My Fyrbyrd Custom is now finished!
A while ago, I talked about my red Maton Fyrbyrd, which looked to have been modified by Maton in the early 70′s with Maton Phil Manning Standard running gear. When I got the guitar, it had horrible tuners, a cheap Bigsby copy and a white scratchplate. Plus the electronics needed looking at, as the switches were very hit and miss.
I thought this guitar deserved a lot better than this. Fair enough it had led a hard life, but it played great and was an Australian classic. It needed some TLC… fast.
Usually this means a trip to Tim at Tym Guitars, but Tim’s workload is pretty full on at the moment (as is mine) and I felt bad dumping him with yet ANOTHER one of my projects. I know what it’s like when you’re working 12 hour days and your friends ask you for quick favours on top of your real jobs. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out Matt from Matt’s Guitar Service. I’d heard a lot about him from Greg T, along with some other friends of mine. Being based in Morayfield, Matt’s shop isn’t exactly nearby… but Greg T was nice enough to pick up and drop off my ‘Byrd on his next trip up.
A few weeks later and here she is!
Originally I had on a black laser cut guard which fellow guitarnerd Kieron was nice enough to cut for me. But unfortunately it broke in half in transit, so Matt was nice enough to cut me a new one. He matched the original Fyrbyrd’s plate perfectly… even the rounded bevels! And then he used black screws to help them blend in. What great attention to detail.
I had an original aluminium Maton truss rod cover spare which I had been saving for this guitar and it looks great. It helps bring this guitar back to it’s 70′s modified vibe, as a lot of the 70′s Maton truss rod covers were aluminium, not brass coloured like the 60′s ones.
One thing I thought about were the knobs. I have a spare set of metal Maton knobs, but these were only used on 60′s guitars. As this guitar was a 60′s guitar but with 70′s parts… it needed 70′s Maton knobs, which were used on the Phil Mannings and jazz guitars. These knobs, like most vintage Maton parts, are impossible to get. But fellow Maton-nut Ian showed me that the knobs from Harmony Satellites are PRETTY DAMN CLOSE to the knobs Maton used in the 70′s. I found a seller on eBay who sells repro knobs and was pretty stoked with the result!
For the tuners, from the look of the screw pattern it looked like Maton in the 70′s fitted the same ones that are on my Wedgtail. Which are terrible, terrible tuners. Instead, I found a set of Gotoh’s which have tuning heads that have a square 70′s shape and they work perfectly. They’ll do for now until I find something else I like better.
Matt also ditched that crappy Bigsby copy and fitted a licenced B50, which is a huge improvement, along with a much better bridge. I also added a repro Fyrbyrd sticker which I designed and Kieron made for me.
And that’s it. Matt had set the guitar up beautifully so it plays like butter, and now with all the switches working, it’s a really versatile rock machine. It’s not the prettiest Fyrbyrd out there, and certainly not the most original. But with it’s Phil Manning gear and it’s playability to me it’s one of the coolest Maton’s I’ve seen. I’m going to play this one a LOT.