Hi there guys, I'm looking for a bit of advice.

I want my first really good acoustic (I've been playing a $200 Martinez), and would like some input from those more experienced than I.

Now, I live in South Australia, which severely limits my options. Overall, I want a fully solid guitar, with a cutaway and a pickup, for preferably no more than $1500, but I would go as high as $2000 if something really 'speaks' to me.

I've narrowed my choices down to:

* Maton SRS70C for $1600
* Maton EM325C for $1450(I know it's not fully solid, but it is still a great guitar)
* Cole Clark Fat Lady 2 for $1600-$1800
* Epiphone DR500MCE for $750

I'm going to test them all out at a couple of different guitar shops soon.

Firstly, what are your opinions on these choices, and why?
Secondly, are there any other makes/models I should/could consider?

Any feedback or advice you can offer would be gratefully received.

Thanks everyone.
i wish i lived where you are. i'd love to be able to try out a ton of Matons and Cole Clarks.
only one i've had experience with is the Epi. great guitar if you find the right one. they are scarily inconsistant in sound quality though. when you find a good one, it's great, when you don't.... well there's always the beachside bonfire...
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
i wish i lived where you are

Mate, you wouldn't want to live where I am when you see how limited we poor Aussies are in our selections. :-P

So many of the models that everyone on these forums swear by are such a rarity here, if not impossible for find. Makes it really difficult for us to get out and try a range of guitars and brands, not to mention how expensive everything is!

I wish I had access to the range you Americans have, as well as your comparatively lower prices.

Anyhow, I'm going to try a few tomorrow. Will post results in the afternoon, if you're at all interested.
always interested mate.
while being spoiled by what we do have, it's always nice to be able to try what we don't.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
i'd go for the cole clark, although to be fair i've only tried a couple matons, but didn't like them as much - the solid tops seemed a bit boxy to me. the masterbilt is a good guitar, but not imo in the same class as the cole clark, which, btw, costs a lot more here in the states. i really enjoyed the fl2.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
while being spoiled by what we do have, it's always nice to be able to try what we don't

Yeah, I can understand that for sure. I am very lucky to be exposed to some great Australian brands, that are highly regarded worldwide. It would just be nice to be exposed to everything.

Anyway, I have the verdict from my guitar shop visits today.

The Epiphone DR500MCE is not even in the same class as the other options, so that's out. Very muddy, an off-putting neck profile, and thick poly finish put me off. Which is unfortunate, given it is half the price of the others. :P

The Cole Clark sounded a little too muddy to me, and the neck profile is a little too thick for my liking (I have small hands). Apart from that though, it looked incredible (they use beautiful wood), and felt really well built. But I didn't love it.

The Maton EM325C was superb, and looked incredible (Spruce top with Queensland Walnut b&s). If that were the only guitar available to me I would take it in an instant. However, the fact that it has laminate sides, not solid, puts me off a little. Everything else about the guitar screams quality, and I can definitely see why many musos choose this model. With the new AP5-Pro pick-up, it's even better. It had great projection, a nice rich, warm but also bright tone (exactly what I am looking for) and the playability was top notch.

However, the very clear winner is, hands down, the Maton SRS70C. Incredible finish, beautiful wood grain, and superb craftsmanship all over really. The sound is slightly brighter than the EM325C, and has slightly less projection, but the tone... Heavenly. The pick-up is again the new AP5-Pro, and sounds awesome through an acoustic amp. Really clear, crisp notes, with good sustain. By blending the microphone and piezo you get a much more natural sound compared to just the straight 'twang' that a piezo alone imparts. The guitar sounds just as good strumming, finger-picking or flat-picking, and you could cover a wide variety of genres with it easily. Probably best for brighter styles though, like Jazz, Folk, Country, etc. but I reckon I can squeeze some Rock and Blues out of 'er too.
For about $1500 (rrp $2200), with a hard case, all solid wood, and a state of the art pick-up system (regarded as the best in the world by many people) I reckon I have found the one.

I'm giving myself a few days to sleep on it, make sure this is definitely what I want, then I'm going back in to seal the deal. If I do end up getting it, I'll post some photos for those of you interested.

Thanks for your input stepchildusmc and patticake, and I look forward to seeing you around the traps on the forums.
Last edited by west0288 at Mar 9, 2014,
pics pics pics !!!!!
good for you West !! i hear so many good things about Matons. i'd love to try a few. if shipping weren't so outrageous, maybe we'd be able to do a swap service... i spend some time getting to know that maton...you borrow one of my Taylors or Martins.. Curse you Star Trek for making teleporting look so easy !!!!!
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
Update: I bought it, and damn is it nice.

I had the action lowered (sanded bridge), and frets dressed, all for free as part of my purchase. Hard case as standard, and I got $550 off the RRP ($2200).

Sounds absolutely beautiful, acoustically and through an amp. This baby will serve me well forever.

Finally, as promised, pictures! For those of you interested. Check out my profile to see them.
nice west ! all i've got to say is....you need to do some laundry !
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
Haha! All clean, just need to put it away. That's what happens when you live at college. :P