Maton Mastersound MS2000
This came in for a pickup swap and a set up and when I opened the case I was .......... shocked. As most of you know I'm not usually that impressed with Maton electrics but this one just "looked" great from the start. It's a great looking guitar and then I played it .........
I've always said it and I'm not afraid to admit it, I'm a neck guy. If I pick up a guitar and it has a neck I can't love it, it doesn't matter how good it sounds (or looks) I can't really get into it. It's one of the reasons I LOVE Mosrites. This has a GREAT neck !!
The neck was pretty much dead straight but the frets needed a little work so first up was dress. They didn't need much but most guitars from the factory need work in this area from new, no matter how much you spend on it. This is a time intensive and "hands on" part of the set up and most factories don't have the resources to do this properly.
The electronics are neat and great quality which is always a good sign for a guitar of this quality. It's another area where the assembly is hands on and companies like Gibson are now saving money in this area by assembling all electrics on a PCB with ribbon cable and plug in connectors.
With the frets dressed it was time to move onto fitting the pickups.
The customer had supplied a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover and a 59. Both great pickups and they work well in this style of guitar. Because it's a straight swap there's no routing or other work to do, just fit and solder.
With the new pickups in and the frets right to go it was a simple matter of stringing it up and doing a set up. As it got close to set up it amazed me again with just how playable and great it sounded.
Despite what I say I don't have a problem with old Maton electrics. I LOVE the shapes and think they made some good guitars, but generally speaking, they are entry to intermediate level players, especially the old 60's ones which looked fantastic and play like a Teisco or Guyatone of the same period, which is fine. The fact that some of them are fetching "vintage collectable" (ie Gibson, Fender etc) prices is beyond me. There really is no comparison between a good sixties period Fender and, say a good Fyrbyrd or Wedgtail.
Having said that I've played some great modern Matons and I think their late seventies to mid nineties acoustics are some of the best ever made, anywhere.
This MS2000 is set neck, solid body with great timber quality and construction and made right here in Australia, and doesn't cost the earth. You could do a lot worse than searching out one of these instead of a "faded" series Gibson or top of the line Epiphone, which is it's direct competition. I would say of all the Mastersound 2000's I've played, most of them are better guitars than the cheaper end Gibsons available here in Australia.
For more info on Matons check out Tonys GREAT site GuitarNerd.