For those of you overseas (not in Australia) the name Maton may mean little to you, or you may know it as a fine acoustic builder from here, but Maton are one of the oldest electric guitar builders in the world.
I'm not going to write a history of Maton here. If you want to know more about the brand, head over to Guitar Nerd when you have a spare few hours and look through Tone's archives on them.
These newer Mastersound re-issues can be great guitars indeed. While I personally prefer the look of the simple slab body MS500, it was a guitar that was never really going to compete in the modern guitar market on any really serious level. For that, Maton was always going to have to step up the features while keeping the "look" and sense of the classic Maton appeal.
The carve top Mastersound was and is this challenge met.
Originally re-issued by Maton under the guidance of a friend of mine, Adam Cole, the Mastersound was the obvious choice to break Maton back into the solidbody electric market. WhileMaton made some absolutely spectacular shaped solidbodies in the sixties, most of them were too radical to reissue onto a fairly conservative guitar market.
The original Mastersounds are very simple and not particularly great guitars but for their time and price, were perfect. The first re-issue "slab body" Mastersounds were very similar with some updated production and quality. They were short scale, like the originals and this made them feel like toys to play, but could really pack a punch when set up right.
These newer re-issues took the quality and level up a couple of notches and made them a genuine world class competition with other "big name" overseas brands. While this model obviously has Les Paul influences it's still "mostly" Australian as Maton have always championed Australian timbers, which are world class for the job. We have some of THE BEST guitar building timbers I've ever found, and I've tried a lot over the years.
These also have a longer scale length which makes them feel "stiffer" and are better suited to tuning down on. While Maton make their own pick ups, they offer Seymour Duncan's in these to compete with market trends and expectations.
The biggest shame with these guitars is Maton, as a company REALLY doesn't understand or appreciate it's own pedigree and influence on the Australian solidbody guitar market. While their vintage sixties solidbodies climb ridiculously in price to a point of being "worth" much more than they actually deserve as a playing instrument, Maton sit on their hands and make acoustics and offer a couple of more conservative solidbodies to a market screaming for Fyrebyrds, Flamingos and Wedgtails ?