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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.

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, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.