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Unread 02-13-2010, 03:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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jamming tips

Hey guys
in the many bands I had never had I a band where we could jam ''correctly'', do you have any tips on how to have a successfull jam please?
thanks


p.s do not say eat strawberry jam
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Unread 02-13-2010, 04:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Put away the "tabs" and any though of using them, or paper, or theory for awhile. Put on a song you don't know, but like, and play along. When everyone in the band can do the same, then you can get together and just jam. You have to develop your ear. I think jamming is not part of the music culture like it was in my youth. Everyone did it all the time. Even when I was on the road, bands would get together after gigs and jam. It was my favourite thing to do. I meet people all the time nowadays who can't do it at all. They learn things by rote and never develop that part of the brain that can do things on the fly and have fun with it. Not worrying about writing anything or if it is perfect...just going with the flow and having fun.
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poeman33 is a midget busker champion of shit-town ontario so he knows everything.
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Unread 02-13-2010, 05:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Dry erase boards are great for setting up structure or alternate structures for songs. Another thing is to never be hesitant to tell another player what they can improve upon. Some may view you as a band Nazi but as a group everyone needs to be on the same page and being tight is the name of the game. I think the biggest problem with most groups is the lack of a leader who knows what's going on. Sure, every group may have a "leader" but that person needs to be able to take control and steer the band in a positive direction. In most cases musicians are merely players and given the proper direction they will excel but if lacking the proper push they may fall short of their goals. Short term goals is another good thing to start practicing because if you can start to accomplish simple tasks that the band needs to work towards everyone will feel like they are making progress instead of running in place. There is no proven method to making any band work but there are plenty of ways that don't work, period. The most important part is finding a group of like minded individuals that share the same long term goals and can handle criticism without freaking out. I could really go on all day about this subject as it can be a complex one. It took me almost 10 years to find a group that I feel 100% that we can accomplish what we want to in life. Some guys can make it happen in 6 months, others it may take 30 years.

Just like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous... It only works if you work it.
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Unread 02-13-2010, 06:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

thanks 4 the replies...

so to start jamming we could get a chord progerssion or a riff lets say A C E progression then we alternate to another riff after X number of bars then we go back to the first riff after another X number of bars of the 2nd riff........
is it any good to start??
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Unread 02-13-2010, 11:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

The best tip you will get is, just forget everything including music theory and just f*ckin' rock out as hard as you can !!!!
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Unread 02-14-2010, 04:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by American Viking View Post
Dry erase boards are great for setting up structure or alternate structures for songs. Another thing is to never be hesitant to tell another player what they can improve upon. Some may view you as a band Nazi but as a group everyone needs to be on the same page and being tight is the name of the game. I think the biggest problem with most groups is the lack of a leader who knows what's going on. Sure, every group may have a "leader" but that person needs to be able to take control and steer the band in a positive direction. In most cases musicians are merely players and given the proper direction they will excel but if lacking the proper push they may fall short of their goals. Short term goals is another good thing to start practicing because if you can start to accomplish simple tasks that the band needs to work towards everyone will feel like they are making progress instead of running in place. There is no proven method to making any band work but there are plenty of ways that don't work, period. The most important part is finding a group of like minded individuals that share the same long term goals and can handle criticism without freaking out. I could really go on all day about this subject as it can be a complex one. It took me almost 10 years to find a group that I feel 100% that we can accomplish what we want to in life. Some guys can make it happen in 6 months, others it may take 30 years.

Just like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous... It only works if you work it.


I agree 100%. Very rarely does a band without a leader work. There needs to be that one person that drives the band foward. 5 voices going in different directions is a disaster. Thats why my band is a trio. Less hassle, less drama, less bullshite
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Unread 02-14-2010, 04:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

All good advice, However. Make sure that you are not suffering because you are hanging with "friends" with less talent. If you are more dedicated to structuring and discipline then you will have to move on and perhaps learn more from those with even more experience than you. Allow no one to hold you back. If this is the case you can organize a suitable way to move on without hurting your friends. Good Luck.

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Unread 02-14-2010, 05:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Perhaps I misunderstood the thread. At any age, I always learned my parts as did the other guys and it fell together as it should. If someone can't or will not learn their part then they are a weak link. This is where you decide are we jamming or do I want something more.

