Maton Flamingos – work in progress

Some new birds have arrived…

Hi nerds. Apologies for not posting in the last few weeks. I’ve had a lot going on and needed to take a break from guitar-related activities for a while. Yet again, I’m posting about my (current) favourite guitar maker, Maton. Also, apologies to those of you looking to read about guitars other than Maton’s. It’s just that after 15 years of guitar-nerdom, I’m a bit tired of Strat’s, Teles, Les Pauls, Jazzmasters etc. I can flip through the entire ‘electric guitars’ section on eBay and not see one thing I want to buy. The only thing the remotely excites me at the moment are old Matons. Their rarity and the cool designs (plus the fact they were made in Australia) really appeal to me. So for the near future, i guess that’s what you’re gonna see here. Hope that’s ok.

Through this website, I’ve been lucky to meet some fellow Maton collectors who share my enthusiasm for the old designs. One of them, Ken, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in a spare Maton Flamingo he had lying around. While not my favourite Maton design, since the Flamingbyrd story a little while back my interest in the Flamingo had been growing and I came to appreciate them for what they were… a cool 60’s garage guitar, along the lines of a Silvertone or Harmony. I was certainly keen to own one, plus it was such a great deal I couldn’t say no.

Here’s what I got… a second series Flamingo body with the paint stripped and finished in clear (with the headstock paint & decal intact, thankfully)…

…along with all it’s parts… plus a brand new laser cut scratchplate in white.

From what I’ve heard, the second series Flamingo is much rare than the first, with the Strat horn added to boost sales I guess. Here’s what it looks like when complete. (This example is also owned by Ken.) This is the only photo of a second series Flamingo I’ve seen… all the others are of the more common shorter horn version.

The body is one piece and really light. I was thinking of painting it back to it’s original colour, matching the paint with the original paint left in the cavities, but I really like the look of the grain so for now I’m leaving it. I can always paint it later on.

Another reason I’m leaving it as is, is that the neck has some beautiful figuring in it. Even though this is probably just Queensland Pine, it looks great and it’d be a shame to cover it. Also, like most 60’s Maton necks… it feels fantastic.

As mentioned, the original headstock decal is still intact. This saves a lot of hassle trying to replicate this later on. The headstock design reminds me of one of my other favourite guitars, the 60’s Harmony BobKats which are also a favourite of the Hot Snakes.

The back of the headstock is quite interesting. The amount of wood and joinery involved is amazing. I’ve seen this on a few old Maton’s now… I’m not sure of the reasoning behind all these pieces of wood being used then cut into shape…. scraps being used up perhaps? Oh well, it’s lasted 50 years… must be ok.

The plan originally was to bolt all the pieces back onto this body and have a nice original Flamingo, albeit in a stripped finish. Then in the last few days I’ve gotten the chance to get a first series Flamingo which needs a lot of work (and parts) to get into shape.

So I’ve decided to use all the parts to get the first series Flamingo complete, as it still has it’s original finish. With the stripped second series, I’m going to hot-rod it slightly but in a way that won’t affect it so when I want to bring it back to original, I can. I’m going to get a black scratchplate cut, as black looks great on natural wood. Then, instead of using the original pickups & tremolo (which are going to the series 1 Flamingo) I’m going to install mini Firebirds & a Bigsby. Basically, I’m turning this guitar into a Maton version of a Crestwood Custom…

Anyway… that’s the plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.