So, I was at a big jam yesterday. One of my usual favorites 20-25 people, in a large church meeting room. Mostly Bluegrass songs, all level of players. Usually, I play the bass at this jam which meets every 3 months or or. Yesterday, however, the host of the jam (who usually plays guitar) brought an upright bass. Luckily, I also brought a guitar. So for me, it was guitar for almost the whole thing. That's OK I thought, I get to watch him play bass. Now this guy is a professional musician. Has toured with big names, interviewed in Bluegrass Unlimited, name on cover etc. I won't identify him here. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, and a really big heart. In short, one of the best musicians I have EVER had the pleasure to play with. He plays and teaches multiple instruments and is truly stellar on all of them. But I had never seen him play bass. Boy, did he play. He made me feel like a total beginner. after watching him for 2 minutes, I wanted to throw my bass out the window. He had a feel to walking bass that was totally intuitive. He made the bass come alive and sing. No simple I/V for him, he used the full range of the bass, all the time. The complexity of building in the melody to the backing bass line was superb. Now, my work is mostly all I/Vs with occasional walk up or down to indicate change in the tune coming. It really made me feel like a total novice. Then it struck me. As a guitar player, I was not enjoying his bass playing. I could barely follow it, and it was throwing me off. He was walking almost every line in every song like a jazz player does. It sounded beautiful, but TOTALLY wrong for almost every song he played. I had trouble maintaining rhythm on my guitar while listening to him. While I enjoyed watching his totally uber -proficient playing, it ruined the jam for me. So what do we add as bass players? We are the drums. My friend was adding all beautiful melodic stuff. No rhythm. At that moment, it struck like a thunderbolt: I HAD BEEN SUBCONSCIOUSLY ASHAMED OF PLAYING I/Vs ALL THE TIME. On some level I assumed that if i were good, I wouldn't have to play I/V all the time. How wrong I was. As Bluegrass bass players, our I/Vs are not a weakness, it is a strength. It is the drum, it is the pulse that breathes life into our music. I will never be ashamed of playing I/V again.