MATON
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MATON
Instruments currently produced in Australia since 1946.
Maton is Australia's longest established guitar manufacturer, and the Maton trademark was established in 1946 by British emigre Bill May, a former woodworking teacher. His trademark name was a combination of his last name and tone, which is what every luthier seeks.
In the 1940s, it was a commonly held belief among Australian guitarists and musical instrument retailers that American guitars were the best in the world. But that didn't stop Bill May from questioning why Australians shouldn't build their own guitars. As May related in a 1985 interview, "I wanted to make better guitars, beyond what people thought you had the ability to do. People asked 'How do you think you can do it, you've never been to see how it's done and what do you know about it? And it's Australia. You donĀ“t know anything here. If you want good instruments, you have to wait and get them from America.' But I didn't believe that."
May was raised with craftsman skills and a positive attitude, both for his own self esteem and for his country. Bill May originally completed his apprenticeship in cabinet making, and later an honors course in art and graphic design before he spent ten years as a woodwork teacher. When May couldn't find a decent sounding guitar in a reasonable price range, he began building guitars in the garage of his Thornbury home. While there was no wealth of guitar building information back in the 1940s, May learned from the various guitars that passed through his hands. Production tools for the time period were the same sort used by furniture craftsmen, like chisels, planes, or the occasional belt-sander or bench saw. Rather than knock out copies of American models, May produced designs that were distinctive in appearance and sound and featured Australian woods and distinctly Australian names. After the humble beginnings in his garage, a factory was established outside of Melbourne in 1951. Maton guitars began to be offered through local stores; by the mid-1960s Maton instruments had established a solid reputation throughout Australia.
May passed away on his 75th birthday in 1993, but the company continues to produce quality guitars. In 2003, Maton moved to their current premises in Clarice Road in Box Hill. The company currently builds over 8000 instruments a year and includes acoustics and electric guitars, basses and ukuleles. For more information, visit Maton's website. Sources: Company history courtesy John Stephenson, The Maton Book (1997) and Mark Mansour (2012). Additional model descriptions courtesy Linda Kitchen (Bill May's daughter) and Haidin Demaj, Maton Guitars.

From Blue Book Publications:


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