As one of the most unique and respected guitarists in the world, Allan Holdsworth has influenced countless others, including legendary artists. If you’re a wee bit confused, you’re in luck because Holdsworth explains it all in the video. In the process, he identifies 10 “really usable scales”. Well, Allan Holdsworth not only mastered horn-like phrasing and tone, but he managed to do it whether he used Gibsons, Fenders, Charvels.

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Allan Holdsworth’s 10 Most Useful Scales | Guitarworld

When a horn player or a violin player picks up their instrument, they automatically have sustain without having to holdsowrth into a fuzz box. In the mystifying yet very relaxing clip below—before he starts demonstrating his 10 most useful scales—Holdsworth explains how he tried to use math as a means of mastering scales when he was younger. You’ve always been hyper-critical of your playing.

Do you hear solo lines in your head before you play them? And then there’s the tone—guys like Cannonball Insgructional and Charlie Parker produced some of the most expressive, organic timbres you’re ever going to hear from any instrument.

In the process, he identifies 10 “really usable scales” that you can use for “most everything. Then, I have two or three different EQ variations of that sound for different rooms. I wish I could hear a solo in my head from the very first note to the very last, but they kind of go their own way.


Are you getting more comfortable with your huge influence on modern guitar? By sheer force holdsworyh will, Holdsworth created one of the most identifiable guitar voices in modern music.

Back when you were beginning to experiment with guitar synthesis, you lamented that guitarists tended to be closed minded to new sounds and approaches.

I think this is going to make a lot of people laugh, but, early in holdxworth career in the ’60s, I was playing with some local band, and we had an opportunity to go into the studio. His instructional book, Reaching for the Uncommon Chordis essential food for any guitarist looking to move beyond the norm. I throw them in a suitcase, and off I go. Couple ibstructional with the fact there are hundreds of bootlegs of my gigs out there, so it’s like, why bother?

However, the guitar is obviously a lot different from a saxophone.

Allan Holdsworth – REH Instructional

I’ve always wanted this sound—and I can hear it in my head, which is a good thing—where I’ve got all the sustain and beef one gets with a dirty sound, but without all the crud you have to deal with. The guy is a giant. Publicado por Miguel Copon en 9: That would be a very nice legacy. And, you know, eight out of ten guitarists who saw me play it would come up and ask if I could make it sound like a Fender Stratocaster.


Did you record multiple shows? It can do both. For the lead sound, I just use the Lead One preset, and I have five different patches with varying degrees of gain that I’ll cycle through on any given night. We were going to record two nights. I can’t empty my head.

I want you to record this sound. At what point did you realize that achieving the ideal of horn-like tone would require a different approach than that of the other players who were searching for the same thing? Have you always approached the instrument like that? By that time, most engineers had come around to recording a loud amplifier.

I haven’t toured the States for more than ten years. However, his legendary chorusing—which used to be the product of racks upon racks of single-ended delay units—proved to be too much trouble. That sounds like a life-long mission.

Allan Holdsworth – Guitar Instructional Video (1992)

I start with a hairy sound, give it a shave, and see what’s left. Sometimes, I make the most progress when I haven’t touched the guitar for weeks. And even though Holdsworth hates live recordings, there is no better setting to hear a modern master at work.