Even a year ago, Tosin Abasi’s name was largely known only to connoisseurs of the cutting-edge. Now his impressive skills – notably on eight string guitar – have propelled him to something approaching stardom. Tom Quayle meets Tosin for a GI interview, while Levi Clay profiles one of the key players helping make an ‘extended guitar’ today’s hottest property. And if you really want to get to grips with the Abasi magic, check out our exclusive eight string Tech Session with GI newcomer, Sam Bell in this issue!
Just when it looked like all we had to look forward to was an endless succession of re-hashed Blues, Punk or ‘80s ‘big hair’ stadium Rock, along comes something really quite different. Not necessarily just ‘extended guitar’ (seven or eight string), as even with the rise of these instruments in recent years, for the most part it seemed like they were being used to play the guitar parts we’ve heard for years – just in lower keys. Then along came Tosin Abasi.
Born in Washington DC in 1983, Abasi was first given a guitar at around the age of 12 and very quickly leaned towards seven and eventually eight string instruments. It seemed that his goal was always to create, “The extended range guitar can offer a lot of possibilities for composition,” he says and because of his largely self taught path (aside from a short stint at the Atlanta Institute of Music), his playing was always unconventional.