3 Tips for Playing an Open Jam

February 20, 2019

 Tuesday, March 12 The Spinning Jenny will be hosting the Rockin’ Tuesday Open Jam Night. Grab your gear, and get ready to jam with other local musicians. 


If you’ve never played at an open jam before, and you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of some helpful tips so that you can make the most of the experience. 


Bring the Right Gear: If you’re a drummer, don’t worry about bringing much in the way of gear. You’ll be playing on the drum set that’s already in the house. But bring a good pair of drum sticks (a pair of brushes might not be a bad idea either). 


If you’re a guitarist or bassist, you’ll be playing on the house amp. Just bring your own guitar or bass, your own cable, and a tuner. Try to get tuned up before you get on the stage. 


Don’t bring your whole pedal board with you or an elaborate multi-effects pedal board. Remember, you’ll only be playing a song or two, and you want to be set up and ready to play in a hurry. If you have a favorite distortion pedal, its usually ok to bring that with you (just make sure the battery is fresh), and bring a second cable so you can plug in without any hassles. 


The Rockin’ Tuesday Open Jam Night isn’t just for guitarists and bassists. All musicians are welcome. Just remember that whatever your instrument is, bring it with you and make sure it’s ready to go before you get on stage. 


Be Musically Prepared: Make sure you spend some time practicing I-IV-V chord progressions in as many keys as you can, and make sure you know how to play a 12-bar blues. Most of the songs you’ll be playing at an open jam are going to stick pretty closely to a blues-based structure. This gives everyone some common ground and allows even novice musicians a chance to sit in and play. Chances are you’ll be playing some classic rock or blues songs, so practice some of those too. You don’t want to show up just to have the band leader ask you what songs you know, and you say, “None.” YouTube is full of videos that can teach you how to play some of these kinds of songs if you don’t already know them.


Practice your soloing: Especially your pentatonic scales, and make sure that what you play matches the style of the song. Don’t play a heavy metal-shred solo over “Crossroads.” No one will like it, and you likely won’t ingratiate yourself with the house band. Remember, you’re not there to show off, you’re there to play with the other musicians. So play with them, not over them. 


Pay Attention: It’s common for players to be nervous when playing an open jam. That’s perfectly normal, but don’t let your nerves give you tunnel vision where you’re only paying attention to your own playing. Try to maintain some eye contact with the other musicians, and pay special attention to the band leader. That person may signal you when it’s your turn to solo, and they will probably be indicating when it’s time to end a song.  


If you’ve never played an open jam before, don’t let that stop you from showing up and playing. Open jams are a great way to put all of that stuff you’ve been practicing into use, and you will learn things in a jam session than you can never learn sitting at home practicing alone. 


There is no cover charge for the Rockin’ Tuesday Open Jam Night. Just bring your instrument, be prepared, and play some great music with some other local musicians. The jam starts at 7:00 p.m. and goes until 11:00 p.m. All musicians are welcome. 

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The Spinning Jenny

Box Office Hours: Thursday 10am-2pm

Call for special appointment

Telephone: 864-469-6416

Address: 107 Cannon St. Greer, SC 29651

Email: info@thespinningjennygreer.com

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The Spinning Jenny, LLC 2016-2018