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JourdanA

Music jams in Bangkok?

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Hi all,

 

I'm a bass player. I'm coming to Bangkok in January. Would like to hear about places in Bangkok that hold music get-togethers where people bring their instruments and jam.

 

Blues jams are popular in other countries...anything like that in Thailand? Doesn't have to be blues...other popular music is good. I'd also like to learn to play Thai/Issan folk music.

 

Thanks,

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Richard Thomas is in that Facebook link.  Send him a PM.  He knows about places that have jams.  I believe it's called Fatty's Bar, they also do regular jams.

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Nothing But The Blues on Thonglor has a regular Sunday night blues jam from 9.30pm.  https://www.facebook.com/nothingbutthebluesbar/  Queen Bee on Sukhumvit Soi 26 has had jams on Tuesday nights.  Check if the jams are still going. https://www.facebook.com/QueenBeeBangkok/   Check Inn 99 on Sukhumvit Soi 33 has a jazz jam on Sunday afternoons.  They also had a blues jam on Saturday afternoons in their old location and I heard they might start another blues jam on Monday nights but not confirmed.  https://www.facebook.com/CheckInn99/.    Adhere 13th blues bar on Samsen Road near Khao San Road is a nice live music place, where foreign backpackers mix harmoniously with Thai blues fans.  They have only occasional jams but, if you know the band playing, they will probably invited you to jam with them for a couple of songs. https://www.facebook.com/adhere13thbluesbar/.  The same is true of Saxophone at Victory Monument.  They sometimes have jams for special occasions.  http://www.saxophonepub.com/.   Fatty's has jams as already mentioned above.

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often thai cover bands will let you jam if you ask. usually they will let you play their instrument. its cool to leave a tip afterwards, maybe 100 baht. thai musician cover bands typically play tons of western songs and these bands can be found at tourist areas. # soi cowboy and Nana  theres also some outdoor night markets that have thai bands also doing western music, usually rock. one such spot is esplanade train market. right next to esplanade mall . MRT exit thailand cultural center.

 

beware of the occasional thai band that demands money in advance to jam. bad attitude learned at tourist areas. its as if they learn from bar girls

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38 minutes ago, DLang said:

 

Yes, there have been occasional busts of foreigners standing up and jamming in bars. In Chiang Mai there was an episode in 2011, as described in the threads above that allegedly emanated from a farang music bar owner who refused to pay off the police.  In Phuket it has certainly happened and probably in other resorts like Pattaya.  In Bangkok there was a spate over 10 years ago when police were going after foreign musicians who played regularly in bands, rather than specifically jammers.  Another episode was targeted only at a specific bar in Sukhumvit Soi 33, now long closed, as a result of a complaint by a Thai musician who asked for a gig for his band via his GF, who was a waitress there, only to be told by the farang owner, "We don't want any Thai bands here, thank you."  As a result of that remark, he could only hire Thai bands in the brief window before the bar went bust.  Lumpini police, who cover the Nana area, once issued a letter to bar owners threatening action against them for hiring foreign musicians some years ago but nothing much happened.  It seemed they were mainly after illegal Filipino musicians at that time.

 

Playing a gig with a band without a WP is clearly illegal but standing up and jamming is a grey area.  One guy who decided to plead not guilty to this in Chiang Mai, before the 2011 episode,  was acquitted as the judge said in his ruling jamming a couple of songs was akin to singing in a karaoke. I guess you could also argue that singing along in the chorus without a WP is a crime, if you want to take it to ludicrous absurdity.  Most of those arrested have pleaded guilty and got small fines.  

 

If you join a band and play gigs without a WP,  you are probably taking work away from Thai musicians and are at some risk, if a crack down takes place or Thai musicians complain.  I am not encouraging people to break the law but a lot of farangs (and Filipinos) illegally play in bands because they want to play and WPs are only available for those hired as house bands in hotels etc, and then only on a 3-month basis, as they are expected to go somewhere else when the contract is finished but they can be renewed. 

 

As for jammers it is not at all clear that this is illegal and it probably is not but you still risk police harassment.  However, the risk is fairly small and, if you want to play and are aware of the risk, I would say just go out and enjoy.   I am now Thai but did this for many years as a foreigner without mishap.  If arrested and charged, I would have considered fighting the case like the guy in Chiang Mai.  

 

One caveat though is that the rules for WPs have been revised in the new Royal Decree on the Working of Aliens. I haven't studied this closely but I think rules affecting this sort of thing are similar, except that maximum fines for workers and employers are much larger.  The changes in the law are mainly to do with migrant workers from neighbouring countries.     

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1 hour ago, atyclb said:

often thai cover bands will let you jam if you ask. usually they will let you play their instrument. its cool to leave a tip afterwards, maybe 100 baht. thai musician cover bands typically play tons of western songs and these bands can be found at tourist areas. # soi cowboy and Nana  theres also some outdoor night markets that have thai bands also doing western music, usually rock. one such spot is esplanade train market. right next to esplanade mall . MRT exit thailand cultural center.

 

beware of the occasional thai band that demands money in advance to jam. bad attitude learned at tourist areas. its as if they learn from bar girls

 

The band at 5 Stars in Cowboy usually allows jammers, including some horribly drunken singers sometimes.  There is a tip box in front of the band that usually has nothing or very little in it and can use a top up, if you jam, but they don't ask for money.

 

Try to avoid breaking a string or a drum stick, if you jam with a house band using their gear.  This can make the atmosphere turn sour very quickly and result in demands for compensation over and above replacement cost.  Don't ask me how I know this but it wasn't at 5 Stars.

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6 hours ago, gjoo888 said:

Check out Fatty's on Din Daeng Rd., near Ratchadaphisik and Rama IX Rd.. It's owned and run by an American, and they have jams on certain nights. Good food too.

https://www.facebook.com/fattysbardiner/

What he said. Maybe more folk than Blues but. ...anything goes. It is veery small.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm an amateur who just likes to have fun playin' the blues with others. No interest in making any money at it. 

 

Next question: If I decide not to bring my bass, what are options for buying or renting one once I get there?

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30 minutes ago, JourdanA said:

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm an amateur who just likes to have fun playin' the blues with others. No interest in making any money at it. 

 

Next question: If I decide not to bring my bass, what are options for buying or renting one once I get there?

 

There are plenty of music shops in Bangkok selling new and second hand guitars and basses.   I believe some also rent instruments with a hefty deposit requirement but it would be cheaper to buy used and sell if you don't need it any more.

 

The regular jams have a house band that opens with the first set and stays till the end, in case there are needed.  They will normally let visitors use their instruments, if they don't bring their own. 

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Craigslist has some great deals.  Fortune Town has some good used shops.  But I think the best deals are with craigslist. 

 

Quality instruments here are super expensive compared to back home.  Easy to get a bass here though.

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BANGKOK 25 November 2017 10:48
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