How to Choose a Bass – Four String Bass

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,862
    Professional bassist Percy White breaks down how to choose a 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: Hi and welcome back again. This is Percy and I was telling you earlier about choosing different basses for different technique or different sounds that you want. Earlier I was playing a six string bass, this is four string bass, its a Fender Precision Bass. I have had this bass for over 20 years and the difference in this bass than the other bass is that this has got a nice heavy wood and it gives you in fact full sound, if you playing it. At the same time you can use it to give you nice tonal quality if you are playing something, like a funk feel. Thats another good thing about having this bass. So, this is just another example of how you get the right kind of bass for the right kind of sound. The six string bass that I played earlier, you still have the highest C and low B which will extend this range, but for a nice basic sound that it has a lot of variety to it, a great Precision Fender Bass will do the job for you.