Maton’s 808 series is a classic of Australian guitar making, dating back to 1978 in its earliest form and standing the test of time through a variety of different tonewood configurations. The EBG808M takes a leaf - if you’ll pardon the vaguely wood-related pun - out of the book of the Maton Mahogany Mini, the ‘small, dark and handsome’ little acoustic that has been turning a lot of heads with its Mahogany neck and Sapele top, back and sides.
The EBG808M has solid Sapele face, back and sides. This wood is reminiscent of Mahogany in some ways, with a Mahogany neck, Rosewood fingerboard, Rosewood veneer headstock, 6mm mother-of-pearl dot position markers, bone nut and a Rosewood bridge (with a piezo element tucked under the saddle). The fretwork is great, and in true Maton 808 style, the action is just perfect. It’s even and consistent across the neck, but not so low as to cause buzzing. The workmanship is top-notch throughout, and it’s one of those guitars that you just wanna look at, y’know?
The preamp is Maton’s AP5-PRO, blending mic and piezo signals. There are also sliders for bass and treble, and a pair of rotary midrange controls: one to dial in the frequency and one to dial in the boost or cut. It’s an unobtrusive and intuitive system that gives you a lot of flexibility.
Smelling Of Rich Mahogany
The smaller shape of the 808 is traditionally known to give a more balanced tonal response: unlike a dreadnaught which has that big punchy bass and clear treble, the 808 allows a little more delicateness through. There’s also something really satisfying about tuning the EBG808M down a few semitones. It sounds great in standard tuning but there’s a warmth and clarity that comes from this particular wood and this particular shape together that you just have to hear. It’s great whether you’re playing low-down blues, gutsy twangy country or something a little darker. There’s a beautiful natural compression that happens when you pick aggressively. You hit a ceiling where the notes no longer get any louder; rather the whole guitar becomes alive.
The pickup system is very effective: the piezo element gives you attack and definition while the mic creates the body and depth. And the preamp gives you enough control that you don’t need to do any external processing.
Next Level, 808!
This is a really beautiful guitar that would suit fingerpickers and delicate strummers, although it really opens up when you lay in hard with the pick as well. Its voicing is ideal for those who play in spacious ensembles rather than those who play in busier musical settings, and it has the personality and tone to work perfectly as a solo instrumentalist’s main guitar.
Hits and Misses
Beautiful natural tone.
Handy mic/piezo blending ability.
Restricted upper fret access.
FACE, BACK AND SIDES: Sapele
PRE-AMP: AP5 Pro
MACHINE HEADS: Chrome Grover