Maton AX5

Nearly every guitar maker has made a Les Paul copy. Here’s Maton’s version. As you’ll see it’s pretty amazing.

After starting guitarnerd, my slight interest in vintage Maton’s has grown into a slight obsession. But my slight obsession pales into insignificance next to fellow Maton collector Greg T. His collection is probably the best private collection of Matons in the country. Downtown Music in Sydney has a great Maton Museum, but with that being a shop and them buying most of their Matons at once from the famous Toowoomba collection, Greg’s is slightly more impressive as he has obsessively hunted his Matons down one at a time.

Recently, Greg came back from a holiday in New Zealand with some extra baggage items. Here’s one of them… plus Greg’s story.

We all know about the amazing Phil Manning series of Matons ie the PM1 Custom Stereo and the little brother the PM2 Standard and there is even an elusive PM Bass of which only 1 was ever made apparently. Well you may wonder was this Matons first Les Paul? The answer is NO! Before the PM series there was an amazing guitar called the A.X.5. This is a guitar that I have been searching for and wanted to own for a long time. Even more so than finding a Phil Manning. So how did I come to own this beautiful piece of Maton History?

A few months ago I was lucky enough to buy a beautiful old Maton bass of a fantastic lover of Matons in New Zealand. When I spoke to him on the phone it was apparent he too shared in the seemingly contagious disease of MAS (Maton Acquisition Syndrome)! We emailed back and forth showing pics and sharing information about our collections and a few of his really caught my eye. I purchased a second bass off him and at the same time made a deal on the A.X.5. and also an MS1100 bass IDENTICAL to Tony’s.

As the neck was able to come off one of the basses we were able to get that over to me via NZ Post. Unfortunately the MS1100 is a HUGE Beast! Tony can attest to this I am sure and the A.X.5. in its case was too big for NZ Post. After weighing up the freight options and prices I decided bugger it I am taking a holiday! I booked flights and accom and a car and took off to NZ! I drove over to Martins place in the beautiful mountains of the South Islands near Dunedin where I met with him and his wife. The A.X.5. was leaning against his amp and the MS1100 was over the other side of the lounge room. Picking up the A.X.5. and giving it a strum I knew it was for me. I have never been a Les Paul fan at all but something about this beast is just perfect. Its feel! Its tone! Everything about it just feels perfect!

Talking over a warm cup of tea and looking at and playing some of his beautiful collection of Matons was just an exhilarating time. I showed him photos of my collection and then he said he had to show me something. He disappeared from the room and came back with a photo of himself playing a gorgeous Big Ben Bass in the 60’s. It was awesome to see where his passion came from. He had already told me the story of the Big Ben and it was just so great to see a photo of him on stage with it. I believe I have made a true friend in Martin. It is amazing to me still how guitars can bring people from all around the world together. Another perfect example is my true friend Walter in The Netherlands (whom a lot of you on here are familiar with).

I have suggested to Martin that he write an article on his passion for the Big Ben Bass! Hopefully he finds the time to tell you all about it.

The Specs for the A.X.5. are below.

Body : 17½“x13”x2”
Body Timber : Solid Mahogany
Neck Timber : Solid Mahogany
Finger Board : Ebony w/ Mother of Pearl Block Inlays
Style : Carved Top Single Cutaway
Bridge : Channel Micromatic
Tail Piece : Fixed Metal Bar
Frets : 22 N/S
Scale : 24¾“
Pickups : 2 Maton Twin Coil Separate Adjustable Poles
Controls : 2 Volume, 2 Tone, 1 Toggle P/U Change Switch

Tuners : Individual Grover Deluxe Enclosed
Hardware : Gold and Chrome
Finish : Cherry Gloss
Case : Shaped Plush Lined

Thanks Greg for sharing your great story. If your AX5 feels anything like my PM Custom Stereo, it’d blow most Gibson Les Paul’s out of the water.

It’s also fantastic to be able to document this rare guitar on guitarnerd, as there is NOTHING on the internet about these rare Maton models. That is the true purpose of guitarnerd… to bring these long forgotten rare guitars out from under the many beds, cupboards and chook sheds in Australia (and New Zealand) and into public view for the first time in 30+ years. If anyone has a weird looking Maton (or anything for that matter) that they’d like to share on guitarnerd, please email me at [email protected]

And just for fun… here’s a guy named Steve playing some slide on his mates AX5.


••• update: Speaking of Walt, here are photo’s of his what looks to be AX5 prototype. While it looks very similar to Greg’s AX5 (apart from the stripped top and switched neck humbucker) the lack of Maton logo on the headstock leads me to believe this was a early production prototype before the model went ahead.

It also looks like the bridge has been changed, but this isn’t a big deal as all the important bits are there. If anyone has a gold Maton neck humbucker that would fit this guitar (or any info on it) let me know and I’ll pass the message to Walt.
••• update: Greg T has mentioned that he thinks that when this AX5 got stripped, the headstock logo and artwork got removed as well. This and the fact that this guitar has a serial number leads him to believe it’s probably not a prototype.

••• update: As mentioned by Steve in the comments below, here is his AX5 without the master volume.

••• update: Stephen was kind enough to send some close up shots of his AX5. It’s got some different features compared to Greg & Walt’s guitars… mainly the absence of the master volume and the different bridge. It looks absolutely stunning in black. Stephen also mentioned the AX5 in the above youtube vid is also missing the master volume, so maybe early AX5’s like this one didn’t have this feature until later on.

Interestingly (or lazily) Maton still did the full body rout on the back, even though there was no master volume… they could’ve done the routes a’la Les Paul but nope.

Headstock has the overlay as Greg mentioned. You can see some of the black detail scraping off. Also, factory Grovers like my Phil Manning.

Thanks to Stephen for the great pics. As far as I’m aware, these are the only photo’s on the internet so far of this model Maton… so it’s great to document these instruments so people out there know what they are and what cool guitars Maton made back in the day.