NAMM 2022: Ernie Ball Music Man kicks off new partnership with Tosin Abasi with the Kaizen seven-string
The guitar virtuoso unveils the first of his two upcoming new models.
Image: Ernie Ball/YouTube
Aptly named Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning continuous improvement over time, this new collaboration between Music Man and Abasi (who also has his own guitar brand, Abasi Concepts), seeks to bring a new element of innovation into the guitar world.
The latest seven-string model can be seen for the first time in a new YouTube video as the musician provides a first-hand description of the thought process behind the design.
Consisting of an alder body, roasted maple neck and ebony fingerboard, Kaizen will soon be available in a range of multiple finishes, with a six-string edition also set to be launched in 2023.
In the video, Abasi describes the emphasis he places on the multi-scale model, stating that the design provides both affirmative string tension on the bass strings, while simultaneously delivering a traditional feel on the treble strings – ideal for achieving those smooth, effortless bends.
An Infinity Radius Neck and “decidedly contoured” body are included for both comfort and increased visibility of the fretboard, meanwhile, the lesser-seen multi-scale tremolo comes with spring dampeners to help eliminate those unwanted overtones.
“I’m inspired by pushing the design of this instrument further. I think this was an opportunity to do that and it doesn’t take away from anything, it just simply adds to the tools available to guitar players,” Abasi states in the promotional video. “It was just cool to be part of that as like a purely creative pursuit and […] for providing you guys with one more option that maybe didn’t exist before. It’s in the spirit of abundance as opposed to scarcity that we felt like this makes sense.”
The Kaizen also comes donning the new Music Man pickups. Here, a custom heat-treated (HT) humbucker is featured in the bridge position, while a slanted mini-humbucker is housed in the neck position – a design which has been tailored specifically for the new model.
“Whether it’s in fashion or whatever the case is, you’ve seen these collaborations [before]. But it’s a new thing in the guitar space,” Abasi states. “I think that was also exciting too – just to be like, “I don’t think anyone would expect this” […] I think the end result really validates the pursuit.”
The seven-string edition of the Kaizen is available in multiple finishes, set to be released this holiday season. A six-string version of the new model will be launched next year.