Jam Skills Checklist

by Pete Wernick

Are you learning these skills? If not, we can help.


Essentials (Learn these and you’re ready to jam)

 Tune your instrument (using a tuner), quicker the better. Check tuning often!

Wernick Method Classes require the skills in this “Essentials” section and teach the others!

 Learn G, C, D, and A chords, fingering each string accurately, for clear sound (check by sounding each string individually, making sure it’s clear and not muted). Bass and fiddle players don’t make chords, but need to know which notes go with which chord.

 Switch quickly between chord changes, with accurate fingering (with each switch, sound any problem string individually, making sure it’s clear, not muted)
Practice these sequences

 G-D-G (most common)      G-C-G      D-A-D      C-D-C      G-A-G

 Change chords without looking, cleanly and quickly

 Maintain a rhythm pattern while changing chords accurately

 Follow chord changes watching a guitar player

 Find a slow jam that uses only G, C, D, and A, or play along with a slow jam recording


Jamming is easier and better when you can…

 Remember chord changes of a new song – which chords happen and when

 Anticipate chord changes, to make them at exactly the right time

 Sing a song while playing, with accurate chording and a consistent rhythm pattern

 Play and sing a song straight through with no pauses or hesitations

 Play and sing a song fluently from memory, not using a written version


You can add a lot to a jam if you can…

 Lead a song. Skills include knowing how to intro a song before playing (give key and chord changes to watch for), designate solos, ending, etc.

 Fake an instrumental solo on the fly, following the chord changes, melody optional

 Sing harmony

 Know how to find jams and/or how to start one