Evening all, A few days ago, our guitarist told me he liked my playing, because you can hear it's self-taught. Now, he didn't mean to say my playing sucks and I need to get me a teacher, but more to say my playing style is uniquely me own and not copied, borrowed, taught or stolen by/from a teacher or other bassists. I thanked him for the compliment (which it was) and, even though I didn't agree with him (I think I can hear the influences in my playing very clearly), I left it at that. Mostly because we were both blind drunk/stoned immaculate at the time. Anyhoo, when I woke up the next day (somewhere around two-ish, hehe), I got to think about his comment. He liked my sound and technique, because he percieved it as being developed in isolation, and therefore unique. But what if you'd expand on this concept? All of us have musical influences. We are born into a certain culture which has evolved, grown and changed over many, many years. Music has evolved, grown and changed together with the culture you live in and is (in my eyes at least) inseperable. And now here you are: born some years ago and listening to the music of the culture you've grown up in all your life. This affects your tastes, and thusly ('s that a word?), the way you practice music. It has a profound effect on the type of music you (want to) make, the music you like, and even your goals with that music (though, let's not go into that last one here). Now, think about this: If you take away the outside influences (The "nurture aspect") completely, what would happen? Say, for instance, you've been kidnapped at the tender age of zero, and held captive in a cell until, say, you're twenty. All that time you are denied human contact, but given what you need to survive (Food, drink and whathaveyou). That, and a nice jazz bass, and an amp. And let's say you played with that bass all the time. What the hell would happen? Well, you'd go batsh*t insane of course, but, apart from that. How would you emerge from that cell years later? What would your approach to bassplaying be, if you develop it in total cultural isolation? You could say you'd never learn to properly play the bass. Sure, the first three years you probably won't know even know that strange thing in your cell can make sound at all. But you'll figure that it eventually. After all, you'd have a lot of free time and no World of Warcraft to distract you. It is known that there are people - mostly tribal people - that have little communities in isolation from our modern world, who naturally find the intervals we think are pleasing to the ear (like octaves, fifths and such) really appaling. They also don't immediatly recognise the emotional content of harmonies. That is to say, they don't think of a minor chord as "sad" and so on.And these people still have communities. In our little experiment here, you've grown up without human contact whatsoever. How will you perceive music? This question alone is endlessly interesting. But if we take a little sidestep in our story, you'll see it is not only interesting, but empowering (God, I feel like Oprah saying that. Ew.) You see, not only are your musical tastes formed by your environment, but there is also a tradition of playing technique. Who but the utmost adventurous of us have incorporated techniques into their style other than fingerstyle, slapping, pickplaying or tapping? I mean, a lot of you have probably mucked about a bit, trying to get sound from your bass, (I know I have), but really develop something different? That doesn't come around very often, I believe. And this is where bass guitar (not electric bass) really should shine. But doesn't. The electric bassguitar is a relatively new instrument. For most other instruments, the "rules" if you will, are set. But this is a lot less true for us bassplayers, due to the youngness of the instrument. Hell, the precision was developed only what, 48 years ago? 48 years! My dad's older than that! Seriously consider this. Not considering the upright but the electric: We are playing an instrument that did not exist less than one generation ago. The techniques aren't established, the role in the band is (arguably) still up for debate. We are almost able to develop our instrument from scratch, and the possibilities are endless. We live in exciting times indeed. Discuss. Hmmm... I'm really sleepy now and not sure if I make a valid point or if I'm just rambling actually. My apologies if it's the latter.