Im not sure whether or not its a good idea for me to be posting this, but I want to say that this is in no way meant to start arguments or debates. This is strictly a little mental battle that Im going through personally as a begginer. Ive talked to/ emailed quite a few bassists over the past month that I admire and in a sense look up to, these guys pretty much have what I want to achieve as a budding,baby bass player. Now Ive asked each one of these guys the same question, which Im sure every person in my position asks, "Im a begginer ,I want to play the funkiest grooves you or your mama ever heard, what should I practice to get there?" (is the basic gist of my question) Whats interesting is that each one of these guys is coming from a slightly different place.Some are VERY knowledgable about theory and have the credentials to proove it. Some dont know much theory at all. Hence I was expecting different answers or points of view and yet the general idea behind each players answer was the same. The answer in a nut shell" Play and transcribe what you hear your favourite players playing. Start with something thats not too complicated and gradually you can work on more complex stuff." I havent quoted each person Ive asked simply because Im not sure if thats frowned upon or not, but Ive saved each response in my music notebook all from highly praised teachers/bass book authors/ youtube bass monsters that are all spoken of very highly right here on TB. So I switched my focus for the past few weeks by devoting a small ammount of my practice time to the "theoretical" or "classic" training of modes/arpeggios/sight reading etc . and devoting most of my time learning and playing from music in my collection (mostly James Brown right now). Needless to say its a lot of fun when you finally get a whole song under your fingers and can lock in with the band, BUT being the kinda guy I am my practice concience starts playing tricks on me as if I should go back to making the scales/modes/arps etc the main thing. Than I think of one bass player I know personally who loves straight ahead jazz and feels all other types of music are inferior, hes been playing on and off for 30 years (older guy) but doesnt seem to have rissen to the level one would expect, when I told him the advice I was given about trying to play what you hear, he told me "I never really tried to learn that way." I could tell he thought I must be crazy telling him this as a begginer but when I compare him to some of the guys Ive been in touch with, theres just no comparison. Anyway Im going to use this approach for the next 6 months a little theory, a little sight reading practice and a lot of playing by ear each day....we'll see how it gos.