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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:

  • Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Finding the Groove Vs. Letting the Groove Find You

    Q: When making music, i.e. improvising, making a song, creating a groove, etc., I find myself sometimes approaching it from what I hear while fiddling around, and at other times approaching it more cerebral, as in “let’s create a groove that has a flat nine in it.” I like to call these the bottom up... »

  • Dealing with Focal Dystonia: Resources for Bass Players

    Dealing with Focal Dystonia: Resources for Bass Players

    Q: In the last year or so, I’ve started having issues in my right hand. It seems somewhat random but I’ve had a few gigs we’re my ring and middle finger have completely curled into my hand, and it’s pretty scary. I think it may be Focal Dystonia. I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard about... »

  • Focusing on Musical Growth

    Focusing on Musical Growth

    Q: I know you’ve written a lot about ways to invent new exercises and different ways to find new challenges for yourself, but sometimes I’m not sure what I’m working towards exactly other than just trying to get better. I suppose that’s enough but… any thoughts? A: Actually, yes. The big turning point in my... »

  • Tips for Being a Professional Bassist

    Tips for Being a Professional Bassist

    Q: I often wonder what kinds of little nuggets of wisdom some of my heroes have that would help us mortal bassists in the trenches. Things we don’t even know that we should know, or wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn. It might be a weird thing to ask (me not having an actual... »

  • Is Rhythmic Tapping Okay in a Band Setting?

    Is Rhythmic Tapping Okay in a Band Setting?

    Q: When I play the bass (let’s say on a 4/4 beat), I often tap the strings on the exact beat that the snare drum makes (on the 2 and 4), and I can’t seem to stop doing that. I was wondering: Let’s say I’m playing in a band, having fun, and I start tapping…... »

  • Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Is Bass Face Okay on the Gig? A Discussion on Stage Presence

    Q: Is “bass face” acceptable or not on a gig? I know a band where the leader was telling the bassist not to have their (un)usual bass face on; they should smile or relax their face. I just performed at a gig where my head is in the jazz charts in front of me (I... »

  • Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

    Q: I read your column on active vs. passive basses. I have been playing for a lot of years and am having issues with any Bartolini preamp/pickup combination that I use. I think one thing missed in the article was active vs passive pickups (or maybe I overlooked that). Anyway, I’m hearing a clicking sound.... »

  • Bass Effects Overview

    Bass Effects Overview

    I recently met a player in Portland who completely blew me away. (We soon realized, we only live two blocks away from each other!) He’s new to town and hasn’t been gigging here yet. His girlfriend plays in the symphony and he’s been getting his bearings in the new city. Long story short, we got... »

  • What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    What to Do When They Don’t Give You the Gig Details

    Q: I recently had a strange experience when I got asked to play a gig, but was given practically no information. When I asked for more details (when, where, how long, how much, etc.), I got vibed hard by the guy, as if I was only in it for the money and why couldn’t I... »

  • Dyslexia and Music

    Dyslexia and Music

    Q: I’m 28 and I have played bass since I was 18. I’ve always been a hard-working student but always had trouble in reading music, no matter how I hard I tried. Now I’m a bass student at the Palermo Conservatory in Sicily, and despite my very good grades in all other subjects, I keep... »