Here I'm gonna mention a few points, which would tell the readers, why Aamir Zaki as supposed to be the best guitarist of not only Pakistan but the sub-continent as well.
1. Live Improvisation:
Zak's best and perhaps beloved skill of improvisation while playing live.
'Live improvisation' is not as easy as it sounds. One actually plays completely un-decided notes and the melody is created X-tempor while playing it infront of people.
There's nothing, one had already worked out or rehearsed before but it's just like creating a masterpiece right at the moment, when there are so many eyes staring at you with a lot of expectations to hear your magical hands running over the fretboard.
Now there's a great risk involved when you're infront of public. You can do mistakes, your mind could be diverted to some other thing and you could loose the concentration. Then, playing the notes of solos or a tune, which you've already rehearsed a million times, would always make it sound good to the public cuz you'd play it with perfection. That's the theory by which almost all the guitarist play their live music(when someone plays it live).
Hmm..! but that's not Zak's cup of tea.. :-) He believes in real live music. Music, inwhich he adds spice with the improvisation, while playing and creating it live. This is one the best skills, which makes him sound different everytime you listen to any of his particular tunes live..
Firstly, I'd like to mention the three basic types of guitar here, which are available in the world.
a. Acoustic guitars.
b. Electric guitars.
c. Bass guitars.
You've surely heard the tunes performed on Acoustic and Electric guitars from Zak and let me tell you that he's equally amazing with the Bass guitars.
Bass guitar is something, which is a bit different if we compare it with the other types of guitars. It has a longer neck and fretboard, larger frets, thicker strings, low tone and a complete different timing to play, as compared to the other types of guitars in a track.
You must have seen that there are usually two guitarists in a band... One with a smaller guitar in size while the other guitar player usually has a bigger guitar in his hands.. He's actually the guy with the Bass guitar and all the guitar based sounds or tones in a melody including the Bass, Leads and Ryhthms are completely different from each other.
One needs a different guitar tone, different playing and usually there are very few people who could play all the guitar based parts of a music including Bass, Leads as well as Rhythms.
Well! I have no doubt when I say, that Zak is even better than most of the local Regular bass players. A bass guitar usually has four strings and the five string bass is not even much common among the local bass players yet. It's difficult to play Bass guitar as I've mentioned above, that the strings are thick and adding more strings into a bass guitar even makes the neck thicker.
So it becomes really hard to handle such guitars with additional thick strings, thicker and longer necks and then playing these with perfection.
Aamir Zaki is probably the only player in Pakistan so far, who's ordered a Customized 6 String Bass Guitar and it's a real deal.. Hmm..! and this is porbably the first 6 string Bass guitar, a Pakistani musician owns..
Most of you might have seen this 6 string Bass is his recent videos.
Let me tell you that he's amazing with this 6 string bass guitar and it is quite evident in his recent tracks.
Heard 'Pepi's thought process'..??? :-) Check out this track if you're able to find it.. It's a Jazzy Bass Improvisation.. The music genre is probably D&B (Drums and Bass).
Now besides the bass playing, Zak has the ability to make just one intrument sounding as if there are a couple of players, playing Bass, Rhythm and Lead guitars all together, at the same time.. Check out his track 'Every person is a story' from his debut album called 'Signature'.
All three parts are played by him at the same time by using the right hand fingers and thumb.. and I bet, you'd have not heard the best use of fingers on acoustic guitar by any local guitarist before this.. :-)
3. Playing Guitars with Fingers and Thumb instead of only using a Plastic Pick:
So almost all the local guitarist (except a few players and basists), use these plastic picks to play guitars while Zak knows the perfect use of both, left hand over the neck and his right hand fingers and thumb to strike the guitar strings.
It's hard to control your fingers on strings cuz firstly the strings doesn't have much space between these and secondly it's really difficult to develope the power in your last two fingers, specially the little finger to strike the strings with accurate timing and force..
