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Andy Wood

Issue #27

His first break in the industry was picking up numerous sessions around the age of 19 as an acoustic and mandolin player, but this soon progressed to work as an electric player as his chops developed significantly.
Levi Clay

Andy Wood

Redneck shred? Levi Clay has either invented a new genre or he's been listening to Andy Wood..... We caught up with him as  he tours the world with Creed's Scott Stapp.

It's a beautiful sunny day in London (a rather rare thing) and we're sat in Universal Records' offices in Kensington waiting to interview one of the masters of redneck shred. Then, like real rockstars (complete with entourage) in walks Scott Stapp. It's amazing to be stood chatting with a man who has sold over 30 million albums, especially when he's so down you earth. And there too, with guitar in hand, is his guitar slinger, who comes over, gives you a hug and says “it's good to see you again man!”, it's fair to say that these are decent people... but just who is that guitar slinger, Andy Wood?

Born in Marion, North Carolina, Andy spent his formative years engrossed in Bluegrass music, actually playing mandolin for many years before really playing guitar. To this day he considers mandolin his first instrument, and it's one he plays with phenomenal precision and passion.

While he had owned a Telecaster (the only instrument for a country boy!) since the age of 13, it wasn't until around the age of 17 or 18 when Andy really got serious about playing electric instruments after hearing Brent Mason's solo on Pick it Apart, taken from Mark O' Connor's 1991 album, “The New Nashville Cats”. From here he went down the traditional Rock route, paying close attention to the works of icons like Eddie Van Halen and Steve Morse, and while this is a sound he has an effortless mastery of now, he still (rather modestly) considers himself a fake in the genre, instead having a strong passion for anything from Chris Thile to Merle Haggard.

His first break in the industry was picking up numerous sessions around the age of 19 as an acoustic and mandolin player, but this soon progressed to work as an electric player as his chops developed significantly.

Photos - Kyle Rhodes

Over the years he's developed close friendships with musicians from all over the world including our own Tom Quayle, Rick Graham, Andy Wood, Guthrie Govan and myself, not to mention gaining fans from all walks of life, including our cover star, John Petrucci who describes Andy as a “monster player”. It's easy to see why though, as his painfully accurate and insanely fast and dynamic alternate picking (definitely coming from the Bluegrass mandolin playing!), other worldly tapping chops, amazing stage presence and tone to die for, really set him apart in a sea of identikit shredders.

When it comes to gear, Andy really is a man of great loyalty, having played the highly sought after boutique Suhr guitars for many years (even having a signature model), while playing both Telecasters and various moderns for his Rock gigs. Currently he's mixing the both of best worlds with a custom Telecaster-style hybrid featuring dual humbuckers 24 frets and a trem. Ampwise he's had a long relationship with German company Diezel, along with a major love for Kyle Rhodes of Rhodes amplification who sat down with Andy and tweaked the voicing on his Colossus amp to suit his very specific tonal preferences. Aside from this he has relationships with D'Addario, Xotic Effects, TC Electronic and Fractal Audio - to name a few!

It’s Andy's relationships with these companies that have made him a mainstay of the NAMM show where you'll hear him melting faces on various booths, or hanging in any number of hotels trying out new amps, cementing his status as an underground legend of the scene. I remember hanging out until the early hours trying out the new Rhodes Gemini in a hotel with Andy and it seemed when word got out he was there, people came running. This reputation would lead to various gigs, including major events alongside names like Guthrie Govan, Scott Henderson, Pete Thorn, Doug Aldrich, Andy Timmons, Eric Gales and more, not to mention his own band at the time, Down From Up.

Opportunities have arisen in the past, most notably some high profile gigs with ex-Skid Row front man Sebastian Bach, but it was very recently that he was snapped up as the sideman for ex-Creed vocalist, Scott Stapp. While he didn't play on Scott's two critically acclaimed solo albums, he's become a pillar of the band on recent tours all over the world. Playing to sold out venues. It's become quite popular to hate on Creed/Scott, but we met up with him and saw his show and aside from being an incredible frontman, he also came across as a true artist. It's expected Andy will be a feature of an inevitable third album, and if the show we saw was anything to go by, this is one we absolutely can't wait for!

Issue 27 Cover

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