An Old-Time Appalchian String Band Jam Hosted by Brian Vollmer


Attention all enthusiasts of Traditional Old-Time Appalachian String Band Music! If you love old 78 recordings of fiddlers and string bands, as well as field recordings of the old timers from several generations ago, you are invited to gather and connect regularly at The Grape Vine Cafe in Johnson City twice a month. If you go to Fiddler’s Conventions, this jam session is tailor-made for you!

Before joining us, please check in and post any questions on the discussion tab for the week's Facebook event. We'll also be sharing the tune of the week along with chords in advance on the discussion tab, and also at Finally, see the rules below before you plan your trip to this jam.

Here's the schedule:

5-5:30: Learn a New Tune w/ Brian

5:30-8:30: Old-Time String Band Jam (Intermediate to Advanced Round-Robin)


This is an acoustic gathering exclusively for traditional Appalachian stringed instruments, including Fiddles, Banjos, Guitars, Mandolins, and Upright Bass Players. To avoid confusion, please note that Hammered Dulcimers, Auto-Harps, and Drums/Percussion of any kind are not part of this session (refer to the section “String bands in old-time music > During the 19th and early 20th centuries”

In the "round-robin" format, participants in the inner circle can choose a tune of their liking. You can either suggest the next tune or opt to pass. We'll stick to one key for an hour and switch to another key for the next hour.

Our tempo generally ranges from 85-110 b.p.m. If you're new and finding it challenging to keep up, feel free to practice quietly along the outer circle. Likewise, if you're still building your Old-Time tune repertoire or prefer not to be in the inner circle, there's space for you on the outside to quietly learn with us. You may also arrange help from Brian outside of the session to advance your learning of this music.

For guidance on common Old-Time jam session etiquette, please refer to Essentially, let's keep it harmonious and avoid any disruptions.

We'll be playing a mix of standard tunes and occasionally explore more unique selections. It's advisable to listen and learn before jumping into any tune being shared. Taking notes or recording snippets during the session can help you review and expand your repertoire. For reliable sources of the tunes we cherish, learn, and play, check out

To access the jam's materials, such as tune lists and videos from past and upcoming sessions, visit

Regardless of your skill level, come join us for some good times. This is a great venue, and there's a spot for everyone. We look forward to seeing you there!

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