Tim Henson once asked Tosin Abasi to teach him thump guitar

Henson was looking for new ways to challenge himself and expand his musical vocabulary.

Tim Henson and Tosin Abasi

Credit: @thew6rst / Instagram / Ethan Miller / Getty

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Tim Henson of Polyphia once offered Animals As Leaders mastermind Tosin Abasi  $1,000 for thump guitar lessons.

Henson was looking for new ways to challenge himself and expand his musical vocabulary, he told Reverb. “Every album I just try to level up my playing, and I was like, ‘Okay, well it’s probably time I learned thumping’ because I wanted to learn it eight years prior,” Henson shared.

“And I had tried. It was too hard. I said, ‘Fuck that!’ I had started hanging out with Tosin and I was like, ‘Well, I personally know Tosin now, so let me just ask him if he will teach me something. I offered him a thousand dollars for four guitar lessons and he said ‘sure’.”

Thump guitar is a technique that involves using the thumb to strike the strings in a percussive manner, creating complex rhythms and melodies. Abasi is widely regarded as the pioneer of this technique, which he showcases in Animals As Leaders’ material. “He showed it to me [in] the first lesson and it was so foreign and then he was like, ‘Okay, yeah, also, if you are not that well-versed in using your fingers try these classical pieces,” said Henson.

“And one was La Catedral. That was one of the pieces that I had to learn to kind of just get used to using these other fingers because, prior to that, we were just hybrid picking.”

Henson worked hard on his homework and eventually mastered the technique, incorporating it into his new songs, including Inferno and Euphoria from Polyphia’s latest LP, Remember That You Will Die.


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