In June 2020 Australian businessman, Peter Freedman, founder of RØDE Microphones, made headlines around the world after he paid US$6 million at auction for the 1959 Martin D-18E guitar Kurt Cobain played during his 1993 MTV Unplugged Nirvana performance in New York. Now it’s Maton’s turn for the spotlight.
For skip forward just one month and Australia and guitars are in the news headlines again. This time it’s thanks to the Powerhouse Museum announcing it will be displaying the personal collection of 130 of Australian made Maton guitars between now and October 11th 2020 – Maton: Australia’s Guitar.
This is the largest retrospective of Australia’s leading guitar manufacturer, much loved by artists including Archie Roach, Neil Finn, Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel), Missy Higgins, Keith Urban, Tash Sultana, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Garry Beers (INXS), George Harrison (The Beatles) and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones).
Maton Guitars initially began making guitars in 1946 as a small backyard workshop in Melbourne. The founder Billy May was a Melbourne-born jazz musician, woodwork teacher and luthier. Since then Maton has created over 200 guitars model in Australian timbers such as Blackwood, bunya, Queensland Maple, Queensland Walnut and now Satin Box.
One of the highlights on display is The Easybeats’ guitarist Harry Vanda’s Maton guitar which he used to write the song ‘Friday on My Mind’. Also Tommy Emmamuel’s first Maton, a Maton electric Mastersound MS500M and hand painted case.
A fun fact? The entire collection of Maton guitars, ukuleles, lap steels and amplifiers are part of the personal collection of Bankstown-based instrument collector Wadih Hanna. Hats off to Hanna for sharing it with us via the Powerhouse Museum.
Head to the Powerhouse Museum site for more details on Maton: Australia’s Guitar.