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  1. #1

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    Before the cascade of delays, overdrive, etc., Holdsworth played jazz as well as pop music in various groups in England. Here he is playing with a jazz group on the BBC on 6/9/74. It's really interesting to hear him playing with a straightahead clean tone (I assume this is with his SG). He was fleet of fingers then but not quite as legato as he became.



    And leading off on violin:



    and "Kinder" which reappears as "Fred" with Tony Williams Lifetime:


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    From the internets apparently he played an SG til about 1976, then moved over to Strats. Good tone.

    I like those pieces a lot. I didn’t know he played violin…he was pretty damn good on that, wasn’t he?

    Here’s the thing, though, for “straight-ahead” jazz Holdsworth was a bit too “notey”, for the general public anyway. Most of the really popular players played mostly with restraint, or at least a sense that what they were playing was not that complicated, even if it was. Holdsworth didn’t really hold back, did he? So obviously he was more suited for playing fusion, which really valued such an approach. (I guess the above is fusion of course, but more early RTF fusion, not later more rock-oriented stuff.)

    He played with Bill Bruford in several bands and with Jean-Luc Ponty—some of my favorite stuff from the later 70’s.

    He certainly played and recorded a lot, and had a great reputation, but his career wasn’t as successful (monetarily anyway) given his inability to be pigeonholed in a certain jazz category or to play smooth jazz or whatever was popular at the time.

    I personally wish he had stuck it out with UK. I think that band had the potential to be one of the greats of the era, i.e., what Asia could have been without all the pop gloss. Or if he had joined Zappa as the “trick guitarist”….that would have been something.

  4. #3

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    This interview reflects the frustration Holdsworth had with the music business:

    Guitar Like A Saxophone (Guitar World 1987) - Allan Holdsworth Information Center

  5. #4

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    Synchronicity, this thread appears when just yesterday I was watching the Soft Machine live in 1974 video. I recently bought an SG, at least partially because I dig the Holdsworth tone from this era. He already had alot together playing wise in 1974. And I love how he’s playing those legato lines with a dry, low gain sound as mentioned.
    I have used my SG in some of the virtual jams on this website. Like on the latest one.

  6. #5

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    There is something great about the SG sound. Many years ago I had an opportunity to buy a 60s SG but was flat broke in those days (my "salad years" during the Reagan recession) and had to pass. Bummer, it was a great guitar.

  7. #6

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    Holdsworth moved on from the SG, but he sure did good things while he used it.

  8. #7

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    “I personally wish he had stuck it out with UK. I think that band had the potential to be one of the greats of the era, i.e., what Asia could have been without all the pop gloss.”

    I see your point. But that would have deprived us of Bruford, especially the album One Of A Kind, one of instrumental rock’s great masterpieces. That said, the first UK album is also a masterpiece and I wonder how they would have developed had the original lineup remained intact.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by L50EF15
    Holdsworth moved on from the SG, but he sure did good things while he used it.
    If I recall the story correctly, his white SG was essentially stolen by Tony Williams's manager after a Lifetime tour and sold to pay the manager's fee. Apparently Tony didn't pay the manager or the band and when Allan talked to him about it, said the situation was out of his hands.

    The economics of music and particularly jazz are terrible.

    Allan ended up with no guitars and other equipment multiple times, having to sell it for things like rent and food and paying for recording. There may have been more money raised in the GoFundMe campaign after he died than he ever had at any one time in his whole life.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Or if he had joined Zappa as the “trick guitarist”….that would have been something.
    That would have been interesting, although I imagine Frank would probably have wanted readers in the Band and for all of Allan’s gifts, he was a self confessed non reader.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    There is something great about the SG sound. Many years ago I had an opportunity to buy a 60s SG but was flat broke in those days (my "salad years" during the Reagan recession) and had to pass. Bummer, it was a great guitar.
    I assume you’re referring to when you were young and inexperienced (Shakespeare: “my salad days when I was green in judgment”) not peak performance, the other meaning of “salad DAYS”…

    Quote Originally Posted by L50EF15
    “I personally wish he had stuck it out with UK. I think that band had the potential to be one of the greats of the era, i.e., what Asia could have been without all the pop gloss.”

    I see your point. But that would have deprived us of Bruford, especially the album One Of A Kind, one of instrumental rock’s great masterpieces. That said, the first UK album is also a masterpiece and I wonder how they would have developed had the original lineup remained intact.
    Being in a successful supergroup wouldn’t have meant they couldn’t do solo projects…just would have a bigger budget LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzism
    That would have been interesting, although I imagine Frank would probably have wanted readers in the Band and for all of Allan’s gifts, he was a self confessed non reader.
    Frank did admire Holdsworth a lot and let him record tracks for one of his albums in his studio. Given how Frank integrated Steve Vai and Adrian Belew into the band, it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to bring Holdsworth in, reader or not.