Horea is a longtime customer and friend who has played Manne instruments for decades. He is one of our player who has owned and played many different models through the years, noticing and discussing with me properties and sound results imparted by the wood and features of each model.
So a few months ago, he asked for a “Lifetime Instrument”, something extraordinary that went further than “standard” Manne references. So it took some time to define an actual Manne “state of the art”, to build something new.
The Taos XL has a bigger body with 25.5” scale, 22 frets and Mastergrade burled Italian poplar top. The body is in Italian Chestnut, a wood recently successfully used for basses, especially good if resonant light airy open sound is desired. The body is semi-acoustic, chambered in all possible areas. The neck has our asymmetrial shape but with new dimensions and shaping, and fluorescent side dots. The Manne neck joint plate is embedded in the neck with a new position, providing various sound and construction benefits.
The headstock is unusually thick, designed as thick as possible but still able to fit Gotoh locking tuners. We already enlarged our guitar headstock a little bit last year for the XL, to match the enlarged body, but this one is thicker. So these two factors gave much more mass to the neck end of the guitar, adding resonance and harmonics, more thickness to sound, but still perfectly balanced.
Bridge and pickups routings are angled following the 1,5-degree angle of neck and body.
We choose Mama pickups, the best available Italian made guitar pickups:
Humbucker: Ominia Tex Fire- Thanks to our innovative Dynamic Split System you can get all the characteristics of both a Tex Fire humbucker model and a Stratocaster single coil with a perfectly balanced output. By splitting a bridge 6.9K OMNIA Tex Fire neck pickup, you get a 11.6K single coil ideal for twangy SRV-style sounds, without the usual loss in output and presence.
This model is effective in a widerange of musical genres, from pop to classic rock, from blues to energetic fusion. Reactivity and power without giving up expression and dynamics. It is for those who love to have a “big” sound and to deal with shades of expression.
Singlecoils: Experience – Great harmonic complexity and dynamic response to the touch make this pickup a true one-off experience! Meaty, deep lows and highs rich in overtones like the original single coils of the early 60’s. Scatterwound with heavy formvar.
The ground wire on the springs plate is soldered on the bottom and not visible.
Pickup Screws are metric and adjustable with hew key.
There are three different finishes on the guitar: High gloss on the top to highlight the beautiful top and is a super scratch resistant satin “5 gloss” satin on the back looks much warmer. Back of neck is hand rubbed satin.
Guitars has a Luxus feel from double working hours spent refining the instrument on every possiple level.
Here is the opinion of Horea after testing it in several different situations:
“The guitar is very vibrational and responsive. If you put the guitar near another one hanging on the wall the Taos Semiacustica will acoustically sound 2 times longer and louder. Neck is a bit thicker than the past I had, and it will give more confidence and balance. Thicker and slightly bigger body feels nice, more classic.
On a rectifier amp (Diezel.Mesa) the guitar will tend to sound bright, but not with the annoying Strato highs, more vintage strator pre-cbs highs…but if you don’t need them just cut 20% from tone and you are round and warm again. I observed that the highs are just good in the mix.
On a Tweed amp the guitar is sounding to perfection. (fender twin and my Ferrari Amp).
Split bridge humbucker: very original mids and unexpected sustain
Full Humbucker – position 1: compressed and a little more volume so you almost don’t need a booster. With warm mids – singing voice’s mids
Position 2: a bit warmer than a stratocaster but…a strato in its heart
Position 3: Grungy. On clean very pushy and clear. On distortion will riff perfectly as all Manne Taos in this position
Position 4 : ultra original… between Lipstick and telecaster with strat power.
Position 5 – neck pickup: Like crazy…not muddy but close enough to soul sounds…prince npg here you are hearing a guitar like an old stratocaster hollowbody never invented.
Being a Gilmour, Knopfler, Greg Howe fan, this guitar suits my tastes completely.”