Keep in tune. If you don’t have a tuner ask another club member to borrow theirs.
Typically the person who picks the song will lead the song. They will signal who takes a break through eye contact or verbally. Otherwise try and take a break where you can but allow others to share in the breaks too.
Try not to drown out the lead singer. Holding back on the volume helps the singer be heard without them having to strain their voice.
Try to work with the other instruments so that everyone is heard and that your playing compliments theirs.
If you are unsure of a song, step back and play along quietly. This way you can learn the song without distracting from it by playing wrong chords etc. Some jams are more advanced than others. It’s ok to challenge your abilities but be mindful of how you fit into the jam.
Watch your timing. Listen closely for the bass and guitar for your timing. If you can’t hear them you’re playing too loud!
If there is already someone in a jam that is playing the same instrument as yourself, either try playing along at a distance quietly, or find another jam to play in. You could also approach the other player and ask to step in after awhile.
If you know the lyrics of a song then try singing harmony. If you’re unsure of your voice start by singing quietly until your comfortable with singing along louder. Harmony vocals are very important to Bluegrass music!
If you know a song that you think others would enjoy, or be able to play along with, then please share it. Just be sure to let others pick songs as well.
Most important have fun! Don’t be discouraged if someone reminds you about one of these rules while jamming. If we all follow these simple guidelines then everyone will benefit from a better organized jam.
Banjo Articles by Jim MacDonald
What Is A Banjo?
Varieties Of A Banjo
How To Get Your Own Banjo
Playability Check Of Your Instrument
Adjusting The String Action Height On A Banjo
Bridge Location On A Banjo
Tuneability Check Of A Banjo
Good Tone Influences For A Banjo
More Good Tone Influences For A Banjo
Playing Location And Banjo Sound
More Information About Banjos
Bass Articles by Sheldon Speedie
The Upright Bass
0109 – January 2009 Newsletter.pdf
0209 – February 2009 Newsletter.pdf
0309 – March 2009 Newsletter.pdf
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0608 – June 2008 Newsletter.pdf
0908 – September 2008 Newsletter.pdf
1008 – October 2008 Newsletter.pdf
1108 – November 2008 Newsletter.pdf
1208 – December 2008 Newsletter.pdf