So back in February I dusted off my old Guild D-25 acoustic guitar and started taking lessons at a music school near me. Even though I’ve owned this thing for 35 years I am still very much a beginner. But after a few months I know the basic open rhythm chords (major, minor, dom7, major7, minor7, sus4, sus2) in the CAGED keys, plus those qualities with the E & A barre chords, and for the most part I can strum easy songs, make the chord changes, and strum in time.
They say the best way to improve is to play with other people. I saw on the internet that a guy and his wife were hosting an acoustic jam in their barn. I figured I’m no where near good enough to ACTUALLY jam, but if I sit in the back then I can strum quietly with my fingers and no one will hear how BAD I actually am. So I went.
It was a NICE barn - Concrete floor, glass windows, air conditioner, and what was clearly a professional level sound system. There were microphones for everyone (I declined one) and plug-ins for if your guitar was acoustic-electric (most of the others were). Most of us had guitars (I was the only one who WASN’T playing a Martin or Taylor) but one guy had a mandolin and one woman had a violin.
Then they took turns calling out songs. We’d go over the changes if the caller didn’t bring handouts, and then we’d play. Mostly old blues & country classics, but a few pop classics. By the end of the session they were calling jazz standards I remembered from Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin movies. I didn’t know most of them, but the chords were for the most part fairly simple and I just watched the guy across from me for the changes. A few of them took turns playing solos.
It was a HELL of a lot of fun. They asked me a few times if there was something I wanted to play, but I told them I was content to hum & strum.
They get together one Saturday a month. I’ll practice a few blues & jazz numbers and print up some handouts for next time.