Old-Time Music in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Click here for • TUNE LISTS • from the weekly Tractor jams.


All about the Tractor jam

This is a hosted open jam, with primarily experienced players. Beginners are welcome to sit in, but we play at speed.

As a hosted jam, the Creepers will pick most of the tunes, rather than round-robin style. We like to keep things moving, since it is a taproom full of patrons and everyone is happier when there's music.

If you're unsure what the old-time genre is all about, see the Old-Time Music link above and/or read this 2015 Tractor blog post (page may be slow to load).

A Few House Rules

Acoustic instruments only, no amplifiers - no exceptions.

No drums. Tractor requests no drums at the Nob Hill Location.

COVID-era rule: No singing at the jam


Space issues and rules to address them:

The band sits in the corner on the bench, so we can hear each other and do our best to keep the tempo for the circle.

Jam participants sit on chairs and benches arranged roughly in a circle.

When you enter the jam, maintain this circular shape as best you can.

Space is limited. Occupy as little as possible. 

When new participants arrive, make room for them in the circle.

When the circle gets too big, start a second circle around (or inside) the first.

Keep the jam circle clear of cases, etc. This is a safety issue, and non negotiable.*

*Cases, coats, idle instruments, etc., can be placed under the benches, on the far end of the bench (if no one is sitting there), or over near the smaller patio entry door. If adequate space is not available, leave the extras in your car until you want to swap them out.

Leave room between the jam circle and the bar for patrons and staff to walk.

If you notice something that is problematic or unsafe, please let the jam hosts know, so we may address it. (Hosts by name: Jane (fiddle), Laurie (mandola), Marc (banjo), Michel (fiddle), Rick (guitar).

The jam hosts reserve the right to correct problems relating to the physical space. Anyone refusing to abide by the jam rules, failing to be respectful of other participants, or being otherwise rude or unruly, will be asked to leave at the discretion of the jam hosts.

Other info

We use the "raised foot" method to alert everyone that the tune is about to end. We try to do an audible "one more!" holler but some nights it's harder to hear, so keep an eye out for a foot. If it's round-robin style, the person who started the tune is expected to give a holler or raise a foot. (See the hazard of not being told to stop: click here.) There is no standard number of times to play a tune at this jam; we play it until it's done, anywhere from about 6 to 20 times. [When I think we've about reached the time to stop, I play it two more times. Your mileage may vary.]

Fiddlers and banjo players use special tunings for different keys, so it's common to stay in one key for a while to minimize the retuning. ("A while" could mean 5 or 6 tunes, or 20, or all night, depending on the evening.)

Common fiddle tunings (low string to high):
Key of C & G: standard GDAE
Key of A: AEAE, or A calico, AEAC#
Key of D: ADAE

Common banjo tunings (high to low):
Key of G: DBGDg
Key of C: DCGCg
Key of A: EC#AEa
Key of Amix (modal): EDAEa
Key of D: EDADa

A little noodling between tunes is probably unavoidable, but loud and insistent noodling is generally frowned upon and is not Dale Carnegie approved.

Like many old-time musicians, the jam hosts wrestle with the issue of offensive and questionable content, lyrics, and titles of the older repertoire, in particular. While we acknowledge the historical perspectives of this material, we choose to apply our current sensibilities and will change titles and lyrics as we see fit. We encourage jam participants to do the same while in this setting.


Support our fabulous taproom home, Tractor Brewing. Buy a beverage! There are a million types of beer (more or less), plus ciders, and even some sodas. They don't serve food, but a food truck is often parked out front and several local eateries will deliver to the taproom (some menus are often available at the bar). You may BYO food from elsewhere.

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