Jamology

Jamology

This site is designed for all types of music and all levels of jammers. Please provide feedback if this site does not meet your needs. Also, I am a guitarist/singer so everything is from that perspective. If you play another instrument, and would like to contribute thoughts and sites for your instrument, I would appreciate the input.

The equipment on the stage, as in “Will the back line be provided, or do I need to bring my gear?” Usually consists of microphones and the PA to sing through, amplifiers, and sometimes drums. When the back line is provided, the only thing you need to provide would be your own instrument.

Jam Master of Ceremonies, jam master, or jam coordinator.

Usually a professional musician who will sing or play, lead the band, coordinate which songs get played, and sometimes pass the lead to another jammer. If it is a bar, the Jam MC will usually play all night if there are not enough jammers to fill out a complete band.

If there are enough jammers, the Jam MC will usually play the first set, then coordinate who is on stage for subsequent sets.

Anyone who can make a joyous sound. This includes everyone from singers to percussionists, not just rhythm and lead players.

Jamming is supposed to be a pleasant experience. If personalities prevent this, find someone else to jam with. Be cool, and follow the Golden Rule –

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • If you are better than others, help them without belittling them.
  • If you are not as good, less is more, and if you do not know a song, do not mess it up by trying to learn it on the spot (unless that is the level of the jam). Also, each person in the jam should get a turn to name the next song and lead that song.
  • You should know the song you want to lead, otherwise, just pass your turn. But here is where you would let people know your desire to play this song. Some may already know it, or they will help you figure out how to practice it for next time.

When all the primary components of a song are being provided by other jammers, your contribution should be unique.

If you cannot add anything without playing what someone else is already playing, don’t play (also called “laying out” or ‘laying back”). Just lay back until your solo, or just play some accents. Learning these little accents will be part of the growing experience you can gain from other jammers or from watching live professionals. Support your local musicians!

Jammers just plug in and begin playing along with everyone else. There is no sign up list. See Respect the Jam, Less is More, and Pay To Play.

This is what jammers do, this is what pros don’t do.

If you sit in on a public jam, you should put money in the tip jar, and you should patronize the bar (buy a drink). A good rule of thumb is “Five for the jar, five for the bar.”

If you don’t drink, buy a soft drink and tip heavy. Bars will not host live jams if it is not profitable. Karaoke is the enemy.

If you are in a bar with a live band that is not charging a cover charge, you should put money in the jar. Support your local musicians.

Some musicians will say they would never pay to play, but their goal is to be the professional musicians. Until they are the pros, and the venue is paying them, they should pay to jam.

Some experienced jammers are going to use this site to coordinate beginner jams. Beginners should contribute to the advanced jammer if you like their jam.

Playing your instrument by yourself to improve your ability and proficiency. Practicing by yourself is essential to your success playing with others.

You must be able to understand beat, rhythm and melody to successfully jam with others. Learning to play is an iterative process; learn a concept, practice it, use it in a jam, learn another concept at the jam, practice it, repeat, and so on.

Usually held at someone’s house or garage, or in a rented studio, this is one of the primary purposes for this site.

Level 4 and 5 musicians can easily coordinate a jam and play high quality music, without the hassles of complex coordination or long-term commitments after. Beginners can arrange jams with musicians of the same style and levels.

Pro-Jams are usually played in front of an audience, where everyone knows their role, coordination is paramount and mistakes are minimum.

This is the highest quality jam, (only level 4 or 5). Most jams in public venues (bars) will be Pro Jams because owners do not want their establishments to have a reputation for bad music, nor do they want to drive their customers away. Please consider this when you sign up for a Pro Jam.

Public Jams (also know as "open mic night") are usually only level 4 or 5, but willing to work with a level 3 if they respect the jam.

As the name states, there are many public jams (usually in bars, usually called ("open mic”) where less than professional levels are acceptable. There is usually a much higher tolerance for mistakes but understanding the concepts of Less is More, Respect the Jam, and Pay to Play will go a long way in everyone having a pleasant experience.

Part of Less is More, when others are soloing (horn, guitar, harp, etc.) respect their space.

Usually, the rhythm unit (bass and drummer) is plenty, but if no one else is playing rhythm, then play rhythm, but remember the hallmark of a good rhythm player is you don’t stand out.

Jammers sign up for different instruments during different sets.

These jams can be frustrating as the Jam MC controls the lengths of the sets and who actually gets up on stage.

Jam MCs will sometimes rearrange the set lists to get the best combination of players on stage. It can be frustrating because sometimes jammers will have to wait too long, might wait all night and never get up, or might invite friends who don’t get to see them play.

Hopefully, this site will help coordinate some of these issues, but it will be up to the Jam MC.

For this site to work properly, jammers must be rated or ranked per their skill level.

There will be a self-ranking system. These levels should be used when searching for fellow jammers. These levels are so jammers can know what to expect when they meet new jammers. This information should be obvious in your profile so the levels will have little impact. The only place where this ranking will have any significant impact on you is if a jam is an Experienced Jam or a Pro Jam.

If you are a beginner and are peer ranked lower than you expect, you need to practice. If you are an experienced jammer (a 4 or 5) and get low peer rankings, you need to be mature enough to determine why and act accordingly. This may mean not jamming with certain people.

Your musical experience can be just fine for your own purposes, but not meet others expectations. This site is meant for people to maximize someone’s musical experience, it is not a competition or a popularity contest.


Beginner- Level 1

Someone just starting to play an instrument, which includes their own voice (singers), can only play one or two songs, cannot play entire songs, does not know many chords, can not move easily between chords.


Intermediate – Level 2

A jammer that knows several songs, can play several chords and can move between them easily, understands timing and counts.


Advanced – Level 3

A jammer that can play many songs, understands the I-IV-V concept, beginning to solo but not proficient, proficient in backing roles, not able to lead a band on stage (yet).


Experienced - Level 4

A jammer proficient at their type of music, has played in a band that has played on stage regularly, knows many complete songs and understands many beats and rhythms, can lead a band or follow a leader on stage, has played for money/pay.


Professional – Level 5

A musician who plays for money/pay, makes their living from music (playing, selling instruments or lessons, in the music business).

A way of displaying music in the written form that specifies the string and the fret that should be played, or the key that should be struck.

Tab is a modern alternative to written music, and is usually easier to understand. There are many sites where tab has been created for both stringed instruments and keyboards. These sites usually include instructions on how to read tab.

There are many other sites. Note that these sites/tabs are populated by all levels of musicians, so you can find all levels (and accuracy) of tab. Choose the one that best suits your ability, but realize that it may not be the original way to play it, or even the correct way to play it, so be open to corrections/different opinions when you jam with others. Again, be cool, and remember the golden rule.

Skill Levels

  • Beginner- Level 1

    Someone just starting to play an instrument, which includes their own voice (singers), can only play one or two songs, cannot play entire songs, does not know many chords, can...

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  • Intermediate – Level 2

    A jammer that knows several songs, can play several chords and can move between them easily, understands timing and counts.

    Read More...

  • Advanced – Level 3

    A jammer that can play many songs, understands the I-IV-V concept, beginning to solo but not proficient, proficient in backing roles, not able to lead a band on stage (yet).

    Read More...

  • Experienced - Level 4

    A jammer proficient at their type of music, has played in a band that has played on stage regularly, knows many complete songs and understands many beats and rhythms, can lead a...

    Read More...

  • Professional – Level 5

    A musician who plays for money/pay, makes their living from music (playing, selling instruments or lessons, in the music business).

    Read More...