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Matt Bellamy on the cover of Blitz January


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The Secrets of Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy, figurehead from Muse, is probably the most appreciated rock guitarist of the century. Experts say it, the fans agree. But more than relive the area of his instrument, Bellamy is a student of guitar. MICHAEL LEONARD takes a look on the rare and unique custom guitars of Matt Bellamy, with detailed explanations of the musician and know-how Hugh Manson, who builds guitars for 30 years.


Matt Bellamy is a rare animal-a guitar hero in good faith in the 21st century. And the fifth album, The Resistance, Muse met a planetary scale, reaching the top of the charts in 19 countries. Similarly to The Edge, Matt Bellamy guitar focuses on a huge range of technologies and devices. Bombastic or brutal, it is certain that his technique results in revenue essential to the spectacle of the Muse. Drawing on his roots in Devon, southwest England, the musician featured the talents of Hugh Manson to develop their sound. Together we have designed some of the most unique guitars that will ever see.


Hugh Manson guitars built three decades ago. During leisure, is coach of legendary bassist John Paul Jones. His store retail in Exeter, was a kind of mecca for the young guitar Matthew Bellamy, from the coastal town of Teignmouth nearby. "Matt is Teignmouth, but came to Exeter to study," recalls Mason. "He started coming here many years ago bought us guitars, amplifiers and cables. He was always testing new equipment. People may not know, but his father was a musician. He played guitar in The Tornados, who were the first British band to reach the first turn in the United States of America, with "Telstar." So Matt has always had a history of music as a backdrop. Chris also began to visit us. We were attentive and they kept coming."


By coincidence, Muse played their first concert in the pub Manson just outside Exeter, and when the trio was signed to Maverick Records, Bellamy went to the manufacturer "The idea of having custom guitars was something that appealed to me since too early."


"When the Muse received an advance from the publisher," says Manson "Matthew came to the store and ordered a guitar. Well, We designed it together." And so was born a unique dialogue between guitarist, luthier, and technology.



The first custom guitar Manson Matthew Bellamy was the DeLorean, built in 2001. Named as a tribute to cart Back to the Future, the 1985 film, its original design 'ripped off' the Telecaster was coated aluminum and built into a circuit of effects: a Fuzz Factory Z-Vex, an MXR Phase 90's and a magnetic pickup pickup-GK-MIDI-second internal Roland.


Bellamy says that "always wanted a Fender type guitar but with the sound of a Gibson', so the two pickup coils (known as single pickup single coil or double coil) were a Seymour Duncan Hot P90 (arm) and a Kent Armstrong Motherbucker (bench).


"Matt told me exactly what I wanted," recalls Mason. "I made a drawing, we sat down and made some changes. I remember seeing him come and question me about changes in the position of the alternators. I always liked the design of the Fender Telecaster in general but lower cornet format. In my opinion, if you take the pickguard of a Telecaster, it is horrible. I think this is because we look at the line of the pickguard and not to the contour of the guitar itself. Then your mind tells you that the lower horn is smaller than it really is. So what I tried to do was draw something influenced by a Telecaster-still one of my guitars Tracks-but change the design of the horn less and give more access to frets more acutely."


The guitars with onboard effects are not new-model Gibson Les Paul's Recordings in 1970, turned out to be a commercial disaster. Still, the models for Bellamy Manson would take the concept to a higher level. 'Matthew wanted to control the effects with the own hands." Hugh says, "which makes sense. If you are playing with two hands, you can not download yourself and you change the effects parameters in the middle of the song. You can do it with feet, but it implies being at the foot of the pedal all the time. It's an old principle very simple indeed. A vibrato arm changes the sound of what you're playing but it is controlled by the hand, right? A vibrato can only change the tension of the strings and tuning: what Matthew wanted was to control a device with fuzz distortion from the guitar itself. Since the aluminum acabemento was interesting. When I finished assembling the whole scheme, I thought, 'My God, I'll have to polish it all and will be a nightmare. Was covered with marks of filaments and had a very rough aspect industrially atrocious. Was gathering energy to take her home, working on smoothing and polishing the guitar, but before I left for the Manson show [the staff of the store] was going to work. Incidentally, Matt finally appear on that day and asked, "why not peek at the development of work?" He looked at the guitar and said, "I love it!"


