Maton Big Ben Bass… yes… ANOTHER ONE!


This is getting ridiculous… another rare as hell Big Ben has resurfaced… this time in New Zealand!

When I posted my original ‘Maton’s… More Than Mastersounds’ article, there wasn’t much info on the net on the more obscure Maton models like the Ibis and Wedgtail. And as far as I could tell, there wasn’t even a photo of the Big Ben Bass… just an artists impression from the old 60’s Maton catalogues. Now in the last 2 months, FOUR have popped up. First was Ron’s beautiful black Big Ben Twin that he’s had since new (complete with original pick and cable), then there was the Big Ben that I missed out on eBay but was picked up by guitarnerd reader and Maton collector Kevin, then this week there’s Filip’s beautiful Big Ben Twin that he rescued from his mates garage in Perth.

Now there’s Brendon from Christchurch (NZ) beautiful sunburst Big Ben.


Hi there Tony.

These photos were taken when I first got it about 6 years ago, it had very old plastic flatwounds on it, and I hadn’t cleaned it up.  I saw it for sale when I was visiting Auckland from Christchurch, and nobody had rung the seller about it for over a month!  So I got it cheap.  It is still gigging every week, and people always comment on the amazing tone it puts out.  I’ve owned heaps of great basses over the years, but I can honestly say that this is my favourite bass ever – the best blend of tone, playability, rareness and mojo.  And I love how the bridge is based on a standard type door hinge.


I’m bringing it over to Melbourne with me in early May, was hoping to take it in to the Maton factory and try to source an equivalent machine head for it, or find someone who may have one (I reckon they’re the same as on some of the acoustics of that era).  Its the only non-original part on it.  It’d also be waaaay cool to meet some other Maton fans and check out their beauties while there!


Mine is not the only Big Ben in NZ.  I actually saw one the same as Ronny’s Black Beauty Big Ben Bass in CHCH not long after I bought mine.  At the time I didn’t even know which model mine was – even Maton weren’t sure! But now I know, thanks to the guitarnerd site.

Know anyone who might be keen on my very good cond.1972 302/6 Sapphire Deluxe (see last photo)??? I’m thinking of bringing it over to Melbourne with me to sell…..


Brendon, somehow I think you’ll have NO trouble selling that beautiful Sapphire. It looks brand new!

Two things surprised me with this story. One.. how many rare 60’s Maton’s ended up in New Zealand. I’ve seen a few very rare models pop up on the New Zealand trading post site, but I’m always too late to bid on them… which is probably a good thing as I really don’t need any more guitars at the moment. Except a Wedgtail… and a Big Ben… and a nice Fyrbird.

The other thing that has surprised me… and this has been a constant in all the Maton Big Ben stories that I’ve posted, is how little Maton knows about these rare guitars that they made way back then. All the owners have contacted Maton and have received basically shrugged shoulders and a “we’re not really sure what you have… sorry” answer. Even Maton’s online museum is woefully incomplete. Most entries don’t have photo’s, just a loose description. Wouldn’t it be in Maton’s best interest to collaborate with the Maton collectors around Australia and get it finished?

I know Maton is a lot smaller than Gibson or Fender, but their 50th Anniversary reissue of the Mastersound (really, really nice) and the Starline 4606 (beautiful… apart from having the wrong pickups) show that Maton can delve into their history successfully when they want to.



Know anyone who might be keen on my very good cond.1972 302/6 Sapphire
Deluxe (see last photo)???   I'm thinking of bringing it over to Melbourne
with me to sell.....