Well ! Only a true musician or guitar player could feel the pleasure and satisfaction in playing guitars with fingers and it surely adds much more 'Feel' to your playing cuz you have the authority to use multiple picks(four fingers and a thumb) at the same time to play lead, rhythm or bass.
4. Playing music in various Music Styles & Genres:
Is there a guitar player in Pakistan, who could claim to play or to compose his music in Various music styles..??? Not just two or three..
I don't think so... The most I've heard from the local guitar players in almost last two and a half decades is Pop, Rock, perhaps a little bit of Classical and a very little of a few more genres including Spanish rhythm based music and now we've also seen some good Metallers..
Aamir Zaki is the guy who's been playing and writing songs and instrumentals in various music genres. I'd say, he's the only man who's done music into the maximum music styles in Pakistan.
Be it a session for any other singers/bands or his own tracks, you could find the variation, experimentaion and improvisation with a great range of music styles..
Let me also mention that there are so many styles of music, which have there own limitations and rules. You can't play these perfectly unless and untill you have full theoritical knowledge of the particular genre.
Eastern Classical is one of these music genres where you have to be very carefull before playing music into it.
Just for instance, I'd like to mention a Raag in Eastern Classical called 'Maalcous'. It has five basic notes in total and it could be 6 notes if you play the same Raag in a form of Scale, cuz the first note is usually repeated.
Now you can try to improvise it by going from low to high notes or high to low notes randomnly.. whatever you like it but if you touch a single extra note, your tune would get out of the 'Maalcous'.
So there are restriction and improvising in such styles being live is something, which is not a kid's play..
Now in short, the styles of music, I've heard from Zaki are Rock, Pop, Hard Rock, Spanish, Classical, D&B, R&B, Jazz and Blues(which is the speciality of Zak), World music, Experimental Stuff, Fusions of two or more styles and then even Trance and there are many other genres and their sub-genres..
Nobody plays music in so many styles of music here and this surely is an ability of Zak only.
5. Jazz Musician:
This is hopefully gonna be my last point for now and I'm gonna keep it short.
Aamir Zaki is certainly the pioneer of Jazz Music and the only Jazz musician in Pakistan so far. It's useless to mention that he's been playing many International Jazz Festivals abroad cuz you all know it already..
The only thing that I'd like to mention here is that Jazz is one of the most difficult styles of music and not much people dare to play Jazz music.
Firstly it's difficult to play and secondly it's a complete non-commercial style in most of the countries so far.
6. Guitar Engineer:
Ok. So this is something, which is truely unique about Aamir Zaki and I'm sure there's no other Pakistani guitarist or musician who has ever done it yet.
Well ! Besides being a great guitar player, Aamir Zaki builds his own customized guitars at his place. He collects the parts of the guitar from different countries and then build these customized guitars, which are amazing as far as the look and tone is concerned.
Once again, it sounds very easy but it's a real tough job cuz a guitar has a lot of calculations involved in it. The distance between the frets, alignment of strings from bridge to the tuning pegs, intonation and action. There are a lot of things involved in it and an extremely good guitar could sound worst if it's not made perfectly with accuracy in everything.
There may be some who could handle the minor repairs, high action problem and intonation of their guitars but Zak makes the guitar body from the raw piece of wood and this is something, which is certainly unique about the greatest Pakistani guitarist Aamir Zaki.
This shows his knowledge about his instrument, the passion to play good music with the help of a perfect instrument and the love for the right instrument cuz his criteria is to achieve the perfection as far as the guitar tone and handling is concerned.
He has selected the toughest way to travel and the only fear I have is that the day is not too far when either we'd be missing him like Adnan Sami or we'd start praising him like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, after knowing the fact that some foriegn musicians have requested him to play with them...
I finish it here with a hope that it wasn't too boring and it has added a little more to everyone's knowldege about the guitar legend Aamir Zaki. :-)