Maton Sapphire Deluxe 303/6

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My “one for one” rule… while painful… sometimes pays off.

As I’ve mentioned in guitarnerd previously, I’m trying to follow a strict rule of if I want to buy a guitar, I have to sell a guitar. Primarily this is so I can still eat and also so I stop impulse buying, which is a real and present danger. In the last couple of years I’ve had quite a few guitars restored or refurbed and my next project was a rare early run Maton Fyrbyrd, which had been resprayed etc and needed a bit done to get it to how I wanted. But honestly, I was exhausted with handing guitars over and waiting for them to be finished. So when this beautiful triple pickup Sapphire became available, I quickly sold the Fyrbyrd and grabbed it. And I am stoked!

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Triple pickup Sapphires don’t come up very often, and word is Maton only made 40. This one had been purchased by a top dude named Ben, who had owned and loved it for a few years but circumstances meant that it was being offered up for sale. Ben knew that I liked the guitar, so a deal was done, the Fyrbyrd was quickly sold and the Sapphire was on it’s way to me. Ben was very attached to this guitar so it was a big thing for him to let it go, but it’s gone to a very loving home. It looks pretty good sitting between it’s brothers here.

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I’d never owned a Sapphire before… just an Apollo which while similar looking was a different type of guitar altogether. The Apollo’s were completely hollow and quite acoustic… the Sapphires are more robust and substantial. One major difference are those amazing looking set of pickups…

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I hadn’t owned a Maton yet with the black insert pickups so I was keen to give them a try. They’re quite low output and very toneful. They have a very “Rolling Stones” vibe to them. The neck pickup is very article and beefy while the bridge pickup is nice and twangy. The pickups each have their own individual volume control, with a master volume at the top horn. At the moment the middle pickup isn’t connected so I’ll have to get that sorted out at some stage.

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The tremolo / vibrato is the original unit as used on various Italian & Japanese guitars of the era. Maton used a lot of imported trems and this one works great. The bridge has been changed to a modern Schaller bridge which is fine by me. The arm is VERY long and years of being swung away and packed into the original Stamford case means a bit of wear has appeared over time. All good… adds to the mojo.

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For a guitar that is so full of cool gear, the headstock is surprisingly plain. The twirly pinstriping as seen on some Maton models would’ve looked great here. The tuners are original and also work fine.

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Unlike the similar looking Gibson 335, the Sapphire 303′s were bolt on. The heel is nice and rounded though so top fret access is excellent.

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I’m really happy with this guitar… it’s unlike the other Maton electrics I have and that super slim neck is so comfortable. It’s gotten me obsessed with Maton semi’s now… I would absolutely LOVE a longhorn Maton DC1500. Or get another Apollo as sadly sold my other one (damn one for one rule!).

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