Skip to main content

Articles by Damian Erskine - Page 55


Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

Ask Damian Erskine: Learning and transcribing

Q: I was listening to one of your YouTube videos and thought I heard similar lines that I’ve heard Jaco play (like a run in “Havona”). Regardless, I would like to tackle some of these parts. Do you just have a great ear or did you start out with charts to learn such fast lines? A: Thanks man! It’s interesting...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

Ask Damian Erskine: Shortcuts

Q: Are there any real shortcuts to learning how to play? A: NO!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, I’ll go on… I have been frustrated by many a student who is disappointed when, at the end of a lesson, their not magically better but, rather, have a years worth of studying and homework to tackle. Not just kids, but adults, too. People seem to...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

Ask Damian Erskine: Odd Time Signatures

Q: How can I work on getting more comfortable playing in odd time signatures? A: Great question! The first thing I’d say is, there really are NO odd time signatures. Who made 4/4 the king of all time signatures? A time signature is only “odd” because you aren’t used to hearing it. More accurately, you aren’t used to FEELING it....

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 regard to trying to be...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 in between. Playing behind the...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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. Maybe not for a lifetime,...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 embarrass myself! I also realized...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 like I’m floundering a little...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 hand? And with the left...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

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 starts playing, joins a band...