The 10 Jamandments

As a public service, below are the “unofficial” rules of a bluegrass jam.
By Larry Carlin

I.      Thou Shalt Tune Thy Instrument.
~ Electronic tuners make this easy.Bluegrass Trio

II.      Thou Shalt Keep Steady Rhythm.
~ Count beats if necessary.

III.      Thou Shalt Take Turns Choosing Songs.
~Announce the key. Vocalists always choose their key.
~ Choose a song you can complete.

IV.      Thou Shalt Not Speed.
~ Start songs at a reasonable tempo. Speed up according to abilities.

V.      Thou Shalt Signal Who Has The Solo.
~ Follow a pattern when taking solo leads.

VI.      Thou Shalt Listen To Others.
If you can’t hear the lead, consider yourself too loud.

VII.     Thou Shalt Welcome Others.
~ Include everyone in your jam. Help everyone sound as good as they can.

VIII.     Thou Shalt Not Steal Other Musicians From An Active Jam.
~With time, players move around anyway.

IX.     Thou Shalt Try New Material.
~ Original & different tunes are OK occasionally.

X.     Thou Shalt Be Considerate Of Pickers  (and Others).
~ Explain when you’re rehearsing, not jamming. Help beginners.

One thought on “The 10 Jamandments

  1. Is there a song book you guys use? I have not been to one of these yet but I am excited to join you guys.

    Answer from Josh:

    I couldn’t tell you where to start! People bring music, mostly from having played (no music), sometimes fake books, sometimes just things they’ve picked up. Come with or without music and you can still learn by just jumping in with a group and doing the best you can!

    Depending on your instrument and musical interests, you could check out Amazon and search for a fake book on the genre you are interested in. Most at the potlucks (in my opinion) tend to be bluegrass or folk focused. I’ll list some fake books that I have used in the past below. There’s also some acoustic jazz, Django, Moroccan, Irish/Celtic, Hawaiian, …. Anything that can be done acoustically that people bring is fine.

    Here are some titles that might be helpful…
    Bluegrass Fakebook (Casey)
    The Folksong Fake Book (Hal Leonard Corp.)
    Fiddler’s Fakebook (Brody)
    Mandolin (or Banjo) Pickers Fakebook (Brody)
    The Real Book (Hal Leonard Corp)

    That would be the start of a truly awesome library! Some would say that reading music just gets in the way of learning the tunes!


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