Thursday, February 7, 2019

Jam session etiquette

WE'LL BE MAKING a lot of noise at our eighth anniversary party a week from Saturday. We plan on a jam session in the store and they are always a blast.

Here's a couple of things to think about when you come on over to hoot and holler ...

1. Bring Your Own: Sure, you might just be stopping by and want to sit in on a few songs, and then it's fine to grab a guitar and jump right in. But taking a new Second String Music guitar off the stand is ... well, we usually have to polish out scratch marks afterwards. If you know you are going to play, why not bring your own guitar? We get the argument that "you are a guitar store so you should let people just play your guitars." True. That happens, and we are fine with it. But we also sell guitars, most are brand new guitars, guitars that have been played a few times but aren't all dinged up. You can't sell a car as brand new if it's been driven a bunch of times.

2. It's Acoustic: We prefer jam sessions without plugging in. It just makes everything easier. Guitar-wise, it's hard to go electric because of cords and volume. We do have some small bass amps that are perfect for jamming the four string.  Jim Percy always brings a fun assortment of percussion stuff to bang on, and it's never too loud.

3. It's For Everybody: Usually there are one or two people who lead the jam session, but if you have a song you want to do, do it! There are all kinds of skill levels and if you just want to strum along a chord at a time, rock on. I encourage all my guitar students to attend and play along because it's a great way to learn and get better. Or just sit and watch. Or just sing along. There are no grades or judges.

4. The Right Songs: It's probably not a good idea to play Bohemian Rhapsody or Carry On My Wayward Son or Close To The Edge or the entire Tommy rock opera. The easier the better, "Three chords and the truth," as Dylan allegedly said. We like all kinds of music, from rock to country to pop to whatever it is kids listen to these days. Good lord, I sound like my parents.

5. Have A Good Time: It's supposed to be fun. Don't worry about what other people think. Just close your eyes, dive in and do it!

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