Andy Manson started building guitars in the London of the swinging sixties, and it wasn’t long before his younger brother, Hugh, joined him and started building by his side. The two finally parted ways in the eighties since Andy wanted to focus in acoustic and Hugh on electric. The latter started Manson’s Guitar Shop in 1992, and quickly got some serious attention from such high-class customers as John Paul Jones and Matt Bellamy.
25 years later, in 2017, the brand decided to launch a special series to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Those guitars were based on the Telecaster-influenced MA-EVO shape, featuring a gorgeous Holosparkle finish, a very special sparkle paint that can look very different based on the colors that are projected on it, which makes it ideal to catch the light on stage.
There were a few options that could make those Anniversary models extra-special, and this MA 25th has all you’d expect from a fully-equipped modern guitar, including the infamous Kaoss Pad (to control effects in real time), a Sustainiac neck pickup (for infinite sustain) and titanium hardware. The high-output alnico bridge humbucker was especially made by Psychopaf Pickups, who is also a brand from the UK.
If you’re feeling adventurous and are looking for a new musical path forward, you won’t find a better muse than this Manson.
Main guitar: Manson signature
Compulsory listening: Plug In Baby
Muse is the only massive band from the 21st century who propelled a true guitar hero to the front of the stage. And not only a vintage-style seventies guitar hero, but a true musician from the future who paved the way for a whole new generation. Matt Bellamy doesn’t play a Les Paul or a Strat, and even though his signature Mansons bear a passing resemblance to the Telecaster, they are very modern guitars with onboard Fuzz Factories and Kaoss Pads. Bellamy has a fluid playing, a highly personal style, and he knows how to summon fascinating synthetic sounds from his guitar, like a modern-day Hendrix would. To make things even better, he is also an amazing singer with a clear Buckley influence, and a pianist whose fingers run from key to key like a romantic virtuoso.
The “Muscle Museum” single from the first album by his power trio Muse, Showbiz, was already something of a cult classic back in 1999, but it is with Origin Of Symmetry in 2001 and its many singles (“Plug In Baby”, “New Born”, “Feeling Good”) that the band became the true British pop mastodon of the new millennium. The next three albums were positively huge, going straight to number one and selling multi-platinum amounts: Absolution (2003), Black Holes & Revelations (2006) and The Resistance (2009).
Twenty years after its debut, Muse is still touring around the world and selling out stadiums with a dazzling show that finds a way to leave room for the music.