Allan Holdsworth and his approach to scales

FinsburyParkCarrotsFinsburyParkCarrots Seattle, WAPosts: 12,175
edited August 2018 in Musicians and Gearheads
I thought about starting a thread on the late, great Allan Holdsworth in the Other Music forum, as he is another musician after all. That said, he is such a musician's musician and so seminal in the evolution of guitar playing that I wondered if people here on Musicians and Gearheads were fans of Allan's music on the level of absorbing and drawing from his musical influence. Technically, he is arguably the most complete and forward-moving of post-Hendrix electric rock-oriented guitarists in terms of expanding the sonic possibilities of the instrument, as well as being first and foremost a composer of original and 'outside' music that nods to jazz innovators of saxophone, piano, and violin as well as giants of contemporary classical music. (He transcends generic descriptors relentlessly.)  What's more, he does all this -- okay, did all this but his influence is present beyond the grave -- while steadfastly avoiding 'licks', particularly of a minor pentatonic persuasion. The young Allan always wanted to play saxophone and play like Coltrane, but his grandfather (whom he called 'Dad') bought him a guitar and the rest was history.

Recently, I've come across a site that reproduces comprehensively and in diagramatical form what Allan back in a 1992 instructional video proposed to be his ten most useful scales. Allan was self-taught and had an intuitive, idiosyncratic and mathematical approach to harmony and the logic of the 'familial' relationship between scales and chords. His ideas might seem odd to some people with traditional musical educations and diatonic approaches to harmony. Still, I thought guitarists here of all backgrounds and experiential levels might benefit from his groundbreaking knowledge, which might well take us a long time to figure out. Here's the link, which features these scales as well as chords and triad formations to which they can be most readily applied. I hope you find it as challenging and as useful as I do, whatever your style or musical approach/tastes:

Post edited by FinsburyParkCarrots on


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