If you’ve visited Mall Music you’ll know we’re HUGE fans of Maton Guitars. In fact, we think they make the best acoustic guitar in the world!
This year Maton celebrates their 70th Anniversary. Once a small backyard workshop on the outskirts of Melbourne, Maton Guitars has grown into a truly inspiring Australia success story, one we are proud to be a part of. Join us as we get an exclusive behind the scenes peak at how these guitars are created from start to finish by their talented craftsman.
Upon entering the factory floor we are immediately confronted with pallets of raw timber stacked from floor to ceiling. There is a range of both traditional and newly discovered tonewoods being prepped for production. The most prized of these is the Victorian Blackwood, renowned for its stunning appearance and warm, full tone. We learn that each Blackwood is hand selected by a guy who sounds like a bit of a tree whisper. He roams the Otway ranges looking for that perfect tree, then after Parks and Wildlife has signed off the tree in question, it is cut into manageable blocks and carried out of the rainforest by foot. It’s an eco-friendly process, one Maton are proud to support.
Before production can begin, the excess moisture has to be extracted. The timber is stacked and placed into humidity ovens to sweat out this excess moisture, a process that can take up to 6 weeks. The humidity of the entire factory is controlled to give the guitars the best chance of surviving in both humid and dry environments.
Scattered throughout the workshop are huge industrial Computer Number Cutting (CNC) machines. These machines have really revolutionised the guitar making process. When you see these machines in action it’s hard to imagine the craftsman who would have once crafted each fingerboard by hand. The CNC’s allow each piece to be cut to the highest standard in just minutes. Once complete they are then finished and assembled by hand. In addition to increasing efficiency they also drastically reduce the amount of waste created during production, improving the sustainability of the production process.
Once we move past the CNC’s, the hands-on nature of production is revealed. Each craftsman seems to have his or her own specialised workshop just metres away from the next.
As we meander through this workshop area, each intricate stage of production is revealed. Taking such a ridged raw material and moulding it to create the curved shape of a guitar is a fine art. We watch as straight timbers are carefully inserted into heated moulds then clamped into position to create the desired shape. Steps like this cannot be rushed, it’s a meticulous process that requires the utmost care.
When we talk about Maton’s in store we’ll reference the dove-tail join that connects the guitar neck to the body. This join maximises tonality through peak energy transferences. This join actually strengthens with time, resulting in a sound that will richen as the guitar ages.
When you think of a guitar, it’s easy to forget that it was once part of a beautiful tree in a forest. At Maton, the transformation of raw timber to a beautifully toned musical instrument is truly majestic. You won’t find anyone where who isn’t passionate about the instruments they are creating.
As we move to the last section of the workshop there are racks of glistening Maton’s fresh out of production. Those who get to walk the factory floor have a heightened appreciation for the quality and detail that is encapsulated in the final product. Not everyone gets this opportunity, but everyone can experience the joys of a Maton Guitar by visiting your local Mall Music store. Endorsed by artists Tommy Emmanuel, Josh Homme, Neil Finn, Paul Kelly, Diesel, Vance Joy and John Butler to name a few… You’ll be in good company that’s for sure!