From time to time we get players who come to the workshop and blow us away with their approach to guitar. Armed with a passion for playing (and providing us with a bit of a challenge a few years ago to create the Strat below!) Wayne McManmon has continued to inspire us.

Wayne is 31 years old and lives in County Kildare, Ireland and currently works as a Guitar /music teacher for Jam Music.  He has released material with a number of projects over the last few years but is currently working on a debut album with “In the Space Between” {formerly known as wayfarer} and also plays with Americana folk artist Appo and the Disappointments.

What was your first guitar?

My first guitar was a really awful guitar pack from Yamaha. It would almost put you off playing the instrument! After an awful year or two with that, I upgraded [thanks Mom and Dad] to an Epiphone SG.

After that I got my first “Pro” guitar – an American Strat – I guess that’s what I consider my first guitar as it was an inspiration to play and it really pushed me to learn and better myself.

Who has inspired you over the years in terms of playing?

Growing up I listened to whatever my brother let me listen to, a lot of metal, prog, rock, anything alternative really. Artists that inspired me when I first started were the likes of Pantera, Metallica, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, The Doors and Pearl Jam.

As I hit my late teens we discovered bands like Tool, A Perfect Circle etc and went on a serious discovery in terms of time signatures. At the moment I’m on a constant Radiohead buzz – it’ll never end as I’ve been heavily obsessed since 2006.

Since joining my current bands I’ve been heavily influenced by the War on Drugs whos tone have really inspired my work on our upcoming album. I also really dig the tone that artists like Derek Trucks, Ariel Posen and Mateus Asato have – and of course any guitar part ever put down on any Radiohead album. Maybe I should start playing slide though!

What’s the holy grail of guitars for you (money no option)?

The Holy Grail Of Guitars.. hmmmm I think I just bought it, but it changes every week. I’ve been obsessed with shell pink strats for a long time but I just can’t gel with them.  Anything Tele really gets me excited though. I think if I had every type of telecaster I’d be happy.

At the moment I’ve just received a custom order from Nash which is a serious dream guitar but I’d really love a nice Gibson at some stage, an SG or a Junior of sorts, that would pretty much wrap me up tonally.

We worked with you a while back on a bit of a crazy Strat – what’s the story behind that? What was the setup?

Okay, my frankenstrat… Where do I begin? I became infatuated with the idea of having a guitar that can literally do it all. A real tour monster that would be my best friend in the studio and my nasty side piece on the weekends. I opted to put in a p90 for the neck, single coil for the middle, and a humbucker for the bridge. I initially ordered a cheap set online and had the work done with some unique wiring options enabling me to use the p90 with the bridge and all three pickups at once. It all worked – but not terribly well! Declan at Deacci then contacted me to see if he could help and very kindly offered to put in some Deacci pickups for me.

I drove up north to meet the myth, the legend, got lost along the way but arrived in his beautiful studio where I had the pleasure of seeing how he crafts his pickups. Declan took time to understand what I was really looking for in terms of tone – I don’t know how many pickups he wound for me that day – we just kept swapping them in and out till we had a match.  Unfortunately, we learned a lesson with that guitar.. great pickups and electronics can’t make up for some of the woods inherent qualities.. so in the end, she was retired!

You’ve become a big Tele fan of late – what’s important to you in terms of tone?  Are you a strictly single coil fan?

As of late all I play are telecasters and my Epiphone Casino  (aka the Telecaster of the hollow body world).

My first proper Tele was an American Standard with two humbuckers and I’ve never heard a better guitar. It cuts like a knife and is fat in all the right places. It never suffers in the mix and is never overbearing. Its an anomaly. I’ve played single coil teles that are darker than the tone of this HH tele.

I’ve been on a spiral of buying guitars the past two years. I think I’ve bought in around 12 and only one of them stayed, the casino, and hopefully this new tele cuts the mustard. Out of those 12 there has been two Nash guitars, a Gibson 335, a few tales. Aaah the list goes on.

Through trial and error, I’ve come to the conclusion that you need to put the right pickups in the right guitars or you’ll never be tonally happy.

You’ve spent quite a bit of time this year in the studio – how has that been, when’s the next release and where’s the next gig?

I absolutely love being in the studio with all the beautiful guitars lined up ready to be played – it’s easily my favourite place to be so I definitely count myself lucky for my past experiences and present ones.

The last year I’ve been writing a ten-song album in ARTHOUSE studios based in Nass and run by virtuosic muso Ronan O’Halloran with ‘In the Space Between’ who are basically a collective of unbelievably talented musicians whom I’ve admired from afar for many a year.

It’s somewhat of a super band. Myself and my brother Clifton who tracked the drums have been playing since we were only wee teens. I then joined former bandmate Danny [vocals] in his band Wayfarer with Sam {vocals and guitar} who are an amazing duo flush with harmony and finesse. We recruited Dean on bass who’s actually the best guitar player in the band but an all-round blessing on the bass too. We’ve all played in different bands on the same scene for years so it’s genuinely a dream lineup. We’ve set out to make a serious collection of songs that just flow and move without the confines of song structure.

If ever we’ve written songs that go off pure gut instinct this is them. The album was tracked in just two weeks, a lot of it live so hopefully we’ll deliver a timeless [for us] organic piece for the ears to enjoy. I can’t really put a date on the release yet but hopefully we’ll have a single out before the summer is over. Our next show is on the 26th in The Workmans, Dublin, can’t wait.