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  • Ask Damian Erskine: Reading Scenarios

    Q: Quick followup question to a recent No Treble column… In your article you mention reading as being a big part of being a professional musician. What types of reading scenarios are put in-front of you as a bassist? A: It really depends on the styles of music you might try and play (especially with... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Playing with and around the beat

    Q: What is and how do you play behind or ahead of the beat? Is it just rushing or dragging? A: Good time is an obvious starting point. A great bass player is in control of their internal clock. You should be adept at playing dead ON the beat, pulling behind, pushing ahead and everywhere... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Getting Jazz

    Q: What is the best way to “get” jazz. in school, we had a ton of theory shoved at us but it really seemed disconnected. Solos still get me to this day because while theoretically sound, they sound manufactured. A: There are certain styles that one must “marry” in order to play with any authority.... »

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  • Ask Damian Erskine: Learning new styles

    Q: How did you go about learning the different styles that you get called to play? (salsa, etc.) This fits in to the whole notion of “diversification” you were discussing. A: The short answer is by accepting every gig I could, getting the book (charts) and/or CD and shedding like mad so as not to... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Target Notes

    Q: Can you suggest any exercises to help me to internalize the notion of targets when playing over chord changes and work them into my playing ? A: Definitely. Although I’ve never tried to develop an exercise to practice this concept, It’s something I’ve just always done when trying to solo… especially when I feel... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Light vs. a hard touch

    Q: I like your style because from my point of view it seems that you’re very comfortable playing the bass (seems light touch in both hands) but the sound you get is very punchy which I associate with playing hard. So here comes the question: Do you play mostly hard or light with your right... »

  • What Does it Take to Become a Professional Musician?

    Q: What is really required of one who wants to become a professional musician (IE: no day job!)? A: Wowee… This could easily be a book (actually, I think it probably is…). To start with, there are many kinds of professional musicians. Here are some basic sub-catagories off the top of my head: One who... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Melodic approach to soloing

    Q: How do you approach the line between creating an interesting melody while soloing as opposed to playing chord tones and notes that harmonize better. I suppose the two blur into one really but is there a point where you worry less about the changes and more about finding an interesting melody to fit over... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Theory and right hand technique

    Q: Just wanted to ask you how can I get used to using the harmonized major and minor scales when soloing or using them when I’m playing a fill. I use the relative major or minor of the key I’m playing in regularly but I cant seem to get the other scale degree’s to work.... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Practicing and repetition

    Q: How many hours a day do you practice? Do you have any practice tips? A: Admittedly, I don’t practice as much as I’d like these days. I’m married, with dogs that need walking and a mortgage and am very busy playing bass for many different people (which requires a lot of shedding of it’s... »