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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:

  • 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... »

  • On Harmony

    On Harmony

    I spend quite a bit of time traveling both within the U.S. and abroad. As of this moment, I have been on a month-long trip that has brought me through Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, and I’m currently in Lebanon. Before this trip, I was in Hong Kong. In a few months, I’ll be in... »

  • Promoting Yourself as a Bassist

    Promoting Yourself as a Bassist

    Q: I’m currently playing for a punk band that has pretty good local success in that genre, however, having done this for a while I know no band lasts forever and I would like to aim higher. I would also like to get my name out as a bassist available for side projects, lessons, etc.... »

  • Solving Finger Pain To Continue Practicing

    Solving Finger Pain To Continue Practicing

    Q: As a bass player, having practiced all day until one’s fingernails are aching, what is the solution for a quick pain relief so I can continue to practice the next day, without skipping a day? A: While I can’t imagine what kind of practice makes your fingernails hurt (double thumb workouts?), I do have... »

  • Soloing When The Band Drops Out

    Soloing When The Band Drops Out

    Q: I’ve been reading through your No Treble columns and had a question pop into my head. I’ve been asked to play more solos recently at a lot of different gigs from jazz to R&B. I find that half (or more) of the time, when it comes to the bass solo, everyone stops playing except... »

  • Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Could I Work as a Transcriptionist?

    Q: I have a question and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. Lately I’ve been thinking about a career change. Quick background: I graduated from Missouri State University two and a half years ago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. I’m not happy at my current job, and a part... »

  • String Gauge vs. Speed

    String Gauge vs. Speed

    Q: I had a major breakthrough in part inspired by our visit. For the first time in years I’m playing normal, not light strings. I guess I thought all the pro virtuosos used G=40 strings. Victor does I think. Anyway when I stopped feeling like that was my path I tried the stiffer strings and... »

  • Reading Complex Rhythms

    Reading Complex Rhythms

    Q: I’ve only been playing bass about 1.5 years – still a newbie trying to learn the tricks of the trade. I mostly learn a song and play basic, but as of late, I’ve been learning to read. I’m not fluent in reading, but that’s not my problem. My problem is trying to play the... »

  • Jam Session Etiquette

    Jam Session Etiquette

    Q: I have never been to a random, strangers-in-the-night jazz jam as a bass player and a lot of jams tend to have their set bass player (ahem – often the organizer of said jam – ahem). What’s the etiquette if you just want to walk a few tunes with everybody? A: First of all,... »

  • How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    How To Come Up With New Groove Ideas

    Q: Do you have any tips for how to come up with new groove ideas? A: I spent quite a few years doing what I call “fishing”. What I mean by that is, aimlessly using different notes and rhythms hoping to stumble upon something interesting (This is especially true with my soloing back in the... »