Playing a Minor Three String Scale on the Bass

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,816
    Professional bassist Percy White demonstrates how to play a minor three string scale on the 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, I am Percy and this is the bass playing series. In this section we are going to cover minor scales. Minor scales are scales that -- actually they are related to a major scale. Basically its just a major scale with a different starting and ending point. So, lets get right to it. I am going to show you what is considered the optimal fingering for the scale and of course you as you get used to it, you can play it anyway you want. So, lets get right to it. As I said before each one of your fingers gets it's own number; 1, 2, 3, and 4 and when I call out a number you will place it on the bass accordingly. So, we are going to cover a minor scale, covering three strings. I am going to start on the E string, using the G, it's a good place to start and for those of you playing four strings it would be the lowest string on your bass third spot. We are going to start out, one position which means your hands never move from where they start, and the numbers correspond accordingly, 1, 3, 4, 1, 3, 4, 1, 3, and move it backwards, 3, 1, 4, 3, 1, 4, 3, 1, it sounds like this, that is a minor scale over three strings and here is the exercise that will go with that, if you are going to play a finger exercise to gets you, that is similar to doing a major scale exercise, and you will play the first four notes of the scale, and then from the second note you will go up four notes and, then from the third note, four notes and so forth. So, it's 1, 3, 4, 3, 4, 1, 4, 1, 3 and so forth, and as always, practice your scales using a metronome, and the exercise is accordingly, and remember whenever you practice any scale or exercise, as you go up your bass, you want to comeback down just so you know that you got it down path.