Michael O'Dorn


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Author, Musician, Songwriter

Michael O’Dorn still remembers the moment he met one of his musical heroes, Merle Travis. Mr. Travis flicked a thumb pick to young Michael, who soon developed an even greater appreciation for the man and his music. The two became friends and Michael worked long and hard to understand and later teach the many guitar techniques that made Mr. Travis so unique. In 1993, Michael began working with the D’Aquisto String Company, which led him to his first NAMM Show. Five years later he was approached by William Bay of the Mel Bay Publishing Company to write a method book dedicated to Merle Travis’ style. That book is still in print, as well as other publications Michael wrote for the company. Beginning in the mid 1990s, Michael became the official resident Merle Travis Guitar Instructor at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society's annual meeting in Nashville, a role he is proud of and one he has continued ever since. Michael's passion for the guitar and encouragement of others to become music makers is as strong today as the moment that thumb pick was tossed in his direction.