I’ll cut to the chase: I’ve been attending a couple of jams locally, but both already have at least one other bass player. I’m the new guy (to the jam and in terms of bass playing experience), so I’m not in a position to just barge in and take over. How do I ever get a chance to play?
Find or form a group of players that don’t have a bass player yet. Make your own opportunities.
I would just ask nicely if I could sit in for a few songs now and then… it’s a jam band, not any regular house band or something like that, right!?
You don’t want to “barge in”, but if you talk to them and ask nicely, I can’t see why they wouldn’t let you play!
That might work. But it would depend on the group dynamic: who is a friend of whom, is the group gelling behind the more experienced bassist, etc.
It could be tough to get in under these or other certain circumstances.
It might be better to ask a few players if they’d like to jam with you at another time/place. The worst they could say is no.
Ambush the other guy before he gets to the jam, bundle him into the trunk of your car ( cable ties and gaffer tape will keep him quiet) and once the rest realise he’s a no show you’re in
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking P Basses
Coming to a rehearsal hall near you!
is advertising at the local music store still a thing, or even at the local bar…3x5 card bass player available for open mic, jams, fill in gigs…on time, in tune, rarely above 7th fret
Oh, yeah! Looks just like my local jam. Haha. The groups I’m talking about are maybe a little more traditional.
Honestly, this would work. A couple of them have even offered, so this would seem to be the obvious answer. It’s just that I feel awkward, I guess, and maybe overthink it – like, what if I say OK and then it’s a song I don’t know and screw up and look like an idiot and and and… So, yeah, it’s a me problem.
This is the best and yet most difficult option. Best because it would allow for the most playing time and I could help shape the vibe of the group much more. Hardest because it takes time and effort to create and maintain a new thing, and what if it sucks and then I have to say, “you know what, never mind.” But yeah. I’m strongly considering this option.
Wasn’t this how Lemmy got his first tryout with Hawkwind? The bassist didn’t show and left his Rick in the van?
Soooo @thebanjoplayer … if the usual bassist “disappears” by accident, and you happen to be there well…you know…
Yes, that’s everyone’s nightmare. In order to avoid it, be open about what songs you know and what songs you’d be interested to try.
To use an overused management adage: it’s all about alignment of expectations
This is the best jam etiquette out there.
It’s much better if someone running the jam is a congenial host and has eyes for new players, but that’s a rare and precious unicorn, and is not often seen in real life.
Just put it out there and hope they aren’t super lame.
Don’t let fear guide you. Chances are you play bass better than you know. You have to test the waters. Keep a positive attitude………seek input from the other musicians on what you are doing well and what you need to improve. Don’t take it as criticism, but knowledge needed to become a better bassist. No one likes a “negative Nelly”!!!, but those who are “advanced” are very open to helping a player who has a desire to improve their skills.
It was indeed @Ed
Is that how an open jam works? You ask to play the songs you know? I’ve been wondering for a while. There’s a local open jam every other week in my neighborhood but I’m scared to go… a lot of the people who show up are blazingly good, been playing guitar and what not since childhood. They’re essentially professionals. Plus 99% of them are guys, and I’m not…
Does anyone have suggestions how to get over the fear and just do it?
Well, I think it all comes down to communication and, yes, alignment of expectations.
Usually, people agree on what tune to play, and thus you can come with suggestions, which I would always base on what I feel confident to play.
If they wanted to embarrass you, someone could throw a superfast bebop tune at you… but then they are just a**holes.
There will occasionally be big egos, which might have to be navigated, but in general, it is about playing together and having fun, and nobody is interested in creating embarrassing situations for others. Know what you can, and try to find a jam that fits your tastes (and vice versa). It is probably harder to get everyone interested in playing a Beatles song, when they otherwise just play Real Book stuff…
Show up, bring your instrument, talk to the guys (and girls), be prepared not to play, but be even more prepared to play one of the tunes you know. Be courteous, be yourself, and give room to others
Great advice, @joergkutter.