Manson just made Matt Bellamy a bonkers LED-equipped violin bass

Matt Bellamy and custom Manson violin bass
(Image credit: Matt Bellamy/Instagram)

Matt Bellamy is synonymous with his extravagant custom Manson electric guitars, but now it seems the Muse frontman has secured his first bass guitar - and it’s more than a little wild.

As revealed on Bellamy’s Instagram, the custom four-string is based on the Hofner violin basses favored by Paul McCartney during The Beatles’ early years, but with a very Matt Bellamy makeover.

In keeping with the guitarist-turned-bassist’s space-age aesthetic, the bass boasts LED body binding and even a light-up headstock logo, leading Manson to dub it “one of the most fun (and challenging) builds we’ve recently undertaken!”

Aside from the jet-black finish and chrome pickguard, the bass is actually fairly faithful to the Hofner original, from the bridge to the control layout and even the pickups - at least visually. Knowing Manson, there will be a few tricks up its sonic sleeve...

Bellamy, who is now a majority shareholder in Manson, previewed the bass earlier this year in an all-encompassing interview with Guitar World.

“I’ve actually been developing a cool bass, which is based on the Hofner bass that Paul McCartney played,” he teased. “It’s obviously going to be a much more modern-looking and sounding version of that as well - I like the idea of expanding the bass range a little bit.

“Obviously, I’m a smaller bloke; when I play bass, I’m similar to Mike Kerr from Royal Blood in terms of the shorter-scale, more lead-type bass playing. In other words, bass playing where you’re playing lead riffs, not just bottom-end stuff. So I’m trying to develop a bass that has that kind of feel to it.”

The instrument is set to feature in the video for Reach Out I’ll Be There, the new single from Bellamy’s Beatles-inspired supergroup The Jaded Hearts Club, which lands on Friday.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.