Manson officially unveils ultra-limited factory run replica of Matt Bellamy’s Back to the Future-inspired DL-OR guitar

Manson DL-OR electric guitar
(Image credit: Adam Gasson/Future)

Last week, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy teamed up with Manson Guitar Works to tease the imminent arrival of a Back to the Future-themed signature guitar. Now, the pair have finally unveiled the electric guitar they had hinted at: a limited-edition replica of Bellamy’s DL-OR guitar.

Available in a regular or Relic aluminum finish, the DL-OR is based off one of the Devon-based brand’s most iconic instruments – Bellamy’s original Origin Re-issue axe that was built by luthier Hugh Manson and electronics mastermind Ron Joyce.

And when we say “limited edition”, we mean it. Only 24 regular DL-ORs were made, and only six DL-OR Relics were available for sale.

Unfortunately, in the short time since the guitars were announced, both the DL-OR and DL-OR Relic have sold out, with the latter selling out, according to Manson, “in thirty seconds”.

Bellamy’s original axe, which doubled as his first-ever Manson model, was wielded by the frontman on a number of live occasions from the launch of 2001's Origin of Symmetry onwards, and was the guitar he used to write the riff for Plug In Baby, inspired to its innovative appointments.

The guitar was stripped, studied and put under the microscope by builders at Manson Guitar Works HQ in a bid to design a fully faithful recreation of Bellamy’s flagship DL-OR, with the factory run iteration sharing a host of unique specs with the original.

First and foremost, the guitar’s eye-catching alder body comes fully clad in aluminum, and is paired with a soft V-profile birdseye maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. A matching aluminum headstock also makes the cut.

Other appointments include chrome-finished hardware, comprising a piezo-equipped GraphTech Ghost Resomax bridge and Gotoh GE101A tailpiece, as well as Custom and Gotoh Mini control knobs.

The real magic, however, happens under the hood. Two Manson-made pickups – the multi-rail Mother Superior bridge and the Deci-Bel 90 neck – are controlled by an ultra-versatile control layout that also boasts an onboard Z.Vex Fuzz Factory and MXR Phase 90.

Controlling the plethora of tones are six control knobs and four toggle switches. While the first two toggles serve as a pickup selector and kill switch, the final two mini-switches act as on/off controls for the MXR Phase 90 and Z.Vex Fuzz Factory.

The knob layout, meanwhile, comprises Volume, Piezo Volume, MXR Phase 90 Speed, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory Stab and Comp controls, as well as a push-pull “bucker-splitter” Tone control. Due to the smorgasbord of switching options, Manson’s declaration that this guitar is a “tone beast” is certainly justified.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Flipping the guitar over reveals even more controls – an internal sub-board control unit that, on the standard DL-OR, flashes Bass, Middle, Treble and AC Gain parameters. The Relic iteration takes things slightly further, and features additional Volume, Gain and Drive parameters.

The additional Fuzz Factory board, built to the same specification as the original DeLorean, was the result of a lengthy design process that involved sourcing original components and transistors that were in the correct gain range.

Luckily for both Manson and Z.Vex, long-serving employee Shoua Thao had – on Zack [Vex]’s orders – stored away some transistors when the original was made for the exact possibility a replica may be created in the future. These rare components were unearthed and used on the new-for-2021 axes.

Other Relic-specific specs include the same-gauge 6230 fret wire that was found on the original.

There were no official US prices for the already-sold-out guitars, though the DL-ORs sold for £9,999, while the DL-OR Relics each listed for £12,999.

If you still wish to find out more and marvel at the engineering ingenuity on display, head over to Manson

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.