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Spotlight: Alex Manhire of The Beautiful Monument

The Beautiful Monument. Credit: Liam Davidson
(Image credit: Liam Davidson)

ALEX MANHIRE

HAILS FROM: Kaurna/Adelaide, SA
PLAYS IN: The Beautiful Monument
SOUNDS LIKE: Synth-soaked melodicore
LATEST DROP: I’m The Reaper (LP out now via Greyscale) 

What’s your current go-to guitar?
My current go-to guitar is a Fender Jim Root signature Telecaster. I love that it’s a traditional Telecaster shape but has a modern twist with active humbuckers. I bought it second-hand, it was one of those Facebook group finds and it’s been a real workhorse for me. It’s super straightforward, and sounds great for the style that The Beautiful Monument play, so... Can’t go wrong! 

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
The first reason I started playing guitar was because my friend had one when I was really young. He taught me ‘Smoke On The Water’ and I wanted one for myself. It wasn’t until later on, when I was in my teens, that I really picked it up. I was obsessed with Paramore – shocker, I know – and started teaching myself their songs by watching YouTube play-throughs. I still have the off-brand electric guitar I learnt everything on; it’s an obnoxious red Strat covered in band stickers and the stickers I’d pull off the albums I’d buy at JB Hi-Fi when I was like 16.

What inspires you as a player?
I think coming from more of a metal and hardcore background, I love a good groovy, heavy riff, and I love to add a bit of bounce to some of our “straighter” riffs when I play them live. I just try to play hard and with as much energy as possible live, but I’m a serial soft noodler when I’m just jamming. 

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I run a purely digital rig live now, but I am a sucker for pedals. I own very few now but I still have a note saved in my phone full of all the pedals I would love to own – I think the list is like 20 long. I know it’s probably super basic but I love a good delay pedal. I still rock the Strymon blueSky from time to time, and I’m still after a JAM Pedals Delay Llama that I will one day pull the pin on. 

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
A few years ago I was in a random music shop in Melbourne and I came across a run of Fenders that were made from reclaimed wood. There was a Jazzmaster that caught my eye. I even went back later that day and played it through my rig, and it was amazing, however it really didn’t suit the tones I use for The Beautiful Monument so I tried to make the “responsible” adult decision and didn’t purchase it... I think about that guitar all the time. 

What would your signature model look like?
It would probably be an offset shape, shell pink with a maple neck, alder body with just a humbucker, depending on when you catch me. I’m really digging the DiMarzio Crunch Labs, so maybe I’d put that in there – and an EverTune bridge. 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
That’s a tough one, but honestly after all of the COVID setbacks from the last few years, and being stuck in different states to each other, I honestly would take jamming with The Beautiful Monument’s other guitarist, Andy, and our bassist Amy. It’s a bit of a gooey response, but they are both very different guitarists and people that give me the most joy and inspiration when I play with them. 

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Ellie Robinson
Ellie Robinson

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…