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Feeling annoyed about an open mic night jam

JoeInOttawa

Member
Messages
1,188
What I would recommend next time it happens is put your didge right on that guitarist’s ear and just blow as hard as you can. When he reels away in shock, yell “next time, listen to other people”. Then storm off the stage in anger. He should get the hint.
You mean, like a singer?
:)
 

Fingertangle

Member
Messages
165
What on earth did you expect when turning up with that didgeridoo? That random people would get your point and provide an ambient soundscape for your drones?

Dont get me wrong, nothing against you or your music. But it seems so niche that the last place you would possibly cook up a good jam would be an open mic night.
Not as odd as it sounds he’s in NZ home of all the famous didgers
 

deepcove17

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
795
I've been playing Didgeridoo between a year and a half and two years now and while I'm not super advanced with it, I'm good enough to get some attention from it for sure (can do circular breathing etc, etc). I'm also doing it alongside guitar in a new band where we are still set building.

Tonight I decided to take it to an open jam night at a venue I really like. This guitarist said he'd jam with me (realized when we got on stage that his Fender was a 4 strong model, built to be more banjo like apparently) and then at the last moment this guy who had opened doing a singer songwriter type thing with his electric asked me if he could do drums.

With that being said, here is what happened: I launched into a sort of ambientish drone with overtones etc, etc only to have the guitarist dude burst into this fast paced bluesy funk sort of playing that I felt completely ruined the vibe. The drummer also just jumped into this fast paced really basic 4/4 beat that I felt didn't fit the feel of what I was doing any more than the guitar did.

Now I know this could all kinda make me sound like a Karen seeing as I'm not the band leader of people at an open mic night and it isn't like something that is so informal matters all that much. Also, I know that someone might ask why the Didge playing should dictate the feel of the whole jam but if you've played or heard one much you might not ask that question, plus they did want to jam with me because of it.

If you've ever jammed with musicians who you felt like just didn't listen to what was going on at all then you probably know some of the frustration. It might be that I'm also just annoyed because the venue owner was really enthused about me playing it and I feel like an opportunity to show him what our band could potentially do might have got spoiled. Then again, maybe it sounded good to the audience.

Flame away if you must...
My band hosted an open mic jam for a couple years. Sometimes you get to play with great musicians and other times not so much. Sounds like your experience was the later. Don't let it discourage you. I have jammed with plenty of musicians who don't have the ability to listen to what is going on around them, this skill separates the men from the boys imo.
 

GerryJ

Member
Messages
4,904
Not sure if anyone already asked this......does the didgeridoo allow for more than one pedal note? I realize the overtones can change, and I've heard the tracks where there's a brief initial low note, but is it essentially a one (fundamental) note drone?
 

scr@tchy

Member
Messages
3,863
you keep bringing up "if he'd played slower it might have worked" you are centering on tempo but gave no direction for the tempo. If you played me only a drone and asked me to accompany I could give you back many different ideas with wildly differing tempos and all would fit, none would have been created by having a clue what the unrevealed groove was in your head
 
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stevesherbert

Member
Messages
77
Please don't take this the wrong way, because I think the didge is a cool-sounding instrument, but playing along with a digeridoo is like jamming with an idling dump truck. There really isn't much in terms of rhythm, melody, or dynamics, at least in my experience. (Note that this 'experience' is limited to one guy in university who brought out the damn thing every chance he could get)

Because of the limitations I've mentioned, I would recommend (if you decide to try the open mic thing again) coming up with a super simple, steady musical progression (I'm not sure I would even call it a 'progression') that is clearly rhythmic. My uni friend would do some higher pitched 'yelps' once in a while, maybe try using that like a snare drum on the backbeats. Otherwise the instrument is literally just gurglegurglegurglegurgle with no sort of pattern to grab onto as a listener. No wonder it seemed like those guys weren't listening; there isn't a hell of a lot to listen to!

Another idea might be to quickly explain before you start the jam how you are going to indicate the dynamic changes on the fly. If you're expecting a coordinated effort at an open jam, you're going to have to take the reins and call the shots. Not sure how well this is going to work when you're literally breathing into a wooden tube the entire time, so maybe try hand signals.

Note that open jams are musical gong shows, with 90% of the 'musicians' sporting gigantic egos yet little to no drive to progress beyond pentatonic box soloing and campfire chords. Many open mic jammers suffer from very low levels of self-awareness but high levels of confidence (see: the Dunning-Kruger Effect), which makes them utterly intolerable in band situations, hence the need for them to 'jam' rather than actually learn songs. All this armchair psychology is just meant to illustrate why it isn't surprising at all that open jam folks wouldn't do a great job of listening to and understanding your playing; they can't even properly assess their own!
 
