Matt Bellamy’s guitar rig (Muse)

Matt Bellamy, guitarist and vocalist for the band Muse, is arguably one of the most creative and influential musicians to emerge in this millenium. His unique approach to recording and use of effects has inspired a whole new breed of guitarists. Matt Bellamy's guitar rig is every bit as eclectic as his music.

It's fair to say that as the bands music has evolved and become more dense and grandiose, so has Bellamy's guitar rig.

What guitars does Matt Bellamy use?

matt bellamy kaoss pad guitarIn terms of guitars, Bellamy favours Manson six-string guitars, with the exception of a seven-string model used live for Citizen Erased which is tuned to: AADDGBE.

A majority of his Manson guitars have been custom built for him, and/or at the very least, heavily modified. Many of them contain built in effects pedal circuits.

Effects/units that are known to have been built into some of Bellamy's Manson guitars include, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, Z.Vex Wah Probe, MXR Phase 90, Kaoss Pad and Tronical PowerTune Automatic Guitar Tuning System.

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While he has used other guitars such as a Fender Stratocaster and a couple of different Ibanez guitars, the Manson guitars are the ones he's seen with most, and no matter how complex his touring rig has become, his Manson guitars have remained a standard.

What amplifiers does Matt Bellamy use?

While touring the two most recent albums, 'The 2nd Law' and 'Drones', Matt Bellamy replace his previous amp setup with the Kemper Profiling Amplifier. A rack mount modelling unit, it's thought that Bellamy modeled the tones of his old Diezel VH4 and Marshall heads in to the Kemper.

A Diezel VH4 sat at the core of Bellamy's guitar tone for much of the bands earlier work. The VH4 feed into a Soldano cabinet. Other amplifiers seen in his stage rig include a Marshall 1959HW 100-watt head, a Vox AC-30 head and a Egnater M4 Modular Preamp with Randall Power Amp.

Matt Bellamy guitar rack

Diezel Vh4s (amp & footboard ONLY)

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In the bands early years, while touring the Showbiz and Origins of Symmetry albums, Bellamy relied upon Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100 amplifiers.

By the time of the Absolution tour, Bellamy had traded the JCM 2000's for two Diezel VH4's. The Marshall 1959HW 100-watt head and a Vox AC-30 head joined the VH4's in time for the Black Holes and Revelations tour, as seen in the image below. The Egnater M4 was added on the Resistance tour.

Matt Bellamy's amps used on the Black Holes and Revelations Tour

What effects does Matt Bellamy use?

While his amplifier setup has remained relatively consistent over the past few years, his effects rig is an evolving beast. Bellamy's effects rig started out as a more traditional pedals in to amp setup however now days it's a digital monster looking more akin to something that could control a space station.

Throughout the Showbiz/Origin of Symmetry era, his pedal board was relatively simple. It included a Digitech Whammy, Line 6 DL4, Roland V-Synth, DOD Equalizer, Zvex Fuzz Factory, Electro Harmonix Micro Synth.

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As the bands music evolved, Bellamy moved more toward a midi controlled rack system. The fact that the Diezel VH4 is midi controllable may also have had something to do with this. By the time of the Absolution tour, Bellamy was using the Diezel VH4's, and this coincided with him shifting much of his setup in to a rack.

For Absolution, his effects rack was predominately made up of Line 6 gear (as seen in the image below).

Matt Bellamy Absolution Rack

Rack units here are:

  • Samson Power Conditioner
  • Sansamp PSA 1.1
  • Shure Wireless System
  • Line 6 Echo Pro
  • Line 6 Mod Pro
  • Line 6 POD Pro
  • Line 6 POD XT Pro
  • Digitech Whammy
  • Midi Solutions T8

Pedal board wise, all switching was handled by a Rocktron All Access Unit, besides an on/off switch - used to switch distortion on/off his vocals - and a Ernie Ball Expression Pedal used for the Digitech Whammy.

The Black Holes and Revolutions album took elements from each of the bands earlier albums and kicked everything up a notch. This led to Bellamy's touring rig to grow in order to reproduce all the tones and sounds.

An extensive list of his rack gear for the Black Holes and Revelations tour is posted up on the Muse Wiki, and can be seen in the image below.

Matt Bellamy guitar rack Black Holes and Revelations Tour

Left side of rack:

  • ETA Systems EPD11 LIEC-CE
  • Skrydstrup Custom Power Centre
  • Pedal Tray (Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, Keeley Compressor, MXR Phase 100, Digitech Whammy)
  • Skrydstrup LM35 Line Mixer
  • Skrydstrup MR8 Loop System
  • Sound Sculpture Switchblade GL
  • TC Electronic 2290 Dynamic Digital Delay
  • Line 6 Echo Pro
  • Korg SDD 3000
  • Pedal Tray (Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, Digitech Whammy)
  • Nord G2 Engine (used for Map of the Problematique)
  • Midi Solutions T8
  • Midi Solutions T8

Right side of rack:

  • ETA Systems EPD11 LIEC-CE
  • Shure UA845 Antenna /Power Distribution
  • Shure UR4D
  • Shure UR4D
  • Skrydstrup Custom Guitar Switcher
  • Kenton MidiStream
  • Pedal Tray (Rocktron All Access Unit)
  • Sansamp PSA 1.1
  • Avalon VT 737sp
  • Muse Research Receptor 2

Matt Bellamy guitar rig

With the release of The Resistance, Bellamy made some further additions to his rig. Key additions to his The Resistence rig, which can be seen below, included:

  • Keeley Fuzz Heads
  • Keeley Compressor
  • Boss OC-2 Octave
  • MXR M109 6 Band EQ
  • Comet Ray Gun Phaser
  • TC Electronic Stereo Chorus Flanger
  • TC Electronic G-Major 2
  • Dunlop Cry Baby Rack Module
  • Dunlop Crybaby Rack Wah Foot Controller
  • Liquid-Foot Pro MIDI Controller (replacing the Rocktron All Access)

Matt Bellamy The Resistence Guitar Rig

For the 2nd Law and Drones tours, the biggest change to Bellamy's rig involved moving away from the traditional amp heads to the Kemper Profiler he also added the Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx II system to his rack.

His 2nd Law rack is pictured below.

Matt Bellamy 2nd Law Rack

Matt Bellamy's vocal effects

For live vocals, Bellamy uses Neumann KMS 105's. The vocal signal can be fed through an Avalon VT737 for a warmer subtle distorted vocal tone, or through a SansAmp GT2 switched via custom control switch operated by Bellamy for extreme distortion. The vocal signal also travels through a variety of other rack gear, including a TC Electronic Delay Unit, H35000 Harmonizer and System 6000 reverb.

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If you want an introduction to Muse, pick up Black Holes and Revelations.

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  1. Just for info’s sake. Matt is still using the Line 6 delay for some songs but for most of his effects (excluding distortion) he’s actually using a TC-Electronic G-Major 2. Chris is using one of these too!

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