What You Can Learn From These 4 Prog Rock Guitarists


Out of all the rock subgenres that exist, progressive rock continues to be one of the most innovative. Identified largely by its classical influences such as lengthy compositions and the use of keyboards, Recording History explains how this popular subgenre emerged in the 1960s as an experimental combination blending together rock, classical, and jazz music. It often ventures into new combinations, as prog instrumentalists are well aware of.

Due to the nature of the genre, it continues to push boundaries, techniques and characteristics. So, here’s what you can learn from these four prog-rock guitarists:

Continue to innovate and experiment – Tosin Abasi

Tosin Abasi is from Animals as Leadersn and is known for playing a myriad of notes that seem to reach into what is impossible, both in terms of technique and composition. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Abasi discusses his playing style using new techniques. For one, he outlines how slapping on a Fender Stratocaster produces an inherent percussive sound.

This led him to create his own brand of guitars focused on creating single-coil sounds without the noise, while keeping a futuristic approach. This prompted him to leave his band Ibanez, as he looked to continue innovating and experimenting with new sounds on a classic instrument. In the future, Abasi hopes he can continue to evolve his playing style and break down more barriers in the process.

Set yourself apart – Luke Machin

Luke Machin is as versatile as prog-rock guitarists go. His upcoming album with band Tangent uses a fusion of prog-rock, jazz, punk, and electronica, which is considered their signature sound. His other groups have incorporated jazz, metal, indie, and pop to compose tracks atypical from what you would expect from these genres. According to him, metal brings an energy that doesn’t come with other genres, making the progressive elements come to life with other musical elements that set one’s music apart.

Develop your personal sound and style – Steve Hillage

Being part of Khan, Gong, and System 7 has given Steve Hillage plenty of experience with various sounds in the progressive rock scene. His first electric guitar was a Watkins Rapier, which he got when he was about 12-years-old. After that, he finally managed to get a Fender Stratocaster, his first pro guitar. Fender Stratocasters may be some of the most prolific guitars in progressive rock. In fact, it’s one of the most popular electric guitars on Adorama, with limited edition ones being highly sought after, such as the Fender Player Telecaster Electric Guitar in Polar White.

Most thin line Telecasters are semi-hollow bodied, which gives them enough resonance without producing too much feedback. Getting such an iconic guitar for himself was the first step for Hillage to develop his professional and signature style. This is what kickstarted him to get into tape echo and experimenting on echo box sizes, gradually refining his personal sound.

Record yourself – Misha Mansoor

Periphery’s Misha Mansoor understands the value of recording oneself to become a better musician. Analyzing yourself forces you to be more critical and become a much more effective player by seeing what you do well and where things go wrong. It’s best to invest in tools that will help you record easily no matter where you are.

For instance, the iZotope Inc. Spire Studio kit featured on Rolling Stone has a built-in mic with additional inputs for guitar and bass, allowing you to mix up to eight tracks at once with effects like reverb and delays. Hearing and seeing your technique can help you become a better musician. Mansoor advises that if you’re serious about this endeavor, it is key to record, record, and record again if you want to get better.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: