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Damian Erskine

Damian ErskineDamian is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation, his 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 (featuring Richard Bona, Peter Erskine & Damian Erskine), Teri-Lynn Carrington, Gino Vannelli, John Ellis, Shawn Pelton, Sveti w/ Marko Djordjevic, Luis Conte, Brandon Ross, Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Vardan Ovsepian, Charmaine Neville, Jessy J, Tony Furtado and many others as well as being featured on the GospelChops.com "Shed Sessionz Vol. 1" DVD. Whether playing as a sideman or with his own group, he is known for his rock solid bass work, virtuosic solos and thoughtful chordal abilities.

Damian is an adjunct professor at both Portland State University and Marylhurst 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.

Articles by Damian Erskine:

  • Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Fingernail Care: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: As I’m getting pretty deeply into a right hand technique using a ramp, light touch, etc… I’d like to hear your thoughts on fingernail care, particularly for your plucking hand. I keep mine pretty short (it’s hard to open canned drinks), and I’m guessing yours might be similar. Also wondering if you so anything... »

  • Exploring the Value of Slap Bass

    Exploring the Value of Slap Bass

    Q: I get so excited with seeing and hearing amazing slap bass playing. However, I’m wondering how many eggs to put the “slap basket.” I have tried a couple of different books and videos and have finally settled on Louis Johnson’s DVD from 1984. I am still working on the first lick and able to... »

  • From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

    From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

    Q: I’m having a difficult applying what I’ve learned into playing. When I play, my fingers can’t seem to do what they did when I practiced. Is there any suggestion to making things stick? A: The first word that pops into my head is repetition. Lines, licks and harmonic devices – such as arpeggios, scales... »

  • Cover Bands: Configuring a Band to Balance Size, Cost… and the Right Sound

    Cover Bands: Configuring a Band to Balance Size, Cost… and the Right Sound

    Q: My cover band is about to start learning new material of tunes released over the last couple of years. We’re a 5-piece (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys) and a lot of the songs have synth parts – more than one keyboard player can play – and brass parts that I feel are important to... »

  • Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

    Q: A couple of months ago, I quit my band and because of the state of the guitarists in my area, I decided to start go small, with bass, drums and vocals. Now that some time has passed, I feel that everything is falling apart, which is depressing. Do you think it is a good... »

  • Thoughts On Multi-Instrumentalism

    Thoughts On Multi-Instrumentalism

    Q: What is your opinion on playing multiple instruments (for example double bass or piano) versus focusing on one instrument? I noticed a double bass in the background of one of your recent videos and wondered what your thought process had been when deciding to take up a new instrument. A: I was primarily a... »

  • Deciding if the Gig is Worth It

    Deciding if the Gig is Worth It

    Q: I auditioned last night for a seventeen year old up-and-coming female country star. She has recorded an album with well known Nashville producer and has hits with a few her songs. I feel it is just a matter of time before she is signed to a major deal. She has everything the new Nashville... »

  • Musical Diplomacy: Bassists, Drummers and Locking In

    Musical Diplomacy: Bassists, Drummers and Locking In

    Q: I’m having trouble grooving with the drummer in my band. My bread and butter is hip-hop and R&B, and he is coming from the world of straight-ahead jazz. We play in a very backbeat-oriented group, and the only time there is ever a pocket is if I put him in mine and carry him... »

  • Articulations and Expression: A Bass Video Lesson

    Articulations and Expression: A Bass Video Lesson

    Q: I’m at a point where I’m trying to finally get into soloing, and playing bass as a vocal, expressive instrument. But I’m running into a wall. Any chance you’d be down to do a quick video on articulations? As in, the slick slides you use, the fantastic trills, expressions and so on. And blue... »

  • Saving Your Ears: A Discussion for Gigging Bass Players

    Saving Your Ears: A Discussion for Gigging Bass Players

    Q: I regularly gig in a blues-rock power trio, and I have to solo over one or two tunes. Every time, the lead guitarist asks me to crank up the volume because he plays at a really high volume… too loud in my humble opinion. I don’t want to crank up the volume because I... »