Soprano guitars

From Allan Holdsworth Information Center
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Creating Imaginary Backdrops (Innerviews 1993)

Let’s talk about "Oneiric Moor." Is that piece indicative of the solo guitar album you want to do next?

Partially. That was just an improvisation with two parts. I just recorded 15 minutes of improvisation. I listened to them and picked one I liked and then I played another part along with it spontaneously and that was that piece. The idea I have for the next album wasn’t so much spontaneity, but compositions, and also to use all these big guitars I’ve got at the moment. I’ve been experimenting with extending the range of the guitar. I have a little piccolo one and three baritone guitars.

Unrewarded Geniuses (Guitar Player 1993, reader's letter regarding 1993 article)

It was great to see the photos and mention of my work in the recent Allan Holdsworth article (Feb.’93), but some clarifications are in order. The guitar on page 65 is actually a Steinberger with a spruce wood top I made as an experiment. After noticing how different in sound two apparently identical stock plastic tops were, we decided to try a few different woods for the top. Allan’s regular 25½" scale DeLap hollowbody can be seen in the ads for his new instruction and performance video from REH. The two baritone guitars pictured on page 68 are a blonde 38.2" scale hollowbody and grey 36" scale solidbody. The last few years have produced a dozen prototype instruments ranging from a 19"-scale soprano guitar to the 38" baritone, all of them headless designs featuring Steinberger tremolo bridges. Allan knows the qualities he wants to hear and feel in an instrument, so it can be demanding but rewarding to work with him. He is a constant experimenter, a true innovator with music and the tools he uses to create it.



Bill DeLap

, The Guitar Lab, 

Monterey, CA

No Secrets (Facelift 1994)

"And in fact that’s what happened. But luckily for me I’d started getting back into using guitar again. I had a lot of experimental guitars then, from a really small one to a couple of really huge baritone guitars, so that I could get at least on record get the kind of range that I could get with the Synthaxe. So miss that."

Allan Holdsworth: One Of A Kind (Guitar Shop 1995)

“I love the Steinberger design, but ever since they merged with Gibson, I’ve had trouble communicating with them. Fortunately I met this guy named Bill DeLap who made me two Steinberger-styled guitars that use their hardware, but have wood bodies instead of plastic. We took the best things of a Steinberger and just tried to get more out of that design. They’re full-sized instruments – 25 – ½” – and like a violin, have a maple neck, ebony fingerboard, spruce top and a maple back. Bill also made me some baritone ones that are just really long-scaled guitars – there are 34”, 36”, 38” scale versions. I didn’t use them on the new album, but I did on my last one, Wardenclyffe Tower. I played the 34” on “Zarabeth” and the 38” on “Sphere of Innocence”. And now he’s making me a piccolo guitar. But they all work like a regular guitar with regular strings, partially because the Steinberger bridge system doesn’t need a lot of winds to get in tune. I use LaBella strings – the company has been really amazing to me, too, and helped out whenever they could. My action is pretty low, and I don’t use the tremolo bar much anymore, either. About five years ago when all the heavy metal guys were using them, I sort of stopped, because it started looking like a new toy that everybody got. It was like when the wah-wah and the fuzz box came out and all of a sudden you heard them on every record. So I basically stopped using it.