Andy Manson (luthier)

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Andy Manson is a custom guitar maker (luthier). For almost five decades Manson has been hand crafting guitars, mandolins and multi-necked instruments.[1] Over the years Manson has achieved a reputation as one of England's finest luthiers and one of the world's finest makers of flat-top acoustic guitars,[2][3] and his influence can be seen in many other makers' work including Hugh's and Brook Guitars and other small makers such as Adrian Lucas, Elysian Guitars[4] and Gary Nava.[5]


Manson studied at the London College of Furniture, where he completed a new course for stringed instrument makers. Such a course did not exist in England at the time and Manson was encouraged by the college to create a course on becoming a luthier. He built his first instrument in 1967.[6] Manson started a workshop in 1969 in Sussex, UK.

In the early 1980s, Manson was joined by his brother Hugh Manson, who focused on building electric guitars and basses. The two of them moved workshop to Devon, England in 1985.

Andy Petherick and Simon Smidmore, former associates of Andy Manson's, went on to found Brook Guitars, where they produce some of his regular designs under licence.[2][7]

Notable works[edit]

In 1974, Manson created a now iconic instrument for John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. The instrument featured three necks: six and 12 string guitar and mandolin. The instrument was used extensively during Led Zeppelin's acoustics sets throughout the mid to late 70's. The story of the creation of this guitar can be found in Manson's book Talking Wood.[8] Jones has continued using Manson through the years, most notably utilizing them in studio and live with the band Them Crooked Vultures. Among instruments used include 4, 10, and 12 string bass guitars, regular and "bass mandolin" electrics, and a 9 string, MIDI-equipped bass lap steel that Jones' bandmates lovingly nicknamed "The flying purple people-eater".[9]

Manson also sold one of his "Lotus" archtops to bandmate Josh Homme.

In 1994, Manson was commissioned to make a triple-neck guitar for Jimmy Page. It was used during the Unledded performances.[10]

In 2006, Manson created a guitar in the shape of a mermaid, requiring a "sensuous posture" to play, to be auctioned for the African food aid charity Harvest Help.[11][12][13]

Notable clients[edit]


  1. ^ Andy Manson. "Fine instrument luthier". Andy Manson. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Simone Solondz, Custom Guitars: A Complete Guide to Contemporary Handcrafted Guitars, San Anselmo, California: String Letter, 2000, ISBN 9781890490294, p. 126.
  3. ^ Dave Hunter, The Rough Guide to Guitar, London/New York: Rough Guides, 2011, ISBN 9781848365858.
  4. ^ Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Home". Nava Guitars. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  6. ^ Andy Manson (2012). "About". Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Ray Bonds (2002). Illustrated Directory of Guitars. London: Salamander. pp. 224–25. ISBN 9781840652888. 
  8. ^ Andy Manson (1998). Talking Wood, a guitar maker's diary. Tiverton: R&D Associates. ISBN 9780951751213. 
  9. ^ "Them Crooked Vultures Gear : Gearheads". 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Manson Triple Neck Acoustic Instrument". Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Fancy owning a 'mermaid' guitar? - Back Page | IOL News". 2006-08-16. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  12. ^ "One guitar, to the tune of GBP10,000". 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2014-07-15. 
  13. ^ "Top this for music scales!", Coventry Evening Telegraph, 16 August 2006, online at Highbeam (subscription required).
  14. ^ Kevin Ransom, "Invisible Threads", Guitar Player, 1 April 1994, online at Highbeam (subscription required).