Maton El Toro

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A rare addition to my Maton collection – the mighty El Toro

I’m going to be posting a lot more often in guitarnerd so to start, I’m going to go through the new additions to the guitarnerd archives, which should take us into next year, easy! Yes 99.9% of them are Matons, so I’m just warning you ahead of time. Maybe I should change the blog to Matonerd….

I received an email from a friend of mine who said that I’d be receiving an email from a friend of his on an old Maton and needed some advice on selling it. Naturally the words “Old Maton” and “sell” in the same sentence are music to my ears (along with real music, which is also music to my ears) so when I received an email from Kyle I was interested to see what he had.

The email contained some very blurry images of a Maton El Toro, which he had inherited from his grandfather. Kyle said his grandfather played the guitar everyday and judging from the “mojo” left on the fretboard that certainly seemed the case.

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Kyle wanted to pass on the guitar to someone who would appreciate it, and that was certainly me! It took a little organising to arrange the transaction, but thanks to a friend of mine who lived in Melbourne it went nice and smooth. Next trip with my band to Melbourne I picked it up along with a few other Matons (which will feature in future stories).

When I got it home I was in awe that I finally owned an El Toro. They’re stupidly rare and don’t become available very often.

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The El Toro’s were developed by Maton at a request from Peter Robinson, who played bass in a popular Australian band called the Strangers who featured on a lot of TV shows during the 60′s. Bill May thought they should have matching guitars so the El Toro was developed, heavily influenced by the Danelectro longhorn. But unlike the Danelectro they featured a solid Honduras Mahogany body with Maton’s top spec pickups in shiny shiny gold. They certainly looked cool on TV, so that worked…

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What didn’t work was the exposure turning into El Toro sales, as only 56 guitars were made and 45 basses. Hence why they’re so hard to find nowadays, and why I was so happy to finally own one.

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As previously mentioned, this guitar had been played and played hard, but in a good way. No breaks or anything, just good old wear from many gigs in many pubs. The “neck” humbucker (they’re so close together it’s ridiculous) spots a cool looking dent from what I assume is a rock ‘n roll related altercation. Well, that’s what I like to think.

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The neck features a gazillion frets and while super comfortable (Maton made the BEST necks) is a little weird to play in that where you think the A barre chord would be, it’s actually B as everything is moved up. It takes a little getting used to which I’m still trying to do. I’ve tried playing up the 31st fret and you’d need the tiniest fingers ever to do that properly.

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The back sports some sweet looking buckle rash which I love as it means I don’t have to worry about scratching this rare guitar. My Wedgtail is so pristine I get scared playing it sometimes.

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The headstock still sports all the gold trims and again is very Danelectr0-like. The tuners are gold plated as well and are original.

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Speaking of necks, thanks to John Wilsteed I now have a matching El Toro Bass neck… and as luck would have it I have a set of El Toro Bass pickups and bridge. These are going to be turned by Matt’s Guitar Service into a matching bass for my guitar… but that’s a whole other story.

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So a big thanks to Kyle for letting me be the new owner of this special guitar. It certainly fits into the family very well…

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•••• update

Check out this footage of Doug Parkinson playing “Dear Prudence”, featuring a bass player sporting a 5 string El Toro Bass! I wonder where it is now?!