10.) Bring your own guitar: Pretty straight forward. If you show up to an open stage blues jam – you have to bring your own guitar. Most times – the house band has spent a nice chunk of change on their personal instruments and understandably do not want somebody they don’t know or the drunk guy – playing their personal gear.
9.) DO NOT bring your own amp. You would think this one would be straight forward – but month after month, jammers will try to “sneak in” their Marshall MG100 half stack because they don’t trust the provided back-line.
8.) Do NOT use your STAGE NAME: Chances are your name is not really “Mojo” or “John – Indianapolis – Smith”, or any combination of blues buzz words – and/ or the city/ State you are from. Use the name on your driver’s license – it’s way more legit than “Hammer”.
7.) It’s NOT YOUR GIG! Some musicians forget this rule. Jammers usually have 3 songs or 15 minutes – this doesn’t constitute a gig. The point of a jam is to have fun and relax. You don’t need to micro-manage how everybody else plays and don’t thank the band. Keep it simple.
6.) NO Sunglasses, NO Fedoras, NO bowling shirts: The most straightforward rule. Don’t. Just Don’t….
5.) No original material. As stated in rule number 7 – blues jams should be fun and relaxed. Some jammers are way more experienced than others. Not every jammer will understand your complex changes and phrasing – save that stuff for your band’s gigs on the weekend.
4.) Play Chords. Nothing says Noob or annoying faster than a guy that just plays a solo the entire time during a song. We get it – you can play fast or try to play fast – can you play a major 7 chord – do you know the right I -IV-V chords?
3.) No “Free Bird”. For number 3 we use the term “Free Bird” as a generalized term for any song that is over played. If you got to a rock show – the one drunk guy in the back that came by himself is shouting “FREE BIRD”. In the blues world – there are songs like Mustang Sally that are equivalent to Free Bird – don’t be that guy that requests it or plays it.
2.) TUNE OR DIE! Please for the love of everything good in life – TUNE YOUR GUITAR! Please, please, please – don’t tune after the first song – it’s too late by then. Tune before you get on stage or before the first song. The guys you are playing with and the crowd will thank you!
And number One….. drum roll please….
1.) No Harmonica “Players”. We are half joking with this one. There are some fantastic harmonica players out there. Guys that have honed their craft over a long time and really make their instrument sound musical in a band setting. Then there are the “harmonica players” that just purchased their “harmonica” from the Cracker Barrel gift shop the week before and are “ready” for the stage. The first group of musicians typically doesn’t come to a blues jam. Unfortunately – more often than not – the latter group does.
Check out our video for the Chasing Tone Podcast Episode 19 – where we go over each rule.