Mudcat Café message #1247131 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #72375   Message #1247131
Posted By: PoppaGator
13-Aug-04 - 06:08 PM
Thread Name: Harmonies By The Number
Subject: RE: Harmonies By The Number
Jerry, I just don't believe that you're "not . . . capable of 'jamming,' [your]self."

I realize that you're a singer first and foremost, and play your instrument primarily to accompany your self and your group. BUT, you've been at it too long not to be able to walk the bass from one chord to another, and throw in an occasional treble-string riff here or there. You *can* play along with others, contributing something that's not being heard elsewhere in the ensemble. Plus, you can probably chime in with a vocal part. Unless you're hanging with free-jazz players, that's jamming! (Folk-music jamming, anyway.)

We all undoubtedly undervalue our own "simple" musical skills, which are only simple in our own eyes because we've been doing them for so long. To listeners, we're almost always more impressive than we are to ourselves.

Uisng myself as an example: When playing within a fixed, strict, 12-bar blues format -- especially in E or A -- I can produce a fairly impressive racket that sounds convincingly like "improvisation." Thanks to long familiarity with a dozen or so riffs and a simple scale, I can patch together something that sounds half-decent.

Now, when the song structure becomes more complicated (or, for that matter, any different at all), I can't display nearly the same facility or apparent complexity. That's when I, too, feel "incapable of jamming." But I can usually play *something* fitting, even if it's little more than chord-strumming. Do it with enthusiasm and basic musical feeling, and, do you know what? It's perfectly OK. Listeners will be more favorably impressed than you think they should be. It's fun. Go for it!