To celebrate 75 five years of continuous guitar production in Melbourne, Australia we decided to produce a guitar that showcased the best design and construction we could bring to a guitar, as well as to celebrate the tonewoods we love and cherish. We’ve produced a number of excellent celebratory guitars recently, particularly the 70th anniversary models and the Vera May centenary model, so we wanted this one to really stand out (by the way Vera just celebrated her 101st birthday and is still going strong…).
We are also entering into a new and exciting era in Maton’s history as another group of Maton luthiers enter their second decade of guitar making. These talented young craftspeople are adding to the work of our older, more experienced hands to consistently create instruments that are the best Maton has ever produced, and the world is taking note!
In recent years we have explored new shapes, materials and specifications through research and development in conjunction with the Maton Custom Shop and the passion and drive of Custom Shop luthier, Andy Allen. Many of our recent production models have benefitted from that work. We wanted this 75th Anniversary model to showcase all of this work.
So, what should this guitar look like? It should:
• Be the best guitar we can build
• Celebrate the best of our Australian tonewoods
• Build on the excellence our recent celebratory guitars
• Show off the work of our “coming of age” luthiers and point to the future of guitar making at Maton
• Reflect the advancements and knowledge gained through work in R&D and Custom Shop
• Look stunning
• Play perfectly
• Have its own superb voice
• Represent the culmination of 75 years of fine guitar manufacturing
For some time, we have been looking for an acoustic guitar tone that falls somewhere between the big sound of the dreadnought and the brighter, focussed sound of the 808 series. Meanwhile we were making and developing the Custom Shop ‘Traditional’ series, which at 502mm long and 390mm wide is 23mm longer and 24mm wider than an 808, but still smaller than a dreadnought. These guitars have filled the gap between our two main body shapes brilliantly, so it made sense to look to the Traditional body shape as a starting point for this new guitar.
Victorian Blackwood and Queensland Maple have been at the centre of our guitar making identity for decades. In the case of Queensland Maple, back to the very start in 1946. It was obvious that we would need to incorporate these woods in this anniversary model. Both are sustainably harvested in Queensland and out home state of Victoria. Both woods have played and enormous role in our past and will continue to do so as our guitars are played all over the world. They both have a unique and beautiful tone, something we’ve known for years but something the rest of the guitar world is discovering for themselves..
We set the bar really high with our 70th Anniversary models in 2016, and higher still with the wonderful Vera May model in 2019. We needed to go further still with this guitar so much consideration was given to what goes on “under the hood”. The use of forward positioned scalloped soundboard bracing, combined with a re-scaled laser cut blackwood bridge plate (designed to reduce bridge rotation and enhance mid-range response) results in a perfectly balanced tonal output, where no frequency dominates at the expense of another. The four arched braces on the back have been positioned to allow the back to reflect the lower mid-range frequencies providing the full, rich mid-range associated with the best of this style of acoustic guitar. The use of AAA Sitka Spruce (or Lutz) for the soundboard provide the subtle overtones and fast dynamic response one expects from the best steel string acoustic guitars.
Because this is a new body shape for Maton (at a production level) new side benders, body moulds, bracing templates and so on have been produced, each incorporating our most recent learnings in the art of guitar production. These are critical in ensuring the smooth progress of each build, so important in determining the final tone and playability of each guitar. Many of the improvements in this equipment have come through the involvement of our emerging luthiers, craftspeople who have been working at their craft long enough to be masters, but who are still young and enthusiastic enough to bring fresh perspectives to their craft.
The fingerboard and bridge are made of A grade ebony. We have gained a considerable amount of experience working with ebony as a result of the recent CITES regulations around Indian Rosewood. We employ advanced drying and seasoning technology that ensures the ebony is perfectly stable and tonally responsive by the time we use it as a bridge or fingerboard. The look, sound and feel of ebony works beautifully in conjunction with the Queensland Maple neck and Blackwood back and sides. The fingerboard is inlaid with Mother of Pearl dots. We resisted the temptation to over dress the fingerboard, preferring elegant simplicity as part of the design.
The ebony headstock is adorned with a seven-piece gold or black Mother of Pearl inlay of a diamond. The diamond represents 75 years, the “diamond anniversary”. It also has a keyhole at the top of the headstock. This keyhole was first introduced on our “Messiah” range in 1977 and has since become a well known feature on many guitars in our upper range.
The back and sides are made from “AA” grade Victorian Blackwood. They have a degree of figure through them but not so much as to be the main feature of the guitar. There is a school of thought that “straight” blackwood is superior from a tonal point of view. We are not necessarily convinced of this but given that tone is of paramount importance in this guitar we think slight figure is the right balance.
The 95mm soundhole is adorned with a herringbone rosette and inner and outer rings. This is a classic Maton look and we feel is perfect for this guitar. The body is bound with rock maple outer and herringbone inner binding. Once again, a classic Maton look, one we have used for many years on our EBG808 Artist model.
The whole guitar is finished in our UV gloss finish and has a vintage amber sunburst soundboard and vintage amber back sides and neck. The finish pulls all the pieces together aesthetically and is also super thin, allowing the guitar to shine tonally from it’s very first strum.
The 75th Anniversary is fitted with open back Grover machine heads, firstly because they look cool, and secondly because their reduced weight helps balance the guitar perfectly. This guitar sits at just the right angle to be played.
Please visit the product page for the Maton 75th Diamond Edition Full Specs