David
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Unread 02-14-2010, 07:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

I would say the key is to keep it simple. Let one member of the band set up the rhythm and the melody, dont be afraid to stop them and ask questions about what they are doing, then start back up again, record it, then build on it from there.

I too am trying to learn "the jam" these are the tips I have so far, there are also some good tips posted by people above.
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Unread 02-14-2010, 07:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by RazorDave View Post
I agree 100%. Very rarely does a band without a leader work. There needs to be that one person that drives the band foward. 5 voices going in different directions is a disaster. Thats why my band is a trio. Less hassle, less drama, less bullshite
On occasion there are bands where all members really put in their opinions and the give and take works out (Tool is a good example of that, even if youre not a fan) but yeah, for the most part, you're right, a leader must be established for each song, or if needed, overall.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Bring a pad and pen with ya, take notes and be a team oriented individual! ;-(*)
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Unread 02-15-2010, 09:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by NewReligion View Post
Perhaps I misunderstood the thread. At any age, I always learned my parts as did the other guys and it fell together as it should. If someone can't or will not learn their part then they are a weak link. This is where you decide are we jamming or do I want something more.

David
This is what I usually do...learn my parts ,the others learn theirs and we move form there and that usually works (if the others do their homework) but what I would like is to know how to go into the garage and say lets jam....ie something unplanned or unfortought....I never really got it!!! and I want to start doing it just to see what comes out of it.
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Unread 02-15-2010, 04:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by darrylportelli View Post
This is what I usually do...learn my parts ,the others learn theirs and we move form there and that usually works (if the others do their homework) but what I would like is to know how to go into the garage and say lets jam....ie something unplanned or unfortought....I never really got it!!! and I want to start doing it just to see what comes out of it.
darryl
That's what I was trying to say...just play. Start playing something and have others join in on the groove. Or join in when someone else has something going. Jamming to me was completely unstructured. It's just having fun playing.
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Unread 07-04-2012, 03:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Smile Re: jamming tips

Hi,
Jamming is really great, especially in developing spontaneity. I had a jam with another guitarist and drummer today, we just started playing, decided on a key halfway through and just played like hell. It's also great for developing riffs or chord sequences. Me and the other guitarist often swapped parts halfway through. He'd nod at me, and I'd start on a bit of soloing or riffing, while he played the rhythm, then we'd swap back. Managed to fit some Hendrix, Clapton, and Wings into the mix!
With regards to the comment about jamming becoming less common; I believe that is partially true, as more and more people take instrument lessons and so don't develop spontaneity. However, being barely a teenager myself, I can say it is still a massive part of society :-)
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Unread 07-04-2012, 04:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by darrylportelli View Post
This is what I usually do...learn my parts ,the others learn theirs and we move form there and that usually works (if the others do their homework) but what I would like is to know how to go into the garage and say lets jam....ie something unplanned or unfortought....I never really got it!!! and I want to start doing it just to see what comes out of it.
darryl
1) Learn the Roman numeral system for chord progressions (essential for communicating and keeping track of chord progressions)

2) Have a pre planned list of chord progressions written down and learn several variations of each chord beforehand (The dry erase board was a GREAT idea!)

3) Learn at least a little theory (simple scale forms)

4) Learn some basic intros and endings for the chord progressions you've all agreed upon

5) Last but not least, come up with some way to "signal" the ending of the song; a nod, a head tilt, a kick or some other action so everyone knows to go into the ending

Good luck and have fun, man!
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Unread 07-05-2012, 09:49 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Revived thread!
I agree with poeman's first comment in this thread.

I feel I grew up with the idea that jamming and improvisation were the REAL way to play music.
I suppose that's because I grew up listening to blues, the kind of rock where people didn't play a thing exactly the same way at each performance (e.g. Hendrix) and later, jazz.

As 12bar said - pre-planned chord progressions can help. Really, it's easy that way.
Also as 12bar referred to, if you use some of the classic progressions, normally indicated in Roman Nums
- e.g. II-V-VI-I -
you'll find yourself in familiar territory - looking at the foundations of all sorts of well-known songs in different genres.

But also, as others have indicated, you can get something going that's much more unplanned - if you all listen to each other.

No doubt it all works out differently for every group of people.
Now that my thoughts have gone in this direction - seems a very big topic.

