Last weekend, I played with some new guys who are looking for a bassist. Drummer, rhythm and lead guitars. I dig the music - it's blues/rock with some punk mixed in. I practiced some of their music a couple of weeks before - and knew about 4 of the songs. Pretty easy stuff. We all met at a rehearsal studio and got right to it, except that they didn't want to play any of the songs, they just wanted to jam and see what happened. Cool, no problem. 1st hour went great - they liked my playing and I can keep time generally pretty well. They complimented me on my playing. The second hour didn't go as well. We were struggling to come up with decent jams and were "trying too hard". The first hour I played my "go to" jams - my better stuff, and then I kinda ran out. I had writers block I guess. It got painful. They were looking exclusively to me the whole time to get something going which leads me to my first question - is the bass player the one most looked to or responsible for starting each new jam? It seems to be this way every time I jam with new people. Later in the day, I jammed with another guitarist and a drummer, totally impromptu, at someone's house. A guy was playing a guitar, and waddya know - I already had my bass in my car. It went awesome for 2 hours...no struggle to come up with anything. Perhaps it was the formal environment earlier that happened to me? So I have been thinking about what it takes to jam well with new players you don't know and jam well in general. Now, I'll be the first to admit, that I am not the most creative bassist on the fly. I don't know much theory. Most of the good lines that I've come up with started with something small and I worked to create a line I was proud of. I can learn most songs and play them fine, but feel I could improve when jamming with people. When I do jam with new people, I am conscious to stay in the pocket and not try too hard, just play the root notes or an octave and wait for something to develop. Once I hear a pattern, I'll play notes on a corresponding scale and basically run up and down or find notes that work well with the rhythm. This is what I did the second part of the day, when it went better. I tend to not try too hard (less is more) but end up feeling "not creative" and that my play is "uninspired". Some guys can step in and make it sound more like a song with a developed bassline on the fly, which I don't do. Know what I mean? I wish I could play more fluidly for the first time with new people and when I jam in general. Any tips, tricks, ideas, opinions etc...on what it takes to be a good, bass playing jam partner? I'd really like to up my game. Learning and playing existing songs is one thing, jamming is another.