How to Choose a Bass – Acoustic Bass

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 64,611
    Professional bassist Percy White breaks down how to choose an acoustic bass guitar.

    Percy White

    Percy White is a professional bassist living in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pa. He started playing bass when he was 10 years old after trying unsuccessfully to play guitar. As he puts it, "It just made sense. The bass has four strings and I have four fingers to play them with." He started playing by ear but after hearing Stanley Clarke he realized that he had to take lessons and so he did. After graduating high school, he joined the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Engineering Program but his musical education also continued with his study of jazz and music theory. After serving in the military, White moved to Chicago to begin an engineering career that was short lived due to his love of music. He began taking bass lessons with Nick Schneider (former bassist for the Tonight Show Band) After playing in numerous jam sessions, he began his career as a full time musician. He played with notable jazz artists like Ramsey Lewis, Oscar Brown, Jr, Roy Ayer s, and Ronnie Laws. He has jammed with Buddy Guy at his famous blues club in Chicago. White has been a founding member of two rock bands, two blues bands, one latin/jazz band, and one contemporary jazz group. He has played for the Chicago City Colleges Jazz Band, and was a winning member of the 1996 Chicago Blues band competition. In 2000, White relocated back to the east coast to broaden his musical experiences. He shares his musical knowledge by teaching privately in the DC area. After one of his outstanding performances in DC, White was asked to audition for the 257th Army Band and he recently joined the ranks of the elite performers of the Nation's Capital Army Band. White feels it's an honor to serve his country through his musical talents and is glad to have the opportunity. Although his full time occupation is being an application engineer for a worldwide water treatment company, White can still be seen playing in the Washington, DC area at least five nights a week doing what he has been doing for the last 30 years.

    Percy White: This is an acoustic bass guitar. It looks like an acoustic guitar except its a bass. The good thing about having this as I explained earlier that you can take this out and just practice when you are outside, if you were just hanging around and if you are watching kids play or you want be out in the fresh air, but you still want to get your practice time. You can hear this without having it amplified and thats a good thing, because you dont always have amplification. So, you can practice and you still get the bass sound. But at the same time usually like in the back here, there is a pickup. You plug your guitar cord in here, plug it into your amp and you can amplify the sound and you can adjust to a knobs on here, this one just had a tone knob, so if we want to give it more tone, we will turn it down, do your flatter tone and later on, I will be showing you how to adjust the tones on your basses to give you different sounds, but this is just another example of a different kind of bass that you can own and behind me you will see there is an upright bass and I will be showing you that maybe in other segment, but thats used for a jazz or classical or country and blue grass. So, the type of bass you buy depends on a kind of sound you want. If I wanted an acoustic sound, I wouldnt take my six string bass to an acoustic setting. This will allow me to do that.