Allan's guitars

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Guitar type (First mention)

The links lead to categorized quotes on various guitars, with the name usually stated in bold. They are sorted in the order that they first appear in interviews, which is not the same as the year that he would actually start using it. Details on this are added following, but this is a first draft. Allan's quotes must be taken with a grain of salt, as he is not entirely consistent when referring to his guitars throughout. NB! This list is not comprehensive, Allan would use guitars made by others, such as for example Canton and Strandberg, but these were not covered in the sources available.

Acoustic guitars (1974) - Allan's first guitar was a no-brand acoustic, but later Allan only played acoustic occasionally. His Ibanez L5 copy was by his own admission his favorite.

Strats (1978) - In early interviews, Allan would be referring to playing a Strat, modified by replacing the original pickups with humbuckers. When Allan moved to the U.S., he changed to custom Charvels. Allan is also on record speaking of owning a Strat in the 60's.

Gibson (1978) - Allan's prime relation to Gibson guitars was the Gibson SG, which is noted below.

Ovation (1978) - Allan used an Ovation briefly, while touring with U.K.

Firebird (1978) - Allan spoke briefly of having a Gibson Firebird, which may be the one seen in the music video for "In The Dead Of Night".

Gibson 12-string (1978) - Allan spoke briefly of owning a Gibson 12-string in 1978.

Gibson SG (1979) - Allan would use SG's extensively from the 60s onwards through playing with Tony Williams.

Dick Knight (1979) - Dick Knight was an English luthier who helped Allan customize his Strat-like guitars in the late 70s.

Hofner (1979) - Allan's first electric was a Hofner acoustic, with a pickup retrofitted, that he used in the 60s.

Gibson 335 (1979) - Allan would experiment with Gibson ES-335 while he was playing Tempest in the early 70s.

Gordon Smith (1981) - Allan briefly mentions owning a Gordon Smith in 1981.

L5 (1981) - Allan briefly spoke about his favorite acoustic being an Ibanez L5 copy. He probably used this on "U.K." and "The Things You See".

Gibson 175 (1981) - Allan would experiment with Gibson ES-175 while he was playing Tempest in the early 70s.

Charvel (1982) - Allan met Grover Jackson in London in the late 70s, where he made the first custom guitars for Allan. Allan would play Charvels for many years afterwards, at least up until the Tokyo Dream video that was shot around 1984.

Epiphone (1982) - Allan refers briefly to an Epihone Spirit in an interview from 1982.

Super 300 (1983) - Allan is mentioned buying a Gibson Super 300 after moving to the U.S, in an 1983 interview.

Chapman Stick (1984) - Allan is mentioned owning a Chapman Stick in 1984 and 2000, but says he retired after getting a SynthAxe.

Ibanez (1985) - Ibanez introduced a Holdsworth model around 1985, but as the production models did not match the prototypes made for Allan, he soon disendorsed it.

Hexaphonics (1985) - Allan makes a brief reference to hexaphonic guitars.

Pedal steel (1985) - Allan makes a brief reference to pedal steel guitars.

Guitar synths (1985) - Allan mostly talks about guitar synths in conjunction with the SynthAxe, but he experimented briefly with them.

Steinberger (1987) - The first references to Steinbergers appeared in 1987, and Allan would always hold these guitars in high regard. The main reason he did not carry on using them, was Gibson's buyout of the company, which affected Allan's relationship with Ned Steinberger.

F-hole guitars (1989) - Allan speaks briefly about his Ibanez L-5 copy, and mentions his preference for F-hole acoustics.

Baritone guitars (1992) - Allan first spoke of baritone guitars in 1992, which are also the first mention of luthier Bill DeLap. He used these extensively on "Wardenclyffe Tower", but stated that he sold them because he needed to downsize his touring rig. This also meant that "Wardenclyffe" tunes would no longer be performed live.

DeLap (1993) - Bill DeLap is first referred to in 1992 regarding baritone guitars, but the first references to regular size guitars are from 1993. DeLap would base his design on Steinbergers, but using wood instead. Allan would keep playing DeLaps on and off for many years, even after starting to use his Carvin model.

Soprano guitars (1993) - Allan talks about having soprano guitars built by Bill DeLap in the mid 90's.

Carvin (1996) - Allan first mentions that he's working on a Holdsworth model with Carvin guitars in 1996. Allan would stick to Carvin for the rest of his career, and continue working on new designs for his namesake models. Allan stated that the reason he stuck with Carvin was that the production guitars were held to the same exacting standard of his prototypes. In fact, he claimed he could try any one of the production models, and be able to use it himself.

8-string (2004) - Allan did never play an 8-string. Read to find out why! :-)

Guitar necks



DiMarzio pickups

PAF pickups

Seymour Duncan pickups