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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:

  • Playing Ahead or Behind the Beat

    Playing Ahead or Behind the Beat

    Q: I hear people talk about playing “behind the beat” of “ahead of the beat”. How can I work on that? A: I call this micro-timing. I think that phrase helps because many students I have tend to overdo it when they play intentionally behind or ahead of the beat. It is a very subtle... »

  • Breaking Right Hand Habits

    Breaking Right Hand Habits

    Q: I have a weird technique problem. I guess at some point (to feel the groove better? keep the time? mimic the metronome?) I started landing my fingers on strings to kind of mute them between the played notes and now it began bothering me – all the clicks sound even louder on steel strings... »

  • Sharing Your Music on Social Media

    Sharing Your Music on Social Media

    Q: I’m in a band and most of us are of the mind that we should have as much material out there on social media as possible. We’ve started posting snippets of rehearsals, live streaming gigs and encouraging people to post videos of our shows online, etc… One member of the band is very much... »

  • Memorizing the Fretboard: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Memorizing the Fretboard: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Q: I’m just starting out and was wondering if you had any tips for memorizing the fingerboard? A: This is one of those columns where I need to preface my answer by saying “your mileage may vary.” Personally, I was lucky. I started working on reading notation from day one. I still think that reading... »

  • Preparing for a College Bass Audition

    Preparing for a College Bass Audition

    Q: I am thinking about entering a music program when I get to college. How should I prepare for playing bass in a college program? What will I need to know? How good do I need to be? A: Whenever I speak with younger players getting ready to enter a collegiate music program, my first... »

  • What Makes a Good Bassist?

    What Makes a Good Bassist?

    Q: I was wondering what – in your opinion – makes a good bassist? A: This will be the most subjective article I’ve ever written, most likely, and I imagine that many of you will have a different view by one degree or another. There are many valid view points to be shared. I think... »

  • Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Thinking Fast When Improvising

    Q: I have been practicing with some jazz musicians who are more experienced than I am. For the most part, everything is fine, but I’m having trouble keeping up with the more up tempo numbers – walking and especially soloing. I just feel like my brain and fingers can’t keep up with the music. How... »

  • Defining “Practice”: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Defining “Practice”: A Discussion for Bass Players

    Q: How do you define “practice”? I’m curious because a friend asked me how I practice, and I said that I just play a lot and wasn’t sure how to answer the question. He said that “there’s a difference between playing and practicing”. Do you agree with that? A: My quick answer is yes, I... »

  • Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Learning Lots of Songs Quickly

    Q: I have a dep gig in 5 days and need to learn 23 songs. Any tips? I’m quite a good reader and have all the songs transcribed so I can probably read the music as I play but it’s for a rock gig and wouldn’t look particularly cool. A: For those who don’t know... »

  • Getting the Most Out of Your Bass

    Getting the Most Out of Your Bass

    Q: I use a Fender American Standard Jazz bass and have Labella Flats on it. It’s a great bass, but not suitable for the type of genres that I play. I am seeking for a fatter and tighter sound, as deep as possible but with a lot of clarity. I have been looking into different... »