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Ask Damian Erskine

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...

Reviews

A Review of Contact: Five on One

Five on One, the new album by Contact, is the sound of five guys on one wavelength. There is some delightful music here rewarding an active listener with its subtle inventions and interactions. The atmosphere is mostly fairly restrained: no “passionate” show-boating, few extremes of mood, just inventive and beautiful music. You might not have heard of Contact but you...

Solo Bass and the Art of Metaphor
Columns

Solo Bass and the Art of Metaphor

METAPHOR: something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol. Music is art. It is a most powerful medium capable of describing in detail the world around us, emotions, abstract concepts and shades of meaning. Bass is beauty. It is deep and foundational and at the same time melodic and rich, capable of the deepest melancholy...

Speaker Impedance: How to Properly Match Your Amp Head with Cabinets
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Speaker Impedance: How to Properly Match Your Amp Head with Cabinets

Amplification can be confusing to a newbie coming from a combo amp. If you are new to amps and cabs, this article should be helpful in explaining what speaker impedance is, and how it works with your amp head. You may also want to read my previous article, “Decoding Graphic Equalizers: Get Past ‘Scooping’ Your Tone”, for some more helpful...

Ask Damian Erskine

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...

Reviews

A Review of John Goldsby’s “The Innkeeper’s Gun”

The Innkeeper’s Gun is a wonderful jazz trio record: both within the tradition and extending it at the same time. It features three musicians playing for the music, improvising freely on some excellent compositions. The trio have a wonderful sense of musical empathy and have previously released the hugely enjoyable Live at the Nachbar in 2008. It is music that...

The Lowdown with Dr. D

Practice Techniques: Utilizing Metronome to Improve Facility

Practicing very, very slowly One of the main advantages to playing a passage vastly under performance tempo is that you give yourself ample time to think. It is easier to plan, calculate and control your playing at slower tempi. Exactly how slowly you should practice depends on the difficulty of the passage. In general, the more difficult the passage, the...

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Ask Damian Erskine

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...

Reviews

A Review of Lenny White’s “Anomaly”

For his first solo album in 10 years, Lenny White stated his intention of putting the rock back into jazz-rock. “We need to restart a revolution to take back the music and stop the fluff”, he says. And Anomaly is some heavy stuff: powerhouse backbeats, grinding organ and shredding guitars. There is some excellent music on this record but some...

The Cross-Genre Bassist
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The Cross-Genre Bassist

How do your musical tastes influence your playing? Do you have a wide or narrow frame of reference when it comes to what you allow to impact and inspire you? I think having as diverse as possible a range of styles and influences at your disposal is of prime importance to your growth and sustainability as a bass player. Influential...