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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:

  • Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Q: I go to a few jam sessions in my city, which have given me great times and contacts. For the most part, I’ve been able to get over most of the pre-jam jitters and adopt more of a “whatever happens, happens” approach to sessions. But I have encountered one stumbling block related to bassist... »

  • How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    Q: I’ve been playing around with hemiola rhythms and, no matter how much I try to “feel” them. I can’t. Help? A: I assume that you’re talking about rhythmic figures that repeat in a cycle and cross the barline (no obvious downbeats until the cycle has repeated enough times to bring it back to starting... »

  • Writing Songs with The Bass

    Writing Songs with The Bass

    Q: I have a battle going on in my writing and wondered if you had words of wisdom for any that share this with me. I find that I can almost always be a “groove generator” and respond quickly to a drummer’s groove or drum loop – within a style, I am comfortable – with... »

  • Concentrating on the Gig

    Concentrating on the Gig

    Q: I have a question about… mindset, I guess. I feel like I make a lot of unnecessary mistakes during gigs. I mean that it’s not a technical deficiency, and it’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen but I just seem to goof it up. Kind of a lot. Any advice? A:... »

  • Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the... »

  • Getting More Bass Students

    Getting More Bass Students

    Q: Damian, here’s a question that might not apply to all, but it would definitely apply to many who are trying to make a little side money by teaching. I live in a rather small rural community surrounded by a number of moderate-sized towns. What, if any, suggestions would you have to make the prospect... »

  • Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Q: I wanted to ask about running a compressor, as everyone seems to suggest how beneficial it is for the instrument. I like how it tightens up the low end and brings up latent harmonic content in my otherwise quite dull sounding bass. However, I mainly play jazz and I realize that I might be... »

  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Q: I’ve started learning jazz bass about 7 years ago, coming from over 20 years of violin (classical) training. The first thing I did to move from classical music to jazz was to get all Aebersold play-a-longs, and every transcription I could get on Earth, and dig them. I now feel that this is holding... »

  • Finding A Quality Luthier

    Finding A Quality Luthier

    Q: How does one go about finding a quality luthier for the bass? We all have heard, “I know this guy…” Yet, how do you know if they are “your guy” too? I can do complete basic set-ups on my own instruments: truss adjustments, bridge/saddle adjustments, intonation, and other general maintenance, etc. Yet when I... »