Made In Australia: My Maton Collection by Wadih Hanna
Tell us a bit about yourself- who is Wadih?
I am a suburbanite from Sydney, I have lived my entire life in the same suburb and barring a brief period have been a resident of the same street. I married a fantastic woman that I met in high school (she was younger back then) and together we have two teenage boys. I run a family building company which is a tough six day a week gig, however it enables me to dabble in guitars.
When did your obsession with guitars begin?
It began at age 12 when I convinced my dad to buy me a guitar. I had always wanted to play so I figured the best way to start was to own one.
What inspired you to start collecting guitars?
In my twenties I realised I could buy a few guitars I had always dreamed of, so I bought a Gibson Les Paul. A few others followed in the ensuing years but the first truly vintage guitar was a 60s Maton DC545, purchased more out of curiosity than anything else, it was relatively inexpensive but a great guitar to play. There was very little information about these early Maton guitars so I started doing some research, that led to me wanting other models which in turn required more research and before I knew it, I was a guitar collector.
Tell us a bit about your collection- what are the rarest and oldest in your collection?
I have two of the very first Maton guitars ever made. The GA1 and E1, both one off instruments hand made by Bill and Reg May when Maton was still an unknown. These are two of the rarest and oldest Maton guitars in existence.
What features do you look for when adding a guitar to your collection?
If I am after a player guitar then a custom-made Cilia Guitar is the pinnacle. Aussie made, by hand, with an attention to detail that is nothing short of obsessive.
But as a collector, historical importance is paramount, followed by uniqueness and rarity. I don’t believe in investment pieces for the sake of investment, I do however believe in historical pieces as an investment. The reality is nothing will be made the same way it once was, machinery takes a big part of the manufacturing process out of people’s hands and materials become scarce so they are changed from time to time.
This is true in all manufacturing not just guitars, most things get better with millimetre precision CNC and the like, but handmade guitars can be magical. I think that is what the attraction is for me, finding that magical instrument that also ticks those boxes.
How many pieces are currently in your collection?
Too many to count; All the major makers are represented with a large portion made up of Maton and Australian built guitars.
If you could choose your fave guitar which one would it be and why?
I’d choose 2! My 1977 Messiah MS1 and my 1956 Starline EG90 – both are absolutely killer guitars. They look, sound and play amazing, the Messiah is special because it is one of the best acoustic guitars I have ever played. The Starline is amazing because it is the first production electric, but more so this particular example just oozes class, both are irreplaceable.
What would be the dream guitar to add to your collection?
A 1959 Les Paul Standard, I’m in no rush to mortgage my house so I can buy one. Happy to keep it as a dream guitar, once I get it if I ever do, where to from there?
Where can guitar lovers grab a copy of your book?
I am proud to announce that everything about the book is Australian; the content, all those who worked on the production and even the printing was done on home soil. Seemed pointless to me to publish something like this and not have it be entirely Aussie made!