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Music editor Jason Sidwell introduces another action packed lessons section.
Process versus results. It’s an intriguing proposition and one that can be applied to countless topics including guitar playing. It certainly cropped up with fresh colours during this issue’s creation, as I asked numerous great guitarists for their thoughts on Allan Holdsworth, one of the instrument’s most enigmatic players ever. Read their replies on page 39. As diverse and wonderful as the quoted guitarists are, they all were united by the notion that Allan’s music was often both beautiful and mystifying. His results spoke to them on deep levels but often it was a case of ‘what the heck was going on?’. So they (and countless others) often looked to his process via magazine or YouTube interviews and his often viewed REH tutorial video. What made him tick? How did he compose? What tonalities did he draw from? How did he solo like he did?
Truth is, we collate and pontificate over information gathered but it still seems like sand through the fingers. Unlike the vast majority of revered guitarists in history, Allan offered up no ‘get good’ snippets, no fast tracks to understanding or duplicating his music and approach. As Alex Skolnick points out, much of Allan’s music was about what he wasn’t doing - his cliché was avoiding guitar clichés! As you will have seen, Milton Mermikides has created an excellent foundational overview of Allan’s music and style on page 42. It’s not designed to provide the macro, simply aspects that could enrich your own playing by drawing on various key areas from his unique world. In countless ways, Allan was at the very top of the guitar world’s musical everest; no other player has notions of intrigue and appreciation so regularly surrounding them. We sincerely hope you come away from this issue either with a fantastic introduction to this great man, or possessing a broader appreciation when you next listen to Joshua, Tokyo Dream or Devil Take The Hindmost. Enjoy the issue!
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