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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:

  • Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Getting Through A Bad Gig

    Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the... »

  • Getting More Bass Students

    Getting More Bass Students

    Q: Damian, here’s a question that might not apply to all, but it would definitely apply to many who are trying to make a little side money by teaching. I live in a rather small rural community surrounded by a number of moderate-sized towns. What, if any, suggestions would you have to make the prospect... »

  • Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

    Q: I wanted to ask about running a compressor, as everyone seems to suggest how beneficial it is for the instrument. I like how it tightens up the low end and brings up latent harmonic content in my otherwise quite dull sounding bass. However, I mainly play jazz and I realize that I might be... »

  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

    Q: I’ve started learning jazz bass about 7 years ago, coming from over 20 years of violin (classical) training. The first thing I did to move from classical music to jazz was to get all Aebersold play-a-longs, and every transcription I could get on Earth, and dig them. I now feel that this is holding... »

  • Finding A Quality Luthier

    Finding A Quality Luthier

    Q: How does one go about finding a quality luthier for the bass? We all have heard, “I know this guy…” Yet, how do you know if they are “your guy” too? I can do complete basic set-ups on my own instruments: truss adjustments, bridge/saddle adjustments, intonation, and other general maintenance, etc. Yet when I... »

  • Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Fighting The Urge To Improvise

    Q: I’ve been a bassist for 14 years now, when I started out (much like everyone, I assume) I played what we know as “bass lines”, the notes that the bassist played on the recording to the song. As I developed and learned more about chord construction and harmony I started to understand how these... »

  • Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype),... »

  • Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Playing Etiquette While Subbing

    Q: While I am stoked that I have been asked, I am a wee bit apprehensive. I have been asked to be a substitute bassist for a classic rock cover and original band by the band leader. My current gig is as a bassist in a trio which plays punk and alternative originals. The slight... »

  • Incorporating What We Practice

    Incorporating What We Practice

    Q: In your opinion, how does what we work on when practicing make it’s way into our playing? I’ve been thinking about the best ways to incorporate what I shed into my “vocabulary.” A: There are as many ways to incorporate what we practice into our actual musical vocabulary as there are ways to absorb... »