Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth ( born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, Yorkshire ) is an English jazz guitarist ( instrumentalists ).


Holdsworth had piano lessons from his father, a pianist. It was not until the age of 17 he came to the guitar. As early models he calls again and again Charlie Christian and John Coltrane.

Contrary to some rumors Holdsworth has never played saxophone (see Reaching for the Uncommon Chord ).

In the late 1960s he moved to London, where he Machine ( 1973-1975 ) worked with Ian Carr's Nucleus, and then at John Hiseman Colosseum successor Tempest (1972 ) and Soft. At the same time he recorded with Tony Williams Lifetime. Then he played with Pierre Moerlen 's Gong, Jean -Luc Ponty and John Stevens and Barry Guy. End of the 70s he performed with progressive and jazz rock formations UK and Bruford. In the early eighties he moved - after a short time in Paris - in the United States, where he began to produce their own projects. Holdsworth collaborated on recordings by Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock, Esther Phillips, Chad Wackerman, Jeff Watson, Level 42, and Gary Husband.

In addition to his musical activities, he is an avid cyclist and beer connoisseur. He brews his own beer, holds a patent on a beer tapping device and calls his recording studio " The Brewery " ( The Brewery ). He now lives in San Diego, California (USA).


His reputation as one of the outstanding innovator of modern jazz guitar style is based on several characteristics:

  • The use of very large intervals and unusual scales ( altered, balanced)
  • The extremely high pace of his sax lines oriented
  • Favor of piano -oriented chords under oftmaliger use for guitar atypical chords in close position (close position voicings )
  • The complex harmonies of his own compositions
  • The consistent use and development of legato techniques
  • Using the inside-outside improvisation

Among its declared admirers include musicians such as Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Joe Pass, Joe Satriani and many others.

Mid-1980s, he was one of the first, which constituted the Synthaxe, a special synthesizer guitar controller in a similar way a virtuoso as a full musical instrument. The guitar manufacturer Ibanez built for a short time the signature model AH10. Holdsworth itself uses repeatedly unconventional guitar models. Steinberger built a product available only in Japan signature model GL2TA -AH with passive Seymour Duncan humbuckers SHAH1, also had a Carvin Holdsworth signature model with headstock in the program. For many years, Holdsworth preferred but built by Bill DeLap guitar with a small body with two cutaways, 1 Humbucker and Steinberger hardware ( Headless and TransTrem ).

Solo Discography

  • Velvet Darkness (1977 )
  • The Things You See ( 1979)
  • I.O.U. (1982)
  • Road Games ( 1983)
  • Metal Fatigue ( 1985)
  • Atavachron (1986 )
  • Sand ( 1987)
  • With A Heart In My Song (1988 )
  • Secrets (1989)
  • Wardenclyffe Tower (1992 )
  • Hard Hat Area (1993 )
  • None Too Soon (1996 )
  • The Sixteen Men Of Tain (2000)
  • Flat Tire: Music For A Non- Existent Movie (2001)
  • All Night Wrong (2002, live)
  • Then! Live In Tokyo (2003, live)
  • Against The Clock: The Best Of Allan Holdsworth (2005)


  • Allan Holdsworth ( instructional video ), REH Publications, 1992, VHS
  • Bruford - Rock Goes to college, 2006, DVD


  • Reaching for the uncommon chord, 21st Century Music Productions / Hal Leonard, 1985
  • Melody Chords for Guitar, Hal Leonard, 1997, ISBN 1-57424-051- X