How To Jam In 10 Quick & Easy Steps

Want to learn how to jam with ANY band? You’re in the right place, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about jamming. 

How To Jam

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 5 secrets that will make you sound amazing in any jam session.
  • 10 essential tips that will turbo-charge your jamming skills.
  • 5 musical hacks that will prepare you for any musical situation.

Before we get stuck into the nitty gritty of how to jam. Let’s find out what jamming is.

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What Is Jamming?

Jamming is when a group of musicians get together to play music. Even though jamming mainly occurs with groups of musicians, it also possible to jam on your own.

Jamming is essentially another way of saying, ‘practicing’ or ‘playing’. Jamming is easily one of the best things you can do on guitar, and we’re going to show everything you need to know get started.

How To Jam – The Essential Tips

Before you start jamming with other musicians, you need to do a bit of personal preparation. This will allow you to be ready for any musical situation.

Let’s take at look what you need to know BEFORE you jam with other people.

How To Jam – Learn Your Chords

A huge part of learning to play the guitar, is learning to play chords. Chords form the foundation of 90% of ALL guitar music. If you don’t have a good knowledge of chords, you may find it difficult to jam with others.

However, if you spend a bit of time learning some guitar chords, you’ll be ready for almost any jam.

If you’re new to guitar chords, don’t worry. Here’s a list of guitar lessons which will turbo-charge your chord knowledge.

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

 Say goodbye to frustration and twisted fingers. Say hello to MAKING MUSIC.

  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.


How To Jam – Learn To Play Lead Guitar

When jamming with others, you may be asked to take a solo or add a lead line which will compliment the song. If you want to do this, there’s a high chance that you’ll have to learn a couple of scales.

If you want to learn how to jam, you should know the following scales:

  • The Minor Pentatonic Scale.
  • The Blues Scale.
  • The Major Scale.
  • The Minor Scale.
  • The Major Pentatonic Scale.

These scales are SUPER versatile and are heard and used in a wide range of genres.

To learn these scales, go here:


Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again. Click here to download your copy.

As well as this, it’s worth learning some lead guitar hacks. These will help you shine out from the crowd and become a killer lead guitarist.

Here a couple of lessons which will boost your lead guitar skills:

How To Jam – Have Solid Rhythm & Musicality

When jamming it’s essential that you have good rhythm. If you can’t hold a steady rhythm, it will be incredibly difficult to play with other musicians.

Make sure that you spend a bit of time honing your rhythm guitar playing.

Here are a few lessons which will help your rhythm guitar playing:

How To Jam – Learn Common Chord Progressions

Most of the time in music, you will find that there are certain chord progressions which pop up ALL the time. These come in handy when playing with other musicians.

Here are some classic chord progressions which will help you get through any jam session.

The 12 Bar Blues

Here’s a 12 bar blues in the key of ‘E’.

how to jam

To learn more about blues guitar, go here:

The ‘1 5 6 4’ Chord Progression

This chord progression is one of THE most common chord progressions of all time. It’s been used in hundreds of songs across many genres.

Here’s the chord progression in the key of ‘C’:

how to jam

To hear this chord progression in context, check out this awesome video from ‘Axis of Awesome’.

Here’s a list of over 229 songs that use this chord progression:

How To Jam – Practice Playing Along With Great Records

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a jam, is to play along with your favourite records.

Many beginners find the prospect of jamming with other people daunting, it can be a little embarrassing and frightening.

However, jamming with your favourite records is one of the best ways to learn how to jam.

Here are a few pointers which will help you jam with your favourite albums:

  • Pick your favourite album.
  • Pick your favourite track off of that album.
  • Listen to it 5 times.
  • Then pick up your guitar and try and pick out the guitar parts.

One of the best ways to practice jamming is to develop your ear. By playing along with records and working out the parts, you’re developing your ear AND learning to jam at the same time.

Now we’ve talked about how to prepare yourself for a jam session, let’s learn how to jam with other musicians.

Learning How To Jam – Step 1 – Consider How Many Musicians You Want To Jam With

When learning how to jam it’s important to consider how many people you want to play with.

Do you want to play with just a friend on an acoustic guitar? or do you want to play with a fully fledged band with drums, bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals?

These are important factors to consider as they change the way that you play.

