Famously, there are a few notable inventions in Australian history that put this country on the map. We all know how popular Vegemite is overseas and Hills Hoists make laundry day and Goon of Fortune possible for countless households around the world. Maton Guitars’ rich history has left an indelible impression on some of the most prestigious guitarists around including but not limited to Josh Homme, Eric Johnson and Paul Kelly. You’d be hard pressed to find a player who hasn’t at least picked up one of their builds and it’s nigh on impossible to say you’ve not heard one recorded thanks to their absolute trustworthiness and everyman tonality. It seems fitting then that the upper echelons of their design team should meld minds and come up with such a glorious instrument as the EBG808c Nashville acoustic.
Being that it celebrates such a landmark for the company, Maton has afforded this design little bit more finesse than most others. AAA grade Sitka makes up the topside of the body and its bright, descriptive nature is tempered by the concentrated, natural temper of Blackwood rounded out with Indian Rosewood trim. Intricate, zipper style binding around the edges and sound hole marries perfectly with the delicious, caramel burst and gold Grover Rotomatic tuners to make it a hell of a sight to behold.
Not only is it a looker, it’s a really interesting sounding guitar too. The tone-woods mentioned above are almost a checklist of healthy acoustic voicing, however it’s the consideration given to patina that is the cherry on the tonal cake. With the foundation of Sitka on Blackwood as the base note, the glossiness adds luster to the note while the satin sections ensure everything cooperates nicely, all in all leading to a vivacious, crisp sound that is brimming with personality. Strum through some classic, country chord runs and you’d almost be forgiven for wanting to replace a J45 or Hummingbird with it in a recording as it has a similar body with a little more definition across the chord. As far as lead lines and picking goes the mid to high-mid range is so balanced and considerate that it almost matches the dynamic of your playing as if you’re being expertly mixed on the fly.
70 years is a longer tenure at the top than most companies can possibly hope for, especially in so fickle a game as instrument manufacture and design. Some of their kookier designs from the 60s may be little more than collector’s items now, but a guitar like the 808 I see before me is definitely one for the ages. Balanced yet lively, considered yet brimming with personality, it is as much a larrikin as it is a statesman which rings true of the company as a whole. It is testament to Maton’s undimmed sense of quality as well as its universal appeal that they have not only lasted this long, but increased exponentially in popularity, especially in the last two decades. Built for discerning players by discerning players, just as they always have been.
Hits and Misses
Caramel burst looks great
Rich mid range focused tonality and personality in spades
That this isn’t one of their flagship models. It should be.