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NAMM 2022: Tosin Abasi and Ernie Ball Music Man collaborate on Kaizen seven-string guitar

 GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: all the latest gear from NAMM and beyond

NAMM 2022: Tosin Abasi has proved he's not just a maverick guitarist, but guitar designer too. While we love the classic guitar shapes, we've really enjoyed the sense of innovation and evolution Tosin brings to his Abasi Concepts electric guitars. The last few years have seen him reach new heights in the field, but now he's chosen to collaborate with Ernie Ball Music Man on a new seven-string guitar; Kaizen. 

Ernie Ball Music Man

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man / Norman Posselt / Getty)

The name is the Japanese word for continuous change or improvement over time and this desire to innovate has crossed over with Tosin Abasi's admiration for Music Man's history.

"I chose to collaborate with Music Man because I've been a fan  of their guitars and their artists for a while," explains Tosin. "Just a love of quality that was really attractive, especially paired with the use of innovation and technology."

Tosin's aim with Kaizen was to create a guitar he felt was missing from the Music Man catalogue; his dream Music Man instrument. But he also wanted to balance this dream with a desire to design a guitar that could become a 'workhorse' for other players. 

The offset double-cutaway body design here is certainly unlike anything we've seen from Music Man before, but the real headline news here is this is a seven-string multi-scale guitar with a tremolo system.  A rarity indeed.

This multi-scale trem is a Music Man design with spring dampeners to help alleviate unwanted overtones and ringing sound. 

The 24.75” to 25.5” Infinity Radius Neck offers e to E multi-scale design provides affirmative string tension for 'thick and chunky rhythms on the bass strings, with a traditional feel on the treble strings for smooth bends and solos.' But the neck goes further.

"The fingerboard is actually wedge-shaped," adds Tosin of the 'ultra lightweight' guitar that has no flat surfaces anywhere on it. "So the fingerboard is actually a bit thicker on the treble side than it is on the bass side. You get this minor little tilt towards your vision field. So there's a lot of little details like that.  

Steinberger Gearless locking tuner help reduce weight while retaining smoothness, while a custom version of Music Man's new Heat Treated humbucker furthers the innovation, paired with a slanted mini humbucker in the neck that's also designed specifically for the guitar. 

The Kaizen will be offered in 'multiple finishes' with an alder body, roasted maple neck, and ebony fingerboard. The seven-string version will be available this winter with a six-string model to follow in 2023. 

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Rob Laing
Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.