Matt Bellamy has an Arturia Prophet V synth built into his guitar, courtesy of Fishman and Mind Music Labs

Matt Bellamy

Best of 2019: Muse frontman, Matt Bellamy, is not averse to playing tech-stuffed guitars. For the band's sold-out Simulation Theory tour, the guitarist had a specific request when performing The Dark Side; to play the Arturia Prophet V plugin synth without relying on a computer.

“When Matt told me he absolutely wanted to use the Prophet V softsynth live on tour” said Muse guitar tech Chris Whitemyer, ”but still be able to move around the stage without any restrictions, I knew we had to find a new kind of solution that would take the computer out of the picture.”

Whitemyer needed to find a solution and aware of the Swedish company Mind Music Labs’ work with its ELK MusicOS, arranged a meeting at the NAMM 2019 show.

Matt Bellamy

In just a few weeks, the three brands; Arturia, Fishman and Mind Music Labs had kitted out a brand new custom Manson guitar, just in time for the start of the tour.

Mind Music Labs CEO Michele Benincaso commented “Getting three different companies to join forces on a special project like this does not happen very often, so this was truly special. 

“To go from the first meeting at NAMM to a functioning system in just weeks was a mind-blowing achievement. It required the special expertise and focused efforts of all three companies to pull it off, I can still hardly believe we did.”

Manson Guitars, Fishman TriplePlay, Mind Music Labs ELK MusicOS

The result is a guitar loaded with a bespoke Fishman TriplePlay and ELK MusicOS system that can run the Arturia Prophet V with extremely low latency. The system allows Matt to play the same preset that was used in the recording of the track The Dark Side, live.

What’s also remarkable about the story is that Matt wasn’t informed of the new guitar, just in case the project never came to fruition.

“When all the guys got together to build this, we didn't tell Matt that a new guitar was going to be built or maybe not built.” adds Chris. “I just gave it to him for the first show and told him he could walk as far as he wanted on stage. He just said ‘Oh, Cool!’”

“I had no doubt in my mind it would work and it performed flawlessly. When I first got the guitar one week before the first show I tested it very thoroughly, leaving it on for four hours, turning it off and on fifty or more times, and jumping up and down with it and bouncing it off a mattress. It passed all the tests. The guitar is rock solid! Matt and I couldn’t be happier. It does everything I hoped it would and it’s on stage every night”

Manson Guitars, Fishman TriplePlay, Mind Music Labs ELK MusicOS

Muse’s Simulation Theory World Tour is now on in the UK, having finished its U.S. leg and will continue through Europe for the rest of the summer, finishing up in Central and South America in the Autumn.

You can find out more about the ELK MusicOS on the Music Mind Labs site, Prophet V on Arturia’s site and the TriplePlay MIDI controller and pickup on the Fishman site.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.