Tommy Emmanuel was in town recently and put on a wonderful concert. Emmanuel is an amazing guitarist, and endorses Australian made Maton guitars.
There are only eleven USA music stores that carry the Maton brand, which I find very odd for a brand of guitar that has been in production for over 70 years.
|Bill May - founder of Maton Guitars|
The brothers put together a company call Maton Stringed Instruments and Repairs. The Maton name is a derivative of the words “May” and “Tone”, and it is pronounced "May-Tonne.".
Maton became the very first guitar manufacturer in Australia. Until the mid 1930's an Australian guitar manufacturing industry was virtually nonexistent and good quality guitars were hard to find. The best guitars came from the U.S.A.
|Linda and Neville Kitchen|
In 1990 a new modernized facility was open in Bayswater, Melbourne. Bill May lived long enough to see the new factory. His health failed in 1989 and he passed away in 1993.
|Linda Kitchen at the Box Hill factory|
|Maton Guitars made in Australia|
It is interesting to note that every worker at the Maton plant is a guitar player, which enhances the love of the instrument.
|Late 1950's Maton Alver. |
Their budget brand
During the early days of the venture the company concentrated on high quality, and good value instruments for professionals and students.
|1962 Maton EG75 and Goldline 750|
By the late 1950’s Maton had branched into the Australian rock scene by manufacturing acoustic and electric guitars aimed at the market. The Country’s tariff situation made it far more appealing to purchase a locally made guitar, than an imported one.
|The Strangers in 1965|
In the mid 1960’s, the company also inked a deal to sponsor the popular Aussie band, The Strangers, and supply them with equipment, including Maton El Toro electric guitars.
|The Strangers with Maton Guitars|
|1960's Maton Electrics|
Some of the 1965 electric models looked similar to Asian made instruments, perhaps in an effort not to copy US made guitars of the day.
|The Easybeats with Maton guitars|
Another Australian group from the mid 1960’s was The Easybeats, who scored an worldwide hit with their song, Friday On My Mind. They played Maton guitars,
|Maton Sapphire 12 string|
Easybeat lead guitarist Harry Vanda was well known for playing a red Maton Sapphire semi-acoustic 12-string guitar, which became part of the groups sound.
|Colin Hay with Maton guitar|
Men At Work frontman Colin Hay uses Maton Custom Shop guitars as part of his live show.
|Neil Finn with his Maton guitar|
Neil Finn, of Crowded House, and The Finn Brothers also uses Maton guitars.
|Big Jim Sullivan's |
Maton Cello Guitar
British player, guitarist Big Jim Sullivan owned and used a Maton 'Cello' guitar for many years during the peak of his career, playing it on recordings with Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis, Jr.,Tom Jones, and Johnny Keating and his Big Band.
|George Harrison with his Maton|
This guitar sold at auction for a tidy $485,000.
Maton guitar have come a long way since those days, and now produce some very fine instruments in a variety of price ranges. However, expect to pay from $1600 to over $4000 in today’s United States market.
|1960's Alver electric archtop by Maton|
|'58 Maton F-240|
Their high-end models, such as this 1958 F-240 is akin to a mid-range Gibson, Epiphone or Guild archtop of that era. Maton has been making great acoustic flat top guitars for many years, and just seems to improve their design with time.
|5 year old Tommy Emmanuel|
In an interview, Tommy Emmanuel states he has been using Maton's since 1959. Believe it or not, Emmanuel has been playing guitar since he was four years old.
|Emmanuel Family Band |
The Midget Surfaries
His family had a band, and traveled throughout Australia performing for years. Early on, Tommy and his brother Phil played Maton electric guitars.
|1970 Maton F100|
The current line up of Maton guitar uses some woods that you cannot get any where but in Australia. The backs and sides are made of Australian Blackwood, which is indigenous to eastern Australia and is a type of acacia wood. On some of the models, the back and sides are made of Queensland maple.
|Current Maton |
Tuning machines are Grover Rotomatics. The saddle and nuts are made of bone, even on the lower end models. Frets are made by Dunlop.
Maton uses their own proprietary acoustic pickups the call the APS 5 or APS Pro. Maton has done some serious research into their acoustic pickup design. Instead of 9 volt batteries, the APS models use 2 AA batteries.
|Maton EBW808 |
Maton builds guitars in a dreadnought shape, and also auditorium sized, and jumbo sized shapes. Though the tops are usually Sitka spruce, the M series is made of Sapele wood, which is also known as African Mahogany. The necks on this series are made of Fijian Mahogany.
The Maton Heritage series makes available reproductions of older Maton instruments, using todays technology combined with materials used on models from the 1950's and 1960's. Instead of maple backs and sides, these instruments include Sapele wood for the back, sides, and neck.
|Maton Starline 4606|
The Heritage series also includes two electric models; a Jazz style hollow body model called the Starline 4606, which includes twin JHB humbucking pickups, that have a coil tapping feature. There is also another guitar that Maton intends to make available soon.
The pickups on the MS500 include one Maton vintage single coil model, and one Maton vintage humbucking model. Though this model is not currently available, it will be very soon.
Maton also offers the EGB series that includes the EBGMicFix model that was built and designed for singer songwriter Michael Fix. The top is AAA Solid Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are made of Queensland maple. Fret board inlays on the ebony fretboard are mother-of-pearl snowflake designs. This guitar comes with the APS-Pro pickup system. The EBG808 is a non electric model that has a top made of AA Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are made of Blackwood.
The upgraded version is the EBG808 Artist. It too is non-electric and only available through select dealers.
The EBG808 Nashville (which also comes as the EBG808C cutaway model) features AA a solid Sitka spruce top with a brown-burst finish. The back and sides are made of "A" grade solid blackwood. It features the APS Pro pickup system.
This guitar features a Solid Mahogany Neck adds thickness to its deeper and richer tone and again the Maton UV paint finishes this model with a finer and more refined quality. The Maton signature M MOP decal on the headstock is the finishing touch to a guitar that is truly a world class performer.
The Messiah line-up features the APS Pro pickup system, as well as top-of-the-line woods, Ivory bridge pins, gold Grover tune-o-matic machines, herringbone binding, and comes with a Maton case.
This guitar also comes as a 12 string model, and as the Messiah EM808 auditorium size guitar, and the EM100J, Jumbo size model. These were the guitars favored by Tommy Emmanuel, before he was honored with his personal model.
The Maton TE Series was designed in conjunction with Tommy Emmanuel. These the are Maton top-of-the-line guitars that Tommy uses in concert. They are based on his specifications to give a huge sound on stage, as well as withstand the various climates of the cities throughout the world, where he performs.
All of the Tommy Emmanuel models feature a Mother of Pearl block inlay on the 12th Fret, engraved with "C.G.P." The acronym stands for "Certified Guitar Player," a title bestowed on Tommy by Chet Atkins and held by only 3 other guitarists in the world - John Knowles, Jerry Reed and Steve Warriner.
Click on the links under the photographs for sources, click on the links in the text for further information.
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