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Michael Johnson >> British Art Rock >>
Lesson Subject: British Art Rock I
What you learn: UK - Alan Holdsworth Style
Teacher: Michael Johnson

Michael: This interactive lesson covers the style of the band UK featuring Alan Holdsworth (guitar) on their self titled debut album UK (1978). UK was basically a keyboard-bass-drums trio, but added guitar to avoid sounding to much like Emerson Lake & Palmer. UK incorporated classical, jazz and rock into their sound and consisted of Eddie Jobson (keyboards, violin), John Wetton (bass, vocals), Bill Bruford (drums) and Alan Holdsworth (guitar).  Holdsworth is a master at the guitar incorporating unique phrasing, extended/altered scale patterns and a very legato type sound. This lesson is going to be challenging for most of you, but try to take it one guitar lick at a time and use the Riff tools, check out the lesson sample:

Lesson Sample

Michael: Let's start with our opening lick.



Lick 1

Michael: You use the tremolo bar to achieve the slur sound on the first note, here's a video sample.

Lick 1 - Tremolo Bar

Michael: Here's a jam track in B.

Looping Jam 1

Michael: You can also use the tremolo bar for the vibrato as well, Alan used all kinds of interesting techniques to create his unique sound.

Ralph: To appreciate his work you have to see him live!

Michael: No kidding, he's amazing, he sounds a lot like a horn, here's the B Lydian.



Michael: OK here's our next lick.



Lick 2

Michael: Notice the transitions for the phrase of this lick, you shift from a B Maj arpeggio, to A Maj arpeggio, then back to the Lydian. This is a very musical type line, here's our next lick.



Lick 3

Michael: Now this is played over A. Notice the cool whole-tone scale run at the beginning. I love the sound of that scale in a run! Here's the whole-tone scale pattern.



Teacher: You play over the D using the last lick, here's the jam track.

Looping Jam 2

Michael: Alan would use altered scales like this quite a bit. Here's our next lick.



Lick 4

Michael: This is a common chromatic run using a descending and ascending line. It uses pull-offs and hammer-ons to get the legato type sound. Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam 3

Michael: These chromatic notes play over the A in this case, notice how you incorporate slides as well. Here's our next lick:



Lick 5

Michael: I really like this run, you hammer and pull-off using the Bb Phrygian, the open notes allow you to sound faster when using the hammer/pull-offs. Here's the jam track in Eb.

Looping Jam 4

Michael: This is a common Holdsworth run, here's our next lick.



Lick 6

Michael: Here's the jam track.

Looping Jam 5

Ralph: Great phrasing!

Michael:
Hey thanks Ralph, I give all the credit to listening to Alan Holdsworth all day 8-) This lick basically repeats some of the themes you played earlier, you have chromatic hammer/pull-off runs and the arpeggios.

Ralph: Listening is a huge factor!

Michael: It is very important, you have to immerse yourself in the music. Here's the next lick.



Lick 7

Michael: This run uses the whole tone scale on a single string, basically using all hammer/pull-offs

Ralph: Very sick lick!

Michael: Talk about a great practice exercise, these scales and runs will make your hands hurt after awhile. Alan Holdsworth has the largest hands! Now, let's put most of these licks together.



Michael: Here's the entire jam track as well.

Looping Jam Track - Main

Michael: See how it all fits together? This is not easy to play, but a great challenge for you. Just take it a phrase at a time and repeat and slow down using the Riff tools.

Ralph: Last jam track is very Holdsworthy when you put it all together.

Michael: Thanks, I had fun doing this lesson. UK actually was responsible for launching Alan career. I remember the first time I heard the first album from UK and thinking Wow! who is that on guitar!!! He had such a unique sound, that struck me right away, his tone.

Ralph: I loved it as well, you nailed his phrasing

Michael: Hey thanks, this wasn't an easy lesson to pull together, it took some thought.

Ralph: Great job

ginger: Thanks teach

Michael: Thanks, well time to go, it was great seeing all of you, good bye!


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