Most musicians I know — folk, rock, jazz, doesn't matter -- will use the numbering system in jamesM's link to call out chord changes, as in "Go to 2 minor!" Never heard it called the 'Nashville' numbering system, though.
Current acoustic guitars: --Eastman E10D, 2018 (solid Adi spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides) --Eastman E8D, 2019 (solid Sitka spruce top, solid Rosewood back and sides) --Guild GAD F212 12-string, 2011 (solid Sitka spruce top, solid mahogany b&s) --Guild OM-140ce, 2018 (solid Sitka spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides
Post by modernsaint on Apr 12, 2018 15:50:18 GMT -5
ladyssolo, I have gone to several bluegrass meetup jams and dressed in just jeans and T-Shirt. Kind of standard for Southern California. Typically the one who sings will call out the song and the key and everyone plays. As for how everyone is setup, normally a circle and as the circle gets larger, people stand in the behind others. The leader of the song will point to people who want to take a solo. If they solo, typically it is over a couple of choruses and then the next person solos. If that person doesn't want to solo, they just move on within the circular order. As for instrument, I take my mandolin since bluegrass music allows me to play this instrument the most. I play enough guitar in other idioms. I know that this reply is kind of late but that you went or will attend as is great fun. As for ages, varied. The ones who show up enjoy bluegrass music. The irony of playing this style is how many songs are done in the keys of C and G, sometimes A or Am. FWIW, it all about having fun and working to improve on your instrument. I have yet to solo and will do it the next I attend one.
Okay, so I went to my first jam today, it was at the Mount Union Nature Center, and it was reportedly folk, but was actually folk/bluegrass/gospel. There is apparently a group of regulars, they go around the group and take turns choosing a song, announce the key, and the person who calls it sings it (but others are welcome to sing along,) and if the one who calls the song wants to can solo, or offer it up to anyone else. They put me in the rotation but I declined as it was my first time and I was getting the "lay of the land," as it were. I did not embarrass myself but I was a bit over my head as I am totally unprepared to solo. I took my mandolin (was the only mandolin, there were also two banjos ad 5 guitars.) The one banjo player was phenomenal! She was totally rocking it! I did pretty well until someone called a song in the key of B. Up till that point I knew the 1st, 4th and 5th chords in all the keys called and could play rhythm and background for the solos. I will need to work on the key of "B" before I go back. Also they print up a page of words with the chords over the proper place if they want to introduce a new song to the group. I can and will do this. It was a congenial group, I felt pretty welcomed. One of the guitars was an early 1990s Gibson jumbo, its sound was impressive. One of the guitars was a Taylor, sounded typical Taylor, one was a Ibanez (I was not impressed,) and I did not see the name on the headstocks of the other two (they had tuners sitting on them.) It was a good first experience. Three of the people there also go to the larger jam I was originally planning to go to - they told me there are 4 rooms, the people are pretty intense, but if you don't like the feel of the room you are in just go to one of the other rooms. I think I will just look for these people and stay in the room they are in.
Last Edit: May 6, 2018 19:17:19 GMT -5 by ladyssolo
ladyssolo, fantastic that you did it! Maybe some day I'll be that brave. So now with that experience maybe you can help alleviate one of my jam worries. I've been learning some flatpicking for a while and I have quite a few pieces in memory now. Most of them are what would be labeled 'standards'. My problem is though that I'll go to YouTube to watch/listen to some one else play it and even though you can tell it's the same piece it'll be different from the one I've learned, as will the next video and the next one etc. Did you get any sense at the jam session that people knew a piece but a different version? I'm definitely not at the point where I can just make it up as I go along so I have a worry that i would just be standing there with a guitar around my neck doing nothing.
So jamesM, the simple answer is yes. But as I mentioned, the one who calls the song and key kind of played lead, and the rest of us joined in/followed along with the lead. I mainly was back-up, playing 1 - 4 - 5 chords in whatever key, and as the tune changed I could figure out what chord to change to. I am working on 4 songs to play lead on at the next jam, and after that I will play back-up again. I will offer the solo to whoever wants it, I am not ready for that yet. If you get a jam like the one I was at, they were all good enough to follow whatever version the person who called the song was playing. I only sat and looked foolish when someone called a song in the key of "B". I am NOT good in that key, but I am working on it. I did have a good time, and I am going back.
Hmm, interesting, thanks for that. I guess the place to start is to make sure I have my 1-4-5's memorized. I do want to try going to one, it seems like it would be a great way to learn and improve. It's dumb, I know people aren't going to be judging me or expecting Tony Rice but I still have a block about putting myself out there. Maybe I'll go as an observer first just to get a sense of what it's like.
ladyssolo, with your report and positive experience in mind I thought, okay, I'm going to do it, I'm going to go to the next jam, even if it's just to observe. I checked the website for the local bluegrass society to discover that they end in May and don't start up again until September. Weird, yours start up in May and ours ends in May. Oh well, next season I guess.
I went to my second jam today, it was so hot today in the building that we were put outside (in the woods) in the pavilion. We had a bigger audience today, and we had a resonator guitar, a ukulele, and a harmonica playing with the guitars and banjo and my mandolin (from last time) today. It was a lot of fun, with all the different instruments, and there was more audience participation - they sang with us on some of the songs. I felt much more relaxed and comfortable. Maybe I will have enough nerve to play the solo one of the next few times (and maybe not!) LOL!!
Last Edit: Jul 1, 2018 21:51:16 GMT -5 by ladyssolo