Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 16 April 2017) was a British guitarist and composer. He released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles spanning a period of more than four decades, but is best known for his work in jazz fusion.
Holdsworth is noted for his advanced knowledge of music, through which he incorporated a vast array of complex chord progressions and intricate solos; the latter comprising myriad scale forms often derived from those such as the diminished, augmented, whole tone, chromatic and altered scales, among others, resulting in an unpredictable and "outside" sound. His unique legato soloing technique stems from his desire to originally play the saxophone, but having been unable to afford one he thus intentionally utilised the guitar in order to make it sound like a different instrument. He also become associated with playing an early form of guitar synthesizer called the SynthAxe, a company which he endorsed in the 1980s.
He is known for his unusual technique, which is filled with unusual chord voicings and legato melodies of great harmonic sophistication. Many guitarists, including Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai have lauded him as a master. He has also been a pioneer in the use of guitar synthesizers like the Synthaxe which was used extensively on his albums Atavachron and Sand . Holdsworth was also Frank Zappa's favorite guitarist.