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deepbass5

Jazz jams - not for bass players

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I'm having a downer on jazz jams at present

If you are a sax player, trumpet, trombone even a guitarist or Harp player you will at least have a good chance of being welcomed with open arms. 

But if they they have some form of house band however fluid, is it actually just too much trouble to go along with gear for one pint of beer and play two number if asked.

I find it more enjoyable to select a well organised one, with good pro guests players and just listen.  

anyone else coming to the same conclusion

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I think drums & bass get the raw deal no matter the musical style. The most awkward gear to transport and set up and expected to keep things tight at the back while the other instruments improv, let loose etc...

I enjoy a jam where I know I’m responsible for the music sounding solid but with jazz there usually is a house band vibe with guest soloists 😩

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I prefer to stay home and practice. I guess it is about what you want from attending. Practice playing with others? Networking? Social experience? Hearing other players? Impressing others? Practice getting a good sound live? 

 

I got far more from workshop bands in Cardiff in the 80s and 90s than at Jam Sessions. Great for networking when you move to a new area, though. stinky poo players may be stinky poo players but even stinky poo players know where thd good ones are. 

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40 minutes ago, Bilbo said:

I prefer to stay home and practice. I guess it is about what you want from attending. Practice playing with others? Networking? Social experience? Hearing other players? Impressing others? Practice getting a good sound live?

Everything except the last two - I doubt that anyone will be impressed by my playing, anyway.
Private jams/rehearsals would be better for actually practicing, but that involves finding enough people who are interested and somewhere to play.

58 minutes ago, deepbass5 said:

But if they they have some form of house band however fluid, is it actually just too much trouble to go along with gear for one pint of beer and play two number if asked.

I find it more enjoyable to select a well organised one, with good pro guests players and just listen.  

anyone else coming to the same conclusion

It's certainly a hassle to carry the gear and not play much, although the last jam I went to was fun (got to play on four tunes and not look too incompetent).

Luckily there are some decent gigs to attend around this area if I only want to listen.

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What gear are people taking to jams? I just ask to borrow the house bassist's.

As for the reason I'd go to a jam - to play with other people, ideally who are better than I am.  Found the best way to improve is to get slightly roasted every so often 🙂

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2 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

What gear are people taking to jams? I just ask to borrow the house bassist's.

The instrument (fretless electric) and amplifier.
I wouldn't want to ask to use someone else's, even if I was currently in practice on the upright.

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I've been house bassist a few times over the years, those that rock up without a bass better be able to play upright or five string as I've not got anything else to lend them. 

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14 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

I've been house bassist a few times over the years, those that rock up without a bass better be able to play upright or five string as I've not got anything else to lend them. 

If I'm house bassist at a jam, I'm happy for people to play through my rig (obviously), but if they don't have an instrument, they use my knockabout eBay cheapie. Playing one of my decent basses is a no-no unless it's a friend.

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1 hour ago, knirirr said:

The instrument (fretless electric) and amplifier.
I wouldn't want to ask to use someone else's, even if I was currently in practice on the upright.

Why wouldn't you want to ask to use their amp? I think the house bassist would be expecting that people would want to.  I've never been to a jazz jam where I felt it wouldn't be ok to even ask.

I wouldn't expect anyone to bring their own upright, drumkit, or keyboard - but I would kind of expect people to bring their own sax, trumpet, guitar, or bass guitar.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

I just ask to borrow the house bassist's.

To clarify what I wrote - I meant if the house bassist was playing upright. I would have a bass guitar with me, but I would ask if it would be ok if I used their upright.

If they were playing bass guitar, I wouldn't ask to borrow that.

 

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5 hours ago, Bilbo said:

I prefer to stay home and practice. I guess it is about what you want from attending. Practice playing with others? Networking? Social experience? Hearing other players? Impressing others? Practice getting a good sound live? 

 

All of the above really, with the main one being networking. 

Not that I'm likely to be popping along to any jazz jams any time soon, but I have been offered gigs on the back of going to blues jams in the past. 

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The house player at a jam surely expects to lend an amp, especially on bass. If he/she can't manage that, said person ain't doing it right.

Lending a bass is more personal, but really it's in the spirit of things to do so, even if it's a beater for the purposes of sharing. I always have a pang of sentiment every time I hand my bass over, but a jam is an inclusive arrangement and giving folks an opportunity is part of the deal. My Thursday gig for over two years has been a jam (blues, rather than jazz), and while it's done my reputation locally a good deal and netted me a spot in what is a great working band in its own right with connections leading to plenty more nice work, I've also had the joy of being part of a community of budding and or working players and punters who just like music and good vibes. 

Don't write jams off for this pretentiousness- just find one where the bass player isn't a dick.

