Budget-Friendly Rock Machine for the Masses: The Manson META MBM-1 Premier Guitar Review

Muse's guitar leader's latest namesake model looks stripped-down, but offers many practical extras.

 
 

Ratings

Pros:
Nice price. Well-placed kill switch. Feels super sturdy.

Cons:
Pickups can feel midrange heavy.

Street:
$599

Cort Manson MBM-1 Matt Bellamy Signature
mansonguitarworks.com


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Take a cursory listen to a few of Muse’s biggest bangers and it’s easy to hear how Matt Bellamy has become a guitar hero to an entire generation. Those pulsing riffs and staccato textures made Muse arena-level huge, and led Bellamy to a partnership with Manson guitars and a line of signature models including the new META MBM-1, created in partnership with Cort.

The META MBM-1 is a sleek and sturdy rock machine. The basswood body and bolt-on Canadian hard maple neck feel snug and ready for the grind of a working life. A smartly situated kill switch is located on the upper bout (you often see kill switches tucked inconveniently among other controls). A sustainer is also available for an extra charge. The locking tuners—which worked spectacularly—are a very welcome and practical upgrade for a guitar in this price range. Meanwhile, the pickups are of Manson’s own design. They sound and feel hotter than a typical PAF-style humbucker, with more presence in the midrange and very punchy low-end output. But the pickups offer nice dynamic range for both clean tones and higher-gain fare. At just about $600, the MBM-1 is a streamlined, budget-friendly riff machine full of musical possibilities.

Test Gear: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV, Jackson Audio Broken Arrow, Wampler Paisley Drive


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