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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 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 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... »

  • When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    When Personal Beliefs Conflict with The Gig

    Q: I spent this past Saturday marching the streets of Austin, TX with about 50,000 like-minded fellow Americans. Felt great… both humbling and inspiring! The next morning, I was playing my regular church gig – a place with a very different worldview and some decidedly harsh perspectives regarding my fellow marchers. I kept my mouth... »

  • Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

    Q: You know, jazz theory can be really, really confusing! I know that you can use a melodic minor a half step above a dominant chord as a substitution before resolving to the I-chord to emphasize tension notes (creating an out-sound). But, apparently, you can also use a whole-half diminished scale a half step up... »

  • How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    How Much Should I Get Paid for Gigs?

    Q: I gig about 10-16 times a month on double bass and electric and live in a rural part of the UK. Some gigs involve a drive of 50-100 miles for about £50-75. Do you have a minimum fee for local work, and a max distance you will drive for small bar type gigs? I... »

  • Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

    Q: What is the difference between “relative” and “parallel” when talking about jazz theory? I hear “relative minor” a lot, but I recently heard someone at school talk about “parallel minor.” A: Good question! First, I’ll take a look at this column I wrote in 2014 concerning modes (and the relative minor). The term “relative... »