the online magazine for bass players

Search Menu

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:

  • 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... »

  • Arranging for a Band

    Arranging for a Band

    Q: Admittedly, this is not a bass specific question, but I am curious to know your thoughts on arranging standards and original tunes for a jazz quintet consisting of trombone, alto sax, drums, guitar, and upright/electric bass. I’ve written 15 or so tunes for the band, and we play some standards (“Satin Doll”, “Ornithology”, “A... »

  • How To Transition to Pro Level?

    How To Transition to Pro Level?

    Q: My question is this: how did you transition to a pro level and play concerts vs. playing bars and functions? I have been playing for quite a few years and have played with some very good musicians out of Berklee and local players, but I always dream of stepping up to the next level.... »

  • Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Making Walking Bass Lines Come Naturally

    Q: I would like to ask you about improvising bass lines. Could it be unconscious? I recognized that when I play walking bass, I’m always think about how to reach the next chord. I sometimes have great ideas that I hear in my mind’s ear, but most of the time it’s a really conscious procedure.... »

  • Making Arpeggios Musical

    Making Arpeggios Musical

    Q: I know how to outline chords but how do you play them so they don’t sound mechanical or like an exercise? Any particular patterns that you like when approaching a chord? Thanks bud for all of your hard work! A: I’ve written quite a bit about playing arpeggios and inversions through changes (using the... »