How to Play a Two Finger Major Scale on the Bass

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,244
    Professional bassist Percy White demonstrates how to play a two finger major scale on the bass.

    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, I am Percy and this is bass playing series. In this segment I am going to show you how to play a major scale over two strings. Playing a major scale over two strings is important because if you are playing a song and you only know how to play a scale over two strings or four strings and you down here, and you want to want a scale and you dont have a space and then you are kind of lost, so it's important to know how to play a scale over multitude of string, different patterns and this lesson is going to be how to play a major scale over two strings. Now, remember the fingerings that I give you are not the end all and be all of fingerings. These are just the most optimal to get the task accomplished, okay. So, we are going to start with the number of your fingers; one, two, three, and four, each finger has it's own number, but this one we are going to be moving up and down the fret. So, Ill tell you what to do and how to do and Ill give you the number to practice. We are going to start off on the G which is the third fret down from the top, if you are playing a four string bass, it will be the lowest string on the E string and the third fret down. So, here how it's going to work; you are going to take your first finger, the number one and you are going to fly it down two frets, hit it again, then you will take the third finger, three and then four, and you can go to the next string, keeping in the same position, lets go to the next string, first finger, one, slide it again, one, three and four. One, slide one, three, four, one, slide one, three, four, that is a major scale over two strings and you will play it back wards; one, slide, three four, one, slide, three four and backwards, four, three, one, slide, four, three one, slide, and as always you alternate your right hand for every note. That is a major scale over two strings.