Price paid: A$ 900
Purchased from: Music Junction Camberwell
Features — 10
I bought this guitar in 2016. It is the new entry point to the Maton range but comes really really well equipped. Firstly its got an A grade solid sitka spruce top with Queensland maple back and sides and neck. Its got a Sapelle rosette as well as a sapelle capping on the headstock. The 12" fingerboard as well as bridge is Indian rosewood. The tuners are chrome Grovers. The fretwire is Dunlop 6260 and the neck is very comfortable with a modern C profile and a nice matt finish. The scale is 25.5" and the nut width is 44.1mm.
Sound — 10
This is a beautiful full sounding dreadnought that is very well balanced with all the right tones. Matons have a unique sound that is brighter and a bit more assertive than the laidback even nature of a Martin. Its more bassy and well rounded than a Taylor though with a smoother more mellow treble and mid. This guitar works equally well for finger picking as it does for strumming. The guitar is still very new and the sound has not fully opened up. I suspect when it does the guitar will become even better sounding. I changed the strings to uncoated Martin Phosphor Bronze Lights and the sound has become lighter and more airy.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The fit and finish was impeccable and easily as good as a Martin, top end Yamaha or top end Taylor. There was not a single flaw on this guitar. The nitro paint really gives this guitar a very classy feel as does the unique Australian timbers. Compared to the non solid back and sides on a Taylor in this price range or the melamine back and sides on a Martin this guitar really stands out for value and quality. The action was initially high but after adjusting it a bit its now at a very comfortable 1.9mm on the low E and 1.6 on the high E. The overall neck feels more like that of an electric guitar which makes the guitar very playable.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Matons are the defacto guitar for gigging musicians in Australia and New Zealand and are being adopted by quite a few guitarists globally as well. They are known to be over built to withstand the rough and tough of touring so I am sure with my careful use it will last me for the rest of my life. On top of that all the hardware is such good quality. The grover tuners and the solid wood all round really add to the sense of solidity. To cap it off is the premium quality Maton branded padded hard case that looks and feel ultra strong.
Overall Impression — 10
I recently bought an SRS60 and its a beautifully made guitar with a lovely neck and sounds divine. I took along my FG700 to have a reference point. One of the reasons was because the guitars I wanted to try were in two different stores. I tried a Seagull a Martin DRS2 Road Series, a Mahogany Seagull Maritime, a Taylor 114CE, GS Mini, Big Baby, Yamaha LL6, Maton Performer and the S60.
The Martin was very balanced but very quiet. I felt the FG700 was more lively if less refined. Also the thought of compressed paper for a fretboard and bridge leaves me cold.
The Seagull was nice but I was not looking for the somewhat compressed sound of a Mahogany guitar this time. The Taylors left me unimpressed. The necks were uncomfortable and the heel too sharp and the sound was clear but thin on the 114.
The Big Baby Taylor was even thinner. It was not bad but not what I was after. The GS Mini is clearly better than the Big Baby however it sounded small. The LL6 was a warmer more rounded version of the FG700 but I didn't like the gloss finish and the gold plated tuners.
The Matons, they Performer and the S60 were much clearer. They had the crispness I was looking for. I could actually hear the sound board singing. The Performer has less bass a clearer top end. It also is nicer to look at but $600 dearer. Anyway I brought the S60 home. A few days later I bought a used Maton Mini.
Both Matons have lovely build quality and feel like carefully crafted instruments. One store had an old Maton from the early '70s that was selling for around $1000 and it sounded really nice like old guitars tend to do.