Allan Holdsworth earned his place in modern guitar history early on, by virtue of his work with Soft Machine, Gong, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Bruford’s U.K.. Originally, Holdsworth wanted to play saxophone but was unable to afford one. As is often the case, necessity became the mother of invention and the British guitarist went on to develop a style that combined superhuman speed with wide intervals in order to mimic the sound of the greatest jazz saxophone players. He developed an advanced sense of harmony that led to highly complex compositions and dense, flowing lines.
Holdsworth was one of the early adopters of the guitar synthesizer, using the SynthAxe on many of his recordings. Replacing guitar strings with direct reading of finger positions, the SynthAxe was the only type of guitar synth that could keep up with his blinding flurries of notes.
His legato approach and whammy bar work has influenced generations of guitarists. Even those who found his music unapproachable, stood in awe of his technical facility and his touch, which allowed him to deliver lush tone through an ever-changing gear set up.
Condolences to his family.