Matt Bellamy is working on a new Manson Stratocaster-style guitar – and he’s already played it live with Muse

Matt Bellamy performs live with a Manson Stratocaster-style electric guitar
(Image credit: Erynn Halvorson/YouTube / Manson Guitar Works)

Manson Guitar Works has unveiled a new Stratocaster-inspired electric guitar design for Muse frontman and company owner Matt Bellamy.

The guitar was first spotted by fans during Muse’s debut Will of the People tour dates, which kicked off on February 25 in Chicago, and saw Bellamy employing the model for some delay-drenched clean lines on new track Verona.

In response to fan enquiries about the guitar, Manson Guitar Works has served up a sneak peek of its design, which updates the classic Strat format – albeit without venturing into full-blown Bellamy touchscreen territory.

The model sports a Strat-esque double-cut alder body, finished in Desert Sunburst with a custom blue mirror scratchplate, echoing the artwork of Muse’s 2022 album, Will of the People.

Inspect the rear of the body and you’ll note some additional sculpting around the neck heel for unencumbered access to the guitar’s roasted maple neck and rosewood fingerboard.

Elsewhere, there’s a set of custom pickups – neck and middle single coils, plus a stacked bridge hot rails unit – designed by the company’s in-house pickup guru Simon Thorn, while a Gotoh 510 vibrato bridge rounds off the spec.

Manson has said that a production run is a possibility, which would mark a departure for the UK builder, which has traditionally dealt in Tele-inspired guitars, most notably with Bellamy’s own signature models.

Bellamy himself has a history with Stratocasters: he owns one of Fender’s extremely rare Aloha Strats, which featured in the band’s landmark 2002 live release Hullabaloo.

The frontman has since gravitated away from Stratocasters when writing and performing, noting that the model’s heritage makes him assume a different state of play.

“The most important thing is that when you pick [a guitar] up, you feel like you are you; you’re not just trying to be someone else,” he told Guitar World in 2020.

“For me, that was a very real thing insomuch as, to this day, if I’m playing a Strat or whatever, I play the blues. The blues just starts coming out. I can’t stop playing the blues on a Strat!”

Now Manson has made his tweaks to Fender’s classic format, we’d wager Bellamy feels a little more at home.

Earlier this month, it was announced that legendary UK guitar store Mansons Guitar Shop, which Bellamy frequented as a teenager, is set to close after 31 years. Manson Guitar Works is unaffected by the closure and will continue to operate as normal.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, 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.