A guitar which is a wing of an airplane

In late 2001, Bellamy returned to more grandiose designs, Devon asked the builder to devise a guitar with the Digitech Whammy pedal built. "You can do it, Manson laughed, "because the current design of a Whammy pedal. But fortunately, the brand would eventually launch a pedal controlled via MIDI. He then had the idea to install the driver on the guitar, sending MIDI messages to the pedal. That little strip of MIDI (on the upper horn) belongs in fact to the synthesizer the Roland JP-800. But I think nobody had ever built a MIDI electric guitar until then. That's when the idea was born MIDI guitars, it was very exciting. "The guitar was dubbed the 007-a device that would make Q from James Bond very proud, and which also included a Sustainer pickup * sustains the sound of Fernandes, and circuits of a Fuzz Factory and a Wah Probe, both the Z Vex.


Another guitar with cracked mirror finish, Laser, was released in 2002 (and yes, have lasers embedded in the whole body), but Bellamy was quick to order a fourth instrument. For Bomber (2003), the leader of a Muse wanted acabemento smoother and brighter than the DeLorean.


Hugh Manson: "I did the chroming elsewhere. Chroming a guitar-called de facto "electro-metalizing"-is an extremely difficult and unreliable. Continue to build Bomber and like a week before the Muse drew on tour, this construction of the metal body came to a head. To be honest, when I saw it I thought it will never be a good guitar. Chrome is simply not enough. I took it home and thought, what is chrome? Well, basically it's aluminum Y. I thought the wing of an airplane! Then the wing of a poly B52 (U.S. bomber of World War II) in the body. Then I went to a scrap dealer and asked if they had some aluminum rivets. I returned with a sériedeles, probably dating from 1943-wing combat aircraft, I used to finish the body. "


Again, covered with metal guitars (or even with the metal body) are not totally new but the aesthetics desired by Bellamy also helped produce the sound of average he craved. Matt Bellamy: 'We have big Muse bass guitar, vigorous drums sections and the voice is up there. So we want the guitar to cut in average. If the guitar sounds have a large range of frequencies, may end up sinking into the mix, because the other instruments and voices are taken account of most of the frequencies in the bass, midrange and treble. Then try to make the guitar is not too fragile, have to be aggressive to break through the rest. "And covered with metal guitars help that, says Manson. 'The metal completely changes the sound. I would not say that the rot, but alters it. I can never say that there are bad sounds, just that there are different sounds. If anything covers aluminum, wins mean more, with a sound box. The Bomber sounds like that. It's more like the vocal range and is certainly a favorite of Matthew. "


Total Kaoss

In 2006, Bellamy and Manson continued to refine ideas for guitars over MIDI. The M1D1 sported a custom XY controller (touch screen that found in devices like the Kaoss Pad), built behind the easel M1D1 and offered even more options MIDI. Since then, the XY has been included in subsequent guitars Bellamy / Manson, as Red and Black Glitter MIDI. M1D1 The original also has a pair of Bare Knuckle BKP92s (P90s-single coil) at the bridge position and a Fernandes Sustainer in the neck. Bellamy admits he has not used the controller as it should. Do not serve me so much of the Kaoss Pad to apply effects on the tone of the guitar-although this remains a possibility. I tend to make him a synthesizer that can be applied independently to create an additional melodic part, as the first line in the chorus of "Invincible."


Still, Hugh Manson believes that a guitar these offers endless possibilities for any musician. "The pickup can you sustain that means essentially playing with one hand, the scale, leaving the othercontrol the the parameters of the XY display . And how is MIDI, you can control anything. Can you control your Logic, Cubase [software production sound] and all these parameters. You control the stage lighting, if you want. The controller, the X can be flanger, while Y can be distorted…as you like. And Matt is just scratching the surface of what is possible with a guitar MIDI".


The M1D1 was the basis for the first guitar available with the signing of Bellamy the Manson MB-1, 2009. The incorporation of the screen XY means that the rest of the guitar can be relatively simple, integrating the Sustainer Fernandes FSK-101 pickup (arm) and the humbucker Manson MBK 2 (on bench), a killswitch, but that's all. Basically, it's basically a tool designed fantastically. If you want to buy a Red Glitter MB-1, identical to the model recently used by Bellamy, cost him the 3599 pounds (almost 4,300 euros). Much money, truth, but the limited edition of 25 Manson in 2009 and another 25 in September 2010 already sold out. The manufacturer states that requests to buy a MB-1 'are in the thousands. "Expect news of another race for the signature of MB1-maybe an MB-2?-soon.


