maton cw80/6In 1977 I bought my first guitar.

I’d been playing for a few years by then, originally pulled in by my older brother’s need to have someone play the bass line of Spicks and Specks while he sang and soloed.

By the age of 18, however, I’d outgrown Andy’s hand-me-down nylon string classical and even the serviceable no-name steel string acoustic my parents had bought me.

I bought a Maton CW80D from Allans Music in Hobart for $340.

That guitar was my best mate for the next four years.

I wrote songs on it, got up with friends at the St Ives Hotel, formed duos and bands that played paying gigs around town, serenaded girlfriends, played on a track that charted in Ireland and Germany, took it to the Netherlands and back, used it in a prac teaching class at Rose Bay High, busked regularly at Salamanca Market on Saturday mornings and dragged it around Tasmania for nine months doing school shows for TUK Theatre Co.

Until one day in 1981 I left it unattended for too long in one of the rooms at Salamanca Place. And it was gone.

That same week, TUK broke up and my mother died. In just a couple of days, my whole world turned upside down.

A few months later, I went to the Netherlands again with my Dad and on the way back visited some friends in Sydney. I stayed in the big smoke, became a working actor and bought a new guitar.

Fast forward to 2007. I live in Corrimal, north of Wollongong, with my wife and two kids. I’m a web developer and designer.

I take my coffee at Cafe Angeli in Railway St, and there’s a music shop a couple of doors down.

Two days ago, my passing glance fell on a familiar shape in the window. It’s a Maton, obviously, and an old one. Looking through the sound hole I can see it’s a CW80/6, a model that’s still in production (unlike the CW80D which was discontinued in 1983).

The guy in the shop tells me it’s from 1967, the year the CW80 line was introduced.

The price tag says “Responsible offers. Hmmmm”. I suggest he’s probably thinking around two grand? “About that”, he says.

Yesterday it was still in the window. “It’s still in the window”, I say. “Yeah, another bloke liked the look of it but he’s thinking about it.”

I emailed Andy. “Worth it as an investment alone”.

I talked about it with Hazel. “You’ve been working hard, you deserve it”.

This morning, I had to go to Sydney for a meeting. On the way there, I rang the shop. “Don’t sell it. I’ll be there by 3 o’clock with the money”. “It’ll be here for you – unless someone offers me three grand”. Ha ha.

When I went to pick it up, the shop guy said the other bloke had come back and was disappointed to be told it had been sold. But he wouldn’t even let the other bloke have a play of it. Shop guy took the chance that I’d be as good as my word. Thanks, shop guy.

I got it home and started playing. It tucks perfectly under my right arm. It has a beautiful action. The sound is like honey.

The back, sides and neck of these guitars are red-brown maple, with a slightly blonder spruce soundboard and darker rosewood neck and bridge. A dreadnought shape, with a black teardrop guardplate. The Maton “Double Thrust” Adjustable Truss Rod has kept the neck perfectly flat, even after nearly 40 years.

It looks – and sounds – like a classic flat top country and western guitar (that’s what the CW stands for, after all).

I go through some of the old repertoire: JJ Cale, Neil Young, James Taylor, Willis Alan Ramsey, The Band, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, G Wayne Thomas for heaven’s sake (“Day Comes”, one of the greatest surfing songs ever written).

Before I even get to any of my own songs, my fingers remind me that it takes time to develop those protective callouses. Even as I tap the keyboard now, the pads of my left fingers sting.

I think about my old CW80D. I hope it found a good home.

I know my ‘new’ CW80/6 did.

 

33 thoughts on “maton cw80/6”

  1. Well, I torn my shoulder out and had to have surgery. I was bored and since I could not work, decided to go onto the Craigslist website and look to see what guitars were for sale. I have about 20 guitars in the house now, most of low quality but having some feature that I like so I picked them up. I was going down the list and saw an ad that said Maton guitar $50.00 I had never heard of Maton locally but thought I may have seen an ad in a music mag at some point. I figured 50 bucks is pretty cheap for any playable guitar so I responded to the ad. The guy that owned it said he got carpel tunnel in his wrists and could no longer play. He told me it was an old guitar his parents bought him as a kid. I set up a meeting with him to look at it. Long story short, he sold it to me for the 50 with no strings on it, and was shocked I didn’t try to talk him down on the price. I took it home and put a fresh set of strings on it. Nice action up and down the neck, very loud, 1977 c.w.80.6 on the label and it is very plain looking. I have to say this is the finest guitar I have played in any price range. I was shocked to see what they go for online. It came with a pitch pipe and a cardboard epiphone case. I don’t know how this brand has escaped me all these years. I am 52 years old and have been playing since the age of 8yrs. I think this is better than a Martin or Taylor. The looks are so understated, I would have walked right by it had it been at a swap meet or flea market sale. I do not think I will part with it until I take a final dirt nap. My grandson will get this guitar in my last will. I have added a visit to the factory to my list of things to do before I die. Now all of my other guitars are less fun to play.

