you cheeky little...
As a show of good faith with our bass brethren I will answer your questions
1 - It's always beneficial to have facility
with it, whether it's the best choice to use that facility is entirely down to the situation and what the individual is comfortable with. For example, in the solo to Atrophy from my band's album, there's a section with a short 3 note per string pattern that could be played with the pinky, but because of what immediately follows, I play it with the 1-2-3 combination.
The lick looks a bit like this (guitar is tuned down to drop A# in the song):
I play the 13th fret with the 3rd and 14th with the pinky because in that situation it makes more sense to me and is much easier to get up to speed. There's also some 4 note per string stuff that follows immediately after that so it makes more sense to me to fret it that way.
2 - This is a hell of a question, holy wars have been waged over this one
I'd say it's better not not anchor like that, but with some caveats:
a - If you can remain relaxed and retain free motion in your picking hand... it's not hugely important.
b - If you already play and have some facility, it's going to be more work to fix the anchor than is worth it; your efforts are better spent working on relaxation and economy of motion directly.
c - Stopping anchoring might make your playing better... but that difference isn't going to be much. It's the kind of thing that might take you from the top 0.005% of pickers to the top 0.001%, but until you're in that rarified air, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
In summation: if I were to teach someone from absolute zero, someone with no experience, I'd get them not to anchor. Teaching someone who already plays... probably make do with what's already working on the anchoring front.
3 - Both grips have their place. The default should be thumb on the back of the neck, classical style; it generally gives you the best reach and the most ergonomic position. Baseball bat should be reserved for bending and thumb-fretting only. As for whether or not you should fret with your thumb... jury's still out on that one for me. I've not practiced it much at all, so have basically no ability with it myself. Furthermore, I've seen guys like Richie Kotzen get some of the Hendrix-ish thumb-over-the-top chords by careful refingering and use of the pinky to get the bass notes.
Addendum to the thumb fretting discussion: I've seen Guthrie Govan fret some chords using thumb under
the neck, more like a cello/double bass. Man did that ever blow my mind when I first saw it. There are definitely some chords that you can only finger that way, even if they're not going to see much use. But if you're playing the kind of improvisational fusion he was playing when I saw him do it... possibly worth practicing it.
4 - There are only two answers to this.
Either it's Tom Delonge:
Or it's Robert Fripp:
Anything in between is the work of a False Prophet, and should be cast from your mind.
5 - No. A piece of music can be as technically proficient as you like, and as long as it connects with the audience, and sounds right for the mood of the music around it, then it's got plenty of soul. I'll point to the good lord Guthrie Govan as the prime example of this. Dude has possibly the greatest chops of any electric player, living or dead (arguments about Shawn Lane can go somewhere else for now), and his music makes plenty of people feel things. Myself included.
There, done. Now back to my day job