More and more these days, the stereotypical role of the bassist is being challenged by players, from ERB players in rock groups to solo bass performances. When I began playing, I never thought that a bassist had any other responsibility except to play the bass. I didn't think that a bassist had to lock in with the drums, back up the guitar, or stay only in the lower register. I thought being a bassist simply meant playing a bass in any way he or she chose, much as a pianist's job is to play piano in any form they choose. I still feel this way today. I spent a long time (a couple years) practicing and playing by myself before even playing with other musicians, and I was surprised to see so many people had these preconceptions of what being a bassist meant; that a bass player had a role, and applying these roles to the bassist's instruments as well. The really strange thing to me was that even though the electric bass has only been (easily) available to the public for around fifty years, some folks act like there's an established, unbreakable historical role of the electric bass, and that it was some sort of heresy to break it- as if fifty years was a long amount of time. The guitar began as an accompaniment instrument and remained so for over a hundred years- giving a serious solo performance on one would have been laughed at. Stranger still is that most of these people who I've heard say the bass has a role define that role by how the bass has fit into rock music, which in itself has had a very short history. The sound and frequency of bass notes lend themselves very well to certain things, such as grooves and locking in with a kick drum for a tight rhythmic sound, but I don't think this defines the role of the instrument at all. Stevie Wonder's left hand can do this better than a lot of bassists, but I don't define the role of the piano or keyboards by it. So how about you? Do you feel the bassist and the bass have a defined role? Do you feel they have a role in some musical genres and don't in others? Do you base your definition of the role of an instrument, and therefore define the role of its player, on certain types of music?