Nick Jennison reviews the MBM-2P. The latest expansion to the brilliant Matthew Bellamy signature range by Manson Guitar Works and global manufacturer Cort, introducing Manson's renowned quality and design at an affordable price point whilst retaining the shape, features and details that feature on the company's headline products.
It's not a stretch to say that Manson Guitar Works is probably best known for their long-standing association with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy. It's a match made in heaven, with Bellamy's mad scientist approach to music mirrored in Manson's forward-thinking designs. That said, these high-end UK-made instruments are out of reach for many players, which is where Cort come in.
When I opened the box containing the MBM-2P this morning, I was struck with a sense of "deja vu". Observant readers will probably notice that this guitar is very similar to the MBM-1 guitar I've reviewed in a previous edition of Guitar Interactive. It is, sure, but the devil is in the details.
The MBM-2P sports an updated body carve that's much closer to Bellamy's high-end Manson models. It's been a while since I played the MBM-1, but this new model is very comfortable indeed - more so than I remember the previous model being. It also comes with a newly designed neck P90 that's more evocative of Muse's early work on Origin Of Symmetry and Showbiz. It also matches the ludicrously powerful bridge humbucker much better.
Other features include staggered locking tuners that not only improve tuning stability but also speed up string changes; a fairly meaty neck with soft V profile and a 12" -16" compound radius fretboard and 22 jumbo frets; a very sturdy bridge and tailpiece that can easily be adjusted with the thumbscrew bridge posts; a master volume, master tone, three way toggle and a "kill button" for stutter effects. It's simple, rugged and brutally effective.
Tonally, the pickups are hot, thick and very aggressive, but not in a "modern metal" sense. They're less "scalpel" and more "sledgehammer" which is exactly what you want when you're running through the walls of sputtery fuzz that Bellamy favours. That said, the neck P90 is capable of some really beautiful piano-like clean tones that were not available in the MBM-1 that I tried, and it's also superb for full, rich slide tones.
The MBM-2P is a notable upgrade from the MBM-1, both tonally and in terms of playing comfort. It looks fabulous in the dry satin black on this model, but if you want a little more "Showbiz" you can always get one in Starlight Silver. It's a rugged, beautiful and powerful instrument that's a ton of fun to play - and it's pretty affordable too!
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