Very sad to memorialize the exalted Allan Holdsworth who has died at 70. Early on the guitarist recorded with the likes of Tempest, Soft Machine, and The New Tony Williams Lifetime, but secured his place as a legend with solo albums like I.O.U. and Metal Fatigue. Holdsworth’s daughter Louise shared the following on Facebook:

We would appreciate privacy and time while we grieve the loss of our dad, granddad, friend and musical genius. We are undeniably still in shock with his unexpected death and cannot begin to put into words the overwhelming sadness we are experiencing.

A known beer aficionado, presumably Allan would appreciate us raising a pint and enjoying this live reading of “Where is One.”

Reaching for the uncommon chord

Reaching for the uncommon chord

Allan Holdsworth displays one of his typical arthritis enhancing chord voicings in this ad for his own Carvin Custom Shop models, the HF1 and HF2 “Fatboy.” This piece dates to 2000, making it contemporaneous with the album The Sixteen Men of Tain. Pulled from Guitar Player, September 2000.

Guitar World is running a new feature spotlighting ten Van Halen songs with commentary by none other than Edward Van Halen himself. You can check out his reflections on “Eruption” and “Unchained,” along with “And the Cradle Will Rock”:

The solo on that song is unusual. I do one short lick that’s very spontaneous. It came out because I had been listening to Allan Holdsworth, who I think is the baddest. This was a first take …

Read it all at GW.

Right here.


Hold on to your head as Allan Holdsworth delivers a 6:00+ minute solo in this classic Soft Machine live clip.

"Another Quality Product from Norlin"

The Lab Series L5 amplifier has over the years been the choice of many guitarists including Allan Holdsworth and Ty Tabor of King’s X. Here Ronnie Montrose, pimping his solo album Open Fire, displays the solid state combo. Taken from Guitar Player, June 1978.

"No tubes"

This ad from Guitar for the Practicing Musician November 1988 not only pushes Pearce Amplifier Systems, but it also promotes the joint North American Tour of Ronnie Montrose and Allan Holdsworth, as well as the pair’s latest Enigma Records albums, The Speed of Sound and Secrets, respectively. Cooperation is nice. I suspect the tour in question came no closer than about 350 miles to your truly, being squarely landlocked in Iowa in ’88. Anybody catch this?

Guitar World has unearthed a great Eddie Van Halen article from 1981, relatively early in the careers of both the guitarist and the magazine. Eddie has always been an avowed Clapton disciple and makes plenty of such references in this, his first interview with GW.  But even this far back he was citing the influence another guitarist:

One guitar player who I respect and think is the baddest, is Allen (sic) Holdsworth. I do one short lick on “Cradle” which is very spontaneous. That came out because I’ve been listening to this guy. On the second album I expanded a little more on harmonics.

Take a look at Part 1 of this interview at GW.

Right here.