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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:

  • A Drummer’s Perspective on Bass Playing

    A Drummer’s Perspective on Bass Playing

    For this week’s column, I asked a good friend of mine – Seattle-based drummer Tarik Abouzied – to talk about what he looks for in a bassist, from a drummer’s perspective. I thought he may have some insights as he’s also a pretty phenomenal bassist, in addition to being a complete badass on the drums.... »

  • What Do I Need To Record Bass At Home?

    What Do I Need To Record Bass At Home?

    Q: What kind of gear might I need to start recording bass lines from home? I’m thinking of the ability to record for albums remotely but also to get better sound for social media videos and things along those lines. Preferably something that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars! I’m curious what you use, too. A:... »

  • Making Music Your Career

    Making Music Your Career

    Q: I have a job which a) takes up a lot of my time and b) doesn’t pay very well. I’ve been thinking about something you’ve mentioned before about when you quit your job and made your music career your job. Do you have any advice on how to manifest that? A: I will preface... »

  • Playing Outside the Harmony

    Playing Outside the Harmony

    I often get the question about how to play “outside” the changes. There’s no easy answer to this, but I do have several tips to keep in mind. This week I made a video to dig into how to create tension and release by playing outside of the harmony. »

  • How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    Q: I work a “real job” – as in four 10-hour days a week. I get up at 3:15 am Tuesday through Friday, commute to work, put in my 10 hour day, plus a half-hour for lunch, and by the time I get home from my afternoon commute, it can be as late as 6... »

  • Exploring Pedal Tone Rhythms

    Exploring Pedal Tone Rhythms

    Q: What kind of rhythms should I play during pedal tones? A: I get asked this more often than one might think. The quick answer is to use whatever rhythm you think compliments what’s happening around you. Of course, I’ll suggest a heavy dose of listening to hear how different players have approached pedal tones... »

  • Staying Creative While Practicing

    Staying Creative While Practicing

    Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much... »

  • Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Q: I struggled with asking if I HAVE to learn trad jazz or if I SHOULD learn it, so take this question as both. And just as a disclaimer, I’m using “trad jazz” to mean the standards and the jazz being played predominantly from the ’20s to the ’60s and the styles that encompassed. I’ve... »

  • How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    How High Should I Set My Bass Strings?

    Q: What’s your take on string height? For over a decade, I’ve subscribed to Anthony Jackson’s view that the neck must be as flat/straight as possible and the strings as low as possible. And while I’ve spent as much time refining a light touch, I sometimes wonder if I’m spending too much time worrying about... »

  • Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Should I Go Active? A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: I’m once again considering using active electronics on my bass, a pre-amp of some kind. It is still a bit of a debate I notice amongst bass players. Some say it’s “colder,” some say it’s difficult to work with, especially on stage. I even had stories from sound engineers who are not too keen... »