But still, every band should mess around frequently, just listening to each other, trying things out with no expectations attached, not expecting to produce anything spectacular... that's where some magic MIGHT happen.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 10:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by darrylportelli View Post
thanks 4 the replies...

so to start jamming we could get a chord progerssion or a riff lets say A C E progression then we alternate to another riff after X number of bars then we go back to the first riff after another X number of bars of the 2nd riff........
is it any good to start??
Yes, it could be a start... and NO!
I say no because you're thinking of it too structured. There is no structure, or rules. Well, it depends on who you jam with I guess, but it's just about going with the flow, following along in conjuction with the musicians.

And a little secret? Mistakes can be your friend when it comes to jamming
Use them.
Maybe you mess up with a certain thing you were repeating. Let's say there's a weird bend/vibrato/slide up that happens accidentally, then on the next bar you try to do that same "mistake", but cleaned up, maybe. Then you work with that, and it morphs into something else.
Then the drummer (for example) can hit the snare for a break, and this will give the other musicians an opportunity to do something else (like another riff, or solo, or what ever), then the drummer can come back in with another beat, maybe with a latin groove going on...
etc, etc.
This is just a basic example.


It's kind of like on the spot brainstorming with instruments. Just do what ever. The more you jam with those same musicians, the tighter the jams become, then you learn to "read" each other better, you GET TO KNOW the other musicians on a deeper (musical) level.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 01:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

depending on what instruments are in the band,, guitar, bass, drums... you can **** all, just yell out a key,, lIke AMajor, and play whatever you want, you could do chords, modes, leads, whatever. As long as the bass player knows how to drive the song along in the Key of AMajor

guys like Miles Davis, would just pick a key, and they would decide to just open jam in that key with any mode, or mode of mode, however it struck them.. sometimes it may sound like things are clashing, but most musicians have a natural ability to bring it all back in place.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 02:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

I have no real experience with a band, only a drummer and me...but we jammed alot!


My advice...do your jamming once everyone is setup, first thing. Just let her rip...
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Unread 07-05-2012, 02:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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Originally Posted by SmokeyDopey View Post
It's kind of like on the spot brainstorming with instruments. Just do what ever. The more you jam with those same musicians, the tighter the jams become, then you learn to "read" each other better, you GET TO KNOW the other musicians on a deeper (musical) level.
I agree with Smokey. This is what it's all about. You can tell bands that do this and can play anything the crowd yells out, even if they've never played it before. Once you can read the other players, it will help you with all aspects of music.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 05:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Also agree with Smokey and you also gotta smokey (don't gotta but it helps)
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Unread 07-05-2012, 05:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Yeah, you don't have to, but things can get interesting.
Alpha waves in the brain increase, it relaxes you, and things flow a little more freely. Alcohol also increases alpha waves, but can make your fingers a little more clumsy.
Meditation also increases alpha waves.

In other words you gotta be RELAXED. Things flow real smooth. I don't agree with the phrase "It makes you more creative." I don't believe in the phrase because it's already in you.
If you're too tense you'll be blocked.

Plus things just sound cooler when you're stoned
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Unread 07-05-2012, 07:39 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

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you can get something going that's much more unplanned - if you all listen to each other.
perhaps the most important, and in some cases overlooked aspect of improvised jams, at the beginning levels.

you and your bandmates need to be able to listen to what the others are doing, this will help you all to get better at the subtle signals, habits, and cues that will inevitibly present themselves.

work with each other to try and make each other sound your best. be unselfish, and ask your mates to be also.

also leave yourselves room to operate dynamically. dont peak too early...the energy can drop out from underneath you all if you run out of room, and have to try and bring it back down without some clever manuevering. but this again, ties into reading each other, and knowing each others tendencies.

whoa, this is an old post...
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Unread 07-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Another thing, specifically this being more of a guitar oriented forum...

Don't just solo the whole jam. I agree with scat on the selfish thing. Some guitarists just put full volume and shred away, drowning everyone else.
That's just ****ing boring.
Use the solo wisely and make sure eveyone can hear everyone clearly.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 07:53 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

there is NOTHING more boring than endless soloing imo...make it count!
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Unread 07-06-2012, 08:44 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

I found this... don't know if it helps or not.. but I do agree.. it'll sound a lot better if the band is all playing in the same key, hopefully somwhere around the same chord changes, and like mentoned above, if your going to solo, just trade out 8's or 12's (bars). If you can't lay down some decent solo lines in 4,8 or 12 bars, you need to practice more. (I need to practice more, I mean).

http://www.guitar-on-the-spot.com/ja...on-guitar.html

I still think you need to learn a little chord/scale knowledge to be great at it. Hell man Hendrix and just about anybody that was pretty good had some form of communicating chord patterns to the other band members.

