Jam Etiquette and the U-Bass

A question about how to start jamming kicks of this Live Lesson. With the help of our favorite music guru (Mike Odo), the guys spend the majority of the lesson discussing how to jam, and the general rules of jam etiquette. Aldrine and Mike swap a few talent show stories before talking about the U-Bass and its pros and cons.

Ask Questions Here or Call in your Questions to our Voicemail: (650)761-0989

Questions Asked this Week:
2:15 How can I start jamming with friends?

19:00 Playing something different from the group.

21:50 Jam Etiquette

32:00 The ability to play vs the ability to listen.

41:30 What makes a good musician.

43:40 Aldrine's embarrassing jam etiquette story

50:55 Mike's band dynamics story

56:25 Is a U-Bass a good replacement for a regular bass?

1:01:35 How to make an electric bass sound like an upright bass.

1:02:30 How a U-Bass transfers to an electric bass.

1:05:55 Is it ok to film and clap at a jam?

References/resources for this video:
Ukulele 102 - Week 10: Improvising (Jam Etiquette)
Ukulele 101 - Week 5: Playing with Others
Aloha Friday Concert - Replay (Mike Jams with the guys)
Whiteboard Request - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Ukulele 101 - Week 4: Right Hand Techniques (The Roll and Fingerpicking)
Uke Minutes - How to Roll
Uke Minutes - How to Create Finger Picking Patterns
Uke Lesson - Amber
Uke Lesson - Love Song
Songs Made Easy - Lovesong
Youtube - Lovesong (The Cure)
Youtube - Love Song (311)
Uke Lesson - Little Wing
Youtube - Little Wing (Jimi Hendrix)
Youtube - Little Wing (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Aloha Friday Jam - Replay (Wheel of Shout Out: Rap)

TLL Podcast #28 - Chord Substitutions: How Sweet the Sound

Youtube - Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner
Youtube - Danny's Song
Uke Lessson - Danny's Song
Youtube - David Pack
Youtube - Evanescence
Youtube - Butch Walker
Youtube - John Cruz
Youtube - Raiatea Helm
Youtube - Footloose
Youtube - Streetlight Cadence

Youtube - Aldrine jamming with Kalei, Taimane, and Chris
Master Class - Bruce Shimabukuro
Youtube - Aldrine jams "Little Wing" with James Hill, Brittni Paiva and Mike Powers
Youtube - Aldrine jamming Breezin with Dominator, Kalei, and Brittni
Youtube - Kneebody (Musical Signals and Codes)

Youtube - Old Fashioned Touch (Opihi Pickers)
Youtube - Do That to Me One More Time (Kapena)

Youtube - Willie K
Youtube - Casey Kamakane

Website - Ohana Bass OBU
Website - Kala U-Bass

Live Lesson Podcast Archive
Old Live Lesson Archive (August 7th, 2014 - March 1st, 2018)

Aloha Friday Jam Live
Aloha Friday Jam Replays

Post Videos to Student Review
Live Lesson Questions in the UU+ Forum
Send Questions to Questions@ukuleleunderground.com
Call in Questions to our TLL Voicemail: (650)761-0989


  1. Had an opportunity to get my question answered last night after the Masters of Hawaiian Music concert at Swallow Hill. I figured Nathan Aweau would be a good person to ask since he plays both slack key guitar and bass. He said a lot of slack key players are like me, can’t lay off the bass because it’s so integral to the style. In those cases, he makes the adjustment to play a simpler bass line that goes with what the slack key player is doing — mostly the 1 and 5 of the chord. He said some players like Led Ka’apana and Jeff Peterson will stop playing bass and let the bass player take that role — seems like that’s something I should practice: being able to better adjust to who’s playing at the moment.

    Had a similar experience at the Christmas concert I played in — I practiced a chord melody version of Mele Kalikimaka, but wasn’t expecting to have a second ‘ukulele player and a bass player back me up. I played the chord melody, but I think it would have been cleaner if I had let the second ‘ukulele player take the chords and I had stuck to the melody line.

    It just goes to show that playing with others is just another skill that has to be learned. I’m finding it very rewarding, but it really stresses the importance of trying to find others to play with — you can practice it a little by playing along to recordings, but you miss out on the dynamics of being face-to-face with other musicians.


  2. Great topics! Playing with others is a skill that’s taken me some time to develop — I find smaller groups to be the best for working on these skills, especially if it’s a collaborative group that’s comfortable talking about what we’re doing, trying something new and adjusting if it doesn’t work out as expected until we get it. The skills I’ve been learning translate well when our larger group, about 30-40, get together, but it’s just harder to practice with that many people.

    One thing I’ve been trying to figure out lately is when I play slack key and a bass player joins in — I’m so used to playing bass that we end up getting in each other’s way. The best solution I’ve found so far is to turn down the bass on my EQ and try to let the bass player do his thing, but my thumb keeps time for me, so it’s hard for me not to hit the bass strings — just something else I need to practice like all other skills. Ultimately it would be easier for me to improvise if someone else was playing the bass line.


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