O'Dette began playing the electric guitar in a rock band in Columbus, Ohio, where he grew up. Eventually this led him into playing guitar transcriptions of lute music, and not long after that he opted for the lute (as well as the related archlute, theorbo, and Baroque guitar) as his primary instruments, and now he specializes in the performance of Renaissance and Baroque music. He has made more than 120 recordings, earning five Grammy nominations and numerous other awards. In addition to his activities as a performer, Paul O'Dette is an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of seventeenth-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices and lute technique.
Apollo's Banquet: 17th Century Music from the Publications of John Playford (1998) (with David Douglass, and Andrew Lawrence-King) (reissued as English Country Dances: 17th Century Music from the Publications of John Playford)