DEAR ABBY: I'm a musician — a bass guitar player. I've been playing for more than 50 years and have been told I'm very good. My problem is my neighbor. He plays guitar and writes songs, neither of which he does well.

From time to time, I'll help him out by laying down the bass track for his songs. But lately he has begun referring to me as "my bass player." I don't WANT to be his bass player. I get no enjoyment from playing with him.

I try my best to avoid him now because he constantly asks me to play. Most of the time, I give him some lame excuse to avoid it. Is there any way I can get out of playing without telling him how I feel about his music?

— NOT HIS BASS PLAYER

DEAR NOT HIS BASS: You could tell him that your schedule is so full you don't have time to do it, you have "other commitments" or you are concentrating on your own music these days. However, if those excuses don't work, I guarantee that telling him the whole truth will.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.