Take 5: A few words with Brad Davis & Dan Miller

Brad Davis (left) and Dan Miller (right)

Brad Davis (L) and Dan Miller (R) are great musicians that give back tenfold in sharing their knowledge through workshops and books.

Extraordinary musicians and teachers Dan Miller (Flatpicking Guitar magazine) and Brad Davis (plays with just about everyone from Marty Stuart to Billy Bob Thornton), are currently on the road with their great workshop “Improving Your Rhythm & Timing & Developing a Groove” which they brought to Mass St Music on Dec. 4. The next day they stopped back by the shop and hung out for a while with boss Jim B., and were kind enough to share some thoughts with us on teaching and what’s in store for the new year ahead. While Dan did most of the talking in the interview, Brad had some very kind words for Mass Street Music at the end. They also let us shoot a little video of them – check them out here playing then moving into a great rendition of  ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast’. Brad Davis also shows his stuff here on his new Daley guitar.

Anne: Besides playing and doing workshops together, you two have collaborated on two books, Flatpicking the Blues, and the Guitar Player’s Guide to Developing Speed, Tone and Accuracy – do you have any others collaborations in the works?

Dan Miller: Yes – we’ve been working on the Guitar Player’s Guide to Timing, Rhythm and Groove – it’ll be out as a DVD, book and CD in spring 2013.

Anne: Can anyone learn to play?

Dan: I think so – everyone learns a little differently. I taught martial arts for years and realized that some learn visually, some from listening and some kinetically – you have to move their hand into the right chord shape. With the right teacher, with the right amount of patience, and practice – you have to be willing to put the time into practicing – anyone can strum a tune, or accompany another musician. As long as you can get to a place where you’re having fun, it’s worth it. My goal is to teach them so they can get going on their own and keep learning. I like teaching fundamentals…finding melody by ear, creating your own solo – not copying others.

Anne: What keeps you teaching?

Dan: I’ve always loved it…passing on what we know to other people. It’s the most enjoyable thing I do and it’s great when you see the light bulb go on. I do about 70 workshops a year. Flatpicking Guitar magazine is on its 17th year – I’ve interviewed about 200 professional guitar players and asked all the questions about how others approach it. People seem to appreciate that I can speak from so many viewpoints because I’ve interviewed these folks.

Dan: (to Brad, still playing guitar) …You have anything to add?

Brad: No, you’re getting it man…I’ve been in a lot of music stores, here – the UK, and this is the coolest I’ve been to in a long, long time. You don’t want to leave, you want hang out for a while.

– It was great to see Dan and Brad. If you have the opportunity to take a workshop from them, or hear them play live, do yourself a good turn and go.


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