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This article was originally published in issue #56
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The pickups themselves are quite modern sounding, with crisp note definition and a very even frequency balance.
Classy tones that work in almost any musical setting
Effortless modern playability
For the price, not a whole lot
Manson passive single-coil Pickups
Fusing elements of from the past and present, Cort and Manson Guitar Works have joined forces once again, to design the stylish Classic TC. Billed as the perfect balance of playability and classic design, Nick Jennison explores this new model's versatile tonal range.
Every once in a while, you get reasonably priced guitar that just “has it”. The Cort/Manson Classic TC, it seems, is just such an instrument. During it’s short time at GI HQ we’ve all had a little go on it, and we all agree its a guitar that punches well above its weight. Honestly, I could quite easily end this review on that ringing endorsement, but that’s no fun. Let’s dig a little deeper.
British guitar designer Hugh Manson is perhaps best known for making guitars for Muse frontman Matt Bellamy. Initially conceived as a high-end UK-built instrument, Manson has spent the last few years working in collaboration with South Korean manufacturing giants Cort to produce instruments at a pretty remarkable price point.
Consisting of the Matt Bellamy signature, the sleek and aggressive M-Jet (reviewed by Sam Bell in GI issue 53) and the Classic TC, all the guitars in the range share the same Tele-inspired silhouette, but the Classic TC is certainly the most traditional of the bunch. From the two single coils to ashtray-style bridge to the trans butterscotch finish, it’s pretty clear where this guitar is taking its cues from. It’s far from a simple copy though. There are a number of simple but effective optimisations that make this guitar stand out from the crowd.
The contoured ash body is light without feeling insubstantial, balances well both sitting and standing and doesn't jab into your forearm and ribs like a traditional “slab” body style. The deeply cut lower horn allows for fantastic upper fret access. The neck is slim and fast, with a 12” fretboard radius and 22 medium jumbo frets for a refined, modern playing feel. The inclusion of a spoke wheel truss rod adjustment is particularly cool, making neck relief adjustments a breeze.
The two Manson-designed single coils are accessed by a three-way toggle switch, flanked by a master volume and tone control. Personally, I found the placement of the switch a little fiddly, but it does place the volume control within easy reach of your picking hand pinky for swells and quick adjustments. The pickups themselves are quite modern sounding, with crisp note definition and a very even frequency balance. The neck pickup, in particular, is very responsive to pick dynamics; play softly and it’s silly smooth; dig in, and you’re rewarded with an awesome metallic “clang”.
The spec is great, as is the design, but what really made me smile is how this guitar made me play. Whatever sound I dialled up, whatever I played, the guitar was right there with me. I felt like it had my back, which in turn inspired me to take my playing in all sorts of exciting directions. That’s a feeling that’s invaluable at any price point.