Watching Allan Holdsworth perform may leave you with the impression wide- interval licks and ideas that you’ve never had access to before. Welcome to my second column/lesson! This month I’d like to talk about one of my favorite players of all time – Allan Holdsworth. He’s been a big influence in the.

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Notice the almost Rubato feel the phrases have, always with such a smooth and efficient execution. The first line we are going to break down mm. Another string skipping idea is used throughout measures where the scales used are: Allan stops on the same note allowing it to sing a bit, showing the clear change in harmony by sitting on the root for a few moments.

This solo is a great example for all players focusing on Rock playing in general, because it shows how much one can really do over a simple vamp. Once again, take care to play these lines in time and with precision.


Launched on Monday, October 15th, Further, notice how Allan ends the phrase in bar 11 with a chromatic line that when compared to the vamp gives us both the b6, the natural 6, the b7, and the natural 7. This is played with all up-strokes. He […] Diminished Possibilities: The technique was what really grabbed me, rather than the theoretical side of his playing, as I was simply to young to grasp the complexities of his musical knowledge. Notice again how he avoids the downbeat when starting a phrase.

The purpose of this column is to show how to incorporate all the different techniques into musical phrases, and not just seeing them as physical workouts rhythm, melody, and harmony are always the primary concern.

I start this lick with a four-note run on the A string with the fourth note being the start of the three-string arpeggio.

Allan is outlining an 8 note synthetic scale, which includes both b9 and 9 — 1 b2 9 3 4 5 b6 b7. For other great examples of Allan playing over one chord vamps take a holdswodth at his solos in these two songs: Rather, this was what I took out of his style and approach. Allan seems to have been adding more and more tension to each phrase holdswortn the solo progresses — this last line seems to be the tensest line of the solo, capitalizing on the ambiguity of the implied dominant chord.


I use the same approach to ascend back up the scale. From here it gets tricky! On the high E string, we are fretting four consecutive notes moving up the scale of the pentatonic, then we move back down the scale using the same notes. The goal of this column will be to break down some of those lines, and talk about how they relate to the harmony Allan is approaching. They are better suited to modal playing, but I always love a challenge, and as you can hear from this lick, it really creates an amazing sound!

This time I am going to dive a little deeper into the Octatonic scale. Obviously, it was a combination of his incredible knowledge and technique.

It is by far the most technically challenging part and a very unique way to licis up and down the pentatonic scale on one string. The third phrase mm.

Francesco is currently part of a Metal band called Hiss of Atrocities, and has also recorded three instrumental solo projects. I want to thank you all for reading my holdwsorth, and I will hopefully see you next time, until then!

The problem with this is that these techniques are not really suited to the pentatonic. Notice how Allan lets the phrase breathe with the wide open phrasing and his rhythmic control — By starting and ending the phrase on off-beats, the sense of predictability is lost. This line ends in measure 25, where the vamp changes to G.

An Allan Holdsworth-Inspired Pentatonic Run | Guitarworld

While it can be heard as a simple chromatic line, the harmonic ambiguity it sets up seems to have been very much intentional. There are lots of exercises that help to achieve this, and I think one of the best ones is the common chromatic exercise across all strings.


This particular line is what I would focus on the most. The speed and the wide intervalic playing was simply amazing. The last fast run mm.

The final run in this lick is similar to the alan I start the lick; I finish with a four-note run on the high E string leading into to a full bend on the 22nd fret. Download the latest version here.

His column at Holddworth Messenger is called Technical Difficulties, and it will be focused mainly on developing different techniques such as vibrato, bending, picking, legato playing, tapping, sweeping, and every other mechanical challenges related to the guitar.

As with any technique I create, my main focus is that they enable me to play lines or runs that would otherwise not be possible at speed. This is repeated on the G string, but this time its only a three-note run with the third note being the start of the arpeggio.

He ends the phrase on the b13 of the E vamp. Being a rock guy, I tend to apply all of my techniques to the pentatonic scale first then slowly branch out into other scales. It can seem allsn, but playing all the different permutations […] Diminished Possibilities: Thanks and I hope you holdsworthh Traditionally, we are taught to play scales and runs using a combination of two and three notes per string. Adobe Flash Player version 9 or above is required to play this audio clip.

I’m not saying that this the secret to his playing—not allzn any stretch of the imagination.