tosin abasi

Abasi Concepts ēmi Series Guitars Demos | NAMM 2022

Watch Tosin Abasi shred through the highlights of a trio of new models.

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One of the band’s signature approaches is the bass-technique-like “thumping” employed by both guitarists. Here, Abasi puts his thumb to work on his Ibanez prototype. Photo by Joe Russo

Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes reveal how, for the first time, they bypassed outside producers and collaborators to write, track, and mix their new album as a band.

Animals as Leaders has had a massive impact on modern electric guitar. The 8-string instruments the band use for their mind-bending fretboard acrobatics are now commonly found in stores around the world, their use of Fractal Audio’s Axe-Fx units helped propel the company’s products to international recognition, and their heavy electronic-music influence made it okay for bands to add considerable non-guitar elements to their guitar-based live performances. For proof of the band’s influence, start an Animals as Leaders Pandora channel and listen to a steady stream of like-minded artists that would have never achieved recognition without this trio from Washington D.C. come pouring from your speakers.

Animals as Leaders had their genesis in what was supposed to be lead guitarist Tosin Abasi’s solo album. Initially the outing was intended to have more electronic-based production, but with the help of Abasi’s friend, producer, and Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor, the album Animals as Leaders took on the heavier and more guitar-based character we know today. When it came time to put his band together, Abasi reached out to Javier Reyes, his former bandmate from the D.C. area, and the 8-string guitar-playing core of Animals as Leaders was set.

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Take an in-depth look at the shred-tastic gear used by Vai, Malmsteen, Bettencourt, Wylde, and Abasi.

Generation Axe, the shred supergroup spawned from Steve Vai, toured coast to coast this year. At the Nashville stop, PG caught up with Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi for a candid look at the guitars, amps, and pedals they take on the road. Photo by Igor Vidyashev/Atlas Icons