Adam Cole and his guitars

A story on my visit to the guy who resurrected the Maton electric… Adam Cole.

A few months ago, I posted a story on the amazing Satan Wedgtail, which was built for Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top by Adam Cole. (Here’s the story). Well, I’ve been chatting to Adam the last few months about guitars & stuff and seeing that I was in Melbourne for 4 days with my band I thought I’d drop into his workshop and say g’day. Adam’s shop, ‘Valley Music’ is in Lillydale, which is a lovely suburb about 45km’s out of Melbourne. Thanks to my trusty GPS on my iPhone, I got there with no worries. Adam was just finishing lunch so we got straight into talking guitars. Straight away we found out we found out we shared a great respect for 70’s Ibanez’s… especially the Iceman & Destroyers. Adam had just sold a rare Steve Miller Iceman with the triple slideable coil pickup along with an equally rare Def Leppard triple Dimarzio humbucker Destroyer.

The front of his workshop is the retail store, which had some sweet looking guitars. He had a few of the new Framus reissues there, along with a very nice Maton MS2000 with pickups that Adam had custom wound. I love the look of the early MS2000’s with the smaller humbuckers as they look much more like a Maton. If you’re interested in buying it, here’s the link.

After chatting for a bit, Adam showed me a few of his personal Maton’s… including this non-sharkbite Fyrbyrd that he restored himself while working at Maton.

This guitar looked beautiful… like brand new. I instantly noticed the strange red pyramid topped knobs, which Adam said were original. I also noticed that the knobs were placed in the wrong positions, with the selector switch in the middle. Again, Adam said this was original to the guitar so someone obviously had an off day at the Maton factory that day back in the 60’s.

The fretboard had been beautifully finished. Adam said the wood used (Black bean wood) was pretty nasty for your health if you breathed in the wood dust.

The headstock had a smaller ‘M’ on it, which I assume was from the new Mastersounds.The tuners weren’t original, but these were on the guitar when Adam got it and worked fine. They look pretty cool… it looks like they may have come of a 3 a side headstock guitar originally.

The next Maton that Adam showed blew my mind. This was Adam’s personal Mastersound that he built for himself. That in itself was amazing… just being able to make your own Maton. Anyway, Adam’s Maton is probably the coolest MS2000 ever made.

Being a big Ace Frehley (from Kiss) fan, Adam made his MS2000 with a one piece mahogany body, flame maple top with cherry sunburst and 3 (mini) humbuckers. The middle pickup is wound in with the bottom knob and is out of phase. He also added a sweet looking little Les Paul style scratchplate which really matches the black pickups.

The neck was also a beautiful piece of flame maple, done with Adam’s headstock joint that he designed for the Mastersound. He said he’d designed it like that to save on wood in the factory and I think it’s a really elegant solution. Apparently Maton have phased it out now.

As mentioned, the back is a one piece mahogany body. The guitar is a little weighty, but no more than a typical Les Paul.

The workmanship was flawless. I’m amazed that people can make guitars like this… to me it’s like black magic. The whole guitar is just a classy looking beast and played like butter.

Thanks to Adam for letting me bug him on Saturday. He’s a top dude and knows more about Maton history than anyone I’ve ever met. He knows who designed what, where what part came from… the stuff that most people would love to know but thanks to Adam’s years at Maton, he does. If anyone is out near Lillydale, check out Adam’s shop and say hi.

Here’s Adam in action with his band Bugdust, playing his Ibanez Def Leppard Destroyer.