First jam session

I really want to connect with local musicians. I don’t feel I’m quite ready to “jam” though. There’s a few FB groups in my areas always looking for people. Would it be weird to “tag along”? Just looking to learn where I can, and i LOVE live music.


No I don’t think it’s weird at all. Just remember that EVERYONE was where you were at some point. Just be honest that you’re a beginner and really keen to learn from more experienced musicians. They will either welcome you along or not (and if they don’t then they probably are not the people for you anyway). There will most likely be people amongst the group that really like teaching others how to play in a band/musical environment. Give it a go, if you really don’t like it after a couple of sessions then don’t go back.


Are these just jam sessions or are they bands looking for a Bass player?
Sounds like they might just be jam sessions in which case you should have no problems.

Jam sessions always seem to welcome players of all experience levels and if they don’t as @Bassdacious said “they probably are not the people for you anyway”. I am involved in 4 different jam sessions and all of them would welcome you. We have people that just come to hear the live music and do not play. It’s all good. :slightly_smiling_face:

So go meet them and see what they are about. No harm in that. Take your Bass if you want. You may be surprised at how well you will fit in.

Good luck and let us know how you make out :+1: :+1: :+1:

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Every jam I have been in has been warm, inviting and welcoming. Hang out, listen to music, get a feel for the room. If you just want to sit there with your bass in your lap, no one will bat an eye, though they might try to gently nudge you into playing.
As for worrying about playing in front of other people, I will refer you to my Drool story. Until you can top that, you’re doing fine :grin:


I’m going to a low pressure jam session for the first time next week. Excited and nervous - first time playing with others. Might just be the guitarist, but a drummer might be there as well. We agreed on two really simple songs we both enjoy, one slower/melancholy and one upbeat/fun: High & Dry - Radiohead and Don’t Do Me Like That - Petty.

I made a list of what I think I’ll need to bring. Am I forgetting anything? Common to play along with the recording at these - or just us? Any other advice? I’m a grown-ass man - why am I so nervous about this?

List: Case, bass, zoom b1 Four, tuner, 3 cables (bass->zoom, zoom-> DI box, XLR DI-> PA) sheet music, laptop (ready access to other music).

Thanks for any advice you folks can impart to me.


I know I haven’t posted on here for awhile (been too busy with the band) but, I love reading posts like this and just had to reply!! So happy for you @KenKnight… Playing music live with other musicians is so damn much fun! Having played with a few jam bands in the past, every one I played with was a bit different - which actually was a good thing because I learned a lot of different things. The last jam band I started playing with actually turned into a regular band awhile back and we kinda quit having jam sessions with other musicians so jam bands can at times turn into a full time band thing…

As for playing along with recordings,… Never did that at any of the jam sessions however we do listen to a recording at band practice so that each of us can familiarize ourselves with the song before we start playing and learning it together. The one thing that was a bit frustrating at first for me was when I played with jam bands (at first), everything always seemed to be out of time - or at least from what I was use to hearing and playing to. This is normal and you’ll fit in better once you focus on the drummer’s style and learn his (or hers) rhythmic style. Also, there are times when the lead guitarist will want to throw in something additional that might not be in the original song - again, this is normal - just keep an eye out on what the lead guitarist is doing and his body language will tell you if he’s making a change up. The thing to remember is that this will be the first time you will be playing with these cats and you’ll need to be open to mistakes - both yours and theirs. This will also be their first time playing with you too…

As for songs, be prepared to keep it very simple at first - even if it’s just roots, roots/fifths, roots octaves… Don’t try to play tabs or sheet music like you would if you were making a cover or something - it don’t work too good - I learned this the hard way the first time I played with a jam band. What I like to do is bring Lead Sheets of the songs with me so that I can always revert back to simple root notes if need be. From there I will only pick out a couple “money note riffs” and throw them in once in awhile when I feel comfortable doing so. The key is to break into it slowly and learn how the other musicians are playing so that you can fit into their style of play, yet support the song as the bassist.

As for gear, I’ve never brought a laptop to any jam or practice session before so I can’t address that one. I do carry an iPad that contains all the music I play with the band though. Sounds like they have a PA system to plug into so the DI is a must. Not sure I’d bother with pedals or anything just yet since this will be your first time playing with these folks. I’d bring a notebook to take notes on though. Also, having plenty of water is a must. Might wanna have a set of strings handy along with a set of nail clippers. Nail clippers come in handy for snipping wires (and finger nails)… I also always carry a Terry cloth, clip on tuner, fold up stand, extra cable. Most everything I carry fits into my back pack pack and gig bag.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes… I remember one of my first jam’s ending up being 5 hours long with no breaks… Brutal!! But, what I didn’t know was that that jam band was looking for a full time bassist and that session was kind of a test to see if I could hold up… Now it’s just second nature being on my feet for long periods of time with a bass hanging off my shoulder… :smiley:

No matter what, just remember… HAVE FUN!! That’s what it’s all about… Enjoy the excitement, along with the nervousness - it’s all part of the experience… Over time, the nervousness will diminish, and the excitement will grow. Playing with other musicians is always exciting!!

Good Luck!

Keep on Thumpin’!

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Thanks @Lanny ! I made a few notes - water, clippers, fold-up stand (how did I forget to add that?) - nixing the Zoom - tone knob on P-bass will suffice and be simpler. I’m going to make sure I have the chord changes for the songs available (is that what you mean by “lead sheets”?)- with tab notation cheats so I can find them quick if I get lost. Mostly I’m worried he’ll say, “lets try this other song; it’s in C” and I’ll freeze up. But I think I get nashville numbers, so if it’s a I, IV, V in C I’m pretty sure I can wing the roots or root/fifths if I take a deep breath and give myself a little time to figure it out.

The two songs we agreed to “prepare” are both pretty simple. High & Dry, F#m to A to E - and I’m a little lost on the minor part but I think I can just play it F#, A, E and be just fine. Long sustained notes for the verses, so plenty of time to prepare for next note, and there’s a fun open E to F# pattern followed by open E to A pattern in the chorus - I’m just going to practice that for about an hour or two and let muscle memory take over. The other is Don’t Do Me Like That, super easy - G-F-C-E for the whole thing. Why are Tom Petty bass parts either super easy (Don’t Do Me, Won’t Back Down, Free Fallin) or fairly complicated? (American Girl, Mary Jane’s Last Dance)


Yes to this… Don’t worry about the minor, major, diminished, etc crap at this point. You’ll play an F#; A; and E… Where you play them at on the fretboard is ups to you and your ear as to how things might fit into the mix… How you’ll get to each of the roots is also up to you… Whenever I get into a bind I always rely on the pentatonic scale to pull me through… Don’t overthink things… Allow your training and your ear to take over. “Use the Force Luke”… Believe me,… it works…

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You’re gonna have a blast.
To me there is nothing better than playing with other like minded people. Just keep it simple and have fun. :+1: :+1: :+1:

Other than your list and @Lanny 's suggestions the only things I can think to add are spare batteries and ear plugs.

Let us know how you make out.