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sunvalleylaw
November 8th, 2009, 10:39 PM
Two things have come together for me to give me some opportunities to play with others.

1. Jamming with another electric player. A lawyer acquaintance/casual friend of mine and I have been trying to get together for a while to play. He is also a 40 something Dad who played in college and is getting back into it. He has the butterscotch colored Squire Affinity Tele and seems to be a natural rhythm guy. We finally found a night that will work about two times a month or so for use to play together, and held the first one this last week. He came over and we went over a few songs that we had exchanged tab/music for, by playing backing tracks and/or the song through my iMac into some speakers, and took turns playing rhythm and lead. We were playing electric style and it was fun to try out his tele, which he played through my son's Peavey Vyper 30. We played things like Thrill is Gone, Black Magic Woman, Gravity, Hotel California, and Bertha, and plan to add some more.

His rhythm skills are nice and perhaps more varied than mine, and I can learn from him, and he learns from me about lead/fill playing, and we egg each other on. Very fun! If we weren't both so busy, we complement in a way that we could add a bass player and drummer and have a good mix one day.

2. Acoustic jam with my instructor Chip. Spudman has met Chip and I have talked about him before. I have not been actively taking lessons with him for the last several months due to cutting back personal expenses, but we stay in contact. I hope to start up again. In the meantime, he invited me to join an acoustic jam at his place most Sunday nights. He is there, his girlfriend who plays mandolin and a little guitar, another mandoliner, another guitarist, and I. Chip alternates between guitar, mandolin, and a big stand-up, fretless bass. It is a somewhat structured jam, with emphasis on learning about playing to space, playing in such a way as to let the other players be heard when it is their turn to solo, lead the song, sing, etc. He intends on recording some of the jams later for our own edification and whatever. I have been bringing my own acoustic, and will soon bring a different one. (see shopping for a Martin thread) :AOK

We played a mix of bluegrass "fiddle" tunes (awesome for my right hand), folkish Grateful Dead (Dark Hollow, Shady Grove), Neil Young (Heart of Gold, Harvest Moon), acoustic blues (Tea for Texas). Lots of learning for me of bass runs, fills, different folk/bluegrass techniques, and forces me to come up with different ways to play lead without the aid of lighter strings, double cutaways, and pedals that add sustain or hide poor picking/fretting technique. They turned up the speed on me on "Billy in the Lowground" and said if I wasn't falling, I wasn't playing hard enough, and I nailed it twice through, with decent tone and picking technique! Yeah!

I am excited about these playing opps, and they are getting me more fired up about guitar than I have been, seeing as I just played by myself late at night when I was tired all summer. Gotta love it!!!! :applause :happy :AOK :AOK

oldguy
November 9th, 2009, 02:51 AM
That's great news, Steve! Jamming and diversity, good combination.
Playing outside your comfort zone will push you to improve quickly, and you're having fun doing it. Kudos!:applause

SuperSwede
November 9th, 2009, 02:53 AM
Sounds like a lot of fun Steve :)

bigG
November 9th, 2009, 05:01 AM
Glad to hear this, Steve! Jamming w others will get you better faster than anything else! And the sense of comraderie and shared goals w other players kinda sheds a whole new light on your own playing! Good on ya! :happy

Lev
November 9th, 2009, 07:28 AM
Nice to hear you're getting some good outlets for your playing. As bigG says it'll make you a better player for sure!

Spudman
November 9th, 2009, 08:07 AM
Pretty cool SVL. This is going to take your playing to a whole new level.