Andy Manson’s Bluebird and Magpie

I’ve been waiting three or four weeks since Andy Manson posted on his Facebook page that he’d delivered a Rosewood Magpie and a cherry Bluebird to his brother’s music store (Mansons) in Exeter. I finally got the chance last Saturday.

I was interested in the Magpie as I’m a rosewood and spruce fan. Mansons is a very friendly store with a lot of high end acoustics and electrics and many helpful staff members. Both Hugh and Andy excel in guitar building so you know any guitar one or the other has built is going to be extraordinary.

I tried the Magpie out in the soundproofed booth and was politely asked to watch the back as it had a very light finish – quite understandable. I’ve experienced many less polite requests to watch belt buckles etc. on much cheaper instruments – not in Mansons though!

The Magpie was well balanced weight wise and tonally and was very resonant. It handled altered tunings easily and had incredible sustain with perhaps a fuller sound than most rosewoods I’ve played. I was allowed quite a while with the guitar and a capo was also provided when I asked if they had one available. When I’d gotten to know the guitar well, I asked if  could try the Bluebird. I didn’t intend trying it but I thought as I was there it seemed silly not to do so.

The Bluebird was, as I’ve stated several times in different places, the best guitar I’ve ever played anywhere. It was light to hold, extremely well balance weight wise and tonally. It sang! Consistent volume and tone from bottom string to top and very lively with a long, long sustain. It suited my Celtic flavoured noodlings very nicely and faired the same with open D and open G (I hadn’t taken a capo but did have a glass slide with me). If I’d been a professional player (and could therefore justify me paying the price) or had sold everything that I’d listed on Ebay last weekend, I’d have bought it. As it is, a long term goal of saving to buy one of Andy’s guitars new or used is a distinct likelihood.

Here are the specs from and copyright Mansons Guitar Store:

Magpie:

  • Back and sides – Indian rosewood
  • Back bars – mahogany
  • Top – sitka spruce
  • Sound bars – European spruce
  • Bridge plate – cherry
  • Rosette – New Zealand paua
  • Binding – birds eye maple
  • Fingerboard, head facing, bridge, heel cap – ebony Bridge pins, end pin – Bone with abalone dot.
  • Tuners – Gotoh 510
  • Markers, signature – mother of pearl
  • Frets – nickel silver
  • Finish – Tung oil

Includes a Hiscox Hardcase

Bluebird:

  •  English Cherry Back and sides
  •  Strawberry Wood Binding with Olive Root Headcap and Rosette
  •  Mahogany Neck with Rosewood Splice
  •  Indian Rosewood fingerboard
  •  Gotoh 510 Machineheads
  •  Spruce Top – Bearclaw

Includes a Hiscox Hardcase

They also had a Heron in stock:

  •  Spruce Top (Bear Claw)
  •  Brazilian Mahogany Neck
  •  Flame Maple back and sides
  •  Brazilian rosewood head veneer
  •  Gotoh 510 Machineheads
  •  Herring-bone and Brazilian Rosewood binding and rosette
  •  Mother of Pearl dot markers
  •  Ebony bridge pins

Includes a Hiscox Hardcase

The bearclaw on the heron’s spruce top is gorgeous as is the bearclaw on the Bluebird.

The pics (again copyright Mansons):

Photograph of Andy Manson Bluebird
Andy Manson Bluebird
Photograph of Andy Manson Magpie
Andy Manson Magpie
Photograph of Andy Manson Heron
Andy Manson Heron
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