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Damian Erskine

Damian ErskineDamian Erskine is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation, extraordinary reading and improvising skills as well as being an educator and columnist. He has played in the studio or on the stage with the likes of Peter Erskine, The Jaco Pastorius Big Band, Les McCann & Javon Jackson, Gino Vannelli, Jeff Lorber, George Colligan, Sveti w/ Marko Djordjevic, Vardan Ovsepian, Charmaine Neville, Tony Furtado and many others as well as being featured on the GospelChops.com Shed Sessionz Vol. 1 DVD.

Damian is an adjunct professor at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon and has also appeared as an instructor at Gerald Veasley's Bass Bootcamp, the National Guitar Workshop as well as the Berklee College of Music's Guitar Week.

In addition to his weekly Q&A column on No Treble, Damian has written for Bass Player Magazine, Bass Musician Magazine as well as authoring his own books, Right Hand Drive and The Improvisor’s Path.

Articles by Damian Erskine:

  • Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Getting Away from Playing the Root on Beat One

    Q: I play mostly jazz and am a pretty facile walker, but I’ve gotten into the habit of playing lines that almost invariably lead to the root being on the 1 (or the 3 if it’s a 2-chord measure in 4/4, etc.). While I am guessing that some of the folks I play with don’t... »

  • Drinking on the Gig?

    Drinking on the Gig?

    Q: I know that my question is very sensitive because this affects us in different ways and it might raise ideas to others I would like to ask: How does alcohol affect your playing? I do not want to hear that it is not suitable at all to play and drink (or drive) but rather... »

  • How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    How Do I Stop Playing Ahead of the Beat?

    Q: I’m finding it really hard not to play ahead of the beat. I can play on the click with a metronome or other rhythm exercises, but when I put a playback, I’m starting the beat most of the time! It is something to do with too much thinking about the notes I’m playing. Also... »

  • Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Re-evaluating Your Technique

    Q: Do you ever re-evaluate your technique (posture, strap height, string height) or do you feel it’s just set? A: At this point, I feel like I am pretty well set-up and understand my physical relationship with my instrument. This, however, is because I spent much of my life experimenting and studying what others had... »

  • Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Q: I am finding it difficult to combine not practicing what I know and practicing for perfection. I practice fretless almost exclusively, and good intonation is a constant pursuit, including with something as conceptually simple as a major triad arpeggio. Add speed and the desire to play smoothly with controlled dynamics, and one can spend... »

  • Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Applying Licks from Transcriptions

    Q: I consider myself as a good reader. I can sight read music both in bass and treble clef, and I like to challenge myself with complex etude like those on the Patitucci book or classical pieces. But every time I come across jazz studies, (bebop in particular), I struggle to understand what’s in the... »

  • Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Should I Cancel A Gig for a Better Opportunity?

    Q: Have you ever been put into a situation where you have booked yourself for a gig in one place (even months in advance) but had a even greater opportunity come calling after? How have you handled bowing out of the prior engagement for a greater one? A: This is a tough but all-too-common quandary... »

  • Who is the Best Bassist?

    Who is the Best Bassist?

    So it happened. A reader sent Damian this question: “In your opinion, who is the best bassist?” Damian decided to answer, without it becoming another one of those “Best Bassist”-type columns that cause an uproar. Check out what he has to say on the subject... »

  • Remembering Written Bass Lines

    Remembering Written Bass Lines

    Q: When I learn a song by ear, I can generally memorize it really well, probably because of all the work that’s gone into learning it. My ear is not great and concentrating on actually listening is harder to do than it sounds! I sometimes miss little bits here and there. However, when I read... »

  • Making the Time for Practice

    Making the Time for Practice

    Q: It seems like you are a pretty busy guy and travel a lot (I follow your social media feeds). I feel like I’m not half as busy but somehow still can’t seem to find the time to work on stuff like I should. Any tips? A: I got asked a similar question at a... »