Tosin Abasi declares John Petrucci the GOAT and gifts him an Abasi Concepts ēmi 8-string in a cult classic Picasso finish

Tosin Abasi and John Petrucci
(Image credit: Tosin Abasi / Instagram)

Tosin Abasi has given John Petrucci a “sick one-off” Abasi Concepts ēmi 8-string in a Picasso finish that references the Dream Theater guitarist’s now classic Ibanez JPM 100 signature guitar from the mid ‘90s. 

The JPM 100 was launched in 1995, and featured a choice of five different Picasso-inspired graphic finishes, and remained in production until 1999, whereupon Petrucci hooked up with Ernie Ball Music Man for what has been one of the most innovative artist/brand relationships in electric guitar history, with the Majesty and JP ranges epitomising state-of-the-art guitar design. 

Abasi is clearly cut from the same cloth, with his Abasi Concepts brand reimagining guitar ergonomics across six, seven and eight-string models. Furthermore, he too has joined the Ernie Ball Music Man roster, developing his similarly future-forward Kaizen signature model with the brand. 

With the epic Dreamsonic Tour coming to a close, he took the opportunity to pay tribute to Petrucci the player, and one of the most sought-after instruments in Ibanez’s back catalogue. You can find vintage models going for silly money on Reverb.

John Petrucci has always been a massive source of inspiration for us at Abasi Concepts, so we decided to pay homage to the GOAT by recreating one of his iconic guitar finishes from the past with this sick one-off ēmi 8 to commemorate Animals As Leaders finishing the Dreamsonic Tour with Dream Theater and Devin Townsend,” wrote Abasi on Instagram.

The Dreamsonic Tour was the prog metal guitar event of the 2023 so far, with Abasi and Townsend even going so far as to join Dream Theater onstage to perform The Spirit Carries On, with Abasi holding it down on his EBMM Kaizen and Townsend sharing vocals with DT’s James LaBrie. 

The ēmi 8 is a new model for Abasi concepts. Unveiled at NAMM 2022, it was made officially available earlier this week, offered in Black, Solarbeam Yellow, and Green Apple finishes, and has already sold out. Sorry, no Picasso. Remember, that was a one-off.

We don’t have the exact specs of Petrucci’s ēmi 8 but assuming it is the same as its siblings it will have a lightweight okoume body – that contouring and shape helps take some of the bulk out.

The neck is korina and the fingerboard is wenge. Roasted maple is available as a fretboard option. Necks have the “asymmetrical, subtle teardrop-shaped OVIFORM +” profile that is unique to Abasi Concepts.

It is by anyone’s lights an audacious design, and Abasi’s first double-cutaway model. It comes equipped with a set of HSS Fishman Fluence pickups and its 25.5” to 27.5” multi-scale design and 16” to 21.5” compound radius fingerboard will certainly lend it a cutting-edge feel.

Back in ’95, we could have said something similar about Petrucci’s JPM100. You can bet that still shreds, but it is fascinating to see how far state-of-the-art guitar design has evolved in that time. You can read more about the ēmi 8 at Abasi Concepts.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.