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lhallam

Member
Messages
17,038
Open jams are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

I am a fairly advanced played and I have started out some jams just wrong and the tune never recovered. It happens even to experienced players.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,163
OP, I feel for ya. The lead Didgeridoo player in one of the bands I'm in is fantastic. We would never let him go. He always lays down a real earthy feel, the drummer comes in with this tribal groove, and we all just fall into it and jam along.
 

stevesherbert

Member
Messages
77
Oh snap.

Why on earth would anyone take that the wrong way..? :facepalm:rotflmao
I just meant that the digeridoo is what it is. It kind of just gurgles away endlessly, like an idling dump truck. Neither of which I find objectionable-sounding, I just find it hard to extract musical phrasing from the sounds they produce. I'll admit that maybe I haven't played with someone good enough to do melodies on the thing, but I believe you are limited to literally one note on the thing. And because circular breathing is the whole point of the thing, there really can't be any pauses in the sound, hence very difficult to produce rhythm (other than the 'yelps'). Like an idling dump truck.
 

Kevy_Metal

Member
Messages
3,282
I could vibe with a didgeridoo no problem, but an open mic is going to be scattershot at the best of times. You'll either find players who can get down with really having fun and creating something cool or guys who want to stick with what they know.
 

GtrGeorge!

Member
Messages
2,034
The guys I've been playing with in the new band are both top tier musicians so maybe I've been spoilt a bit and need to be more realistic.
Translation: They are professional musicians. In the sense that, they know when to shut up and let someone else shine. Ever wonder why Open Mics SUCK? That's the reason most of the time.
 

sleep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,903
I guess that is one way to look at it and I do feel quite mean-spirited for writing this thread honestly, it just ruined my night is all. I think I'll stay away from open jams in the future.
Before you give up on the open mic, maybe just give up on bringing a nontraditional instrument and expecting people to dig it. Surely there are digeridoo jam circles or something. If I showed up at one of those with a full stack set to play some metal, even if the people were generous enough to let me sit in, I bet I probably would ruin it for them. I'm all for contrasts and innovation but I feel like that's an instrument to figure out how to work into music not intended for it with likeminded folks rather than experimenting in front of a live (I assume) audience.

It seems to me that the people running that jam were super cool and tried to work with you (more than I would have, I don't have the patience for that, I would have been a dick) and you were upset that they didn't know wtf to do the sound you were producing and went back to what I would totally expect at an open mic type thing.

Tangentially related: I played a show many years ago where the 'opening' band, called 'Kang', I think, had a digeiridoo player and two people singing through vacuum cleaner hoses. If I remember they swung those around as well. It did not sit well with the audience, who left.
 

Turbo Gerbil

Member
Messages
5,297
I just meant that the digeridoo is what it is. It kind of just gurgles away endlessly, like an idling dump truck. Neither of which I find objectionable-sounding, I just find it hard to extract musical phrasing from the sounds they produce. I'll admit that maybe I haven't played with someone good enough to do melodies on the thing, but I believe you are limited to literally one note on the thing. And because circular breathing is the whole point of the thing, there really can't be any pauses in the sound, hence very difficult to produce rhythm (other than the 'yelps'). Like an idling dump truck.
 

stevesherbert

Member
Messages
77
Those 2 digeridoers sound great, definitely very rhythmic! But what chords am I supposed to play with that? I'm not trying to be a jerk, just an honest question from someone who's tried to accompany a digeridoo before. Another scenario "Ok, this one's a blues in A, are you ready on the digeridoo"? It's definitely an interesting sounding instrument, but certainly not able to fit into very many musical situations, other than 'endless tribal trance jam'.
 

Turbo Gerbil

Member
Messages
5,297
Those 2 digeridoers sound great, definitely very rhythmic! But what chords am I supposed to play with that? I'm not trying to be a jerk, just an honest question from someone who's tried to accompany a digeridoo before. Another scenario "Ok, this one's a blues in A, are you ready on the digeridoo"? It's definitely an interesting sounding instrument, but certainly not able to fit into very many musical situations, other than 'endless tribal trance jam'.
I haven't tried jamming against Didgeridoo, but I would suggest treating it as "non-harmonic", more like percussion, so basically you set the harmony as the guitar.

nice example of Digi in an ensemble:
 
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Messages
3,195
you keep bringing up "if he'd played slower it might have worked" you are centering on tempo but gave no direction for the tempo. If you played me only a drone and asked me to accompany I could give you back many different ideas with wildly differing tempos and all would fit, none would have been created by having a clue what the unrevealed groove was in your head
I still don't understand where this is coming from. If you heard the droning I was doing then I can't imagine how you would associate it with a fast, hammering approach. It makes me wonder how much Didge music the people that keep making this argument have actually heard because you clearly hear what I was doing was slow tempo based.
 




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