We’ve all seen that jam session - live or online - that gave us the chills and convey why we play an instrument instead of work on it. If it’s fun to watch, imagine being part of it!
A jam session is about making music together through improvisation. Original jam sessions, also known as "free flow sessions", are often used by musicians to develop new material and find interesting arrangements.
Though the concept of Jam Sessions started in the Jazz and Blues communities, nowadays you’ll find them in all genres of music. There’s no right or wrong way to jam. A good start is to agree on a predefined set of chords or build your session around a song or group of songs you all know.
What’s important to keep in mind is that jam sessions are a collective creative process - it’s not just about you. The best jam sessions shy away from a competitive or showmanship attitude and let each musician add their own unique musical flair.
How To Jam On Guitar
Jamming melodies and solos on the guitar:
- Focus on what you're comfortable with. You don't have to invent complex melodies or play super fast lines.
- Practice with backing tracks. This will help you get a sense of rhythm and identify different keys.
- Get to know different keys, their related scale and chords. As a beginner, it might be overwhelming, but don’t worry, with continuous practice it will soon be second nature.
- Play with confidence. Pick the strings strongly. Play with conviction, and people will like it. Think of improvising like giving a speech. A confident speaker who is speaking slowly and clearly seems more competent and likable than someone who is fast talking and insecure.
- Tell a story. Good solos are like good stories - they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. When playing a solo, try to lead into it, have a nice strong midsection, and lead out of it gracefully.
Jamming on the guitar as accompaniment:
- Support others by also focusing on playing rhythm guitar.Think of yourself as a team player, there’s time to shine and time to let others work their magic.
- Repeat the chord progression - part of rhythm guitar is playing the same chord progression over and over again.
Now, if you just started your music learning journey, this can sound like an exciting but very distant dream. But what you might forget is that every time you practice you’re already one step closer.
Jam On Guitar With Fretello
In Fretello's learn path, the lesson Musical Solos in Any Key is all about getting you started to jam. You’ll learn what the key of a song is by playing with different melodies and improvising, plus there’s a play along unit for you to work on your solo’s speed - all with live feedback and different backing tracks for you to explore!
If you’re feeling adventurous, head to our courses tab and explore our Improvisation Unveiled lessons. We'll cover patterns, motifs, and source pattern shifts, helping you add more variety to your improvising.
Free Backing Tracks For Guitarists
Not a Fretello PRO user yet? Don’t worry, we have free jam tracks for everyone! In our free backing track library for guitarists you can find 1800 backing tracks in 5 different genres, from blues to metal, in major and minor, and fully adjustable keys.
Play along to practice chords, practice scales, improvise or write riffs. Now, if you want the real deal, try our Fretello app to have a complete learn path with easy-to-follow lessons and live feedback for your practice, plus a free tuner so you are always ready to jam along.
Each jam session is unique, that’s part of what makes it so exciting. To support your increasing music references, we’ve curated 3 jam sessions to inspire you on what possibilities can come when you play with others.
Kiko Loureiro and Guthrie Govan - Fusion Jam
A Fusion Jam has a mix of jazz and rock influences. In this session, British fusion guitarist Guthrie Govan, known for his incredible playing technique and harmonic understanding, shares the stage with the Brazilian metal guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who has played with famous bands like Angra and Megadeth.
The backing track sets the stage for the jam, and you can see how they choose which key to start with. Both Govan and Lourerio start their solos, and each add their own flavors to it. Instead of having a variation between rhythm and solo guitars, they alternate solo performances and without even speaking, decide who plays next. They basically talk through their instruments.
Before the end, Kiko’s guitar strap gives away, dropping the guitar on the floor, which also creates an interesting sound - Another example of how spontaneous those sessions can be - and a reminder to always check on your guitar straps!
Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Chuck Berry - Rock Jam
This Jam Session of the stars brings together big names in the rock scene. In this setup you can see the different dynamics of multiple instruments and the variations between solo and rhythm guitars.
These are seasoned musicians and it shows in the way they use non verbal communication that allows them to define turns and position themselves around the stage. All these big names coming together, yet, you can feel the playfulness around. It's a good reminder that is important to not take yourself too seriously. You can tell they are really enjoying the chance to make music together!
FKJ and Masego - Contemporary Jam
Sometimes a jam session can become the music itself, like in this amazing improvised session from the French DJ and musician FKJ in a collaboration with the Jamaican-American singer and musician Masego. The first melody starts what will be a multi instrumental journey, with different layers and flavors of contemporary music.
Ready to unlock your jamming potential?
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