Jamming Etiquette - Basic Rules
Keep in tune. If you don't have a tuner ask to borrow one.
Typically the person who picks the song will lead the song. They will signal who takes a break through eye contact or verbally. Otherwise try and take a break where you can but allow others to share in the breaks too.
Try not to drown out the lead singer. Holding back on the volume helps the singer be heard without them having to strain their voice.
Try to work with the other instruments so that everyone is heard and that your playing compliments theirs.
If you are unsure of a song, step back and play along quietly. This way you can learn the song without distracting from it by playing wrong chords etc. Some jams are more advanced than others. It's ok to challenge your abilities but be mindful of how you fit into the jam.
Watch your timing. Listen closely for the bass and guitar for your timing. If you can't hear them you're playing too loud!
If there is already someone in a jam that is playing the same instrument as yourself, try playing along at a distance quietly. You could also approach the other player and ask to step in later.
If you know the lyrics of a song then try singing harmony. If you're unsure of your voice start by singing quietly until your comfortable with singing along louder. Harmony vocals are very important to Bluegrass and Old Time music!
The jams are typically not a sing-a-long, so if you don’t know a part, make sure it is ok with the lead singer before you add another lead part to his/hers.
If you know a song that you think others would enjoy, or be able to play along with, then please share it. Just be sure to let others pick songs as well.
Don’t hog the jam. It’s ok to do 3 or 4 songs and then step back and let someone else have their turn. Be fair and give everybody a chance. Make sure you are not jumping in front of somebody.
Use the other rooms to jam and teach each other licks, etc. This is actually the most important part of the jam.
Understand that these rules/suggestions are not set in concrete, we’re still experimenting.
Most important have fun! Don't be discouraged if someone reminds you of one of these rules while jamming.