About Niko Tsonev
Tsonev's guitar style is best described as a fusion of jazz, blues and rock covering a wide variety of playing techniques like the use of natural and artificial harmonics, wide interval arpeggios, whammy bar string bending, chordal two-hand tapping and creative use of effects.
Niko Tsonev is a Bulgarian-born virtuoso guitarist living in London, England. Starting music on the accordion at the age of four, Tsonev moved on to playing the guitar several years later. In his early teens, he started taking guitar and music theory lessons after becoming serious about making music. After relocating to London in 1996, Tsonev studied Music Production at Lewisham College and joined a musician session agency.
Tsonev has since continued to perform and record for artists and producers from very diverse stylistic backgrounds (Steven Wilson, JJ Grey, Youth, Digitonal, Aquilina and FabGrease Quentin), encompassing progressive rock, instrumental jazz fusion and blues through to urban and world music. His stylistic flexibility is showcased in his solo work and guitar playing style as well as his work as a film and TV composer.
The song Venetian Poison from Tsoney's solo album, Nix Hydra, was released as a video, which lead to Niko being recommended to Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree. In early 2012, this lead to Niko Tsonev being invited to join the Steven Wilson Band.
This is how Niko describes his long relationship with TC Electronic…
I'm at the cross point of where my session work helps my solo career as a guitarist releasing music that pushes the palette of the guitar genre. And I strive to do so at a higher level, to grow artistically as well as musically, to do things with the guitar which haven't been done and focus on song writing depth and substance as much as on chops and technique, etc.
To be fair, my efforts as a solo guitar artist open more doors for great session gigs and I love doing it - keeps you on the edge - all these situations requiring musical stamina as well as great social skills. It's the best way to get better!
In terms of gear, I have used a lot of TC products over the years such as the M2000, M3000 and FireworX processors, but now I mainly use the G-System, both for effects, but also as an amp channel controller.
I still have to use different guitar rigs, though - they vary with the different gigs I do. Of course, everyone knows the G-System and the beauty there is in the consistency of the sounds. Your peripheral sounds-modulation/verbs/echos are there for you no matter what the amp is. And they are of top notch studio grade quality. So, in a scenario of having to deliver different type of overdriven sounds for different genres, I can easily patch in a different gain box to compliment a different amp or suit the gig better. It's just enormously versatile.
Other than that, I use several compact pedals such as the PolyTune, Dark Matter, Corona chorus, FlashBack delay, Hall Of Fame reverb and Shaker vibrato, all mixed and matched for different gigs… and I use the TonePrint App, of course.
I can't describe how impressed I am with the TC line of stomp boxes! This format seems to never die - on the contrary! So if you are doing a small jazz or blues gig, you can bring a couple of stomp boxes, beam the most suitable TonePrints for tonight's material from your phone... Future-proof!