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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok. The title was mainly to get your attention. They're not that annoying, they're just good players. The situation is as follows:

An extremely able guitarist who gigs and teaches has recently moved in close by to me. He's started a jam at a local pub. I went along tonight for a nosy and almost everything was shredding at 300bpm. Everyone there a guitarist except the drummer. I must be honest and say that I like to improvise at a medium tempo if given a choice. I also like to play ballads. I know I'm going to get drawn into this jam and, to be honest, I want to get involved, but I don;t really know the guys who are "in charge" - they all seem to be quite good mates with each other. How do I proceed? Try and get them to play a few things that i'd like to play and sit out the rest or go with their stuff and do what I can?
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Ok. The title was mainly to get your attention. They're not that annoying, they're just good players. The situation is as follows:

An extremely able guitarist who gigs and teaches has recently moved in close by to me. He's started a jam at a local pub. I went along tonight for a nosy and almost everything was shredding at 300bpm. Everyone there a guitarist except the drummer. I must be honest and say that I like to improvise at a medium tempo if given a choice. I also like to play ballads. I know I'm going to get drawn into this jam and, to be honest, I want to get involved, but I don;t really know the guys who are "in charge" - they all seem to be quite good mates. How do I proceed? Try and get them to play a few things that i'd like to play and sit out the rest or go with their stuff and do what I can?
Give these "Mates" of your a box of wine or a two for one deal Bud and take the conversation from there. Giving is receiving you know.:D

Seriously, TRhe best you can do is throw the idea past them and see what they say. I'm sure you can kick in with most of it anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Simon Weiner said:
Give these "Mates" of your a box of wine or a two for one deal Bud and take the conversation from there. Giving is receiving you know.:D
Mmmm... Do you think they'll be my REAL friends or just PRETEND friends so they can get nice American beer?? :D

Now will some bugger give me some decent advice. Weiner can't really be trusted.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Mmmm... Do you think they'll be my REAL friends or just PRETEND friends so they can get nice American beer?? :D

Now will some bugger give me some decent advice. Weiner can't really be trusted.
Now im hurt. Im gonna take my Box of Heineken and go home. I figure if its good enough for wine.... Seriously, are you comfortable or would you be comfortable playing their stuff?
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Mmmm... Do you think they'll be my REAL friends or just PRETEND friends so they can get nice American beer?? :D

Now will some bugger give me some decent advice. Weiner can't really be trusted.
I say just jump in there and play what you've got. What's the worst that can happen? The drummer will throw a cymbal on the floor in the middle of your ride? You'll be ostrasized for life from the pub -- indeed from your whole city or village or town? That when you get home you'll find that Mrs. RTT has cleared off with all your saxes? (My axe! My wife!)

This is what you've spent all that time practicing for, man. Go for it.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
bump

[985]
 

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I thought this thread was going to be about evil stratocaster players.:(

it's always about you, isn't it? You you you!:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Simon Weiner said:
Now im hurt. Im gonna take my Box of Heineken and go home. I figure if its good enough for wine.... Seriously, are you comfortable or would you be comfortable playing their stuff?
It's fine at a slower tempo i guess. I don;t want to try playing strings of eighth notes at 300bpm - i can't do anything creative at that speed. I know there's a smart answer that says "play held notes" but when the rhythm section's really burning away that does get a little tired if you do it all the time IMHO. I honestly don't mind blues/standards/funk/folk music whatever but i just don't feel competent at manic tempos, especially if i'm just diving in on material i haven't prepared.
 

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Everybody there will just be relieved that there's not another guitar player...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
hakukani said:
Everybody there will just be relieved that there's not another guitar player...
That's what i'd like to think. But i fear most of the punters were guitarists as well. (Pupils etc). ;)

[987!!!]
 

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so for this jam, does everyone just improvise? or are these guitar players playing actual tunes they've written?
if it's the first thing and everyone is improvising...then hopefully they listen well enough to where you can coax them with your playing. if that's the case(which it should be if everyone is free improvising), then just try to steer the music to tempos/feels that are more suitable to your style. if that's not possible..using spoken language[like english :)]. suggest something like. "let's play something slow." or "lets see how quiet we can play just for fun"....etc..

if they're playing tunes they've written... suggest a tune that isn't burning. or even give them a chart and suggest a medium tempo...if they aren't into playing standards..just write something yourself. anyone who likes to jam will dig that...especially if it's something simple..like a groove or a few changes to jam around.
if you're friendly and your playing is confident they will follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In theory I agree with your suggestions, dpmusic, but I think you may agree that jams tend to follow the format favoured by those who organise them. And maybe that's fair enough?! In truth I know how I'm going to handle this but i'm just interested how others might look at this situation. On your specific Qs, the jam was standards and a bit of blues but almost all at very quick tempos.
 

