Matthew Bellamy is one of the very few guitar heroes of the 21st century, a man capable of wrangling Fuzz Factory and Kaoss Pad-mistreated sounds out of his instrument in front of sold-out stadiums worldwide. The Muse guitarist has been very faithful to British guitar-maker Manson, who has helped him come up with the ultimate modern Telecaster with built-in effects. That peculiar design has evolved into a full-blown signature model which has turned into many different iterations.
The DR-1 came out in 2016 when Muse released Drones, a concept-album based on a military plot. The DR-1 was designed during the recording of the album to match that theme, with a military olive green finish and a serial number written as a drone number in bold capital black letters on the face of the guitar. This is drone 35, and it comes fully equipped with a neck Sustainiac pickup to get the infinite sustain this system is famous for, even on full chords.
The rest of the specs are a little unusual compared with what Bellamy tends to go for: the body is swamp ash instead of alder, making it lighter and brighter, and the fretboard is ebony instead of rosewood.
Bellamy played Drones number 1 and 2 on the huge Drones World Tour, and he also signed the certificates that came with those beautiful instruments. If the DR-1 is good enough for him, it should keep you inspired for a while.
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.