Maton Concert Ukulele

23 March 2012 | 6:28 am | Greg Phillips

When most folks think about a ukulele, it's either as an icon of tropical island nations or as the thing your kid plays at school as a precursor to the guitar. However, over the last decade or so a few notable artists including Amanda Palmer, Eddie Vedder and Jake Shimabukuro have been bringing the humble instrument to prominence.

Australian guitar builder Maton has now entered into the world of ukulele production. We were given uke number #223 off the factory floor to test. Currently Maton only produce a Concert size uke, with a Soprano model next on the to-do list. Ukuleles generally come in four sizes; Tenor, Concert, Soprano, Baritone. 

Maton Ukulele

As usual with this company's renowned attention to detail, the ukulele comes in a solid black tolex Maton-branded case featuring plush carpet-like cushioning inside. This ukulele needs to be cradled, as at $600 it ain't no toy! The Maton uke is light in the hands as it should be but even more obvious is the solid construction. It features solid blackwood soundboard, back and sides, Queensland maple neck and headstock with rosewood fingerboard including dot inlays. The bridge is rosewood, finish is satin and it adorns G-Gotoh machine heads. Many competing uke brands are manufactured in China. That's not to suggest that ukuleles coming out of Asia aren't up to scratch, it's just that they are mainly laminate rather than solid wood construction, so Maton's hand-made approach sets them apart.

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The Maton ukulele looks great and feels solid but if it doesn't cut it in the sound department, then it all matters little. Keeping in mind the Maton uke is aimed at the performing or recording musician, it really needs to be audible to an audience. The high calibre materials used in the construction of this uke allows ample projection of sound and the tones produced are deep and rich. Miked up, it would work a treat and we're told that for the serious live performer, a piezo pickup version of the uke is not far away. The use of superior Aquila strings adds further to the overall sound quality. Maton is in the habit of producing instruments a musician can connect and grow with. Their first foray into ukulele production only affirms this belief.