1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Mark Allred and I am a local musician and luthier (a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars). In my case guitars or any fretted instrument. I am also the slide guitar player in The Haymarket Squares, and I play guitar in the band decker. I operate a guitar repair and custom guitar building shop on Grand Avenue called Allred Guitars & Guitar Repair.
2. How did you get your start?
I started playing guitar in 1987 and played on and off until about 2009. Mostly off not on. But in ‘09 I started playing with friends, formed a band and began playing gigs. That led to joining the Haymarket Squares. The first drummer of the Squares was the rhythm guitar player in my band. He thought I would fit in well with the Squares, so I sat in with them and it worked out. I added another bit of instrumentation to the group with the slide guitar, plus I sing bass vocals.
Playing more meant having to fix all my own gear. I have always been able to fix and make stuff so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to work on my own instruments. Years before, when I was a delivery driver for Dairy Maid Ice Cream I had driven past the old Roberto-Venn campus on 16th St. and, as a guitar player, it stuck in my head. So, fast forward to just over a year ago when I met my girlfriend Kate. I had been thinking about applying to the program at Roberto-Venn but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Kate encouraged me to do what I was passionate about and so five months and 800+ hours later I am a certified luthier and am running my own repair and custom guitar building shop!
3. What inspires you?
Music inspires me a lot—all different kinds, from jazz to baroque to punk. When I’m designing guitars, shapes inspire me, from the bulging fenders of a 1960s Ferrari 250 GTO to the precise lines of a well designed and executed typeface. People also inspire me, how they are creative in their solutions to so many things.
4. What do you like about AZ?
I love and hate the weather. It’s so beautiful in the winter. I hate being cold so the summer isn’t even that bad. Also the music scene out here is great— we have so many different bands and they all support each other. And, first and foremost, most of the people I love live here.
5. Where can we see you(r) work?
You can see some of my guitars in my shop at 1301 W Grand Avenue, Suite 7 inside Bragg’s Pie Factory, or catch a Haymarket Squares show or a Decker show, I tend to play my guitars on stage.
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
Have somebody love one of the guitars I’ve made as much as I loved creating it.
7. What is your mantra?
Do what you are passionate about.