Maton Flamingo repair

Well, here it is folks. What a shape. All these 60's Maton guitars are awesome shapes. If you like the look of this check out Tony's great GuitarNerd blog for more Maton info.

This is a pretty typical early 60's Maton. The Flamingo was lower in the range and these really are "toys" compared to other guitars from the same period. That doesn't mean they're not great.

This had what looks like the original hardcase that has been "stitched" to hold it together.

Like a lot of these "cheaper" old Matons they haven't been particularly well looked after in the intervening 50 years or so. They were a lot of peoples "first guitars"here in Australia as they were locally made so didn't have the high import taxes that US and European guitars had and Maton made guitars from beginners to semi professional in their range.

This one had been VERY played and showed the usual signs of wear everywhere. The fretboard was very worn and the frets are LOW.

After taking off the rusty flat wound strings it was straight into the electronics. The rotary switch was smashed and the pick ups had just been wired together with the output to the pots. Both pick ups still worked and read strong on the meter.

The original jack was still good and it had old Japanese pots that may have been original that still worked well with a clean out.

With the new switch in and the electrics working, it was time for more serious issues. That fretboard and frets.

As you can see the last fret is missing ? It had been pulled out for some reason so that was replaced with an old fret from my collection of removed frets from vintage guitars. I've found good old frets from vintage guitars can often match better than new frets if you don't have exactly the right size at hand.

I sort through all the old frets until I find an exact match, and put that in and dress it down to suit.

With the new fret in and the frets dressed as good as I could get them and the fretboard cleaned and oiled, it was time for the next things. The bridge and nut.

It had a non original bridge on it when it came in so I ordered a Bigsby "bow tie" bridge which is VERY similar to what these Matons had originally. The problem with a lot of modern bridges on these old guitars is string spacing. The Maton is 50mm at the bridge. VERY narrow.

The nut was re-cut and shaped to get the action down to a playable height and the truss rod adjusted.

I had to mod the bridge slightly and take some "meat" off the bottom to get the action down. These old Matons are simple set neck designs and are basically built like a bolt on, but glued in instead and the neck angle was too shallow. In fact, there is NO neck angle.

With the action down and the intonation set it was all coming together nicely.

The finished guitar.

I would recommend a refret down the track but apart from that it plays and sounds great.

It was originally purple and has been refinished metallic gold quite a while ago. The only thing it's missing is the little truss rod cover that sits at the body end of the neck which I'm pretty sure is still be available from Maton.

Another very cool little Maton bought back from the dead. Let's hope it gets well used.


Aug 26 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan