Although our primary focus at SJARMS is to organize and host many great events such as acoustic concerts, workshops, lectures and field trips, we often love to just sit around and jam with other musicians.  In fact, we love it so much that we hold an acoustic jam at every monthly meeting, often inviting our featured artists to join in with us after their performances.

Our jams typically feature many different instruments such as guitar, banjo, mandolin, resonator guitar (dobro), dulcimer, fiddle, harmonica, upright bass, etc.  Everyone is invited to participate in our jams, regardless of playing ability or jam experience.  In order for everyone to get the most enjoyment out of our jams, however, we ask that participants adhere to the following guidelines:

* STAY ACOUSTIC.  Only acoustic (unamplified) instruments are permitted at our jams.  If you’re looking to test out some gritty blues licks on your new Strat, this is probably not the right jam for you.

* PLAY IN TUNE.  Please be sure to tune up before jumping in and, as the jam progresses, make sure you remain in tune.  If you forget your tuner, there are usually some extras floating around for you to use.  If you’re a beginner and not sure if your instrument is in perfect tune, just ask someone — we’re a friendly bunch!

* STICK WITH THE ROOTS.  Because SJARMS promotes roots music in general, and not any one particular style or genre, our jams are not necessarily limited to bluegrass standards.  Although bluegrass is usually prevalent at our jams, people often call out old-time, blues, celtic, folk and even jazz standards.  However, we do generally discourage people from calling out modern pop or rock tunes.  One exception to this is when someone calls out a contemporary tune that is in the style of traditional roots music.  An example of this would be the tune “Wagon Wheel,” as played by The Old Crow Medicine Show.  Roots music includes many broad styles of music — just keep in mind the culture of our group and use your discretion when calling out songs.

* PLAY WITH DYNAMICS.  Even though we play many styles, our jams typically follow the bluegrass jam format where each person takes a turn playing a solo break while everyone else provides accompaniment (as opposed to the old-timey style jam, where everyone plays the melody at the same time).  Because there are so many different instruments playing at the same time, our best and most rewarding jams occur when people play with dynamics.  This means that when it is your turn to play back-up, you are mindful that the person taking the solo should be heard above you, and you play accordingly.  On the other hand, when it is your turn to take a break (should you chose to do so), you should expect others to play more quietly so that your notes rise above the mix.

* JUMP IN AND HAVE FUN.  The purpose of our jam is for people of all playing abilities to have the opportunity to play with other musicians.  This is an invaluable experience as it teaches improvisation, tone, dynamics and overall musicality.  Our jams are not just for experienced players!  We want everyone to participate, even if you are just a beginner.  So come on out, tune up and jump in!