As a beginner, you may feel intimidated when playing with other guitarists. It doesn't have to seem like something that is out of reach for you. Here is how you can start jamming with others and have fun.
What is Jamming?
Jamming is the process of playing music with other musicians. Sometimes you’ll play songs, and at other times you’ll improvise over chords changes. You may even sit down with other musicians and write songs together. Jamming doesn’t have to seem like a difficult process. You can begin right away, even if you only know a few chords or notes.
The first person you’re going to jam with be your guitar teacher. The teacher may play over the top of something that you’re learning, such as a chord. I used to do this with my students. I would have them play a chord and pay the corresponding scale over the top of their strumming. This helped install a lot of confidence in my students. This is going to be your first experience with jamming. Talk to your teacher about the jamming process. They will give you tips and show you how to play with others.
Play with Friends
If you have a friend that owns a guitar or even another instrument, invite them over to jam. This is an easy way to get used to playing with someone else that is not your guitar teacher. You could try playing something that you both know, such as a song. If you both know a few chords and scales, you could try to improvise over the chord changes.
I would recommend that you play with only one person to start. If there is more than one musician, it can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner to understand what is going on. Once you get used to the process, you can add in other musicians. This is how a lot of bands have started. You don’t need a lot of skills to jam, so don’t be afraid to begin. You can even teach each other chords or songs that you know if the other person doesn’t know them.
One easy way to get used to jamming is to play over a 12-bar blues progression. You will probably learn this from your guitar teacher. This progression gives you a solid foundation in jamming. The scales over the progression are pentatonic, and these are some of the first scales you’ll learn as a guitar player.
The best way to go about this is to have one person play the chords and the other person to play riffs and licks over the chords. You can switch back and forth to get used to playing both ways. Don’t worry if it doesn’t sound all that great at first, as that is not the goal. You want to get used to playing music with other people.
Make sure that you’re playing simple songs. These are usually only 2-3 chords and sometimes 4. Don’t try anything complex as you won’t be ready for it, and you’re more likely to make mistakes as you play. Get used to the process of jamming and playing songs with other people. You can also do this with a singer. The singer does the vocal parts and you play the chords. You could also both sing and play at the same time, but that is more difficult to do.
Make Up a Chord Progression or Strum
Another way to jam with others is to just improvise without any set music. Take a couple of chords that you know and play around with them by creating a strum or a chord progression. Stick with easy major and minor chords as there aren’t may finger changes to trip you up as you play. If someone knows their scales, you can add in a solo if you like.
Try Backing Tracks
Another way to jam is to use a backing track. This is usually a full band with drums, bass, and a rhythm guitar. You can add in the solo to the backing track. This is a little more complex, but it’s good to do this as soon as you’re ready, as it helps with timing as well as your sense of rhythm.
You don’t need to feel intimidated by the jamming process. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s something that you can do right away. You’ll probably jam with your teacher at first, and then you can start jamming with friends and other musicians.