Catching Up with Ali Tahir

Ali Tahir is one of the best and brightest guitar talents who is ripping up the rule book, exploring new genres – and proving once and for all that the guitar’s not dead in Pakistan. Based in Islamabad, Ali Tahir is a force of nature. Slightly hunched over his Jackson, eyes closed, oblivious to all but the music in his head, he would unleash whirlwinds of melodies, licks, riffs, and single-note lines—often within the same solo section.

Ali Tahir is a Pakistani musician and guitar player and plays for the popular singer Abdullah Qureshi.
Picture credits: Eclipse Productions

When he gets going on stage, it is a mesmerising sight that can easily astound and thrill the audience. His riffs are always on fire and even the main man Abdullah Qureshi bows down at times in acknowledgement.

Only Abdullah can confirm if this was the case here or not; but it is certain that Tahir's wit is on another level just like his talent.

It was fun to sit down with this star from the guitar universe for an interview. Here's Ali Tahir talking about his musical journey, future plans, and so much more. 

Please tell us about your musical journey. How did it all start?

Honestly, I’ve been a nerd for learning to play guitar for as long as I can remember. Add that with a crazy group of childhood friends who were equally passionate about music; a recipe for destruction for our parents, but we were convinced that we were up to something meaningful. Some of those friends I’m still blessed to play in a lineup with.

What was the first guitar you owned?

It was a black Kaypok we had at our house about 15 years ago. My cousin owned it but I have fond memories of it.

Any unusual tunings you love to use.

Not really. I’m pretty much a standard tuning guy.

Marketing manager during the day and a rock star at night, how do you maintain the balance between your job and your passion?

With proper time management, it’s all very possible. Along with a full-time job and a music career, I’m also juggling between being a family guy and a fitness freak.

How did you join Abdullah Qureshi?

Abdullah and I have been friends for a very long time, we’ve even played in several underground bands together during our teenage. But about 6 years ago, I bought a PRS guitar which I was super excited about. He sensed my excitement and was kind enough to offer me to give it a test run at his show in Sialkot. Since that day, our band has built a force on stage that will live with me for the rest of my life.

Ali Tahir is a Pakistani musician and guitar player and plays for the popular singer Abdullah Qureshi.

Can you name your 3 musical inspirations from Pakistan?

Amir Zaki, Meekal Hasan, Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan aka Zulfi bhai.

Asad Ahmed, Amir Zaki, Salman Ahmed, or Faraz Anwar. Who would you choose and why?

Amir Zaki tops the list easily. An example of how expressive art can be. Forever grateful for masterpieces that inspire me to become a better musician every day.

Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating music?

It changes over time but these days I’m really inspired by the INSANE amount of hidden music that is out there. The type of music you’re consuming reflects in our expression of playing without us even noticing.

Picture credits: Eclipse Productions

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Practice Practice Practice

Your covers on Instagram are very beautiful. Have you ever thought of taking the singing role seriously?

Thank you! Maybe one day, if I keep getting this positive feedback.

If a panel of top guitarists in the world were to listen to your finest solo and sit in judgement, would you make a bet that they would find your style to be equal to or better than any guitar player in the world?

It’d be shitting my pants only knowing they’re sitting listening to my music.

With whom would you like to play with once in your life before hanging up your boots?

What makes you think I would ever “hang” my boots?

Tips you’d like to share with new guitar players.

Listen to a variety of music genres that are out there, don’t limit yourself to one style of music. It’s important to broaden the exposure you have of music from different parts of the world and it’ll reflect in your music as well.

What’s the best part of playing live?

The adrenaline. There’s so much power and synergy when you’re on stage with your favourite lineup. Love it!

Ali Tahir is a Pakistani musician and guitar player and plays for the popular singer Abdullah Qureshi.

What’s your most embarrassing moment on stage? 

Oh God! It was about 13 years ago I think but the thought of it still gets to me, my first show for a big audience at PNCA. I was playing with my band called Zynk and my low E string broke. Now the guitar I was playing was with a floating bridge, so a string breaking meant, the guitar completely going out of tune. I didn’t know this then so I kept playing. Lol. The more I tried to fix things, the worst it got.

Please give a small message to your fans.

Keep supporting, guys. It’s your energy that keeps us going.


  1. Ali Tahir is not only a Guitarist but also a Good Drummer ... He is all in one package for Music ... Love Him.


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