Muse's Greatest Gear Moments

Update August 2: The Official Muse Reverb Shop is now live.

In case you missed it, we announced earlier this week that Muse is preparing to sell more than 100 pieces of gear in The Official Muse Reverb Shop August 2.

With the Muse shop on the horizon, we also thought it would be a great time to look back on their group's career. The famously experimental group has pushed the sonic boundaries for more than two decades.

What's some of the most important gear they used along the way?

Matt Bellamy sparks Kaoss

Watch Bellamy take a Kaoss pad solo in the middle of "Supermassive Black Hole

Some of the most recognizable features of Matt Bellamy's rig are the many guitars adorned with X-Y MIDI pads, which allow Bellamy to control Korg Kaoss multi-effects from the body of his instrument (along with a DigiTech Whammy).

By hitting or running his finger along the pad's axis, he's able to manipulate his tone, change effects parameters, and even play digital synths.

The marriage of Kaoss and guitars started around 2006, when Bellamy first affixed a pad to create the Kaoss Manson. Ever since, most of his custom Mansons have been similarly equipped, and even some of his Cort signature models come with their own Kaoss controllers too.

Chris Wolstenholme brings the fuzz

The bassline that propels 2001's "Hyper Music" is a shining example of Chris' signature tone

"Being a three-piece, combined with the way Matt plays guitar, have given me more freedom than a lot of bass players have," bassist Chris Wolstenholme said in a 2009 Bass Guitar interview. "From a sonic point of view, the bass has to fill a much bigger area than what would be normal."

Wolstenholme found one way to fill that space early on in the band's career: layering various levels of fuzz, distortion, and octaves alongside a strong, bottom-heavy clean signal. (His virtuosic chops and strong senses of melody and harmony of course do plenty of heavy-lifting all their own.)

But from 2001's Origin of Symmetry forward, he's put to great use the combination of an EHX Black Russian Big Muff Pi and a rare Human Gear Animato Distortion, alongside the Boss OC-2 Octave he'd used from the very beginning.

One of the exact Russian Big Muff Pis that Wolstenholme used throughout the Origin and Drone tours—complete with his settings marked on the chassis—will be up for grabs in The Official Muse Reverb Shop.

Matt Bellamy buys his favorite guitar brand

When most of us fall in love with a guitar brand, we're happy just to own a model or two. Matt Bellamy bought the company.

A longtime player of Manson guitars—a renowned boutique outfit that had made instruments for the likes of John Paul Jones and many other pros for decades—Bellamy got his first custom build from the company in 2001, the DL-1 "De Lorean." It was suitably outfitted with high-tech circuitry and an aluminum finish.

His love for Mansons grew from there, and he accrued dozens of them over the following decades. In 2019, Bellamy became the majority owner of the company, setting the company up for a new decade of innovation. The DL-OR, a production run of Bellamy's first De Lorean, was launched in 2021.

Dominic Howard goes electronic

Hear Howard's programmed drum beat on this Resistance track

The marriage of old and new technology is a hallmark of Muse's sound, and no less so for drummer Dominic Howard. While he has played an enviable selection of acoustic kits over the years—like Ludwig Vistalites, a particularly sick set of white birch Q Drums, DWs, and more—his drum production process also includes the best of modern software and sampling techniques.

"Undisclosed Desires," a single off the band's 2009 record, The Resistance, was built around a beat Howard programmed—one more reminiscent of Timbaland than any beat the group had previously made.

By the time of the band's self-produced 2012 record, The 2nd Law, Dom dove even further into drum programming and experimentation, using Native Instruments tools like Maschine and the Massive drum sampler, and Motu's BPM software, in addition to an ample amount of acoustic kits and overdubs. On the opening track "Supremacy," he triggered samples alongside an acoustic kick and snare, amplifying the samples through a PA, and recorded it simultaneously with room mics.

Performing highly produced drum tracks live is a different beast, but Howard has used an arsenal of trigger pads and controllers over the years to bring the productions to life, including Roland SPDs and PD-8s.

Update August 2: The Official Muse Reverb Shop is now live.

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