Beginning Scales on the Double Bass
with Neil Tarlton
Beginning Scales

"The foundation of secure and reliable technique is as essential on the bass as on any other instrument. We need, and are expected to have the same degree of accuracy as violins.
Having become a professional violinist before I took up the bass, I'd had the sort of education that thoroughly grounded me in all I needed to do, but especially in a repertoire that was built almost entirely on scales, I practised scales. And that seemed the swiftest way to get to grips with my new bigger fiddle.
The study of these progressive scales, and attention to the text will give you a left hand you can trust and a firm, open sound.

The most important things, perhaps?
Intonation, Intonation, and Intonation!"
Gerald Drucker
Principal Bass
BBC Symphony Orchestra
1935 -1964
Principal Bass,
Philharmonia Orchestra
1964 -1991

" 'Beginning Scales' covers with astounding clarity the very basics of the left-hand scale technique. The book is not too long, but shows concisely how a good left-hand shape and a good shift is the key to perfect intonation and a beautiful sound. This, coupled with Tarlton's view on how the bow can help the left hand, gives the book an almost Bible-like status for players of any bowed string instrument at any stage in their developement. One particularly useful tip - considering the thumb whilst shifting, and the distance it should travel (a tone/tone-and-a-half) - has helped many players I know with their shifting and improved their success rate. Tarlton encourages players to try many different permutations whilst practising scales. For example: changing the metre of the notes during a scale, but not the speed of the bow, over one octave, or starting the scale on the mediant to achieve an extended scale. There are many examples and this book really makes the reader think hard about the basics and how they help us to achieve a really clean sound in the lower registers, where most of us make a living. To quote Tarlton: 'If you love the sound of the bass, you'll love scales'. This book really helps novices become professional in their outlook, and helps professionals remember and appreciate why they love doing what they do." (from Double Bassist Magazine)
Corin Long, Double Bass, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Professor of Bass, Trinity College of Music


"A Godsend of a scale studies book for all double bass students and teachers! Neil Tarlton's refreshing approach to, what is frequently deemed a chore to practice covers all realistic technical aspects needed in everyday musical life, but without the grind!"
Chi-chi Nwanoku M.B.E.
Double Bass Soloist, Chamber & Orchestral Principal,
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment


" 'Beginning Scales' is the missing link in double bass teaching. All my students are responding positively, with new students actually beginning to enjoy scale practice and older students profiting from the book, even while saying "I wish I had had this book years ago". Congratulations, Neil, on a marvelously written and produced publication. "The Essentials of Sevcik" is the first truly successful adaption of these violin studies for double bass. Violinists have enjoyed the benefits of these studies for generations. Bassists, at last, will have the same opportunity to hone their bow technique. It really does work." Michael Morgan, Queensland Conservatorium; Professor of Double Bass, Head of Orchestral Studies, Head of Ensemble Studies.


" You have done a service to the double bass, which will have a lasting effect on future playing" Adrian Beers MBE