  2. Shan Jayaweera

    I too bought a Maton CW80 from a second hand shop a few years ago – Wow, it’s such a beautiful instrument. Glad I found someone else who shares my passion

  3. David Johnson

    I bought one of these when in high school and still have it. CW80/6. It doesn’t have a build date. I would have bought it in 1970. My daughter has started to learn on it. I have had the machine heads replaced and the frets machined once.

  4. Enjoyed your loving-dirty-hands on reminiscence. I too bought a CW80 in 1977, Newcastle Palings, Allan’s Novocastrian outpost, for $350. As I type it’s winking at me in a dropped D tuning kinda way. It was the mainstay instrument for live work, writing and recording from purchase until a couple of siblings arrived -Takamine for live work, replaced by Maton EM320, and last year a Gibson J-45 Rosewood for everything. The CW80 was played on a host of records including all my hits(!), a couple of early Black Sorrows discs and the original Mark Moffatt produced version of Yothu Yindi’s ‘Treaty’. it retains its light touch, easy recording volume with so much character as to be its own thing. Although the J-45 has stolen most of my heart, the CW80 is the first serious acoustic I owned and therefore retains that other part of my heart reserved for profound memory. It also lived in the Illawarra from 2004 till 2006!

  5. Allan Shepherd

    I have a Maton CW/80/6 Serial No.1161 Brought by my brother Graham in 1974, I received this after my brother had died 1976 and have treasured this guitar since, it is a great guitar, excellent tone, great fingering and never loses tune. We lived in Corrimal as well

  6. hugh [houston] hay

    bought my 75/cw/80/6 in 2 pieces from a pawn broker in the gabba [bris.] in1990 had it repaired. they did a crap job so pulled it apart and rebuilt myself.must say i jagged it and did a good job. have played it that much i recently refretted it and it sounds as good as ever.i have a very long list of players who have asked for it to be left to them in my will.since the refret my son who is a very good player has been playing it way to much and has been asking some strange questions about my health.seriously though i have played and heard many guitars in my 55 years and very few have the sparkle and tone of my cw. i plan on living a long time just to spite those who think they are in the line up for it.

  7. Take a look at this:

    the four members of TUK Theatre Co

    There it is. The original, back in 1981, on tour with TUK.

    Pictured is me above Mary Louise Thorp, then David Pidd, Penny McDonald and Adam Newcombe.

  8. Hi all – My lovely CW80 was bought from McFee music in Hobart in 1981 and has been the only constant love in my life ever since!!!
    It plays beautifully with a soft mellow tone that melts your heart with every play. Takes pride & place in the man cave. Great guitar I hope my daughters will enjoy in years to come.

  9. Thanks for sharing. I bought my CW 1980 model in 1986, second hand for $650 in a post flood sale at a Grafton music shop. 1980/manufacture, which if you wondering the manufacture date is on the label – last right digits indicate the year. It still plays like bell and in fact is getting better.

    The machine heads were already changed to grovers when I got it and it looked like it had been used around a camp fire plenty of times. I got an AP5 pickup fitted at the Maton factory which cost more than the guitar. Short of theft, I will never part with it.

    The best bit is when other guitarist play it in my studio and don’t want to give it back. The equivalent acoustic tone I have heard recently was a Gibson J45 but the only better sounding guitar I have ever heard was another Maton, a Messiah, owned by my then brother in law. Oh how we jammed! Thanks Maton.

