The ER90 occu­pies an inter­est­ing niche in Maton’s cat­a­log. There are plenty of mod­els that cost less, and there are a few that cost more, like the Mes­siah line, but the ER90C sits some­where in between the two. It fea­tures cer­tain deluxe appoint­ments that ele­vate it up into a  very com­pet­i­tive price bracket , but it’s not quite as visu­ally showy as the Mes­siah line.

The ER90C is a dread­naught acoustic gui­tar with a smooth and curvy tre­ble side cut­away for unfet­tered upper fret access. The back and sides are made of solid Indian rose­wood and the top is an attrac­tive AA Sitka spruce with scal­loped X bars. The body is bound in five ply black/white, and the rosette is her­ring­bone with black/white inner and outer rings that match the top bind­ing. Nice touch. There’s a tor­toise shell pick guard too, which com­ple­ments the spruce top nicely but clashes a lit­tle with the Indian rose­wood fret­board, which sits on a select Queens­land maple neck. The fret marker inlays are sim­ple mother of pearl dots. The bridge, too, is Indian rose­wood, and it hosts a glass filled nylon sad­dle, with match­ing nut. Match­ing gold end and strap pins are a small visual hint to the ER90C’s price tag. The tuners are Gold Grovers, com­plet­ing the look.
The ER90C fea­tures a Maton AP5 pickup sys­tem, which incor­po­rates a sculpted fre­quency curve that Maton has designed to per­fectly com­ple­ment the guitar’s acoustic tone. It fea­tures a sweep­able mid range between 1 and 2kHz, “Soft Start” cir­cuitry and a very help­ful low bat­tery indi­ca­tor, and it’s pow­ered by exter­nally mounted AA bat­ter­ies.
The gui­tar comes in a tank-like His­cox flight case made exclu­sively for Maton and designed to fit each par­tic­u­lar model.

I didn’t even need to pon­der for a sec­ond how to describe the sound of the ER90C: it’s the first word that jumped imme­di­ately to mind upon the very first chord: ‘bal­anced.’ No fre­quen­cies are fight­ing the oth­ers for atten­tion, and noth­ing is either too cloudy or too stri­dent. And this goes for the string-to-string vol­ume too: the tre­ble strings are slightly louder than usual and the bass strings seem gen­tly restrained, just enough to let each other stand shoul­der to shoul­der.
Rose­wood is a very com­mon, pop­u­lar and ver­sa­tile tone wood. It looks great and sounds great. In this case it no doubt helps to give the ER90C its even fre­quency spread and tonal warmth. Like­wise, Sitka spruce is known for its wide dynamic range, a qual­ity that this gui­tar has in abun­dance. You can hear it very clearly when you strum a sin­gle open string hard and let it fade nat­u­rally. The sus­tain is impres­sively long, and it tapers off very smoothly rather than giv­ing you a sud­den impact then fade.
The AP5 sys­tem is a great work­horse pre­amp. It doesn’t give you too many bells and whis­tles — no tuner, for instance — but its sweep­able midrange con­trol give you plenty of author­ity over these cru­cial fre­quen­cies. This is part of what makes the AP5 such a pop­u­lar pre­amp for live appli­ca­tions: you can really use it to dial the gui­tar in to the room.

The ER90C is a very fine-playing, great-sounding gui­tar. It has plenty of per­son­al­ity, yet is incred­i­bly adapt­able at the same time. It’s hard to think of a musi­cal style that it wouldn’t be at home with, nor a stage that it wouldn’t look right on.

By Peter Hodgson

RRP: $3199 (inc. case)
Dis­trib­u­tor: Maton Gui­tars
Phone: 03 9896 9500

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One Comment

  1. Alan Halpin
    Posted 10.02.2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I have just recently pur­chased the ER90C from a Maton dealer and I could not agree MORE with every­thing you described here about this amaz­ing Gui­tar. It really is so per­fectly bal­anced. plays beau­ti­fully and can accom­mo­date every style that i play. I could rec­om­mend it to any­one who plays though a num­ber of genre’s.
    I tried alot of gui­tars of about the same price bracket from other man­u­fac­tur­ers and really felt con­fi­dent that this one was right FOR ME.
    If you are con­sid­er­ing it, TRY IT ! but be care­ful, you may buy it.

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