Percy Heath Bass Transcription - But Not For Me

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

This bass transcription is the full Percy Heath walking bass line to But Not For Me (Take 2) from Miles Davis' 1957 album "Bag's Groove."

As always, when I think about take-aways for my own playing, I like to examine trends. That is: what are the consistent, repeated ideas that Percy Heath utilizes in this track?

Trend 1: Solid time/feel. That is to say, the spacing between his note attacks are consistent.

Trend 2: Solid harmony. That is to say, note choices are fitting with the chords of the song. Lots of roots, 3rds, 5ths on strong beats, approach tones on weak beats. Any exceptions to this (in my opinion) can be chalked up to Heath's unique ears and motor skills.

Trend 3: Motifs. The broken 3rds in Measure 3 are repeated, I'm counting 14 times! Repeating ideas is common practice for the masters... Chambers, Brown, Carter, etc.

By Tom Marcello Webster, New York, USA - Percy Heath - pizzicato crop, CC BY-SA 2.0,

#percyheath #basstranscription #walkingbassline #butnotforme

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