Jamming is one of the best ways to hang out with your fellow musicians. However, more often than not, it can turn into a scenario where everyone ends up doing their own thing and there’s no real cohesion. This usually ends up sounding like your average Guitar Center.. We don’t want to sound like Guitar Center. We want to sound like Macho Man Randy Savage himself graced our instruments from his throne in heaven.

To help you sound awesome in a jam session, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help you and your friends have a fun and productive time!

1. Practice. This may seem obvious to some, but if you’re a bit rusty, try practicing a little bit to tighten your playing before a jam session. Practicing or warming up before jamming can help you greatly, without you having to give the “hold on let me do it again” excuse. Additionally, make sure your gear is tuned correctly, or at least bring a tuner. Never count on your guitar to be perfectly in tune after playing for over an hour. It spoils a lot of fun when someone is out of tune and can’t properly play along. If you need help with getting better at your instrument, check out our “Shred Lessons” articles.

2. Bring your own instrument. You may laugh, but it happens. A couple of my friends and I got together to jam a couple of weeks ago and things went pretty great until our supposed bassist got there. This bassist came entirely empty handed, hogged my friends guitar, and played poor Megadeth riffs for half an hour. This guy was a true example of a “Rule #2” bassist. Worst of all, he didn’t cover any of the studio fees.  Always come prepared, don’t be like this guy. If you don’t have an instrument, check out our shop so you can stop breaking “Rule #2”.

3. Learn some covers. It can be a great deal of fun for everyone. I recommend everyone agrees to learn a song or two to play together. This helps everyone understand each other better, you can get a much better feel for the musicians you’re with than if everyone just does their own thing. Alternatively, show off your original works! Writing a song? Have ideas? Show them to your friends. It’s always useful to get opinions from your fellow musicians, and they can always offer a few pointers or help you write! If you want to learn how to write better we have a great series of articles called “Wired Theory”.

4. Don’t be a show off. Very importantly, don’t forget that jamming isn’t about seeing who’s the best. It’s not a competition, unless you and your friends make it one! Even then, it’s not about being the loudest guy in the room, asserting your dominance like a 14 year old who just learned his first sweep pattern last night and decided everyone at his local music store needs to hear it. Loudness and skill don’t go hand in hand, so don’t be the loudest guy in the room. It’s not fun when others around you can’t hear themselves. When this happens people are usually forced to listen to you. This is rude and will make people reluctant to play with you again. This issue is particularly bad for low-tuned, muddy guitars. Learn to make your low-tuned instruments sound more precise and clear. Check out our article, “5 Ways to Quickly Improve Low-Tuned Tone”.

There you have it. Follow these 4 rules and you’ll be sure not to turn your jam session into a Guitar Center!

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This article was written  by Keegan Connor, our editor located in Canada.


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