Jazz players and country pickers that gig a lot in those genres, know the chord numbering systems.. then it becomes easy ii V iv I ,along with aaba or aba or ababca means something to you. Also rhythm things like 1/2 time, double time, double time feel, easy terminology to learn and do, but can really make jammin with your band or with others you've never met, go a lot smoother.
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Last edited by gdh1532; 07-06-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Unread 07-06-2012, 09:26 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

Here is an exercise I always want to do with a group.

No planned chord changes.

1. Somebody play one note.
2. Everybody join in.
3. Carry on in the same way.

I.e. everybody improvises on just the one note or root. Carry it along for a while, create a soundscape.
If chord changes come, or don't, it's all good.

I got the desire to practice this after seeing John McLaughlin in the 70s.

When the band first appeared on stage they did this - just expressing one main note, improvising a bit, setting up a groove.

It was probably just their way to achieve a quick sound check beore starting any specific piece.
But it sounded fantastic and I have never forgotten it.
___

Nother thing about jamming: every principle and its opposite seems to be true.

E.g.
Structured chord progression is good: no structure can also be good.

Thinking about what scales and modes you're playing can be good: NOT thinking about them can be good too.
It's a good place to enjoy, i.e. all listening/responding and no thinking.

Having the rhythm section stay tight can be good: letting the drummer cut loose is also good.
Seems to me that solo instruments and vocalists often enjoy a sort of 'statement and response' interaction.

But do we expect the the good ol reliable drummer to do no more than set the metronome for this?
Seems to me lots of drummers can get right into the interaction of statements and responses.
And keep time too.
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Unread 07-06-2012, 11:00 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

straight up, lock onto the moment and feel the groove. develop your improv skills and your ear. having good chemistry is great too but if you're in the zone it's not the MOST important factor.
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Unread 07-06-2012, 01:58 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

yeah I love what most great jazz players say,, almost everyone of them.. Learn the rules then forget the rules. Know you're theory so well, you don't have to think about
theory at all. A lot of that comes from years of practice, and ear training.
Lots of people talk about scales and modes, it's good to know them for several reasons. One it's easier to play whatever chord you what , if you know how to build chords and subs from them.. also, practicing them all over the neck lets you get used to all the notes on the guitar neck, plus playing different Diotonic scales, there modes, and modes of those, plus your minors, practicing them over and over, TRAINS YOUR EARS to the point of not having to really think about it. You pick up cool things like being able to play the bminor pentatonic over let's say a C7, why because B can be used as the dominant tone in the chord, and parts of the bminor pentatonic fit into the Cmaj diotnic scale, and some don't. Gives your soloing a whole different flavor... Sounds complicated but I don't even think about it, when it comes along. It's just another thing in a bunch of bag of tricks musicians can learn.... and really that's all it is, our knowledge base is subjective, making music great, it allows a player like Allen Holdsworth to Jam on stage with Eddie Van Halen. Both great players ,but both with their own bag of tricks.

Sorry go long typeded,, shute fingers are all wore out now.

First thing is just to get together and if you don't have a bag of tricks (knowledge base) as huge as Allen Holdsorth, or Pat Matheny, you don't have to.... as stated before start out simple. Just jam around on what you know, not songs,. but bag of tricks. For starting jammers I thinks it's a good idea to have a basic grasp, of some kind of chord progression or at least everyone in the same key. Once you get used to each other , and the jams keep getting better, then open it up a bit , start playing "outside stuff" (that doesn't mean go outside). ie if you are jamming in A major, start listing for tones that work but aren't part of the A major scale.
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Last edited by gdh1532; 07-07-2012 at 12:15 AM.
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Unread 07-08-2012, 06:03 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: jamming tips

I just had to 'like' that post gdh.
Seems like a lot of us are on the same page here: jamming is good - for lots of reasons.
Also - it's hard to explain in a few words.
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