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Jamming etiquette??


edger
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Is there such a thing? I'd like to think so.

I'd just be curious on what other people's thoughts might be when it comes to "rules" or gestures of courtesy that should be followed when a "guest" (or so-called guest) decides to join another band while they are up on stage.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good collaborative jam, and think that some of the most magical moments occur on the fly, often by musicians who have never played with each other before, and for that reason those moments should be encouraged. Nevertheless I think a little common courtesy can go a long way.

For example, should a "guest" be specifically invited up by a band, before they decide to insert themselves into a mix? Should this ideally be discussed beforehand? I would think so. Of course there are always notable exceptions to this (e.g. the musicians know each other, have played together before, have mutual musician friends, respect each other's craft, have the ability to positively contribute, etc.) Otherwise I would think that an actual invite is reasonable.

Also, is there a reasonable window of time that a guest musician should adhere to? Meaning should they stick to one or two songs, and then let the band continue on with what they set out to do, or just continue to "play over top of them" for the entire set (perhaps some of you may see where I am going with this, or have directly experienced something similar to this before).

I think the answer to the above question also depends on the circumstances. If the groove is flowing, and the "guest" is clearly getting the vibe off of the band members that they are digging the energy, and that which is being created because of it, then by all means jam on... However, if the guest is not familiar with the material, and does not have the ability or inclination to lay back when they are unsure, or add pleasing accents, or they are getting the vibe that the band is feeling stifled, or irritated (despite their best efforts to remain polite), then perhaps they should soak up their moment of glory for a song or two at the most and then gracefully bow out and let the band continue on doing what they do best.

I'd like to think that there is no reason for hard and fast rules when it comes to something like improvisation, art, and the magic that can evolve from a good jam, but at the same time there's been one too many times where I've witnessed a good thing get quashed by an oblivious, it's all good brah mentality.

Anyways, that's my rant. I'd be curious to hear what others might have to say.

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should a "guest" be specifically invited up by a band, before they decide to insert themselves into a mix? Should this ideally be discussed beforehand? I would think so. Of course there are always notable exceptions to this (e.g. the musicians know each other, have played together before, have mutual musician friends, respect each other's craft, have the ability to positively contribute, etc.) Otherwise I would think that an actual invite is reasonable.

Bingo.

It's someone else's gig and it is always the perogative of that band to choose *not* to have any guests join them that evening.

So, what happened? :P

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See Michael Ray in Albany 9.9.2000 with Phish for what not to do............

???? I thought he was a lot of fun. He had some trouble with his horn or something and decided to.... breakdance or something for a while. But it was a blast. And I'm sure he was invited.

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I agree, definetly has to be invited up. Somtimes it might be an important gig to the band and not want anyone up there on that particular night. As for the time alotted for the guest. As for time alotted, I would have to say it depends on the vibe of things but if you sense you have done your part it is time for you to say thank you and move on.

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Being invited is key, and listening to what the inviting act is setting up before launching into something is also a good idea.

It's their show and thereby their aesthetic that needs to be celebrated and enhanced by the jammer's appearance.

That being said it's somewhat easy for jammer's to be overzealous in the guest slot, whether it be sheer excitement, insecurity, over-inflated sense of self or jitters, it happens to most jammer's in their lifetime and can produce over or under playing that really isn't all that helpful.

The existence of this possible negative outcome should be realized by a jammer and mentally avoided prior to taking the stage me thinks.

It (jamming) whether guest or within band is about empathy; understanding the collective energy and your place in it. Strange and difficult art form it is.

As for time allotted, if you're empathizing then you'll know when it's time to get a move on.

Deeps

PS what happened?

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I can't imagine it happening without not only an invitation (the guest will have to be accommodated on stage; if the guest is a guitar player, for example, he'll need an amp and have to be mixed in by the sound engineer), but negotiation as to which song(s) the guest will play (and the parts the guest will play, i.e., who solos when, who's triggering any transitions, etc.). What's been negotiated can be changed on-stage, but at the band's discretion, not the guest's.