The ideal amount of people to play with when learning how to jam is 3 -4. Any less than this can be difficult as you have to be a driving force in the music, any more than this can feel overcrowded and too busy.

how to jam

Learning How To Jam – Step 2 – Find People Who Have The Similar Musical Interests And Goals As You

Your number 1 priority when finding musicians to jam with is finding people that have the same musical interests as you. Here are a few reasons why this is SO important:

  • It helps morale and keeps the jam going in a positive direction.
  • If every has a similar goal, no-one is disappointed when the jam/band goes in a direction they weren’t expecting.
  • Keeping within the same genre allows people and fellow musicians to connect on a personal level.

One of the hardest parts of learning to jam is actually finding musicians that share the same musical tastes as you.

If you’re struggling to find like minded musicians your best bet is to go to local open mics and jam sessions to find people who like the same music as you.

Once you’ve found a few people try and arrange a time where you can get together and jam a few of your favourite tunes.

If you find it hard to go to local open mics, there’s always the option of speaking to people on sites such as Facebook and JoinMyBand.

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Learning How To Jam – Step 3 – Pick Songs That You All Like

Once you’ve found a few people to jam with, decide on a few songs to jam. These could be anything from a 3 chord wonder to something more complicated.

Make sure that when you pick tunes, that you all want to play them and that they are easily accessible for each band members.

There’s nothing worse than playing something which is hard and no fun!

Here’s a list of great beginner jam tunes:

  • 12 Bar Blues In The Key of E.
  • ‘Twist And Shout’ by The Beatles.
  • ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ by Cream
  • ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King


Learning How To Jam – Step 4 – Split Everyone’s Parts Up

One common mistake that we see all the time when people are jamming is that everyone is playing the same parts. When jamming with a band each member must be doing something different.

For example, if there’s 3 people who are playing guitar, you could split up the parts like this:

  • Person 1 could play rhythm guitar. There role would to play rhythmic parts and chords.
  • Person 2 could play lead guitar. There role would be to play single note lines and riffs.
  • Person 3 could play bass guitar. There role would be to hold down the low end and provide support to the other guitarists.

Splitting up each guitarist into a specific role will make your band sound LOADS better.

Learning How To Jam – Step 5 – Find Out What Key The Song Is In

Often when musicians get together to jam, they don’t have pre-determined songs that they have learnt. Most of the time, it’s left to chance.

These situations can often lead many guitarists in a bit of a pickle. However, when learning how to jam it’s essential to find out what key the song is in.

The key is the MOST important part of any song. The key tells you what to play. If you know what the key of a song is, you’re always going to sound good.

To learn more about guitar keys, go here:

how to jam

Learning How To Jam – Step 6 – Find Out What The Chords Are

When learning how to jam, it’s vital that you know what the chords are.

There are two ways to find out the chords are:

The first way is to work out the chords by ear, even though this is difficult it’s a handy skill to have in a jam session.

If you find it difficult to work out the chords by ear, don’t be afraid ask a fellow member of the band what the chords are. Most musicians are happy to help each other out in a jam session.

Learning How To Jam – Step 7 – Listen To What’s Going On Around You

When jamming it’s important to listen to what’s going around you. Jamming is about interacting with other musicians within the band.

There won’t be any ‘magic’ happening in the room if you’re just focused in on what you’re doing. Jamming is ALL about interacting with other musicians in the room.

Listen to what the band is doing, if the band is quiet, you should play softer and quieter. If they’re loud, you should play with more attack and aggression.

Also, make sure that your guitar playing is appropriate for the song. For example if you’re playing a slow ballad, you’re probably not going to be reaching for your favourite distorted patch…

Keep things stylistic and you’ll be fine. 🙂


Learning How To Jam – Step 8 – Engage With Other Musicians

One of the most important elements of jamming is to engage with other musicians in the band.

Make eye contact, smile, laugh, all of these reactions add to the overall vibe in the room.

This will make the jam a lot more pleasant as you will feel like you’re involved within the music, it will also make the band sound better.

If you have good engagement skills it will also help you know when the band are going to move to a different section or when the band is finishing.

Learning How To Jam – Step 9 – Have Fun!

Even though it seems obvious, it’s important that you have fun when jamming. There’s no point getting together with musicians if you’re not going to have fun.

The whole point of jamming is to have fun!

Playing music is one of the best things that you will do in your life, make sure that you enjoy it, have fun and create some epic music along the way.


Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


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