10 Must-Know Jam Session Classics

Posted by Michael Mueller on May 19, 2016 at 3:37 PM

It's that time of year. You're at the summer BBQ, and your buddy's band is cranking out the classic rock party tunes. Inevitably, they start calling up all their musician friends to sit in and take a tune or two, and invariably there's a quick discussion of which tune to play, and it almost always ends up being one of the following 10 tunes.

So if you're not up to speed on these must-know jam session classics, click on the title to get the guitar tab or lesson and get to work.

10. "Takin' Care of Business" Bachman-Turner Overdrive
From the syncopated main riff to the 7th-chord licks to the syncopated 4ths of the bridge, this tune is much trickier than you may realize.

9. "Oh, Pretty Woman" Roy Orbison
Everyone knows the riff, but do you really know the whole tune?

8. "You Shook Me All Night Long" AC/DC
Yes, even party bands like to get their metal on sometimes, and this is one heavy rocker that even the ladies will dig.

7. "Born to Be Wild" Steppenwolf
Gotta be quick with those fills in the pre-chorus and solid with your rhythm throughout. Better make sure you know how to end the tune so you don't fade out into oblivion.

6. "I'm Tore Down" Freddie King/Eric Clapton
The octave bass shuffle line is pretty straightforward. Just don't get so carried away that you miss the stop choruses!

5. "Red House" Jimi Hendrix
Just make sure you play those opening 7th chords like you own them ... and in the right key!

4. "Brown Eyed Girl" Van Morrison
Everyone knows the G-C-D motif, but if you know when to toss in a D7 instead of D, you might get a quick nod and smile from the bassist. Bonus points if you know the signature double-stop lick that opens the tune!

3. "Crossroads" Cream
Another three-chord dandy that, if treated with the right bass notes at the right time (like nailing the F# in the bass in the second measure of the D7 chord) or nailing some of Clapton's sweet licks note-for-note, gives you the chance to bring the house down.

2. "Sweet Home Alabama" Lynyrd Skynyrd
If you live anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, you'd better know this tune better than mama knows her biscuits.

1. "Mony, Mony" Tommy James
If you're a guitarist who can sing, this is the song you want—especially if you're single and there are ladies in da house.

 

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