Guitarist Spotlight – TOSIN ABASI

Some guitarist go unrecognised, although Tosin Abasi from ‘Animals As Leaders’ as received his rightful place in the world of music as an Instrumental Progressive Metal artist, he is still largely unknown when you compare him to the likes of Page, Satriani, Vai, Hammett, and so on. Hit talent is at no end, and when you consider his mastery of his weapon of choice and “Self Taught”, he deserves to be spotlighted.

Only just touching the 30 year old mark, Tosin has already had a vary varied career. First joining up with PSI, producing his first album Virus in 2001, although this record is very difficult to find and I have only found a handful of singles from this album, his skill in these singles is very apparent.

2004 was his second album he recorded with Band Reflux, Illusion of Democracy. During a show in 2005, Prosthetic Records recognised his talent and offered ha record deal as a solo artist, Tosin refused on the grounds “I don’t feel comfortable enough to be able to write my own records”. Tosin went on to enrol at the Atlanta Institute of Music in late late 2005 to study Jazz and classical guitar, graduating after a 2 year course. At which time he contacted Prosthetic Records to review his offer as a solo artist. Tosin the Started his Solo Project Animals as leaders and started to write and record in mid 2008, releasing his first, self named album in 2009. he went on to write a digital single, Waves of Babies for his new sponsor EMG, to show off their 808 active pick ups.

Weightless was released in 2011 as his second solo project album, and now in 2012 with a full band ‘T.R.A.M’ with a mixture of artists from varied bands have written an album called Lingua Franca.

The equipment Tosin uses is quite varied but his guitars have the same ‘main’ feature. Almost exclusively using his Custom Ibanez RG Prestige RG2228, an 8 string monster with a Baritone 27” scale, is his new Weapon of choice, 5 piece Maple & Wenge neck, Jumbo frets and featuring EMG’s mighty 808 active pick-up’s, with minimal controls consisting of one volume, one tone and a simple 3 way switch.

Combine this with Fractal Audio Pre-amps and FX, Orange Amplification and various other effects produces Tosin’s Very unique sound. Mixing highly distorted riffs almost like some brutal death metal bands out there while very clean tones and lead overlap this to create something very special.

Tosin’s playing style is very unique, originally a metal player, playing heavy, deep metal riffs but has somehow incorporated Jazz and Classical styles into his riffs but more apparent in his leads. The only other two guitarist to really compare him to would be Yngwie Malmsteen and John Petrucci. Malmsteen was taught originally as a classical guitarist, and some elements of that can be recognised in Abasi’s playing and Petrucci from Dream Theatre, is world renowned for his progressive and complex song writing styles, again most noticeable in most of Tosin’s songs. But even then, with the added range of the 7th and 8th strings on his Baritone scaled guitar, Tosin just had to go one step further, intertwining so many different elements and styles into his playing, he truly is, or rather should be world recognised as one of the top players in the world. Easily in the top ten in my book and I urge anyone to go out and buy his albums.


Sources:, interview, Animals as leaders Myspace, Prosthetic Records and Wikipedia

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