Manson Guitar Works MA-2T review

Another maverick Manson electric guitar

  • £1449
It may look familiar, but any guitar bearing Hugh Manson's name is an iconoclastic challenge to the established order

MusicRadar Verdict

If you can dare to be different, you'll find the MA-2T a willing accomplice that speaks to reprobates and sophisticates alike.


  • +

    Bespoke feel. High quality build, finish and spec.


  • -

    Pricey (but worth it!).

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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's body is very much a hybrid, the lower horn more Les Paul than Tele. It's harking back to the electric guitar's origin story, but then there's the Floyd Rose Original locking vibrato unit.

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.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.