Michael Rays


Michael Rays grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from Northwestern University and served nine years in the Navy, flying the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter. Michael lives in Billings, Montana with his wife and daughter.

Smashwords Interview

What do you read for pleasure?
I like reading biographies of rock stars, mathematicians and historical figures. Some of my favorite authors are Truman Capote, Jane Austen, Patrick O'Brian and William Manchester.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Therefore, every sentence I write is imbued with the majesty of Pikes Peak.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Michael Rays online


"Highway Star" Guitar Solo
Michael Rays plays the solo that consumed his guitar life for two years and is the centerpiece of "Guitar Odyssey."

Talk Dirty To Me guitar solo
subject of "Guitar Odyssey 2: talkin' dirty"


Number One with an Axe! A Look at the Guitar’s Role in America’s #1 Hits, Volume 3, 1965-69
Pre-release—available June 15, 2017. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,580. Language: English. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » History & Criticism
What role has the guitar played in America’s #1 hit songs? Guitar gadfly/pop historian Michael Rays continues to explore and answer this question in the third volume of his ebook series, “Number One with an AXE!” This book covers all 103 #1 hits of the years 1965-1969. Beatles, Stones, Byrds, Doors: they're all here in this wildly fun slice of music history! A MUST for guitar lovers!
Number One with an Axe! A Look at the Guitar’s Role in America’s #1 Hits, Volume 2, 1960-64
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,110. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » History & Criticism
Guitar-wise, what happened between Buddy Holly and the Beatles? Michael Rays continues his look at the guitar's role in America's #1 hit songs, this time looking at all the top hits from January 1960 through December 1964. He ranks each #1 hit on four guitar-centric criteria: riffage, rhythm, fills and solos. Each song has a video link so you can watch, listen and enjoy.
Number One with an Axe! A Look at the Guitar’s Role in America’s #1 Hits
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 5,710. Language: English. Published: July 9, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » History & Criticism
Guitar gadfly Michael Rays takes you on a guitar-oriented tour through the history of Billboard's American number one hits, starting in 1955 with "Rock Around the Clock" and proceeding through Frankie Avalon's "Why"--the final #1 song of 1959. Rays rates each song on four guitar-centric criteria: Riffage, Rhythm Playing, Fills and Solos. He also writes brief commentaries on each song. Lots of fun!
Six-String Sleuth: A Guitar Player's Guide to Figuring Out Song Chords
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 10,480. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction and Study - Theory
"Six-String Sleuth" is for guitar players who want to figure out song chords by ear. This book is not tedious--it is FUN! The fictional instructor, Benjamin Nightly, teaches music theory concepts by treating songs as crimes committed by groups of chords. The appendix lists 40 well-known pop and rock songs that will test your musical detective abilities. Grab your guitar and get sleuthing!
Guitar Odyssey 2: Talkin' Dirty
Series: Guitar Odyssey. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,010. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Rock music, Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar
First Deep Purple, now Poison! Guitar Odyssey 2 is the continuing journal of amateur guitarist Michael Rays as he learns his favorite rock solos. In GO2, Michael tackles C.C. DeVille’s gem in Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me,” chronicling each practice session and taking frequent side trips into music theory, rock trivia and of course poetry. Inspiring and entertaining for guitar players of any caliber!
Headers: Scores & Headlines from Brazil 2014
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,410. Language: English. Published: July 13, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Football & rugby, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
"Fantas-Ticos!" "Spanish Are Nada!" "Bite Makes Might!" "Don't Cruyff for Me: Argentina!" "Götze and Glory!" Headers is a look back at the sixty-four matches of soccer's 2014 World Cup through kooky, hyper-sensationalized headlines. If you love the “beautiful game” and groan-worthy puns, you’ll find Headers pitch perfect!
Guitar Odyssey
Series: Guitar Odyssey, Book 1. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 26,860. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Rock music, Nonfiction » Music » Instrument - Guitar
Entertaining and inspiring, Guitar Odyssey is the day-to-day journal of amateur guitarist Michael Rays as he attempts to learn the guitar solo on Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” Michael dives right in, blissfully unaware the project will take him two years. It's a book for 1) guitarists of any caliber; 2) rock music lovers; and 3) fans of persistence and patience.

Michael Rays' tag cloud

Smashwords book reviews by Michael Rays

  • Picking Our Future : Essays on Food, Change, and Farming on Jan. 15, 2012

    You only THOUGHT you knew lemons and figs! 'Picking Our Future' is an easy-to-read and extremely informative look at the state of farming in present-day Ventura County, CA (though many issues discussed apply to farms everywhere). Farmer Chris Sayer takes you month-by-month through a calendar year, discussing the MANY factors, both natural and man-made, that today's farmer must consider to run a sustainable operation. Lots of light shed on terms such as 'organic' and 'sustainable.' A great read for anyone who wants to take their understanding of food and farming to the next level.
  • Stars: How to Get Book Reviews on Oct. 23, 2015

    Bravo Charles Moore! This ebook takes about 30 minutes to read and is full of no-nonsense advice about how to get reviews and why they are (or sometimes aren't) important. I cannot in good conscience read a book about getting reviews and then not write one, and so I say: very well done! I give this book FOUR stars, not five, as four stars will increase readability better! :)