(I need to qualify that I was drunk when I typed this so, if I come across as one myself, I might agree in the morning!)

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18 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

The house player at a jam surely expects to lend an amp, especially on bass. If he/she can't manage that, said person ain't doing it right.

Lending a bass is more personal, but really it's in the spirit of things to do so, even if it's a beater for the purposes of sharing. I always have a pang of sentiment every time I hand my bass over, but a jam is an inclusive arrangement and giving folks an opportunity is part of the deal. My Thursday gig for over two years has been a jam (blues, rather than jazz), and while it's done my reputation locally a good deal and netted me a spot in what is a great working band in its own right with connections leading to plenty more nice work, I've also had the joy of being part of a community of budding and or working players and punters who just like music and good vibes. 

Don't write jams off for this pretentiousness- just find one where the bass player isn't a dick.

(I need to qualify that I was drunk when I typed this so, if I come across as one myself, I might agree in the morning!)

Drunk or not, my sentiments exactly.

I should add that I used to be the bass player in the house band for a few blues jams in the past and that is the attitude I always used to have. Would happily do it again if someone was set one up locally on a week night!

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Surely the whole point of organised jams is that the back line (bass rig, guitar amp and drum kit) and PA are there for people to use? I'd expect people to bring their own instruments (and maybe a snare drum if the drummer is really fussy?), and some people get sniffy about mics as they don't fancy other peoples slobber which is fair enough I suppose but that's about it. I even get away with just bringing a strap to one jam, but that's because the bass player is my mate and is also left handed 😎 plus his bass is a frankenbass built from one he bought from me. I only bring the strap because he's quite a lot shorter than me......and after I readjusted his strap on one occasion it was quite funny watching him trying to work out why his bass was around his knees!

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9 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

Why wouldn't you want to ask to use their amp? I think the house bassist would be expecting that people would want to.  I've never been to a jazz jam where I felt it wouldn't be ok to even ask.

I wouldn't expect anyone to bring their own upright, drumkit, or keyboard - but I would kind of expect people to bring their own sax, trumpet, guitar, or bass guitar.

 

 

 

Borrowing an amp shouldn't be a problem, although there wasn't one at the last jam I went to so I had to have my own. If i planned to go to a new jam I'd email beforehand to ask.. There's another fairly-local jam where amplification is provided, but it's a difficult one for me to get to due to its time and location.
I'd not be comfortable with asking to use someone else's instrument or them asking me, although it makes sense to class the upright bass along with drums, keyboards etc. due to the size.

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When I used to be in the house band for blues jams, we always provided backline, drums, etc and I provided a house bass (under close supervision if we didn't know them or they didn't seem too experienced). 

Whenever there were any issues, it was players who were unfamiliar with the preamp in an active bass (especially one that had an East circuit). I usually brought a Stingray (relatively hard to abuse) and then a passive jazz. 

These days I have a cheaper passive jap Fender Jazz for jam sessions or where there may be issues with transporting it to the gig. 

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The only things you should really need at a Jazz Jam are, your Bass Guitar and a pair of ears ( maybe a tuner and a lead). If you don't know many tunes, or are not so good at the old busking duties, take a Fake book. If the house band use a Double Bass,  they would let you use that (nearly always). It's less hassle and less time consuming than waiting for players to set up their own gear.

 

In reality, the best bet is; check out before hand if you can...

Edited by lowdown

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I find jams for bassists very unfriendly, regardless of genre.  No clues as to what key the song is in.  No clues about the chord progression  ... "What do you mean what are the chords to Steeley Dans etc".  I'm an experienced bassist with a half-decent ear and I still find it difficult just to join in with no info whatsoever.  It's like they want you to fail.  Funnily enough, it's different for drums I find.  You HAVE to play the house kit and all you need to guess is the BPM.  All the rest is improvised anyway and so with a half-decent knowledge of basic rhythms, you can make a go of it. 

Davo

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56 minutes ago, Davo-London said:

I find jams for bassists very unfriendly, regardless of genre.  No clues as to what key the song is in.  No clues about the chord progression  ... "What do you mean what are the chords to Steeley Dans etc".  I'm an experienced bassist with a half-decent ear and I still find it difficult just to join in with no info whatsoever.  It's like they want you to fail.  Funnily enough, it's different for drums I find.  You HAVE to play the house kit and all you need to guess is the BPM.  All the rest is improvised anyway and so with a half-decent knowledge of basic rhythms, you can make a go of it. 

Davo

It can be a challenge, but you do get used to it and it becomes easier. Of course playing standards can be an issue as everyone's idea of what is a standard is different. 

This  is probably why blues jam sessions are such a thing - there are only a limited number of formats / chord progressions available and it becomes a matter of interpreting what the leader is playing. 

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