Balance Playing Feel vs What's Required
How does everybody approach this and remain in your happy place? On many tunes I can play what I am feeling from the heart..(not talking tunes with signature/hook basslines).
Now and then, even if covering a tune pretty well, you're told to play x y and z...due to whatever...which often talks away the groove and the feel..drummer too gets ...lets say away from the tune. Sort of hard to explain I guess.
I do understand my job(think so OK!) Those tunes I cant wait to get over with...while the ones where it all clicks...ya want to go on forever!
The bands I play in dont work note for note from notation on every song...I am mostly left with making the bass lines myself if not given notation(cant sight read, but can put together chord charts).
The most practical advice would be to simply "serve the song".
Some tunes have room to do some cool basslines & fills, while others demand a more simpler approach which may not be the funnest ones to play but actually make the arrangement better.
Think in terms of whats best for the entire song
I've only ever HAD to play something a certain way once, but it was the most mechanical, unemotional performance I've ever given. I had absolutely no connection to the music and stared a hole in the guitarist who wanted it played that way for the length of the song. I write my own bass parts and that's that. I've always been up front about it in new situations, and will decline jobs that want things done exactly as someone else did them. As far as simple and sometimes mindless parts, I can still make them fun by adding interesting rhythms and fills or walks where I can. Or I can play while smiling suggestively at the girl in front of the stage.
In 30+ yrs of playing, i have never been told WHAT to play, just lucky im guessing.
The only concession I can offer is to serve the song. When someone has the power to change the song, well we're serving two masters or more. Just pay attention to the song, even though you may not have the power to change the song. We're subect to the BL and the lead vocalist. This is one reason why I love and prefer to play FUNK. In FUNK bass is the KING!!! Another option is to start your own band and be the BL.
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