Interview: Andy Aledort

Joe Matera: Tell us about your background, what made you pick up the guitar, your influences, education, bands, etc?

Andy Aledort: I was initially inspired to pick up the guitar bcause of the Beatles. I saw them play on the Ed Sullivan show in 1963 when I was 7. But I was interested in the guitar before that, and tried to play it on my own. There was a guitar lesson correspondance course that was taught over television--Laura Weber--and those were the first real lessons I received, which covered folk songs. Then I began private lessons at 12 with a renowned local jazz guitarist named Joe Monk. I studied with him on and off, and began to play in bands at 15. By 1973 I had my own band that played about thirty Hendrix songs, plus Beck, Johnny Winter, Zappa, Trower, Mountain--anything with heavy guitar on it. It was a power trio and we learned all of the songs on our own. We very obviously very into Hendrix.

Joe Matera: What are some albums that your playing is heard on?

Andy Aledort: I play on a record with David Clayton Thomas, the singer from Blood, Sweat and Tears. It's an all-blues record called "Blue Plate Special." I also play on a record by a group called Allstar.

Joe Matera: You have been a transcriber for many years with various magazines like GFTPM, Guitar and now Guitar World, and have many guitar transcription books under your belt. What does this work entail?

Andy Aledort: Transcribing is difficult work that takes a lot of concentration--I usually use headphones and I use a switching box which allows me to hear the right or left channel only through both sides of the headphones. This helps when trying to zero in on a particular guitar part. A thorough knowledge of music notation is mandatory also--I've used different books to help me--the best is "Music Notation" by Gardner Read.

Joe Matera: Could you give a run down of a day at the Guitar World office?

Andy Aledort: I work at home, so I'm not at the office all that much. When I'm there, we talk about the issue at hand, and ideas for future issues, and what music is interesting to each of us at the moment.

Joe Matera: What is your gear set-up both live and in the studio?

Andy Aledort: My normal set-up is a 1967 Fender Super Reverb, a 1961 Strat w/rosewood board, a 1966 Vox wah, a TS-9 Tube Screamer, a Boss Super Overdrive and a Hughes and Kettner Tube Rotosphere. I also use a 1964 Firebird V and a 1970 Telecaster. I string my guitars with D'Addario XL 125s (.009, .011, .016, .026, .036, .046) and use Fender heavy picks.

Joe Matera: You have a new album out?

Andy Aledort: Not yet--just "Put A Sock In It". I hope to put a new album out within the year.

Joe Matera: What was the writing process like for the album?

Andy Aledort: Some songs go back quite a long way--the main lick from "I've Got A Thing About You" was written in 1974. Other songs were written during the making of the album. Each song is a little different. "Buried Summerville" is a song that I dreamt.

Joe Matera: Any touring ahead?

Andy Aledort: No--I don't have a booking agent. But I'd like to.

Joe Matera: What do you think of the Internet and how it's opened a whole new world for guitarists, where anybody can get their work heard?

Andy Aledort: It's great but it's still hard to reap any real benefits. But it's nice that someone in Australia or China can hear my record and buy it instantly if they'd like.

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Joe Matera: What has been the highlight of your career?

Andy Aledort: There have been many great moments for which I am grateful--playing with Albert Collins, SRV,Johnny Winter, Double Trouble, and B.B. King are right up there.

Joe Matera: What advice would you like to give to guitarists?

Andy Aledort: Always work hard at playing, and pour your heart and soul into it. It will mean more to you,and it will also mean more to those listening. Never give up trying to become a better musician and a better player. With hard work, you will reap the benefits.

Joe Matera: Where do you think you will be in 10 years time?

Andy Aledort: I don't know, but I can say where I'd like to be: with my two wonderful kids and wonderful wife, still playing and enjoying it.

Joe Matera: Thank you for your time, John.

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Any guitarist who reads Guitar World magazine would know Andy Aledort, from his many accurate transcriptions for the magazine and feature articles. He has also authored many guitar transcription books on such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Metallica, Joe Satriani , Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Zappa. He is also one fantastic blues/rock guitarist who has also played with Albert Collins and the late great SRV.

Andy recently got together with guitarist and writer Joe Matera to talk about his transcribing work and guitar playing.