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  • A look back at Ellen Johnson’s “These Days”

    These Days has been on the shelves for a bit, but it should be in every bassist’s collection. Ellen Johnson performs with bassist Darek Oles to create beautiful mixtures of voice and bass. It is not an exclusively duet album, other featured artists include Shelia Jordan, Roy McCurdy, Larry Koonse and Ana Gazzola. The album... »

  • 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... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Facility, muscle memory & musicality

    Q: Can you make a recommendation in regards to how to develop speed and facility? A: I can!! In my opinion, the most common mistake people make when trying to develop speed and facility has everything to do with a lack of patience! Most people start trying to play things at speeds they can’t yet... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Traveling with your bass

    Q: I have a gig coming up that requires me to fly with my bass. I’ve never done it and don’t know if I should check it underneath or try and bring it on board! Any help? A: I’ve done it every way you can think of and each has it’s upside and downside. Here’s... »

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  • Review: Iris Ornig’s New Ground

    At the end of June we posted a player-watch notice for Iris Ornig and her CD New Ground. Now we want to give you an in-depth review of why we originally recommended her. Ornig is “a gifted instrumentalist, a talented composer, and a charismatic performer.” New Ground was released March 3rd, 2009 and features original... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Bass Line Stylings

    How can I make my bass lines more interesting without feeling like I’m playing too much? I feel like when I try and do a little something to add flavor, I’m just forcing licks into the music and over-playing. A: Yeah man, there’s definitely a fine line to be drawn. There are a million ways... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Harmony and Composing

    Q: How do you approach writing a harmony once a melody has been composed? And how do you make sure the harmonic progression works in the way you like it? I assume it’s not just trial and error! A: Admittedly, I’m a newbie when it comes to real composition and yes, it had largely been... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Finger Plucking Techniques

    Q: how do you decide when to use your three-finger plucking technique or only play with two fingers (old school style. huh?). I mean, do you usually use three finger’s style for basic riffs and play solos with two (addin’ thumb only for triplets, for example)? I’m trying to learn that your technique now, so... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Auditioning

    Ask Damian Erskine: Auditioning

    Q: I have an audition coming up and I really want to make an impression! Any advice? A: Definitely! Here are a few things to keep in mind. You will be taking time out of your day to prepare and audition, these guys are taking time out of their days to listen and play with... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Gear (loopers and straps)

    Q: Do you have any tools that you use specifically for practicing? A: The most useful tool I have at my home studio (for practicing and writing) is my Looper! I use the Boss RC-20 Loopstation (but may have to upgrade this year… it’s seen some abuse and is starting to die.. which has made... »