Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

IT WAS WITH heavy heart I heard the news that Allan Holdsworth had died. Even though his work should have been way too com­plex for my mea­gre mind, its gen­uine depth and beauty found an in­stant con­nec­tion. I got to know Allan a lit­tle, too, when I worked for Syn­thAxe in the ’80s and he was our pri­mary am­bas­sador. Two great Holdsworth sto­ries spring to mind.

One was our first trip to NAMM in Ana­heim. It was Jan­uary ’86 and gui­tar synths were the talk of the show. Our first demo was 10.30am and we (in­ven­tor Bill Aitken play­ing huge synth pads on an Ober­heim Ma­trix 12 and I do­ing licks us­ing Yamaha DX-7 and Ober­heim Xpan­der) be­gan to set up. Dread quickly flooded my ev­ery pore as the au­di­ence drifted in. All the top play­ers had come to see what the fuss was all about, and not six feet from me stood Stan­ley Jor­dan, Lee Rite­nour, and... Allan. It had not crossed my mind that this might hap­pen. Do I re­sign and get the next plane home? Or just front it? I fronted it, and we went down a storm (we had a Linn drum too and it was all go­ing through huge EV speak­ers and a £4000 AMS re­verb! Allan said some sweet things too, and I’ll never for­get that. The other time was later that same year at Sum­mer NAMM. The Syn­thAxe team was hav­ing din­ner at an In­dian restau­rant in Chicago and I was seated next to Allan. “How come you can play lit­er­ally any note and it sounds great?” I asked. “Well,” he be­gan: “Each scale has 7 notes and from each of those you can build an­other scale; and from each note of those scales you can build an­other 7, etc. So, in any key, any note you play is ‘cor­rect’.” He never ut­tered the word ‘modes’. He just didn’t think in those terms. En­joy our fea­ture and the tributes from so many of his ‘name player’ devo­tees. See you next time.

Neville Marten, Ed­i­tor


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