The models of signing Bellamy may be a quirk of rock star for most of us, but man Muse believes that its leading edge technology partnership with Hugh Manson was the key to finding your unique style. 'Although I did not feel comfortable with another guitar. When I picked up a Stratocaster, I just playing Hendrix riffs. Seems I'm not able to play anything other than blues riffs. Some guitars are so haunted by the bands that made them famous, it is very hard to catch some of these classics without the ghosts of the bands appear. If you want to do something unique, I think maybe you have to invent something."


To luthier Hugh Manson the challenge of building guitars so unusual is its non-monetary reward. "It is fantastic to have someone, Matt, who is not doing the usual Strat-through-the-Marshall. He thinks beyond. I can not understand why there are more guitarists to follow in his footsteps."

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5. The Keytar (2009)

Specifications: It is not a guitar but a MIDI keyboard in the shape of a guitar.


Hugh manson: "For the tour of 2010, Matt said he wanted an instrument with how to control MIDI guitar with his left hand and a keyboard with his right. He brought to mind the '80s, when a client who had lost a hand came up to me. It was a bassist. I never got to do it for them, but I'll explain how. This goes back to the time when the machines had wrote of solenoids [wire that traversed by an electric current, has properties of the magnet]. It was really fast, bang, you got a card. What I planned was to make a fretted electric bass isolated. Each fret each string were isolated. Porting, when you press a string against a fret, it activated the solenoid would pull the rope-a bit like a Harpsichord or Clavichord. Would have worked, but soon realized it would cost a huge amount of money to build and never happened. I never forgot the idea of having a positive charge there on the rope and a negative on the scale as a way to create a circuit. Therefore, while thinking how to run the request of Matt, I returned to this idea. We have blocks of metal between each fret, containing the other party. When the strings come in contact with the metal block, a post trigger MIDI. And that's how Matt came Keytar. The four strings are all in the arm and 8000Hz are not tuned to any note. They are just mechanical devices. But I came to this conclusion because Matt is the guitarist and since used his left hand, this was the way to do it. The black version was delivered the night's first concert tour. Matt was really brave and exceptional cool-for-use right there."

Songs: Undisclosed Desires


6. The Casinocaster (2009)

Specifications: Glass Acrylic on alder body. Back of the guitar and head in silver satin. The upper arm has no frets. Fernandes Sustainer FSK-401 [arm] and twin P90 pickups [bridge] to both arms.


Hugh Manson explains: "I drew it in a dressing room in Canada, was taking account of material from John Paul Jones on the world tour of the Crooked Them Vultures. Always drawn full size. The only "paper" appropriate in this concert was a huge cardboard box. So I took a marker, I made this drawing in the dressing room floor, I took a photo with the iPhone and sent it to store Manson. And Tim, who builds me, conceived of the doubleneck from that photo. I was really impressed with the way that Matt used it in concerts at Wembley in September. I was just playing with both arms simultaneously, instead of being there to look cool with a double-neck…no offense to those who use one! Matt was playing on the fretless neck and the other at the same time. As both have the Sustainer pickup, you can do it is like having a violin bow on permanently. "

Songs: Resistance, Uprising


Bellamy on Bellamy

In first person, the leader of the Muse explains how he got the guitar, which already has with her…and he still wants to do.


"It was the loss of freedom and that led me to play guitar, not to classical music. I went into this with the grunge and Jimi Hendrix. One of the things that I will always worship on the guitar is the fact that I could take to the realm of chaos, it is necessary to overcome the limitations and, accordingly, the Muse can easily extend to infinity. For me, designing a custom guitar was quite simple: it was a matter of making a guitar that gives the feeling of playing a Fender to sound like a Gibson. Being a singer, is great to activate effects without having to be stuck in front of the pedal all the time. I like to move and that was something that took me to the idea of incorporating effects on the guitars.


I predict that the guitar evolved as the technology continues to advance. Like me, many more people will find ways to incorporate technology in the format of the instrument. I think this is the way forward, because it allows the player to expand the diversity of sound, keeping the feel of the guitar when you're playing it on stage."




Jesus this was a long article… My hands hurt. Also, google translation lol. I skipped the part about the older guitars and the effects Matt uses because it's old news anyway… Well, most of this article is old, but whatever.

thanks for the scans, Filipa. :)

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The article screwed up re. the Glitteratis' date=' though: they clearly used a HAARP pic to illustrate their description of Glitterati 2 (AKA Son of Glitterati).[/quote']

They were talking about the Manson MB-1. So really they weren't even talking about either of the Glitteratis....

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