Aloha,

Brad

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Though designed to facilitate bluegrass jamming, these 10 JAMANDMENTS have universal merit:

I. Thou Shalt Tune Thy Instrument.

~ Electronic tuners make this easy.

II. Thou Shalt Keep Steady Rhythm.

~ Count beats if necessary.

III. Thou Shalt Take Turns Choosing Songs.

~Announce the key. Vocalists always choose their key.

~ Choose a song you can complete.

IV. Thou Shalt Not Speed.

~ Start songs at a reasonable tempo. Speed up according to abilities.

V. Thou Shalt Signal Who Has The Solo.

~ Follow a pattern when taking solo leads.

VI. Thou Shalt Listen To Others.

If you can't hear the lead, consider yourself too loud.

VII. Thou Shalt Welcome Others.

~ Include everyone in your jam. Help everyone sound as good as they can.

VIII. Thou Shalt Not Steal Other Musicians From An Active Jam.

~With time, players move around anyway.

IX. Thou Shalt Try New Material.

~ Original & different tunes are OK occasionally.

X. Thou Shalt Be Considerate Of Pickers (and Others).

~ Explain when you're rehearsing, not jamming. Help beginners.

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That's a bit much BradM, deciding who solos when? Who leads transitions? That's part of the give and take of a great jam.

I would say, the guest has to be invited, and maybe even a set amount of time or songs, or jams can be disussed. (ie: come up the fifth song and stay until the end of the set or; come up for a couple tunes).

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See Michael Ray in Albany 9.9.2000 with Phish for what not to do............

???? I thought he was a lot of fun. He had some trouble with his horn or something and decided to.... breakdance or something for a while. But it was a blast. And I'm sure he was invited.

I was right up front and he ruined the end of this show for me. When he burst onto the stage, Phish were clearly not ready for his arrival, as his horn wasn't out yet, while Fish and Trey looked at each other confused. Then he got dancing with the fans on stage which was also distracting and pitiful. Then he bonked his way through a tune or two. And finally to top of all that he didn't really sound that great when he was playing.

But yes, he was definitely invited.

S

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all this is well and good for a soloist but man when i bring my bongo drum to a concert be prepared for some awesome rhythms rippling outward from me. i've had plenty of people tell me that my grooves have added so much to their concert experience to the point where i've banged away so loud that i can't even hear the band anymore

i can't hold back, i just can't

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That's a bit much BradM, deciding who solos when? Who leads transitions? That's part of the give and take of a great jam.

OK, maybe that was a bit much; I'll back off and say that negotiations could include such things. The level of detail and rigor in the negotiations can, itself, be (meta)negotiated.

Aloha,

Brad

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all this is well and good for a soloist but man when i bring my bongo drum to a concert be prepared for some awesome rhythms rippling outward from me. i've had plenty of people tell me that my grooves have added so much to their concert experience to the point where i've banged away so loud that i can't even hear the band anymore

i can't hold back, i just can't

I think the difference there is that you are not in the mix. You are not coming throught the monitors for the rest of the band to hear and adapt to. If the band can't hear you the only people you are affecting are the people around you, and if they didn't like it, surely they would tell you to stop(?)

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I'd add those rules to the list for sure UF!! (Although I actually don't mind hand drums IF tastefully incorporated into the mix)

And for the record LXQ42 I certainly wasn't referring to you. I enjoyed your contribution. This thread was inspired by both a specific incident (combined with more general encounters with similar circumstances over the years), and was not intended to single any individual out.

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weird timing, the festival we went to this weekend actually had a workshop called Jamming Etiquette! i'm not sure if anybody hit that one up though...stuff seems kinda obvious. though i guess it isn't for some!

:D:D

You'd think.

Maybe this site should provide a link to an online course or something...

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