This seems the most apposite place for this, so here goes... I've been listening, as I do from time to time, to Dream Theater. I'm sure they need no introduction and have many fans here, but essentially they are what is now regarded as progressive metal. They are a band that has a lot of influences that I share: the old prog bands. Yet they just lack any spark of creativity I can respect. I don't want to rag on musicians especially when they have a successful career and I don't. It's not jealousy either. Their music simply doesn't speak to me at all and the production is hideous. They are all technically very astute and they like all the right music, so how is it they don't play anything I like. Watching their bass player here's a guy that plays a 6 string (the sort of bass that seems popular among technical players these days). He plays many intricate passages often following the guitar parts. I wonder if it's even possible for any bass player/musician to play anything. Most, if not all, the players I like are defined more by their limitations than anything. Almost all of them are limited: Geddy has a weird technique and a penchance for the kind of octave stuff you hear on Malignant Narcisissim. But he's a great musician with a band that's managed to make technical music sound good. Dream Theater just aren't. Tony Levin, whos parts for Paradigm Shift by Liquid Tension Experiment (a band including 3 members of DT) i'm trying to learn, is a player that doesn't go at a million miles an hour and is one of the most innovative players ever. Chris Squire plays with a plectrum has a ton of interesting sounds and plays quite high, but never overplays (IMO!). Steve Harris is actually sloppy in places with a clanking tone most engineers would despise, but at the same time he's possibly the most interesting and innovative bass player in metal. I could go on. These are all examples of people whose music I enjoy more. There's a number of progressive metal bands these days, but for me the best of the lot come from the nordic metal scene where considerations of commerciality are completely out of the question. For me the best of this lot are Pagan's Mind. I would much rather listen to their music than DT's and in fact, like Rush, they have learned to write music more concisely in their later work. Their last two albums feature shorter 'simpler' songs that are a ton more engaging than their older stuff (which isn't bad either). They also have that weird rubbery sounding double bass drum stuff. Their bass player alsio plays a 6 (or at least 5) string and plays some interesting parts, but never overplays. There are no bass solos in their songs, it's not that kind of prog. So in the end it's difficult finding what you want to do. Listening solely to bass players is a mistake I think. For all the amazing solo bass players/stuff out there I'm increasingly unsure that's a road worth walking. The bass is better, most of the time (there are no hard and fast rules), as an ensemble instrument. I can't see myself ever wanting to play a 6 string (i'm not even sure my hands can take it). I'd rather take up guitar! I'm not knocking other people, each to their own, but as with anything it's about making something sound interesting and these days, as with slap bass, most people seem to have a six string and do a bit of slap and tap on the side. My problem is that I don't have a band so I'm a bass player without musicians, which is not ideal.