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Two questions about Holdsworth's technique

Moominpapa

Member
Messages
291
I've been watching a couple of Alan Holdsworth DVDs and this has prompted a couple of questions that I hope you can answer.

The first question is about his right hand. When he's just comping and playing chords, is he plucking all the strings simultaneously? With the effects he uses, I can't quite tell if he's slightly arpeggiating them or not. Also, what's with the really bent index finger? I thought at first he had it bent to hold a pick in the crook of the finger, but looking closer I don't think it is.

Second question is about his left hand technique. Does Holdsworth bar chords in the usual way, or does he play open chords up and down the neck? Looking at his left hand on the videos, it doesn't look as though he ever makes a full bar with his left index finger, but sometimes I can't tell whether he is making partial bars or not.

On a side note, does anybody else find that watching Holdsworth's left hand work move from chord to chord is utterly hypnotic?
 

p.j.

Member
Messages
5,530
I've been watching a couple of Alan Holdsworth DVDs and this has prompted a couple of questions that I hope you can answer.

The first question is about his right hand. When he's just comping and playing chords, is he plucking all the strings simultaneously? With the effects he uses, I can't quite tell if he's slightly arpeggiating them or not. Also, what's with the really bent index finger? I thought at first he had it bent to hold a pick in the crook of the finger, but looking closer I don't think it is.

Second question is about his left hand technique. Does Holdsworth bar chords in the usual way, or does he play open chords up and down the neck? Looking at his left hand on the videos, it doesn't look as though he ever makes a full bar with his left index finger, but sometimes I can't tell whether he is making partial bars or not.

On a side note, does anybody else find that watching Holdsworth's left hand work move from chord to chord is utterly hypnotic?
Holdsworth generally picks notes simultaneously when playing chords using his fingers. He uses his pick if he needs to arpeggiate something. His switching off between pick and fingers is very quick and flawless like the rest of his playing.

PJ
 

Kappy

Member
Messages
14,033
He uses a volume pedal a lot for his chordal stuff/comping. So he plucks the chords with pick and fingers with the volume off or low, then he swells the volume of the sounding chord up. I do remember hearing him say in an interview somewhere that he really disliked the "bloing!" sound of strumming a chord from low to high. I think he really likes to mess around with changing how the attack of the notes sound (or with having no attack at all).
 

dick wiewy

Member
Messages
340
Yeah, like no attack at all. Usually he'll pick the first note in a phrase and his
pull-offs and hammer-ons suffice for a flurry of notes then back to a single
picked note followed by more PUs and HOs. They're always performed flawlessly
because that's the "byoing" he despises. The result of a PO whose attack doesn't
resemble a normally picked note. I sat right in front of him two weeks ago and
paid particular attention to this aspect of his playing.

At no time during the evening did Alan ever make a chord form as seen in, say a
Mel Bay book. LOL! He just doesn't "see" the fret board the way we're taught. He
really is a durned musical genius and has never seemed stagnant as a performer.
I've been listening to him since Soft Machine's Bundles was available as an import.

DW.
 




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