The Music That Maton Made

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A review on the newly released book: “The Music That Maton Made”

Over the last year I’ve been working on a book with Maton collector Wadih Hanna (which is soooo close to being finished) so I was surprised to hear that Maton were putting out their own book this year as well. I was curious to see what Maton’s would be like and when it arrived, I was stunned. It’s a BIG book, in a beautiful leather-finish embossed cover with gold accents. The pages are uncoated and feel fantastic to the touch. And it’s full of historical photos that make vintage Maton fanatics like myself teary eyed.

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The content is less on the technical aspects of the guitars and more on the story behind Maton. It’s a personal history of the company that could only be told by Maton themselves. It’s a very personal book, with letters from Bill & Vera May along with Linda Kitchen, hand written notes by Bill on guitar specs, Vera’s book keeping and much more. Photos such as Bill May playing bass in a jazz band really gives this book a true family feel. After reading it I felt I knew Bill May more and the type of person he was. And how much of himself he put into the guitars that I love so much. Plus the fact that he completed an honors course in fine art and graphic design certainly explains why the Fyrbyrd is so beautiful.

The book also contains interviews with musicians who have used Matons to create the music that they’re famous for. Tommy Emmanuel features heavily (as he should) but there are a lot of surprises in there… such as a fantastic interview with George Golla. I was delighted when I read that George bought an original 50′s MS500 and loved it. In my mind he was strictly a stuffy jazz player, but he came across as very funny, very Aussie and a massive fan of Maton’s work.

But the true stars of this book are the photos. Amazing full page images of Tommy Emmanuel’s hand painted MS500 Stamford guitar case, or the first Maton ever made photographed in fantastic detail, or the flagship Maton Starline. And the double page spreads are AMAZING as they show all the vintage parts that Maton has stashed away in the factory, all beautifully laid out with items from the era such as records and old phones.

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The modern era is also represented with interviews from Josh Homme, Jon Toogood, Pat from Grinspoon and the various guitarists that have kept the Maton flag flying from the 90′s ’til now.

Being a 100% Maton nerd I did notice a few tiny factual errors in there (the info on Fyrbyrds and Mastersounds on page 74 gets a little muddled, along with a photo of Neville and a GE500… not a George Golla GG2A as stated. I know… I’m such a nerd) but that honestly would only be picked up by fanatics like me. The more I kept reading, the more I wanted to stop and play my Matons. This is a book that Australian musicians have wanted for years and the love and creativity that has been put into it has made the wait worthwhile.

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