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Damian Erskine Archives - Page 5

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Ask Damian Erskine: Bass Tunings

Q: Is there any reason how and why the bass got tuned in fifths (B, E, A, D, G, C) as opposed to the guitar’s tuning (E, A, D, G, B, E)? A: Actually, those are fourths the bass is tuned in. If my memory serves, the bass tuning came first. Although, hundreds of years ago, it WAS tuned in...

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Ask Damian Erskine: Bass Woods and Tops

Q: With some of the more pricey models of basses out there, it’s understood that they’re made with some of the most exotic and interesting types of wood. Why do these sound different, and how do colors and densities play their roles in determining the bass’s sound? A: Primarily, the density of the wood is what impacts tone. The denser...

Passive vs. Active Circuitry?
Ask Damian Erskine

Passive vs. Active Circuitry?

Q: I’m just getting back into the bass and there’s something I’ve always been curious about: the differences (as well as the different kinds) of passive vs. active circuitry. What are the main differences between them, why are there only active and passive circuits, and what does it mean to have either in a bass? A: Although I am not...

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Ask Damian Erskine: Chord Voicings

Q: Can you help me get away from the standard root position chords that I already know? A: Hopefully, yes! The following will presume an intermediate level of understanding of chords and basic theory. But, if you’re working on this stuff, you’ve probably already got at least enough of a grip on it to follow along. Give this a shot!...

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Ask Damian Erskine: Saying Less With More

Q: I’ve recently found myself really inspired by guys who play a lot less notes and leave a lot more space in the music, in particular Charlie Haden. I was wondering how you would approach playing less/leaving more space yet still creating a bass line that is interesting, enjoyable and challenging to play? I was also wondering if you thought...

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Speaking in Longer Sentences

Q: How should I go about developing longer solo ideas? In my solos I’m having trouble playing fast lines for more than a couple bars or so. I feel like I can really let the conversation flow by using lots of long notes broken up by short (maybe 4-ish bars at most), quick “chopsy” phrases. When I try to keep...

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Ask Damian Erskine: More Melody for the Average Joe?

Q: Any tips on becoming a more melodic player? I think there are a bunch of guys like me: “Average Joe’s” playing in a cover band setting where the chord changes are basic and we hit a brick wall after our triad or major scale/pentonic patterns run out. A: If your playing opportunities don’t allow for much exploration of your...

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Ask Damian Erskine: Your Own Voice

Q: I’m trying to grow, but its like I’ve hit the wall. I’m trying to play like a bass player is slipping away from me. I try to play for everyone, but it’s hard to find my own “voice” in the song. I find myself trying to play stuff where it doesn’t fit. How do i dig deeper than I...

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Ask Damian Erskine: Following Up On Patterns

Q: I’ve almost gotten through all three videos, really good stuff in them. I really like the concept of knowing patterns/visualizations to have handy when your soloing, like your ascending 4ths, alternating major/minor, and alternating 6th/7th fingerings. I think I got away from having a set of licks/patterns when improvising, which I can see now is a big mistake! Seems...

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Scales vs. Chords

Q: What scales are best to know for improvising and how can I go about trying to memorize them? A: Although it is important to learn your major and minor scales as well as all of the others (melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues scale, etc.), I’ve found that scales don’t really help me at all. I also find that guys...