42 Facts About Allan Holdsworth


Allan Holdsworth was a British jazz fusion and progressive rock guitarist and composer.


Allan Holdsworth used myriad scale forms often derived from those such as the Lydian, diminished, harmonic major, augmented, whole tone, chromatic and altered scales, among others, often resulting in an unpredictable and dissonant "outside" sound.


Allan Holdsworth became associated with playing an early form of guitar synthesizer called the SynthAxe, a company he endorsed in the 1980s.


Allan Holdsworth has been cited as an influence by a host of rock, metal and jazz guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Greg Howe, Shawn Lane, Richie Kotzen, John Petrucci, Alex Lifeson, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Romeo, Ty Tabor, Fredrik Thordendal, Daniel Mongrain, John Frusciante, and Tom Morello.


Allan Holdsworth was born in Bradford, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Sam and Elsie Allan Holdsworth.


Sam Allan Holdsworth was a jazz pianist who had previously moved to London to pursue a career in music, but he eventually returned to Bradford.


Allan Holdsworth was given his first guitar at the age of 17 and received his initial music tuition from his grandfather.


Allan Holdsworth's playing can be heard on a live BBC Radio concert from that year, which was released several decades later in 2005 as part of Under the Blossom: The Anthology, a Tempest compilation album most notable for the song "Gorgon".


In 1976 came the first of Allan Holdsworth's many frustrations with the music industry, when CTI Records released a recording of what Allan Holdsworth thought was a rehearsal session as an official studio album, Velvet Darkness.


In 1977, Allan Holdsworth was recruited by drummer and Yes founder Bill Bruford to play on his debut album, Feels Good to Me.


Whilst UK continued with different musicians, Bruford returned to the core line-up of his solo band now simply named Bruford, with Allan Holdsworth retained as guitarist.


Furthermore, in a 1981 interview for Guitar World magazine, he said that "To me Allan Holdsworth is number one".


Allan Holdsworth disliked Road Games because of creative differences with Templeman.


Secrets introduced pianist Steve Hunt, who went on to play keyboard as a member of Allan Holdsworth's touring band, and for two further albums.


In December of that year, following the death of Level 42 guitarist Alan Murphy in 1989, Allan Holdsworth was recruited by the band to play as a guest musician during a series of concerts at London's Hammersmith Odeon.


On 3 November 2011, Allan Holdsworth performed in Mumbai as part of drummer Virgil Donati's touring band.


In 2015, Allan Holdsworth launched a PledgeMusic venture to release new studio material, as part of a collection named Tales from the Vault.


Allan Holdsworth was able to promote these albums briefly, as he died only a week later from high blood pressure.


Allan Holdsworth appears on two tracks on German artist MSM Schmidt's 2017 album "Life", his latest studio recordings to be released as of 2019.


Allan Holdsworth felt he was not proficient at acoustic guitar because its percussive tonal quality didn't accommodate the kind of legato playing he favored.


Allan Holdsworth's playing style combined elements of jazz and progressive rock, and drew upon scale forms often derived from those such as the lydian, harmonic major, diminished, augmented, whole tone, chromatic and altered scales.


Allan Holdsworth said that he preferred both of these instruments to the guitar, the latter of which was not his first choice of instrument upon receiving one from his father when beginning to play music.


Allan Holdsworth was highly influential among advanced guitarists and was considered one of the most technically accomplished and most unusual players.


However, Allan Holdsworth remained "not well known outside musicians' circles", and musically, even by guitarists, he was criticized for not being musical enough and being too technical for the average listener.


Allan Holdsworth just analyzed it, internalized it, and he used it in his own perspective.


Allan Holdsworth worked with many different guitar manufacturers as he developed his sound, which he felt he was never able to perfect throughout his career.


Allan Holdsworth then switched to playing custom Fender Stratocaster guitars that were modified with humbucker pickups.


Allan Holdsworth instead achieved this with use of the vibrato bar, by artificially adjusting the pitch while changing notes to achieve the desired fretless legato sound.


In 1984, Allan Holdsworth developed his first signature guitars with Ibanez, known as the AH-10 and AH-20.


Allan Holdsworth developed a signature guitar with Charvel called the "Charvel Holdsworth Original" which he played in the 1980s.


Allan Holdsworth started playing customised headless guitars made by luthier Bill DeLap in the 1990s, which included an extended-range baritone model with a 38-inch scale length.


Allan Holdsworth developed a line of signature guitars with Carvin Guitars, including the semi-hollow H2 in 1996, the completely hollow HF2 Fatboy in 1999, and the headless HH1 and HH2 models in 2013.


Allan Holdsworth liked the Marshalls for single-note soloing, but not for chords because of the resulting distortion.


Allan Holdsworth experimented with a couple of Norlin Lab Series L5, which he found too clean.


Allan Holdsworth used and endorsed Pearce amps, which were designed by an engineer who worked on Gibson's Lab Series.


Guitarist Eddie Van Halen used Allan Holdsworth's modified Hartley-Thompson amplifier to record his solo on the 1982 song "Beat It" by Michael Jackson.


Allan Holdsworth could be seen performing with Yamaha DG80 112 digital modelling amps that he used in pairs: one for his clean sound and the other had a 'crunch' preset with very little gain and a lot of master volume.


Allan Holdsworth used the TriAmp MKII and the ZenTera together with a Yamaha DG130 Power amp.


Allan Holdsworth was a keen beer aficionado, with a particular fondness for Northern English cask ale.


Around 1986, Allan Holdsworth struggled financially and occasionally sold equipment to make ends meet.


Allan Holdsworth became a grandfather in December 2010, when his daughter Louise gave birth to a girl.


Allan Holdsworth died on 15 April 2017 at his home in Vista, California, at the age of 70.