Manson Guitar Works MA-2T
From across the room, the Manson MA- 2T looks like a descendant of the Fender Telecaster. But get up close and you'll see the MA-2T is nothing of the sort: it's a radical new-breed electric, trick-or-treating in period costume.
Of course, any guitar bearing Hugh Manson's name is an iconoclastic challenge to the established order. Manson Guitars has never been shy - the British firm is most famous for building Matt Bellamy's super-spec'd MB-1 signature model.
Its stable is front-to-back maverick, with every traditional trope of guitar design countered by a modernist flourish.
"Manufactured in the Czech Republic, assembled in the UK - the result is a guitar that maintains Manson's custom shop cred, without the eye-watering price tag"
Unlike its one-off custom models, Manson's M series guitars are manufactured in the Czech Republic before being assembled, wired and set up in the UK. The result is a guitar that maintains Manson's near-mythic custom shop cred, but without the eye-watering price tag to match.
The MA-2T might have a sober aesthetic, but it's rigged for speed, rigged to rock - to shred, even. Sure, shred is not a polite phrase to use around grown-ups, but this is a quasi-shred guitar with impeccable table manners.
The MA-2T's neck has more to it than an off-the-shelf Jackson or Ibanez, but its soft V will accommodate the most ardent speedster and classicist alike. It has a Fender-ish 648mm (25.5-inch) scale, but a heft to it that makes it equally reminiscent of a Les Paul.
"A pair of Manson 'buckers, custom-wound by Bare Knuckle Pickups make the MA-2T truly sing"
A pair of Manson 'buckers, custom-wound by Bare Knuckle Pickups, have all the oomph needed to complement the solid alder body (which is contoured to be more ergonomically forgiving than a Tele), and make the MA-2T truly sing, with a wide-ranging voice that's somewhere between a Les Paul's thickness and a Tele's sharp, biting character - but it's an accent unrecognisable from its forebears of electric guitar design.
The MA-2T has plenty of character in its clean tones, and a real mean side when the gain is dialled in.
There's no such thing as a guitar to please all players - the floating vibrato will put off many, so too, to a lesser extent, will the minimalist fret markings. But in terms of sheer functionality and sound, the MA-2T is awesome.
It's not cheap, but then it is a serious guitar with a bespoke feel, and you get a lot for your money (including a gigbag). Manson believes in the guitar as a personal statement.
Bespoke feel. High quality build, finish and spec.
Pricey (but worth it!).
If you can dare to be different, you'll find the MA-2T a willing accomplice that speaks to reprobates and sophisticates alike.
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.
No. of Frets
Scale Length (Inches)
Country of Origin
3-way Pickup Selector Tone Volume
Left Handed Model Available
Scale Length (mm)
2x Manson MBK3 humbuckers
Guitar Body Material
Dry Black Satin (shown)