Guitar hero Allan Holdsworth first picked up the instrument when he was 17. In the early 1970s, the musician started performing in London with progressive rock band Tempest and cult instrumental group Soft Machine. By the end of the decade, he launched a prolific solo career. Always on the cutting edge of technology, Holdsworth started playing a Synthaxe (a cross between a guitar, synthesizer and saxophone) in the mid-1980s and, a decade later, began designing his own six-string guitars. Renowned for his innovative sound within guitar circles, the artist didn't gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. His career retrospective, Against the Clock, came out in 2005.