A Talk With John Stowell on Approaches to Chord Melody Playing

John and I have been acquainted for a number of years, as I first saw him in Portland around 1999. I later attended one of his workshops in Denver, while I was living in the area. I think that was around 2010. Since coming back to the Portland, OR area in 2013, we’ve kept in touch from time to time. In this case, John invited me to record a discussion of us trading ideas about solo guitar, specifically mixing chords and melody to make things interesting. The full video is available on Mike’s Master Classes. This is the teaser on youtube.


I was inspired to arrange this instrumental version of Paul McCartney’s wonderful tune, Blackbird. The intro was inspired by something I saw Martin Taylor play. I asked him about the intro, and chuckling, asked him if I could steal it for my own use. He said, “Sure, I stole it from Johnny Smith”. Martin and I shared a number of such stories in that time period around 2011.