How Tim Henson, Plini and Cory Wong used their signature Neural DSP plugins to write one of the guitar instrumentals of the year

Neural DSP has assembled an all-star electric guitar trio comprising Tim Henson, Plini and Cory Wong for an original guitar instrumental titled Sunset.

Produced and performed by all three Neural DSP artists, Sunset marks the first time the six-string slingers have teamed up. The track, which debuted online last week, was was co-written with Oksami (Eric Gao). The music and guitar playing is incredible. But we'll get to that. 

Perhaps most notably, Sunset is truly a 21st-century collaboration, created virtually, the result of a remote collaboration from all involved, and with all three players using only their respective signature Archetype plugins.

It has all the ingredients for two-and-a-half minutes of sheer instrumental bliss, and that’s exactly what Sunset is. After getting the ball rolling with some three-way rhythmic interplay, Wong does what Wong does best and dials in some subtle funk via a blend of upper-string stabs, executed on the fretboard of his signature Fender Stratocaster.

A rapid free-fall down the top E string segues into some more fluid chordal interplay decorated by some classically Henson and Plini lead lines, with the latter then taking the reins for an Electric Sunrise-esque solo that showcases the sonic breadth of his Strandberg.

It’s Henson, then, who takes the headline slot, and rounds Sunset off in style via his trademark style of quasi-percussive rhythmic playing, which is littered with plenty of fretboard acrobatics for good measure.

According to Wong, Sunset started to come together after Henson had a loose sketch of the track on a demo and the main riff. Then they all took it to FaceTime and hashed it out.

“I remembered a beat I had written with Oksami that was a perfect match for all of our styles,” says Henson. “I played it for Plini and he heard ideas immediately. A couple of hours later he had sent me his parts for the song so I got to work on adding some of mine while Cory did his that week.”

“Since we all live in different parts of the world, we just decided to track our parts in our own studios,” Wong explained. “Plini and I both really dug the musical idea, so we chatted about how to build the form and who would be featured over which sections. Tim stitched it together and here we are.

“I'm a huge fan of both Plini and Tim, and it was really fun to work on this because it was a chance for each of us to not just showcase our Archetype plugins but to really put the spotlight on our three unique voices as musicians.”

Of course, the trio’s playing is propped up by some state-of-the-art engineering, with Wong describing his signature Archetype plugin set as “the centerpiece of my guitar tone in the studio and at home”.

Likewise, Plini considers his own plugin as his “go-to rig” and Henson reveals he started using it on his projects while his plugin suite was still in the developmental stage.

“I use it all the time,” he said. “It is all over my band Polyphia’s new album. I’ve also been using it for all of my production work on the side.”

Of the collab, Neural DSP Chief Marketing Officer Dan Davies commented, “Cory, Tim, and Plini are three of the people at the forefront of modern guitar, each in their own way. They each serve a very different niche, but they're all collaborating on a common platform – the Neural DSP Archetype. 

Sunset is a must-see for all of their individual fans, but it will also be a way to introduce each guitarist to the other’s fans. As many have said already, ‘it’s truly the collaboration I didn’t know I wanted or needed’.”

To celebrate track's release, all three signature Archetype plugins are currently discounted by 30 per cent, and available as a Sunset bundle. Sunset, the song, will be available on Spotify later in the year.

For more, head over to Neural DSP.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.