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RTT, I feel your pain; shredding guitarists bore the h**l out of me. There's a blues jam a few miles from my house and I never go because of the shredding mind-set. However, if you choose to go, try playing in half time and growling a lot. Mess with them. They are guitarists after all.....:cool:
 

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Oh c'mon I cannot believe no one has said this yet... hand out charts! :twisted:

seriously though, are they calling tunes or just making a bunch of random noise? when you step up will you not call a tune?
 

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wersax said:
RTT, I feel your pain; shredding guitarists bore the h**l out of me. There's a blues jam a few miles from my house and I never go because of the shredding mind-set. However, if you choose to go, try playing in half time and growling a lot. Mess with them. They are guitarists after all.....:cool:
Yeah, putting some dirt, grime and soul up against their uninteresting arpeggiated boredom will make it obvious who's making the music and who's doing finger excercises.
 

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Rootytoot, what kind of music are these guys playing? If it's "hard rock," speaking for myself, I'd stay completely out of it. You say they are good players, so hopefully that means they are playing some blues (I just noticed while typing this you said they are playing some standards---what standards?). Are there any vocalists? I've found that singers prefer medium tempos. It's pretty hard to get the lyrics out at breakneck tempos.

Here are some suggestions, but they are dependent on what the starting point is (blues, vocals, funk?):

Go down there and play some tasteful background riffs that enhance the music. Don't play over the vocals, if any. When you get a solo, play something simple and effective. If you have a good handle on altissimo, toss in a high note or two for effect, but don't overdo it. Overall try to blend in, sound good, and play in tune. Initially, you want to be perceived as an asset to the jam. I've found that in many blues jams, sax players are very welcome as long as they play in tune and don't sound terrible (I guess I state the obvious here!).

After a couple of sessions you'll get to know the other players and hopefully they will be open to suggestions. Tunes like "Watermelon Man," "Work Song," and "Cold Duck Time," to name only a few, often go over well at a blues jam and the better guitar players will know them. If you're lucky, maybe some of the vocalists will know some jump/swing blues such as Louis Jordan ("Caldonia", "Let the Good Times Roll"), or Eddie Cleanhead Vinson ("Kidney Stew"), which are great tunes for the sax. Anything by BB King, Albert King, Buddy Guy, etc, should be great for playing horn lines. Guitarists love to play shuffles of all types, which are also great for the sax.

Hopefully, the jam is geared toward blues and you'll be able to get some good playing experience. Also, get to know the guitarist who lives close by and pump him for info. Does he know some of the same tunes you do? Get together with him and work out some heads (like "Tenor Madness," "Chitlin' Con Carne," "Blue Monk," or Jr Walker tunes like "Ha Cha", "Cleo's Time," etc.) if he's into it. You may have a real good opportunity here.

Regarding fast tempos, a lot depends on the style. I love playing up-tempo swing blues (much moreso than my guitar player does!). The trick at fast tempos is not to play too many long "strings of eight notes," but lock in with the rhythm and play shorter phrases.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
In theory I agree with your suggestions, dpmusic, but I think you may agree that jams tend to follow the format favoured by those who organise them. And maybe that's fair enough?! In truth I know how I'm going to handle this but i'm just interested how others might look at this situation. On your specific Qs, the jam was standards and a bit of blues but almost all at very quick tempos.
(988 !!!!!!)

You seem to have forgot;)
 

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What style of music are they 'shredding'.

Is it more Mclaughlin and Dimeola one chord tunes, or Giant Steps and Cherokee?
 

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hakukani said:
What style of music are they 'shredding'.

Is it more Mclaughlin and Dimeola one chord tunes, or Giant Steps and Cherokee?
This would be another thing entirely......

Rootytootoot, give us some more info on what type of jam you're talking about here.
 

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This is very simple: If you're not good enough for the hang, get into the shed until you CAN hang! Some jam sessions are for amateurs, others attract pros. Good luck.
 
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