  10. G DAY
    I enjoyed reading the various storys about how and where people found this guitar I in a music shop in warners bay newcastle called music solutions just looking around when i noticed this old guitar hanging up near the enterence so i picked it up and right away i knew that i would be buying this instrument it felt great just to hold it and the sound was great it was of course the maton cw80/6 when i asked about this guitar i was told that it had just been traded in for some other guitar i did not to much
    about this guitar but i knew that this was something special dont know what year it was made but the serial No is 164 and is singed by Tommy Emanuel i feel very lucky to have this instrument cheers

  11. Kauri Munro-Greentree

    my god father left me this cw80/6 guitar when he traveled to the other side of australia for work. he asked me if i would be able to get it fixed as it had been significantly damaged. the back had come off and the side/sligtly on the face has been mangled. weeks after he had moved he died of a heart attack. now im determined to get it fixed and be able to play it in memory of him. the guitar is a CW80/6 and serial number is 141. so id imagine that this was produced in the first year of production? also it has one broken tuning peg, any idea on where i could find a replacement of the same kind? it looks very similar to the ones in the original photo above, white and pearly looking. thanks!

  12. Not that that comment is relevant or anything other than a pimp for a backlink, but I’m glad you dropped by. Happy to give a plug for Nick Vivid’s – you should have used your main URL: http://www.nickvivid.com/. I loved your account of recreating the Black Paul – I wish I could hear it. I sure know who to ask if I need to fix a headstock. Next time, though, just say g’day.

  13. How do I adjust the truss on this? I’ve had this model of Maton for 10 years. Before that, it was my mothers and has travelled with her up and down the east coast in her transient days, and a little worse for wear.The sound is beautiful, but it’s become unplayable.
    It’s not a slot for an allen key.. I’m confused. :/

  14. Mike Hamilton

    Hi to all Maton Cw8o owners.
    I purchased mine new in Allens Newcastle in 1967. It cost me $168 after trade in on a hand made electric guitar that I had built myself.
    The serial number of the Cw80 is 167.
    It has an arch top and bottom to the box and has a resonance and tone when played that is outstanding. It has maintained this over all the years I have owned it. My son is professional guitarist
    who owns a collection of Martins and Epiphones from their top end and the Maton holds its own against them.
    I have noticed that some time after 1967 Maton altered the cw80 box to being flat top and bottom and whilst they are still a sweet instrument they do not have the resonance of mine.

  15. G’Day, I spent 1982 in Tassie after going down there for the Longford Folk Festival in January and the rest of the year in Hobart Busking in Elizabeth St Mall during the week and Salamanca Markets on Saturdays and playing Gigs at the Dog House Hotel(as “Noel Diamond” a joke name the Hotel owner came up with). I had a Maton CW80 (which I bought 2nd hand in 1980 for $200 and in 1985 gave it to My(Ex)Father in Law on His Birthday(Why???) and a Maton Coolibah and a Maton CW80 12 string (Both I still have and are Beautiful Guitars) Your story brought back fond memories of My time in Tassie all those Years ago

  16. Your story is heart rending and my husband feels the same as you do about his Maton CW80/6. He spent his entire professional life teaching elementary school children and used this wonderful guitar every year to help children find the joy of music and their own voices. The guitar was passed down to our children during their college years and was loving passed back to dad when our last one finished college. They have a deep affection for what this instrument ment to their father and memories of having it entrusted to their care. He purchased this beauty in 1975 from Califon House of Guitars in Califon, NJ for the huge sum of $175.00. A prescious sum for two penny pinching kids with a daughter and one on the way. Thank you for your story and we still love Maton CW80 as much as ever. My best, Joan

  17. Really enjoyed reading this blog! I bought my Maton CW80/6 second-hand from a shop somewhere in Sydney in about 1978 and have played it ever since. My guitar-playing son knows he’ll have this lovely guitar after I’m gone, and perhaps his newborn son will grow to appreciate the instrument over the years too. The label inside mine has serial no. 2213 and date 10/76.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog, sad. but at least You do own one that’s very similar to your first Maton
    I’m a drummer but I do enjoy flirting with some of my guitars
    But I won’t touch my Maton … too scared to play it….Hardly been touched new with original case and warranty
    It’s for investment only
    Model CW80D/6
    Serial 5015
    Checked

  19. I have this model CW80D/6 ,well worn and plays beautifully. I don’t know what its worth today ?But I appreciate quality. I have invested in a $300 SKB travel case to keep it safe,and will be keeping it for my son to play when he is older .So glad to find out more about my Maton. Thanks.

  20. Robert McGilp

    I bought my first Maton in April 1977. Bought it from the factory, when they were making magic in Canterbury Road Melbourne. It was made in April (that’s what the 477 means) The rest of the number is CW80D/6. It cost me $300.00 new and it has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It was and still is my faithful companion and has gone nearly everywhere with me, except for when i felt she was in personal danger. Then she stays at home. I bought a Les Paul 20th Anniversary Custom, then a 1971 Fender Stratocaster, just for personal use, but the action on both units was sloppy and so they went the way of the trade in. Then I bought a Martin Dreadnought when I was in Boston, but I hardly touched it. Never believe that all Martins are the same!! The action was “wrong” So it went too. Finally I bought the ECJ and love was here at last. She’s just so sweet (and mean as well) when playing the Blues. I sometimes think about buying something new again, but the memories of what we’ve been through as a trio just tells me that another guitar would be an intrusion on the family. Besides, I’m 64 now. Probably couldn’t stand the heat in the Kitchen!! I haven’t seen my kids for 41 years and i don’t think they’ll want them, so I guess one day, when the Arthritis at screaming at me, I’ll sell them or give them to a School, so some kid with a passion can continue the dream.

  21. My surname is Martin and i always wanted a Martin guitar (have 2 now) but about 1976 when i was 19 years old i saw this Maton CW 80 1969 model in a pawn shop window in Manly.
    Cant remember how much it was but i traded my Takamine that was 6 months old plus paid an extra $100. Now 42 years later i have G.A.S. and try to hide about 15 guitars around my house, i Have most brands and models but the only guitar that stays out of a case and ready to play is my Maton CW80 1969 model its got a flat top but bowed back with no struts in the back. This guitar is mellow like honey warm loud sweet its amazing depending how you play it can be funky rocky jazzy folky it has multitude of sounds if there was a fire its the only thing i would grab. Around about 1984 my house was broken into and the Maton was stolen it was like my only child had died i was devastated.
    Reported it to the police and thought ok move on you will never see it again. 1988 i got a knock on the door Manly police cop says is your name ………. YES In 1984 did you report a guitar stolen ?YES, do you think you can describe it ? YES i described the guitar, its got a nasty scratch on the front plus a gash of wood out up on the head stock ! …… im sorry Mr ….. that description doesnt fit. What ? ! hang on the serial number is ………… Yes thats the correct serial number.
    They guitar was returned to me a luthier had done an amazing job re fretting with thick frets (great sustain) plus patched and adjusted everything and sanded it back re stained it and put bone nut and bridge on. Now 40 years later its mellowed and honey yellowed and is a major love of my life.
    If ever i play one of my other guitars i dont let my Maton see me do it.

  22. Always wanted one..just got one..1975..Australian hummingbird?goodness I can’t sing much but it makes me try heaps harder!!!theres an orchestra in that hole!!!lol

  23. I bought mine second hand about 35 years ago. It’s a ‘79 model. Still plays and sounds as good as the day I brought it home. A true piece of art.

  24. Bought my CW80 1984 in around 1993 . Came with case with Maton plate on front.
    Purchased from Clemons(?) Small shop in Russel st Melbourne. The old guy allowed me upstairs alone with all these expensive vintage guitars.
    Put a fishmsan pickup in it.
    Still my favourite out of the many guitars that I’ve owned.

  25. Great story, would be interesting to now if your stolen Maton survives. I got my Maton in 2000 I was a Police Officer and was at a local Money lender in Corimal taking a report of a theft of a Guitar, and I mentioned to them I’d love a Maton. They said they had never had one but if something came up they would let me know. 2 days later I was contacted by them as they had one. I dropped by and sure enough a CW80/6 for $500. I said I’d take it and dropped back a few days later with the cash. Accept it was now the day after GST came in so the Guitar was now $550. I bought it. 20 years later best investment, love the sound. Turns out it’s a 73 model. Also, who are TUK? Thanks

  26. Nice to see Corrimal has a history of people finding Matons! TUK was a theatre company started with a group of my friends. The show we toured around schools in Tasmania about 1980 had a few songs in it, hence the guitar.

  27. What a great thread. What a great history.
    I bought my CW80/6 from Palings in Newcastle. I remember saving for what seemed like years.
    I played it for about 12 years, then it went into the cupboard for 40 years.Last year our church asked for new musicians so I put up my hand and started to grow new callouses and stretch hand muscles which had been dormant. And I started having lessons – in Brisbane. Best thing ever to have a professional show me all the mistakes I’d learned, and how to correct them. The guitar has had new machines heads and replaced frets. I put a K&K pure pickup in and it sounds great. A bit beaten up now but no structural damage. its number is 573 so I guess it’s 1973. Glad I didn’t sell it.

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