Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 15 April 2017) was a British guitarist and composer. He released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles in a career spanning more than four decades, but is best known for his work in jazz fusion.
Holdsworth was known 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 stemmed from his original desire to play the saxophone. Having been unable to afford one, he strove to use the guitar to create similarly smooth lines of notes. He also become associated with playing an early form of guitar synthesizer called the SynthAxe, a company he endorsed in the 1980s.
Holdsworth was born in Bradford, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Sam and Elsie Holdsworth. Sam Holdsworth was a jazz pianist who had previously moved to London to pursue a career in music, but he eventually returned to Bradford. Holdsworth was given his first guitar at the age of 17 and received his initial music tuition from his grandfather. His professional career began when he joined the Glen South Band, which performed on the Mecca club circuit across Northern England.