Manson META MBM-1 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


Sam Fender shares a moment with his saxophonist and childhood friend, Johnny "Blue Hat" Davis, at London's O2 Brixton Academy in September 2021.

Photo by Linda Brindley

The British songwriter traversed the bleak thoroughfares of his past while writing his autobiographical sophomore album, Seventeen Going Under—a tale of growing up down-and-out, set to an epic chorus of Jazzmasters and soaring sax.

British songwriter Sam Fender hails from North Shields, England, an industrial coastal port town near the North Sea, about eight miles northeast of Newcastle upon Tyne. Fender grew up in this small village, which he calls "a drinking town with a fishing problem." He lived there with his mother on a council estate, a type of British public housing. This is the mise-en-scène for Sam Fender's coming-of-age autobiographical new album, Seventeen Going Under. On the album's cover, a photograph shows Sam sitting on a brick stoop.

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