Founding member of Cynic pushes the envelope in progressive metal

Paul Masvidal


Active in the prog/metal scene for over three decades, Paul Masvidal has continued to develop as a multi-faceted artist as a founding member of the highly acclaimed band Cynic as well as an independent producer with a strong international following. Musically versatile and eclectic, Paul draws from a myriad of musical influences and genres ranging from jazz to technical metal. This versatility and his deep knowledge of various musical forms have allowed Paul to continue to grow and prosper as a world-class guitarist, writer, and producer.

Starting out with the classical guitar at a young age, Paul soon moved on to jazz, rock, and metal and formed Cynic to meld his various musical influences into a unique and identifiable sound and style for the band. After the release of Cynic’s first album ‘Focus’ in 1993, Paul continued his development by studying at the Musicians Institute in LA and working on various musical projects during the 2000s. Cynic released a new album in 2008 titled ‘Traced in Air’ and went on tours that featured such heavyweight international acts like Opeth, Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Mastodon, and Between the Buried and Me, further cementing the band’s status in the prog/metal genre. Paul’s versatility as a guitarist, singer, composer, and producer is evident in the hard-driving song which again exhibits his eclecticism and keen ears for melody and song development.

A long-time fan and user of headless guitars, Paul was an early adopter of .strandberg* guitars and was an artist from 2013-2024. The working relationship grew and resulted in the USA Custom Shop Masvidalien based on the Varberg model in 2015 and an OS 6 Limited Edition Masvidalien based on the Boden in 2016. Continuing the collaboration even further, the ‘Masvidalien Cosmo’ was built to Paul’s specs, and the guitar was released to great fanfare in late 2017. Beyond that, the updated Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo was a testament to Paul’s design aesthetics with the unique fretboard inlay and the use of a single EMG™ 57 pickup and the versatile VMC active tone control to provide a stunning range of sounds from thick lead tones with fat mids to lush single-coil tones ideal for sparkling clean rhythm playing. The Poplar Burl veneer with a unique Black Burst finish on a Swamp Ash body with a quarter-inch Maple top prompted Paul to compare it to a deep starry night and name the guitar the ‘Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo’.

With Paul being a part of the .strandberg* family of artists for well over a decade, we are beyond proud to have forged our relationship together with him and to have learned and grown alongside each other over the past several years. We continue to wish him the absolute best on his ever-evolving creative path.

Minimalistic and otherworldly, a guitar that meets Paul Masvidal’s artistic vision

Boden Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo

Paul challenged us to come up with a guitar that sounded better than anything else he had played, and this goal was achieved by a single EMG 57 bridge pickup and an active EMG VMC tone control which provide a broad array of great sounds while retaining a minimalistic look that Paul sought.

The Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo features a chambered Swamp Ash body with a Maple top for a superbly balanced and punchy sound and an open pore Poplar Burl veneer top for a dramatic and unique finish, quartersawn Maple neck with Richlite fretboard accented with his trademark Masvidalien inlay across the fretboard. The new .strandberg* EGS Rev 7 hardware, new neck-heel and arm bevel carves, and Venture Gig Bag round out the updates which increase the instrument’s functionality, playing comfort, and overall value.

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"The Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo embodies Strandberg’s peer-to-peer approach to expanding and refining their instruments. The guitar is an expression of art itself."

Paul Masvidal on the new Masvidalien NX 6 Cosmo