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Tell us about your WORSE jam experience.. ever...

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Jun 23, 2019 - 2:39:32 PM
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7716 posts since 3/19/2009

My worse jam experience was just about 7 years ago.. ALthough I'd been jamming for well over 20 years, mostly it was around town and with a set group of musicians who I was comfortable with. In other words I didn't "play out'' much except at festivals..
So.. this friend of mine who lives far away decided that WE could co-host a jam at a neutral place about half way between our homes.. I invited some friends and he invited some friends.
I was in over my head in that I had never hosted a jam in another persons home and I really didn't know the attendants well, not even the people who I had invited. The nice couple who owned the jam site had 'expectations' of me and my friend because They host large groups several times a year.. Needless to say, we did NOT hit it off. I couldn't wait to leave their home.
On my way home I swore that I'd never play music with them again or go to their home..
Fortunately, my fiddle playing daughter, Katie, and the people who owned the home hit it off Big Time.. That paved the way for me to get to know the couple and talk about our experience.. Things were ironed out and since, I've been to jams at their home and they have come to my home.. and now I truly feel that we are friends.. Happy Ending but TERRIBLE start..

Jun 23, 2019 - 4:50:58 PM

4313 posts since 9/26/2008

The worst thing to happen at a jam was when at a bluegrass festival, a mutual acquaintance set up his hammer dulcimer in my buddy's camp while we were away for a minute. That instrument kills a bluegrass jam fast. All that sustain bleeding into everything. One sour note rings out for three measures.
I am not a fan of one person playing a complicated tune no one knows every time their turn comes around. Solo playing has its place, but not at a jam where everyone is playing together..

Jun 23, 2019 - 5:55:02 PM
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56 posts since 6/11/2019

I've probably been the reason most have had their bad jam experiences, LOL

Mine, though, is when an un-named weekly gathering close to my place was talked up to be a bluegrass show with a lot of jamming in the back, which is what I was attracted to. It turned out to be (and still is) a great pay show, but the 'jamming' was simply bands warming up for their turn. I sat around on the periphery, with no one to play with, looking like a bum shaking a cup. Even though the venue is literally down the mountain from my farm, I really didn't know many there. Finally, I just stood up in the middle of the room and started sawing out 'Arkansas Traveler'; instead of hog-calls, I just got a lot of stares.

Jun 23, 2019 - 6:03:06 PM
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DougD

USA

9302 posts since 12/2/2007
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I don't really have a "worse" (maybe you mean "worst?") jam experience because I'm not much of a jammer. From the accounts here it seems way too stressful for my sensitive nature.
Apologies for the lame contribution. I have had a few funny experiences, but not really "worse."
PS - Scott - I love the image of the "bum shaking a cup!"

Edited by - DougD on 06/23/2019 18:05:26

Jun 23, 2019 - 7:48:15 PM

1653 posts since 10/22/2007

I dunno. . . .Sometimes a jam will deteriorate into a chat, or moreso somebody telling a story. Most everybody i jam with are older than me, so i don't say anything. I just give respect. Sometimes that's dissapointing. It's also tuff to watch an old freind's skills deteriorate.
But as far as a "pig pickin" i can usually smell those before i get my rig out. I look around for accordian cases, hammered dulcimer stands, or a grocery cart full of percussion "instruments." A saw player will run me off too.  Yes, i drove two hours only to find a venue with forty or fifty people and a sign-up sheet.  I left and found some food and drove home.  Then there was the jam that ended up being on a stage in a barn, with a pilled up drummer. Worse than a train wreck it was a deafening train wreck.

Edited by - farmerjones on 06/23/2019 20:05:10

Jun 23, 2019 - 10:53:12 PM
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2449 posts since 10/6/2008

Once, I was invited to join a few people who were playing in a large building with many jams going on. They asked me to start a tune. I did. Too fast. Played horrible. And when it was over they were like, "Okay. Well." And headed off in other directions. One tune with me was one too many.

I'm still not good at fitting in--something that was brought home to me just a few weeks ago when I stopped by a jam, was asked for a tune, tossed out a title that I thought people would know--and found out they didn't.

And then there are the times when I can't hear myself well enough to get good feedback on picking up unfamiliar tunes but I play along, thinking I'm doing okay, go home and realize I totally botched it. Oh, those poor people next to me.

