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April/May 2014

by Chet O'Connell

Gear Review: Maton SRS 70c Acoustic Guitar

by Chet O'Connell

Gear Review: Maton SRS 70c Acoustic Guitar

As a young lad in a musical family I loved picking up my dad’’s 1959 Maton Supreme, EG 240 and belting out a tune or two. From an early age, I heard a quality in these Australian-made guitars that left an impression on me.
Years later I purchased my first Maton acoustic and have since added another couple to the collection. They are my go-to acoustics for studio and live work and they have never let me down.
Maton has been making guitars since the humble beginnings in a Melbourne backyard workshop in 1946. Since then Maton has grown into one of the lucky country’’s greatest success stories and is still 100% family-owned and operated. The handmade component means that Maton guitars each enjoy a unique tone and character. In recent years they have improved the neck geometry, bracing patterns and body construction of their acoustic guitars with stunning results, the proof of which can be seen, and heard, on the Maton I have in front of me today.
The new Maton SRS series (solid road series) of guitars is the culmination of years of development and fine tuning by Maton’’s senior luthiers and production designers. This particular instrument has an rrp of $2199.
MatonSRS70C_1 nzm154Picking the SRS 70c out of its shaped case, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable it was to hold and play. The body is slightly narrower on the top of the arch where the body goes down to meet the neck, and this slight contour helps it sit nicely against your body.  Tasmanian blackwood back and sides, A-grade Sitka spruce top, Queensland maple neck, with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, it’s finished in Maton’’s tuned satin pre-catalysed Nitro finish.
From the first few notes played, I could tell that this guitar is all about tone. The balance was perfect with a nice punchy bass response, while keeping a rich midrange and nice top end sparkle. Add to this the great sustain and Maton have produced a winner. The instrument responded well to a variety of playing styles with great dynamics ranging from a nice sweet sound for finger picking and light strumming, to a big fat sound if you really want to dig in and are a little more heavy handed.
The neck proved a joy to play and made moving around the fretboard a breeze. I’’m not a fan of big fat necks and sometimes acoustics can be hard work. Not the case with the SRS 70c. I was quite comfortable playing this guitar within minutes of picking it up, and it kept sounding better the longer I played it. The tonal balance across the strings and up and fretboard was nicely even, and I enjoyed the range of sounds I could achieve using different pick sizes and a capo.
I think that string choice is important with acoustic guitars and am a firm believer that not all strings match all guitars. Probably for the same reason, Maton string all of their guitars with Elixir strings, and I can tell you that the fitted strings sound great on this guitar. The gauge and tension are pretty much ideal.
MatonSRS70C_3 nzm155The SRS 70c is also fitted with Maton’’s still-new AP5 Pro pick up system, which was itself reviewed in the August/September 2013 issue of NZ Musician. The important bit to know is that the AP5 Pro features separate cardioid microphone and piezo input controls, allowing the blend of both microphone and piezo levels, prior to sending the actively combined signals through the tone circuits and master volume. The microphone system is mounted directly to the pre amp casing via an adjustable arm, giving you more control of your sound by moving its position. These pickups sound great in any situation and add further value and versatility to the SRS range.
This guitar is certainly a step in the right direction for Maton and at the recommended price of $2199 this SRS 70c must be one of the best serious acoustic buys available.
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