I've always been a big fan of Allan Holdsworth. I think it was my old friend Fredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah who got me interested in Holdsworth a long time ago. Since then I've gotten in and out of many different styles of music, but I still love listening to Allan Holdsworth.
Holdsworth has a technique most guitarist would slit their own throat for, yet he's not very happy with his abilities, from what I've read about him. I guess he is very self-critical, like so many artists tend to be.
As a guitarist, I try to pick up ideas for chords and legato lines, but Allan's playing is so advanced, that I rarely have the patience to really sit down and put in the huge effort needed to really learn something from him. He is not very mainstream. You'll never hear him play Chuck Berry licks over a blues. No, Holdsworth goes his own way, he always has. That is something I admire. Someone who is true to himself. No compromising. Granted, he may be losing out on fame and fortune to some degree, but I think a true artists will follow his/her calling and not the dollars.
Getting into Allan Holdsworth can be a bit of a jump for someone not used to very improvised music. I would suggest you give it a chance and listen to Allan's amazing improvisations. His style is hard to define. Some say it is jazz and some say it is rock. I say scrap the labels - it is music with a strong element of improvisation - you call it what you like.
Holdsworth on Youtube
I found some great youtube videos with Allan Holdsworth. Have a listen to a Master at work.
From Tokyo, way back in 1984
Two-handed chording - Tokyo Dream
This is a very beautiful piece. I love this song.
Holdsworth during the Atavachron tour, with a SynthAxe
Another old clip. This song was somewhat of a commercial success, and it's a really cool song with vocals.
My personal favourite albums by Allan Holdsworth are Secrets and Sand. The latter has a lot of amazing guitar synthesizer work. The older Atavachron is also very nice, but anything with Holdsworth will be worth a listen.
It's been a while I've listened actively to him. I guess I should check out some of his more recent work. The last Holdsworth album I bought was Wardenclyffe Tower, which I would not hold as one of his best recordings, but there are still some killer tracks on it.