Hi, my name is Mike, and I've been playing the bass for about 27 years now. My main bass is a 1972 Fender P. I really like the direction the instrument has taken in just the past few years. I think there has been a realization among a lot of musicians that the bass is a stong solo instrument and not something simply to fill up space somewhere in the background.
I once read an article where a well-known bassist said that it was impossible to practice the instrument without actually picking it up and playing it. I disagree: practice comes in many forms, from listening, to watching others, to banging out a beat on the table. It is all about inspiration and what brings out that creativity. Sometimes when I create a song on the bass, I hear it as a cello or a tuba or a piano, and that affects the way I play it. I would say that my style of playing focuses quite a bit on trying to keep more than one note ringing at all times. This is mainly because I write mostly solo material, and I like to fill up any dead spots with plenty of harmony. I do tons of two-handed tapping, although I'm into slapping, harmonics and anything else, as long as it sounds interesting. There are no rules.
Music theory can be a necessary and invaluable asset; however, it should only be used as a kind of road map -- a guide to help you find your way, not as an itinerary that dictates what you should do once you get there.
A great musician is made up of four things -- 1. Knowledge (usually in the form of theory) 2. Technique (physical ability, agility and speed of the hands and fingers) 3. Sound (this comes from equipment used as well as technique) 4. Aesthetics (playing what comes from the heart). To hear some of my playing along with a lesson go to http://www.purevolume.com/bassfishinginamerica