Mark Alan Altman aka Mark Raidillon 

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA 

Current Residence: Charleston, SC 

Jazz/Rock/Blues/Swing/Flamenco/Classical guitar studies and experience beginning at age 12. Studied under (1) Garnet F. Smith (1915-2011), violinist, Pittsburgh Symphony; (2) Michael Fath, renowned American rock/jazz guitarist, Loudon County, Virginia.

Corvette owner; Formula 1 and Le Mans racing enthusiast.

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My Guitars

I am a collector and aficionado of the Gibson SG. This interest goes back to my father who also played guitar and owned an old electric arch top,  a Sterling Snow Queen. This beautiful guitar was white with gold hardware.

Shortly after I began playing guitar, one seemingly innocent moment would set me on my path of being an SG enthusiast. My father and I were at the National Record Mart store at our local mall. He came across an album and said, "Hey Mark, if you really want to hear some great guitar playing, you should get this." The album was Les Paul Now, which featured new instrumentals of some the great jazz and pop guitarist's hits.

What struck me most were the photos of the guitar on the front and back of the album. I was fascinated with this strange, white, devil-horned guitar with gold hardware that I had never seen before. My lifelong fascination was born.

In the Autumn of 1996, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. held a special exhibition entitled "The Guitar: Electrified and Deified." Wednesday evening, November 13, 1996, the extraordinary guitarist and innovator, Les Paul, age 81, was interviewed in front of a packed auditorium crowd. It was a fascinating and heartwarming experience to be there. At the end of the show, Mr. Paul graciously took requests for autographs. I shook his hand, held up my copy of his Les Paul Now album, and said to him, "Mr, Paul, my father told me if I wanted to be a good guitarist, I had to listen to you. He   can't be here tonight but today is his 75th birthday." Mr. Paul took the album and asked, "What's your dad's name?" I answered, "Clair." Les Paul signed my album with the inscription, "To Clair, keep on playing."