Interview with Hugh Manson Regarding the MS Series
Cort is always on the lookout to work with some of the most renowned and respected builders in the industry and Hugh Manson, based in UK, certainly fit the bill. Cort has a long history partnering with some of the largest and most influential guitar and bass companies in the world but the company also seeks out small and reputable builders who only care about building the best, not the most.
Cort’s relationship with Hugh Manson and Manson Guitar Works has developed over the years to produce and market the award-winning MBC-1 model that was designed for Muse frontman and lead guitarist Matt Bellamy as well as the Manson Stage Series M-Jet and Classic TC. The resounding success of this collaboration between Cort and Hugh Manson promises even more exciting new models that players in the mainstream market can afford and enjoy.
The following is an interview with Hugh Manson regarding this collaboration:
1. Please introduce yourself and Manson Guitars to Cort players.
I have been making electric guitars and basses since the late 70's in the UK. In that time I have worked for many famous customers including Led Zeppelin, Muse, Jethro Tull, Dave Grohl, Stereophonics and many more. I have also been around the world many times as guitar tech for John Paul Jones, Steve Howe and a host of other artists, looking after guitars and amps in a player's environment. I also have a large guitar shop in Exeter, UK, selling a wide variety of guitar brands and we celebrate our 25th anniversary in retail this year.
2. How did you become a luthier?
I started making musical instruments professionally in the 70's and followed my brother Andy, (who makes acoustic instruments,) into the business. We worked together in the same small workshop for a few years and now work separately. I specialize in electric instruments and Andy in acoustics now.
3. What makes your guitars different from other guitars?
Manson guitars have always been built with great attention to detail and innovation. I concentrate on sourcing the best timbers and components to construct instruments from. The art is to match the guitar to the customers’ requirements in sound, feel and looks. The guitar is one of the few things in life that has to satisfy three senses - Hearing (sound), Touch (neck shape and ergonomics) and Vision (looks of guitar) and that, for me, is what makes guitar making and design such fun, as it's all so complicated.
4. Please tell us the story between you and Matthew Bellamy, and MBC-1.
The MBC 1 came about at both myself and Matt's request to produce a Matt Bellamy signature guitar at an affordable price. I approached Cort to manufacture these on our behalf and after various prototypes, they produced the perfect affordable signature guitar. It has the right signature sound, feel and of course Matt's approval.
5. How did you meet Cort and why did you choose to work with them?
Cort was the obvious choice as manufacturer for my designs as they have many years of experience in instrument building, both for other companies (on an OEM basis) and also for themselves. I visited the factory in Indonesia and was pleasantly surprised to find a state of the art factory producing a vast array of instruments. Their attention to detail at every stage of production and set up was refreshing to see firsthand. The timber is stored and seasoned correctly. The machinery is up to date and all with vast dust extraction ducting to make a safe working environment. The spray facility is state of the art with automated drying racks.
6. Please introduce the MS Series, M-jet and Classic TC. (Specs, advantages, features, stories or episodes)
The MS Series was introduced and designed by me to widen the Cort standard range using the highly successful Manson MA guitar shape as a basis, but to produce a range that was more affordable for the public. The Classic TC is aimed at the more traditional player who wants those classic but slightly hotter sounds. The M-Jet is a rock machine, 24 frets, high power and great for easy down tuning.
7. Any other comment you’d like to make?
I look forward to more collaboration with the Cort team in years to come, designing affordable, straight playing, honest, great value for money instruments.