The Maton Phil Manning Custom Stereo is often referred to as the Cadillac of Australian electric guitars.
Phil Manning is an Australian blues guitarist who still plays in the legendary Melbourne blues band ‘Chain’. Back in the day he was known as ‘Australia’s Eric Clapton’. At the peak of Chain’s popularity in the mid 70′s, Maton & Phil designed this beast of a guitar.
Yes, the PM1 is a big guitar in many ways. It’s beautifully crafted with a gorgeous carved mahogany body with rosewood veneer, contrasting with maple chamber covers on the back, an ebony fingerboard with block markers, and binding to the body, neck and headstock.
From Maton -
Product Specifications of PM1 Custom
- Model Code: PM1 Custom
- Model Name: Phil Manning Custom Stereo Electric
- Category: Electric
- Body Shape: Cutaway
- Body Top: Carvetop
- Body Type: Solid Body
- Body Veneer: Mahogany or Rosewood
- Body Wood: Solid Mahogany
- Neck Wood: Canadian White Maple
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Inlays: Block Inlays
- Special Features: Stereo Outputs
- Year of Manufacture: 1976
- Year Intro: 1974
- Year of Discontinuation: 1977
- Serial Number: 001-230
- Number Made: 252
- Original Price: AUD$800
Other features are twin split-able humbuckers with separate volume and tone, a three-position selector switch, three-way tone toggle, a master volume and an output selector for stereo - this guitar has the works. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also a phase selector.
The solid mahogany body features an acoustic cavity construction with solid centre to support neck, bridge and string bar mounting.
The knobs look very Guild, which makes sense. While a lot of people call this Maton’s Les Paul, we think it’s more like Maton’s take on a classic Guild Blues Bird. Both of these guitars are semi hollow. While the Guild’s hollow chambers are hidden, the Maton’s chambers are fitted with beautifully cut pieces of contrasting maple.
Less than 250 Phil Manning Custom Stereo guitars were made between 1974 and 1977 making them relatively hard to come by. The serial number on this one is 174 which places it around 1976. And the rosewood veneer version offered here is believed to be one of less than 20 made.
This guitar and its case have experienced some minor water damage while in storage for some time. The good news is that you can really only see this on the bottom of the guitar and inside the rear body cavities. But the case came off a little worse – see pics.
The Canadian White Maple neck is fitted with a double thrust truss rod, resin welded into the cavity. Ebony fingerboard with 24 super fast frets, all sealed in a gloss finish.
The guitar exhibits signs of wear with several small bumps and scratches, nothing major, but enough to show its age. The electronics and controls all work as they should, and this guitar puts out a wide variety of useable tones once you get used to the switching options. Many of these stereo versions were rewired back to mono for the sake of simplicity, but this one appears to have no changes made to its original wiring.
The original case is included, but it has a broken handle and some water damage mentioned earlier.
This is a fine and collectible top-of-the-line Maton electric guitar made under the leadership of Bill May while he was still at the helm of Australia’s leading guitar builder.