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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:

  • Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Q: I have a question and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. Lately I’ve been thinking about a career change. Quick background: I graduated from Missouri State University two and a half years ago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. I’m not happy at my current job, and a part... »

  • String Gauge vs. Speed

    String Gauge vs. Speed

    Q: I had a major breakthrough in part inspired by our visit. For the first time in years I’m playing normal, not light strings. I guess I thought all the pro virtuosos used G=40 strings. Victor does I think. Anyway when I stopped feeling like that was my path I tried the stiffer strings and... »

  • Reading Complex Rhythms

    Reading Complex Rhythms

    Q: I’ve only been playing bass about 1.5 years – still a newbie trying to learn the tricks of the trade. I mostly learn a song and play basic, but as of late, I’ve been learning to read. I’m not fluent in reading, but that’s not my problem. My problem is trying to play the... »

  • Jam Session Etiquette

    Jam Session Etiquette

    Q: I have never been to a random, strangers-in-the-night jazz jam as a bass player and a lot of jams tend to have their set bass player (ahem – often the organizer of said jam – ahem). What’s the etiquette if you just want to walk a few tunes with everybody? A: First of all,... »

  • How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    Q: Do you have any tips for how to come up with new groove ideas? A: I spent quite a few years doing what I call “fishing”. What I mean by that is, aimlessly using different notes and rhythms hoping to stumble upon something interesting (This is especially true with my soloing back in the... »

  • Making Practice Meaningful

    Making Practice Meaningful

    Q: I have a shelf full of instructional books, methods, transcriptions, etc., but I feel like they don’t actually help at all. I just play through things and while I feel like I practiced, I don’t really see how any of that stuff is helping. Any thoughts? A: I know exactly how you feel. It... »

  • How to Reharmonize a Song

    How to Reharmonize a Song

    Q: I’ve heard jazz musicians talk about “reharms”, which are just reharmonization of a song (or so I’m told). Can you explain how to “reharmonize” a song? A: There was a time where I was also mystified by whatever the process of reharmonizing a tune might be. I figured that it must require some deep,... »

  • How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio

    How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio

    Q: I was recently listening to your newer album and was really loving the tone you get. Can you talk a little about how make sure to get “your sound” in the studio? Also, any general tips for recording in the studio would be helpful, too. I’m about to record our band’s first album and... »

  • Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music

    Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music

    Q: What advice do you have for someone who has problems with playing 16th notes and has learning disability in math? I have goals to play music in my own gigs and play at a couple venues, but I’m doubting whether it’s even possible to play on one’s own. A: I don’t think that a... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Mailbag

    Ask Damian Erskine: Mailbag

    As readers send in questions, one of three things happens: a) I turn it into an “Ask Damian” column, or b) I respond directly, because the question doesn’t quite warrant an entire column (I do try to respond to everybody) or c) it gets put into the folder of questions that I’d like to answer... »