Hello everyone! I will be doing my first jam session with a big group of people and I am scared. Truth be told, I have not been able to play with other people that often and was more successful with someone just on drums. Does anyone have any bassist tips for jam sessions, specifically how to mesh well with the guitar? Any tips on overcoming nerves would be great as well.
Pick one to sync player to sync with. If the drummer is solid then stick with the beat, if the guitar is strong then stick with the rhythm. You’ll be fine. Everyone will be just as pump and nervous as you. Lol. Learn and practice your part well, then things don’t go smooth, you’ll be on autopilot.
You and drummer run the rhythm. Sync with your drummer’s beat and the guitars and keys should fall into rhythm.
Don’t be afraid to keep it simple. The simplicity is much appreciated in a jam. And like others said sync with the kick. Have fun and remember the experience makes you a better player.
Of course, you are scared. If you aren’t scared, it probably means you don’t care. Or… are not alive
This “being scared” will provide the adrenaline to give you focus and energy when it counts!
Also, the others are likely as nervous as you are!
Try to find out what tunes will likely get called and prepare for those tunes, if at all possible.
If there is no list beforehand and you will need to sight-read, think about how you get going on a tune, any tune. The start, how to get into it, is the main important thing!
Whenever I have a “high stress” situation (e.g., talking in front of many people), I focus on the start - what to say in the first minute or so (maybe even write that first few sentences out (“compose them”) and learn those by heart). If you have a great start, then the rest will follow along. If you stumble from the starting blocks, it could be a rough ride.
How to use this for a jam session: start out focusing on roots and simple grooves (often, mirroring the kick drum pattern) and only start to play more “adventurous” when you feel confident and know that you can always fall back to the “simple” approach.
Above all, go in with an open mind and have fun!!
Try standing close to the drummer, or right next to them. Have fun, enjoy yourself - you are the bassist!
Have fun? We are bassists. Are we even allowed to have fun?, lol.
It’s been 3 days since you posted this, how did it go?
She killed it and managed to have a great time too, lol.
Haha I am not gonna lie it was a little rough but I think it was good to push myself in that way. I can count down the notes and know the whole g a b c de thing but i am primarily still thinking in numbers. The older gutairists were using notes only (nothing crazy) and were telling me that I needed to watch their hands to know what chords they were doing. So not only was I keeping track of my notes, but I had to remember their chords. I also found it hard at times to stick with the rhythm of the guitarists because that’s so much harder to understand than drums. But I think at the end of the day, them not babying me made me learn faster than usual! Will just be more prepared for next time!
Good deal. Glad she went, glad she enjoyed it. Those can be some fun times if everybody keeps it in a light mood and doesn’t get too serious.
I wouldn’t have the first clue how to tell what they were playing based on their hands. And even if I did, I’d always be behind because I’d have to process what they were doing and then figure out how to do it myself before I could actually play…
ya that happenned to me lol
FBI: Freakin’ Bass Idols.
Dude, right? I have enough trouble memorizing my own fretboard, much less a smaller one with more strings and someone’s hand spread all over it playing wacky chords.
Every one since the the first ever jam session has been in your shoes! Stay with your drummer and don;t be afraid to play just root notes. I sometimes watch the guitar players’ hands if I’m unsure of the chord changes. I have found that Musicians are remarkably supportive of each other at jam sessions. Have fun and you’re gonna be fine!