Jamming on guitar is one of the central parts of the Master Guitar Guide; in fact, if you don’t play well with others I really don’t know why you would even play guitar! I suppose you could sit in your room and play up a storm, but it would be a pretty empty and sad experience.

I was lucky. I grew up in the 60’s and there were guitars everywhere; in the park, in the house, at work, in school, in concerts, at protests and it was like part of the air or something. Some of my earliest musical memories are of folk music gatherings called “hootenannies”. Groups like Peter, Paul and Mary seemed so passionate and full of music that is was imprinted on my mind.
A Guide to Two-Guitar Jamming: Learning to Play Well with Others

Jamming in the garage

The first time I dared to play alone at a jam I thought I would pass out or something!

I had been playing a rather long time without making a great deal of progress when a friend took me to a local jam. It was the best place ever; talented musicians, lots of women, plenty of beer and smiles.

Eventually I decided to step out of the shadows and share my song, “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues”. To me it seemed as if everyone was so good that I was sure to make a fool of myself. Fortunately, I went ahead and played and sang for the first time in public. When I crashed, about halfway through the song, I stopped, looked around and discovered that nobody was offended or embarrassed or anything. So I picked up where I messed up and never looked back!

This was huge for me! I quickly discovered that the jam was the perfect complement to my practice at home. I decided to learn or “perfect” one song a week and share it at the jam. This was great because I knew a lot of songs partially, so it was not that hard to finish the process and “make them my own”.

This Is How You Put It All Together To Play Well With Others

The Guitar Master Guide consists of 8 related segment and playing well with others is really what it is all about. All the technique, practice, theory, accessories, online guitar lessons, rhythm and improvisation come together in a meaningful way when you share your music.

Learning to play guitar well is a continual process of learning and doing, learning and doing. One part benefits from the other and gradually you become a better player and hopefully make better connections with other people in the process.

There are lots of ways to find other people to play with, unless you simply don’t have any people nearby! In my area, Vermont, there is so much quality music going on that it is sometimes hard to know what to choose!

Finding people to play with takes some effort, but it is so worth it. You can look on bulletin boards, ask at music stores, look on sites like Craig’s List or a local forum, google “guitar jams” in your area, look in the newspaper, ask around, check with churches, ask musicians, etc.

You may not find exactly what you are looking for, but go ahead and begin to participate. You will benefit anyway and soon begin to meet other like-minded guitarists. Who knows, you might even meet your future wife at a jam, like I did!

Once you find some people to play with, do your best to be a good friend and companion. Don’t just be a taker, but share in whatever way you can. This will breed goodwill and keep the good vibe going for you and everyone else.

It is also a good idea to learn some basic jam etiquette. This is really important. You will always find some people who trample on the rights of others, seemingly oblivious to the needs of the others. You don’t want to be like that! 

ArtistWorks includes a free detailed video series on Jamming, by Michael Daves.

Good Sources For Jam Tracks To Practice Along With

Here are some basic rules of jamming etiquette

Be humble. Arrogant guitar players are not appreciated, no matter how good they are or think they are.
Play very quietly until you figure out the song you are playing along with. Just hang back and listen at first.
Take turns. Just like in kindergarten, take turns. Most of the time one song at a time is typical.
Announce the name of the song, the key it is in and any general chord changes or anything that might help others play along.
Be prepared. Come with a song or two. Practice at home and bring something to share.
Respect the rules, spoken or unspoken. The rules are rarely spoken, but generally understood.
Avoid talking when other people are playing. Avoid noodling or mindlessly playing between songs. 
Provide some kind to tempo pick up strums or notes to let people know the tempo and when you are beginning.
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