Here's the story: One day at a bluegrass festival back in the 1970s, people were listening to a modern hot-shot mandolin player on stage. He played up the neck and down the neck and all over the neck, making lots and lots and lots of fantastic notes. People were impressed. So someone thought he'd rattle Bill's chain a little and said to him: "Bill, that young guy makes lots of notes. Why can't you make all those notes when you play? Don't you know that many notes?"
Bill didn't hesitate. He looked the man in the eye and said, "If I was to write you a letter, I would mean every word I wrote."
That's all Bill said. That was all he needed to say. He didn't need to play lots of notes, only the ones that meant something. He meant every word, and he meant every note!
Next time you’re taking a break (or playing backup) and want to throw in a hot lick, think about it. Don’t play it if you don’t mean every note.