There are always jams. Stay at the festival to eliminate the back and forth drive.

    Start a jam of your own. Put up flyers at music stores or start a FB page for yours. There's always an excuse if you don't really want to do it (family, work, had back, etc.) but I'm sure if you try you'll find or make something.

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    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    . . . Start a jam of your own. . . .
    I'm doing just that. I got in touch with the new UU pastor here to talk about it, and she's interested in hosting a coffee house. We're talking after the holidays are out of the way.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I have been to Randy Wood's excellent shop and asked about musicians closer to me. I have been to the only music shop in town and asked about other musicians. I have had a friend put up flyers on the local military base and put an ad on Facebook. I put an ad in the local paper and reissue it regularly. I search Craigslist regularly not just for my ad that I reup monthly but for people selling guitars that might still play and be getting a better guitar. There's a bar/restaurant that holds a weekly open mike and I've been there a couple of times looking for other folks.
    In short, I think I've done everything I can think of without success. I am certainly open to other suggestions; I think I was just really asking for how people dealt with playing at home when there is no one else around. I will continue looking at all the avenues I can think of. I realize 4 years is not a long time in a new place so, again, patience is, as always, the key.
    Daniel Kaufman

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Some, they live in the area but have their own paid gigs & there is no community jam .
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Hey, it's COVID, right? My weekly jam at the coffee shop around the corner is kaput, and so's the coffeehouse. Local folk club weekly sing-around is on Zoom, which is not group-singing-or-jamming-friendly.

    Ultimate solution is to host the jam yourself, starting by attracting two or three others you scrape up through your persistent proselytizing, hoping it will enlarge by warm weather when you can move it outside 'cause it's too big for your living room. Or not.

    Good luck.
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    A quick search show this.

    Savannah Folk Music Society

    You might want to check it out some time.
    Thanks,
    sounds_good

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    I contacted the Savannah Folk Music folks but they didn't know of anyone near me. I will keep looking and remain hopeful.
    Daniel Kaufman

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    If you have good internet upload speeds and can manage the technology, then I think Jamkazam works ok for online playing with 1 or 2 others. My typical delay is similar to playing with someone 50 feet way, it's noticeable but manageable.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Hey, it's COVID, right? My weekly jam at the coffee shop around the corner is kaput, and so's the coffeehouse. Local folk club weekly sing-around is on Zoom, which is not group-singing-or-jamming-friendly.

    Ultimate solution is to host the jam yourself, starting by attracting two or three others you scrape up through your persistent proselytizing, hoping it will enlarge by warm weather when you can move it outside 'cause it's too big for your living room. Or not.

    Good luck.
    I'm with Allen. These are COVID times. The Ottawa region usually has many types of musical sessions or jams, but as far as I can tell, there are now no public jams in Ottawa. A newcomer to Gatineau, Quebec, across the river, found, nothing going on there either. I'm a senior, and was fortunate enough at the beginning of COVID to find an elderly couple to play with, in their home. Still, we've had breaks that last for weeks when one or another of us has a cold, an operation, or injuries from a fall. This too shall pass.

    Some one has to organize sessions: find and negotiate terms for a space (if in a bar, a free drink for musicians? a reserved sitting area, recorded music turned off), set a time, publicize the activity, and host the session. If no one else has done this organizing, you might want to take on the task. When my sweetheart and I couldn't find a venue that was open to the traditional folk songs that we enjoy singing (as a focus of the evening's music, not as novelty items), we started a folk club. A seniors centre gave us free space and provided volunteers to collect entry fees and serve coffee, tea, and goodies. We split the door between the centre and performers, so that we never had to take a financial loss, though we weren't paid either. By chance, another friend opened an open-stage folk-singing club about the same time. Now there are three not-for-profit folk clubs, specializing in traditional song in Ottawa area and nearby, all somewhat different (two are free) and all successful but affected by COVID conditions. Having a musical gathering involves an individual or small group taking responsibility to organize. Again, these are COVID times, so gatherings will be small no matter what.
    Last edited by Ranald; Dec-04-2021 at 12:28pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    This is a great discussion and I think it comes down to the logical answer is real time virtual jamming over the internet. I am an IT Network Engineer in my other job, and I can tell you its is very doable but we are not there yet. The biggest limitation being the existing physical infrastructure of the Internet, cabling, routers switches and so on. Other economic factors beyond jamming will drive this progress, so we just need to be ready for it.
    I think the simpler answer is all the sessions need buffering at each end point, but it will take very fast processing to ensure the playback from the buffer is synced with all the other sessions, so distribution that function is the other challenge. They can do it with talking and video, but we can tolerate a little lag here and there, not really the same with group jamming.
    I would think in a few years virtual jamming over the internet will become "normalized".
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

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    Registered User Christine Robins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have no players near them?

    To tmsweeney--We "are there yet" for real time online jamming!

    I jam every day with JamKazam. With folks all over the country, as well as Canada and even Europe. Various genres--bluegrass, country, fiddle tunes, Americana, etc. It's really improved my playing, as well as motivated me to continue solitary practice. Some hardware requirements. Sure, I miss the live music interaction, but it's sure better than nothing!

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