Me and my guitar: Tosin Abasi

Animals As Leaders' prog-metal colossus takes us for a tour around his stunning new Ibanez signature model prototype.

Shape

“This thing is really special to me because it’s a completely new body design that Ibanez was gracious enough to allow me to conceive. I have a number of ergonomically designed extended range guitars in my collection, and I wanted to incorporate some of those design concepts into a guitar of my own, designed with Ibanez – this is the result!”

Design

“Aesthetically, I found that a lot of the guitars I was attracted to have really intricate natural wood finishes, but from a design standpoint I really wanted to make something that looked modern. So, I started referencing things like German car design – like Audi and Porsche – and even things like Apple products. And that’s where I got the idea of doing a matt finish. It’s a monochrome colour, but has a matt [on the body], and polish on the bevels – just to give a contrast in the finish, but [still] have a unified colour.” 

Finish

“This is a one-off custom guitar, but the final guitar will probably be similar. Maybe not this colour… y’know, I wanted one for myself!”

Scale length

“One of the issues I find with eight- strings is scale length. The best solution I’ve found is a compound scale – basically fan-fretting the guitar. This means I have a shorter scale in the treble – retaining the tension of a six-string guitar – but it's longer in the bass strings, so they have the tension needed for clarity. It's great, because dimensionally the neck is shorter, but you still have the benefits of a longer scale.” 

Pickups

“I simplified my pickup configuration – these are prototype Seymour Duncans. The bridge is a moderate-output, mids-forward, articulate pickup, and the neck is a little bit brighter than most – but I wanted something that sounded closer to a single-coil sound. For a lot of the techniques I do, that sound just really translates. I’m really happy with these so far.”

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