The Rock Shop in Fort Pierce, Florida is a really cool music shop. The owner Tom is kind enough to host a small beginners jam on Tuesday nights at one of his warehouses. He has a lot of patience. He should have been a Doctor! It is very personal and comfortable and has a wall of various amps, a full drum setup and space for the bass, rhythm and lead guitar players on a stage.
Tom is a terrific musician, he plays a wicked guitar and ain’t to bad at the bass guitar either. John plays the drums, his experience is important as a way of keeping time. John really shows the value of a metronome. The timing and rhythm necessary to play with other folks that is critical. Jack is our regular bass player and he has about a year into it, he has really good chops for a relatively new player. Man, a decent bass player is like a metronome too, he is the beat we listen to.
The first jam most new players are nervous. Realistically speaking that is an understandable emotion. However, that feeling passes quickly as you blend in and learn to play with other folks. The whole vibe is to get you playing and make it a fun experience. No one leaves bummed out, we make sure to play simple three chord songs that most people are familiar with. Lots of them are in the twelve bar blues structure.
Learning about Guitar Tab is a wonderful way to get the music, scales and chords to a song on paper. If everyone has the same tab and understands it, then it’s easy for everyone to get into a groove. The mandatory common guitar chords stage one will give you a good start. Choosing the right songs is another benefit for beginners.
“Louie Louie” by Richard Berry and The Pharaohs in 1957 has three chords: A A D7 D7 E E D7 D7.
” Gloria” Tab by Van Morrison has three chords: E D A E E D A. These are just two of thousands of three chord songs. Choose ones you are familiar with.
Each band member has a part to play. In other words, if your job as a guitar player is to play rhythm, then play rhythm. If you are supposed to play lead guitar, than play lead. Like football, every player has a job or position to play. If the guy next to you blows his assignment, don’t worry about it, take care of your assignment only.
Keep the beat, miss a note, keep the beat. Always keep the beat.
Focus on the bass guitar or drummer. The basic idea is that if you go into a zone, where all you focus on is the beat and what you are doing, than perhaps you won’t get stage freight. Going into a zone should prevent you from worrying about the audience. You won’t even know people may be listening.
Many of the places beginners jam at already have amps, drums and a stage like Tom’s warehouse. If you get in a band and do gigs, you got to bring your own equipment. Even if you are at the guitar for beginners stage, don’t be embarrassed, everyone is friendly. Be proactive and join the fun.
With that being said, at a minimum, bring a set of strings, a 20 foot guitar chord, a tuner and a guitar stand. Bring some potato chips and cokes for the host!
Do you remember your first jam or have an experience that is interesting or funny? GPC wants to hear about it. Jamming is fun and valuable in terms of furthering your guitar education. Try it, you will like it.
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