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So what’s the secret behind Allan Holdsworth?

ZosoRush

Member
Messages
585
I know very, VERY little about theory but a little in my own way.
Is it possible to play leads the way he does over simple chord progressions or is it more complicated than that?
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
12,084
There are a bunch of good videos about this on YouTube.



I'm not sure that it would be possible to get a feel similar to his over simple diatonic chord changes, because his chords and his sense of harmony are one of the main things that sets him apart, and the chords are usually guiding his note choice in his solos. Holdsworth could definitely do his thing over a bluesy one chord vamp, though.
 
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LaceSensor1

Senior Member
Messages
3,436
In this particular scenario I would say the answer to your question is no. There is nothing simple about his playing or note choice. And you would need the underlying harmony to have the same emotional impact of each note.

I would start a favorite licks project to slow down and transcribe your favorite lead runs. Then you could smear these licks in and out of your leads.
 

TheSchwartz

Member
Messages
431
I know very, VERY little about theory but a little in my own way.
Is it possible to play leads the way he does over simple chord progressions or is it more complicated than that?
You could, but depending on the context of what’s going on harmonically within the song, using Allan’s very specific language over simple chords probably isn’t going to work. That isn’t to say that you can’t apply some of his techniques in a pop/rock/blues context, but if you start playing a lot of chromatic runs, or runs that use passing tones over simple triads, you’re going to sound a best slightly off, and at worst totally incoherent.

...not that that’s always a bad thing.
 

Holdsworth

Member
Messages
186
Is it possible to play leads the way he does over simple chord progressions or is it more complicated than that?
It is very possible. Don't overthink it.
He didn't try to make his music complicated or difficult to play, as opposed to McLaughlin who I think did, what he played was who he was and what he heard in his head.

He was one of those 'once in a lifetime' musicians.
 




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