Published 1 year ago on June 24, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Music Man Kaizen 6 Multi-Scale
MSRP: (UK) £4149 / (US) $3799

While it brandishes a new design, the Kaizen 6 is not a signature guitar. Rather, it’s a collaborative design between Tosin Abasi and Music Man. Shaped from alder, the original body design is contoured all the way around, leaving flat surfaces on the instrument. The body is loaded with two all-new pickups—a slanted mini-humbucker in the neck and a full-sized Custom HT heat-treated humbucker in the bridge—that deliver huge, tight tones. If you’re ready to experience something totally new, you’ll want to add the Kaizen 6 to your stable of guitars. Nick Jennison Reviews.

If you were to design an instrument purposely to strike fear into the hearts of guitarists like me, it’d probably look a lot like the Music Man Kaizen. Quite apart from its aggressively “80s-futuristic” looks (resembling a spaceship from an 80s movie, and probably one that the bad guys would fly), it’s a multi-scale guitar with unusual neck proportions, tuners you can’t see from the front and mysterious looking flat black pickups that defy easy classification.

It’s quite an intimidating instrument, but that makes sense when you consider that it’s been designed in collaboration with guitar “renaissance man” Tosin Abasi - a player whose list of terrifying bespoke techniques is as long as a typical Animals As Leaders song. A virtuoso as idiosyncratic as Abasi needs a guitar that can keep up, and the Kaizen is just that.

Imagine my surprise to find out that, despite multi-scale guitars being my kryptonite, the Kaizen 6 is actually really easy to adapt to. Within seconds, the ultra-thin “infinity radius” neck felt completely transparent in my hand and afforded a super low action without choking out on even the biggest bends. The 24.75” to 25.5” multi-scale is just right, in my opinion, with the benefits of extra tightness in the lows while still affording a loose bending feel in the high end, all without completely disrupting the player’s “muscle memory”. It’s a ludicrously playable instrument, even if multi-scale guitars aren’t your usual “thing”.

Tones come via a pair of Music Man HT pickups—a humbucker in the bridge for aggressive midrange attack and an offset mini humbucker in the neck position for full and sparkling cleans, which also doubles as a gorgeous bubbly lead voice. The middle position employs some wiring wizardry that’s somewhere between a tap and a split for a hollowed-out voice that’s ideal for slap and thump techniques, but also perfect for funk, ultra sparkly ambient cleans, and even country (although you might get some funny looks from the line dancers).

Multi-scale tremolos are notoriously hard to get right, but Music Man has nailed it here. It’s super smooth, offers a ton of travel and is solid as a rock when it comes to tuning stability, likely thanks in no small part to the Steinberger gearless locking tuners.

Available in both 6 and 7-string models, the Kaizen comes in the ever-present Apollo Black, along with three strictly limited colours for 2023 (Chalk, Mint and Indigo Blue). It’s a modern guitar for the modern guitarist, but if you’re hesitant about taking the leap into the wide-open world of multi-scale, don’t be. It’s a guitar that will work with you, not against you, and if you have the chops to take advantage of its features, you’ll be richly rewarded.

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