The partnership between Tosin Abasi and EBMM has already yielded some of the most forward-thinking specs we have seen on the electric guitar, with the Kaizen equipped with heat-treated humbucking pickups, Steinberger locking gearless tuners, not to mention an Infinity Radius neck (!) and a shape that is more 22nd century than 21st.
But the jaw-dropping new look for the Kaizen, posted by Abasi to Instagram, has to be one of the coolest finishes of all time.
This is no joke. Just how can we describe it? Well, picture the finish on Joe Satriani’s Ibanez JS3CR signature guitar, aka Chrome Boy, and just imagine what it might look in centuries to come, having been battered by UV light, temperature changes, acidity, humidity, saltwater, the apocalypse, and then you’ll have an idea.
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There is no further information on what this finish might be called, or when it will make an appearance with EBMM dealers worldwide (or indeed if this is going to be a Vault exclusive, one of those off-menu models that you have to order direct from Ernie Ball Music Man). But with one brief video from the EBMM paint room, and one still of – presumably – a prototype, strung up, finished and ready to go, we’re sold.
The hardware matches too, with EBMM using the same chrome multi-scale modern Music Man tremolo as seen on the Kaizen’s Radium and Honey Suckle models, with chrome pickup coverings, and chrome controls keeping everything… Well, chrome.
Though here’s a thought: what if this is just a prototype and that the complementary aesthetic of the hardware etc could also be aged to match?
We should note that this aged metal model (some commentators have likened it to a Robert Patrick-less T-1000) – appears in the Kaizen's six-string configuration, which has been the biggest update to the Kaizen since it debuted as a 7-string guitar at NAMM 2022.
It has, however, enjoyed some sweet colour refreshes. This metal refresh takes the Palm d’Or but we’ve still got a lot of love for the Kryptonite, which has a pleasingly retro ‘80s gaudiness to it that suggests it would be a similarly top-tier choice for progressive instrumental metal a la Abasi and his technically audacious cohort of 21st century players, and as a metal guitar for gnarly early ‘90s death metal, for which sharp contours and a high-performance build are preferable.
Ernie Ball Music Man’s 2024 has got off to a busy start. It has launched the third edition of its Joe Dart signature bass guitar, given John Petrucci’s Majesty signature guitar a suite of fresh finish options, and the long-awaited Rabea Massaad Sabre has been unveiled, boasting a number of player-friendly updated, including an arm contour, enhanced upper-fret access and a set of Massaad’s signature Bare Knuckle electric guitar pickups.
You can get more details of these new releases at Ernie Ball Music Man.