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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:

  • Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Album Suggestions for Getting Into Jazz

    Q: Do you have any suggestions for what albums I might check out if I wanted to get into jazz? I’ve, of course, heard bits and pieces of things before flipping through radio stations, in restaurants, etc., but nothing ever really grabbed me. What should I check out that might ignite the interest? A: Alright,... »

  • When It’s “Go” Time, Make Sure to Hit the Gas!

    When It’s “Go” Time, Make Sure to Hit the Gas!

    As so often happens, I was recently having a conversation with a musician before a gig and we both commented on how that conversation would make a great No Treble column. First a little background: This guy is a great guitarist that I know and play with relatively often. He’s been actively trying to make... »

  • Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Q: I’ve read some interviews of yours, and you mentioned that when you started studying jazz, you weren’t actually all that into the music, but you came to appreciate it later through study, etc… I’ve been trying to work through standards, exercises through chord changes and bebop/chromatic-type stuff, but I don’t know what I’m trying... »

  • Getting Back to Basics in a Band

    Getting Back to Basics in a Band

    Q: I’d like some advice on a sensitive issue. I find myself working with a band whose musical ambitions seem quite often to outstrip their technical abilities. While it is always a good thing to stretch yourself, I can’t help but feel that a grasp of some the fundamentals might be something worth considering. How... »

  • 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... »