I'm mostly a porch player -- for good reason. :)

Jun 24, 2019 - 10:27:37 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

459 posts since 6/22/2016

Hmmm, there've been so many .... Okay, here's one. Jamming outdoors in a very casual, relaxed situation - about five people, playing all different sorts of tunes and songs, chatting in between. Whatever possessed me - I believe it was related to something we'd been talking about - I decided to regale them with a song I'd made up myself, with guitar. Not a great work of art, I suppose, but upbeat, mildly humorous, inoffensive as far as I know, and short. By the end of the first chorus, two of the others had gotten up and walked away. By the end, about a minute-and-a-half later, there was just one other guy left; I suppose he had just enough humanity not to want to complete the total humiliation of a fellow human-being.

Anyway - that's the kind of behaviour I seem to inspire in people ... !

Jun 24, 2019 - 11:27:44 AM
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Viper

USA

219 posts since 1/6/2011

A couple of times I've tried to lead a tune, and people will just stop playing and stare. Happened just last week! Just shows me I have more work to do.

Jun 24, 2019 - 3:48:22 PM
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1653 posts since 10/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Old Scratch

Hmmm, there've been so many .... Okay, here's one. Jamming outdoors in a very casual, relaxed situation - about five people, playing all different sorts of tunes and songs, chatting in between. Whatever possessed me - I believe it was related to something we'd been talking about - I decided to regale them with a song I'd made up myself, with guitar. Not a great work of art, I suppose, but upbeat, mildly humorous, inoffensive as far as I know, and short. By the end of the first chorus, two of the others had gotten up and walked away. By the end, about a minute-and-a-half later, there was just one other guy left; I suppose he had just enough humanity not to want to complete the total humiliation of a fellow human-being.

Anyway - that's the kind of behaviour I seem to inspire in people ... !


That's too bad O. S.,

What kind of person can't sit through three or four minutes of a not-so-good tune? Rude.

Jun 24, 2019 - 4:02:10 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

459 posts since 6/22/2016

@farmerjones Ah well - whatever doesn't kill you, makes you walk with a limp for the rest of your life ... !

Jun 24, 2019 - 4:33:30 PM
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445 posts since 9/1/2010

No bad jam experiences here. In thirty years I figured I might have one come to mind, but there is nothing.
Most of our jams are at parties or just a friends place and pretty much by invite.
Yeah people at parties or festivals will come by and play a tune that maybe doesn't jive with what we are doing,
but is that really a bad experience?
I have heard others talk of attending some local jams that try to cater to "all skill levels"....in the end they basically
complained of the very slow tempo of all the tunes. I don't think I would enjoy that as much either, but I know...so I don't go wink

Jun 24, 2019 - 5:14:59 PM
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218 posts since 6/21/2007

Very early on in my banjo pickin days I fell into an intermediate jam and things went pretty smoothly for 30 minutes as I was able to incorporate the melody in Scruggs rolls and hold my own. The fiddler announced ‘Red Haired Boy’ and took off. I hadn’t learned any Melodic style yet. When it came to my turn I just belted out the lyrics to ‘Little Beggar Man’ (same melody). The rest of the jam laughed good naturedly. Most hadn’t t heard the song before and wanted to learn it. :-)

Jun 24, 2019 - 6:28:56 PM

10412 posts since 9/23/2009

Each one I've been too seems successively worse, but don't know which was the worst. Driving through terrible traffic, parking, paying to get in, playing everything at lightning speed in Bb, everybody just wanting the whole shabang to sound like some hot shot professional musician, songs I've never heard of, nobody being able to keep up with my simple I, IV, V tunes in G, D, or A, crowded rooms so loud with banging guitars you can't hear much of what's going on, people wearing guns on their hips and talking up plans for Kentucky to secede from the union---you know, the way we didn't even do the other time...etc., etc., etc....those were all worse, but I guess better than staying home playing to the dogs, or maybe not...lol.

Jun 24, 2019 - 7:25:53 PM
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387 posts since 8/10/2017

I think the worst was a jam where everybody had sheet music and they were all so busy playing to the sheet music that they did not play together at all, didn't listen to each other at all. That sometimes happens when half the jam can't hear the other half and they get off time or aren't even playing the same tune, but if people are listening to each other they'll usually notice it after a while. But this went on, tune after tune, pretty much all night. I never went back.

Jun 25, 2019 - 1:10:22 AM

1407 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by sbhikes2

I think the worst was a jam where everybody had sheet music and they were all so busy playing to the sheet music that they did not play together at all, didn't listen to each other at all. That sometimes happens when half the jam can't hear the other half and they get off time or aren't even playing the same tune, but if people are listening to each other they'll usually notice it after a while. But this went on, tune after tune, pretty much all night. I never went back.


Ya think this is why they invented conductors?

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