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American Banjo Camp

Jams and Jamming

We offer faculty-led ("hosted") jams at three different levels, both slow and intermediate tempos, with topics designed to appeal to a variety of interests in both the bluegrass and old-time genres. To make these jams even more fun, we often invite local professionals on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and bass to come by and jam with us for an evening.

Specialty jam offerings are a little different each year. We often have a "vocal jam" where the focus is on singing the songs as well as accompanying them.

Explanation of Jamming Levels

Slow Jams: slow tempos, simple tunes; the instructor is your guide

Intermediate Jams: moderate tempos, tunes and songs that most students know; instructors are there to give you pointers and help you enjoy yourselves

Regular Jams: up-to-speed, but our instructors are there to help keep the tempo and repertoire in a range that most attendees can handle.

How-to-Jam Workshops

For the many hitherto “closet-players” who can play pretty well but have rarely (or never) tried to play with others, we offer special workshops on jam etiquette and on functioning musically in a jamming context.

Lists of Common Jam Tunes

Of course, the tunes played at any jam will be whatever the jammers want to play, but to help newcomers get started, we've compiled handy lists of both bluegrass and old-time tunes that, in our experience, come up often at jams. Here are our lists, but remember, your mileage may vary!

Bluegrass Old-Time
Cripple Creek [A or G]
Old Joe Clark [A or G]
Little Maggie [A or G]
Buffalo Gals [A or G]
Lonesome Road Blues [G]
Arkansas Traveler [C or D]
Will the Circle Be Unbroken [G]
Cripple Creek [A or G]
John Hardy [G]
June Apple [A or G]
John Henry [D or G]
Soldier's Joy [C or D]
Nine Pound Hammer [A, C, or G]
Sourwood Mountain [A or G]
Old Joe Clark [G]
Fly Around (Susananna Gal) [D or G]
Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms [A or G]
Mississippi Sawyer [C or D]
Sitting On Top of the World [G]
Hop High Ladies [A or G]
Worried Man Blues [G]
Liberty [D or G]
Fireball Mail [G]
Sally Goodin [A]
Foggy Mountain Breakdown [G]
Sandy River Belle [A or G]
Footprints in the Snow [G]
Shady Grove [Am or G modal]
Little Darling Pal of Mine [G]
Angeline the Baker [C or D]
Bile Them Cabbage Down [A or G]
Boatman [A or G]
Blue Ridge Cabin Home [A or Bb]
Colored Aristocracy [G or G modal]
Dixie Breakdown [A]
Ducks on the Millpond [D]
Mountain Dew [A or G]
Little Rabbit [A, D, or G]
Salt Creek [A]
Liza Jane [A]
She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain [G]
Over the Waterfall [C or D]
In the Pines [E]
Sally Ann [A or D]

Although the availability of materials online is always changing, you can find examples of these tunes on the internet by searching for their titles (in quotes) possibly along with terms like "chords" or "lyrics" or "YouTube" . . .

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