Skip to content →

Holdsworthian Diatonic Chords

Last updated on February 7, 2019

The way Allan Holdsworth thought about chords as being groups of (usually 4) notes from a scale blew my mind when I first saw him explain it on his REH instructional DVD. Holdsworth was never interested in the standard diatonic chords which come neatly stacked in thirds. This was a concept that I also found to be very limiting, so his idea of finding a set of notes you liked the sound of and moving up and down the fretboard was a breath of fresh air. Let’s venture into Holdsworth territory…

Most guitarists wouldn’t think to look at scale patterns the entire length of the fretboard to find/learn chords, but this is what Allan did. If you look at the C Major Scale pattern below, you might see some familiar chord shapes in there, but in Allan’s system ANY GROUP OF (USUALLY 4) NOTES can be considered a chord that is diatonic to the C Major Scale.

allan holdsworth c major scale

If you watch Allan comping, you’ll see him pull chords from this and many other scales by selecting groups of notes he likes the sound of; these groups of notes often involve large stretches, string skipping and unusual combinations of intervals, but if you stay within the confines of the scale pattern, they must all ‘work’ because they are still diatonic.

Over to You
Doing this yourself makes for a fantastic exercise in creativity, and will no doubt help you come up with new sounds within the context of a scale you probably already know like the back of your hand.

This first set of chords doesn’t stray too far from the neatly stacked diatonic ones but has a less defined sound.

allan holdsworth chords

These chords are the diatonic chords without the 5th, but what’s interesting here is that the fingering is the same for all of them and you avoid the b5 in the Bm7b5 chord, ending up with a more usable Bm7 chord with no 5th.

READ NEXT  How to Learn the Harmonized Major Scale (Part 2)

This next set of chords involves bigger stretches and is more reminiscent of the sets of chords that Holdsworth himself would have used.

allan holdsworth chords

These chords provide a great stretching workout for your fretting hand; if you find the stretches too much, start the sequence at the fifth fret (diatonically you’ll be in E), and stop if it hurts.

This concept should give you an insight into how Holdsworth came up with those unusual chord voicings. In this lesson, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the possible chords (groups of notes) that can be derived from the C Major Scale, imagine how far Holdsworth himself took this idea!

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Xrp
  • Bitcoin cash
  • Litecoin
  • Monero
Scan to Donate Bitcoin to 3QMnkUCnDpurBQhgawmnnJWXhmjBrRdWCH

Support us by donating some Bitcoin to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin

Scan to Donate Ethereum to 0xce9ddc43f3fd81074652991d161be37cc641da66

Support us by donating some Ethereum to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Ethereum

Scan to Donate Xrp to rLSn6Z3T8uCxbcd1oxwfGQN1Fdn5CyGujK

Support us by donating some Xrp to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Xrp

Tag/Note:- 72456821
Scan to Donate Bitcoin cash to 35DvF8RMKbKnufPd4yKdAAKNt3quCvn4GK

Support us by donating some Bitcoin cash to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin cash

Scan to Donate Litecoin to MMxEJDz5MWiw2WGftJLPApTSjSoXnJtXtM

Support us by donating some Litecoin to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Litecoin

Scan to Donate Monero to 86PdJ1NeZGs5qqswEdv8soNWTBFyoK3oY7y4dW9QTqGRcHLg5JvtZTmKLj3RVi3gqscMosHqbUxtzYbntZB33kxwB3zkYo7

Support us by donating some Monero to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Monero

Published in Allan Holdsworth Chord Inversions Chords

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *