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Published Oct 27 by Daniel Moss.
Since being founded in 1946 Maton Guitars have grown to be not only Australia's biggest guitar company, but one of the most well recognised guitar manufacturers in the world. There use of native timbers have made them the go to choice for a number of huge names in the guitar world such as Tommy Emmanuel, Eric Johnson, Josh Homme, John Butler, Paul Kelly, Neil Finn and countless others. For quite a while now, Andy Allen has been the main man of the Maton Custom Shop at their Melbourne factory. We recently had a  chat with Andy about what got him involved in guitar building, his thoughts on the future of the acoustic guitar industry and what we can expect from Maton in the not too distant future.

Hey Andy, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. You've been the head honcho of the Maton Custom Shop for a little while now. Let's maybe start with a bit of a background on where the whole music thing started for you. When did you start playing? And where did the interest in building instruments stem from?

It has to be KISS or Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page or Ace Frehley were my idols as a kid. I was mesmerised by them growing up. Truth be told I was actually mesmerised by their Les Paul guitars. Anyone who played one on Countdown, or any television show that had music on it, I was intrigued. I loved the look of that guitar and I still do, it is just a classic. I have a collection of them myself now... guess I never really grew up from those early memories of guitar. You could even say Red Symons of The Skyhooks had a major effect on my love of guitar. He was playing Les Paul's and doing it right here in Australia with The Skyhooks. Jimmy Page and Ace Frehley were so far away but Red Symons was right here and playing that guitar. I just love it!

Did you have any particular mentors or training with other luthiers that helped you in the early days?

My number one mentor was Ron Smiley without doubt. When I first joined Maton I was a little overwhelmed at what lay ahead. I tried to talk to other guys my age early on to get the good oil but they really just confused me. Ron however took me under his wing and taught me the process of building guitars properly...Old School. Everything from bending sides and fitting necks right down to sharpening my chisel and what glue goes where. He was incredible. When I arrived at Maton he had already been there building guitars for over 30 years. That blew my mind! My first day of school, my first girlfriend, my first gig - everything. Every day in my life to that point, Ron had been at Maton building guitars.

Maton,  Andy Allen,  Acoustic Guitar,  Custom Shop,  Q&A,  interview