Allan Holdsworth (bona fide genius) DVD


This guy arrived in the mail yesterday from Amazon U.S.  The first thing my two year old baby boy did was to tread on the box and break it.


It’s a DVD repro of the original which was released on VHS video in 1992. I have that video knocking somewhere about in my parents’ house, but no VCR on which to play it

Anyway, the DVD contains many performances of Allan with his band at the time (Chad Wackerman, Skuli Sverison and Steve ‘mullet’ Hunt) all jamming away with clear close-ups of Allan’s amazing playing and technique which are sharp enough to be able to discern some of what he is playing. The rest of the content in the main feature consists of Allan talking to the camera about how he thinks and feels about music, ten of the most useful scales that he uses, how he derives and thinks about chords from scales, his approach to legato playing and how he approaches improvising, all delivered in his humble-as-pie and slightly eccentric Yorkshire demeanour that I, as a Brit expat find very very funny.   The DVD also contains an iPod ready version of the video (so I can watch him shred on the bus) as well as PDFs of the transcriptions (which suck and don’t take into account Allan’s fingerings at all) as well as all the scales and examples; watch me deplete the toner on the office printer printing out this bad boy at lunchtime….

Coming back to watching the whole thing after so long is refreshing. My appreciation for what he is talking about is much greater now that 15 years of advancement on my behalf have intervened and I now think I can usefully take away gems from his approach and incorporate them (note: not ‘copy’) into my own.

Something Allan repeats in the video is that he has always strived to ‘work it out for himself’ and that viewers should try to do the same. Doing this will imbue the musician with their own personalities (I infer this) as well as give them a very deep understanding of the material that will take them so much further than just copping licks or copying parrot fashion; words I live by now as much as possible (though there is always that fatal attraction to grabbing a tab and spending 2 hours trying to play Scarified!).

Anyway, here’s a copyright-smashing YouTube clip that cops directly from the video. Check out Steve Hunt’s (keyboards) mullet!


3 Responses to “Allan Holdsworth (bona fide genius) DVD”

  1. I couldn’t help laugh at that… I know how that must feel! I didn’t know it was in DVD format. I have tons of VHS videos like this… just sat there all alone without a VHS player to play them on… like the LP… it won’t be long before blue ray goes the same way.

  2. Gosh, the drummer didn’t get the point. He gets on my nerves and plays way too much.

  3. …and he has annoying parrot hair and looks way too happy.

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