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Allan Holdsworth dead at age 70

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Just over a week ago (April 15) Allan Holdsworth passed away from a heart attack. He was an absolutely fantastic guitarist, I only discovered him/his music a few months ago and really dig it. I'm glad he made it to 70, but it's always a shame when a bright light goes out :(



He shreds like an absolute machine - Any jazz / prog lovers out there, take 4 minutes and give him a listen, you won't regret it.

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Liked the first 40 seconds and the ending riff.  That shredding in between is a bit too much for me.


Hadn't heard of him before, but RIP.

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Yeah definitely a bummer. I was holding out for more secret tracks a la Tales from the Vault.


I've been a huge Holdsworth fan since I first stumbled onto him in high school. Aside from the obvious virtuosity, his style is incredibly distinct and is regularly aped by swaths of other guitarists. His work is also a pretty endless source of "holy shit that's cool" in a music theory sense, incredibly unusual tonality, rhythmic groupings, and chord shapes. A fun example:



Probably the most unusual thing about Holdsworth's scalar constructions, is that he makes use of what I call "two octave scales". A collection of intervals that takes two octaves before you get back to the starting note. The most common one that he uses is a kind of augmented scale.




And here's one of my favorite tracks:



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His work is also a pretty endless source of "holy shit that's cool" in a music theory sense, incredibly unusual tonality, rhythmic groupings, and chord shapes

The more of his stuff I listen to, the more I find myself thinking this. There's a video out there somewhere of him playing tons of different chord inversions in ways 99.9% of people wouldn't think to, it totally changes the emphasis of the individual notes in the chord and just WOWs me, and that's only a demonstration video showing something basic! - when he starts soloing, it all comes to life in such a fantastic way.


EDIT: I'd never even heard of him until just recently, Zappa said he was his favorite current-era guitarist in some old 80's interview and I can easily see why, they both clearly had a love for unusual yet beautiful chord progressions and composition in general. It almost feels hard going back to 'normal' music after spending time listening to that kind of stuff regularly. It's like my ears have been spoiled by just how interesting music really can be when you throw the 'rules of pop' out the window!

Edited by Doomkid

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I never heard of him before. He certainly was a great guitarist. Sad news indeed.


I find it interesting to discover fantastic musicians/bands I've never explored before, especially from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.

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