Tommy Emmanuel and his Maton Guitar

Tommy Emmanuel and his Maton Guitar

By Louis Rivest

I’m a longtime fan of Tommy Emmanuel and I’ve turned dozens of my friends on to him over the years. So when my wife discovered that he was going to play at the RiverCity Music Festival on January 7, 2012, only a few hours from where we live in Vancouver, she bought us tickets.

When I arrived I learned that Emmanuel was going to conduct a Sunday morning workshop. I signed up, attended the workshop, talked with him for a bit, and even got him to autograph my guitar (see photo, left).

[adinserter block=”3″]

I asked him why he endorsed Australian-made Maton guitars and not one of the better known brands. Even before he answered I figured I knew the answer. Tommy is from Australia and, well, why not endorse the home team, right? But I was wrong.

He explained that Maton, a company that has been making musical instruments since the mid 40’s, was sort of annoyed to see Emmanuel, a world-renowned Australian guitarist, play mostly Japanese products. So they presented him with a prototype model they thought he’d be happy with.

Tommy used it for a while and returned it with an extensive list of modifications from the neck geometry to electronics in order to improve the product. Maton rebuilt the guitar to Emmanuel’s specifications. When it was done the company thought it had nailed it and presented a new version to Tommy. He played the guitar and reported that though the guitar was much improved, the electronics still did not compare favorably to what was on the market at the time.

It was returned for more improvements. It took time for Maton to produce a new set of electronics, but this time Maton was sure they got it right. Tommy suggested some minor adjustments and finally he endorsed the guitar and started using it. Tommy plays the following Maton guitars: EBG808TE, EBG808TEC, TE1, and the TE Personal.

At the NAMM Show in Anaheim, I met with Bill Warmoth, from Artisan Guitars, a Maton dealer in Franklin TN, who went through the technical features of the 808 with me. What impressed me the most was the separate and adjustable tiny microphone in the middle of the sound hole (see photo, above right). It can be adjusted to suit your style of play. It picks up all the sounds coming out of the guitar. The finish on these guitars is impeccable and worthy of a world-class instrument. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of them!

Maton now produces a Tommy Emmanuel Signature edition with a Kangaroo inlay on the Headstock (see photo, left). This is a feature found only on the Tommy Emmanuel Series. This series features a Mother of Pearl block engraved inlay on the 12th fret: “C.G.P.” It stands for “Certified Guitar Player,” an acknowledgement given to Tommy by the late Chet Atkins. (There’s also a cut-away version: MATON EBG808TEC.)

For more information about Maton Guitars or to find a local dealer, click here to go to their website.





Warm Audio WA-251 Tube Condenser Microphone

Warm Audio WA-251 Tube Condenser Microphone

The WA-251 was created to offer a classic microphone design to a new generation of recording artists at an affordable price. The WA-251 is an all vacuum tube, large diaphragm, transformer balanced, multi-pattern, large condenser microphone, based on the classic 251 that has been used on many hit records for the last 50+ years. It is designed for pro studio, home studio, live performances, and broadcast applications. It’s great for vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, acoustic/electric bass, drums, piano, strings, brass/woodwind instruments. Just about any other instrument you want to record. The classic 251 became extremely popular as a vocal microphone in the 60’s and is now considered to be one of the greatest condenser microphones ever created. Even though the classic 251 is still widely used today, it’s become very expensive. Warm Audio designed the WA-251 to sound like the classic 251. According to the company, it was “no easy task, especially since some of the vintage components are no longer manufactured or available.” But they succeeded and this beautiful, great sounding microphone is priced so that it is now in reach of not only high-end studios, but serious home studios as well. For more information about this product, click here.

Roland Cloud

Roland Cloud

The Roland Cloud is a cloud-based collection of high-resolution software, drum machines and sample instruments for contemporary musicians. It is also a community of musicians and producers all developing and sharing ideas and music. It’s also subscription-based, which means that you pay monthly to have access to all the digital synths and updates. 

Years ago I owned the first Juno 60 when it hit the market. I spent hours enjoying this marvel of creative sound. Unfortunately, I sold it a few years later. I thought about replacing it, but the cost was prohibitive. Now for as little as $20 a month, I have access to the digital version of the Roland 106, the Jupiter 8, the drum sounds of the TR 808 and 909, plus Roland’s ever expanding JX – 3P synthesizer and 11 more.

OGSR’s Randy Winters (R)

After reviewing the demo, I signed up to try it out. I use Logic Pro X to record my music and was delighted when the Roland Cloud installed easily into my plug-ins. That gave me an opportunity to compare the Roland Cloud suite of products to Alchemy, the very popular free synthesizer that comes with my Logic Pro X. While Alchemy is an excellent system I found myself favoring the Roland Cloud because, not only does it have more to offer, but once again I could play the sounds of the original Juno 60 that brought back so many memories. Ah, those wonderful sounds I remembered from years ago. Plus, the newer JX-3P sounds great and I was immediately inspired by its new, rich sounds.

If you’re looking for an expansive and meaningful new sound palette, I would suggest you give the Roland Cloud a try. There is a free trial, so you’ve got nothing to lose.  

For more information about the Roland Cloud click here. 

Doyle Dykes Signature Godin Guitar

Doyle Dykes Signature Godin Guitar

I’ve got to say right off that I’m prejudiced about this guitar, this brand and this artist. I purchased my first Godin after seeing Doyle Dykes perform at a mini concert in North Vancouver, B.C. in the fall of 2016. There were about 30 of us gathered inside the Prestige Guitar store and we were mesmerized by Dykes’ playing. At the end of the night the guitar players in the crowd felt one of two ways: Either you felt inspired, or you felt like going home and burning your guitar because you knew you could never play that well. I was inspired and I bought my guitar a couple of days later. In fact, it was the same guitar Dykes had played that night. (Unlike this Signature model, my guitar has a 13-pin output. See review.)

The Doyle Dykes Signature Multiac Steel comes with tons of tonal possibilities, including a custom-voiced LR Baggs system, which offers the possibility of blending an LB6 saddle transducer with a Lyric microphone. The top wood is solid spruce, while the back, sides and neck wood is mahogany. This model also includes the famous finger-style player’s signature White Rose inlay at the 12th fret.

I also do most of my song writing with my Godin. It sounds great through an amp or just unplugged. If you enjoy playing a good guitar, and you haven’t played a Godin yet, do yourself a favor and try one. They’re not inexpensive, but they are reasonably priced and an incredible value for what you get. 

For more information about this guitar click here to go to the Godin site. 

You can also listen to Dykes demonstrating this guitar. 

Fishman Pickups

Fishman Pickups

If you’ve been in a guitar store recently, then you were probably surrounded by Fishman pickups but didn’t even notice it. Lots of boutique guitar makers and even the big guys like Fender use these innovative pickups.

From the Fishman site: “The electric guitar pickup has been wound since 1934. 80 years later, we’ve unwound it. Original and totally re-imagined, Fishman Fluence pickups are free from the hum, noise and frustrating inductance issues that plague even the most coveted wire-wound pickups—revealing pure, uncorrupted and musical tone.”

Nobody explains things better than Mitch Gallagher at Sweetwater:

For more information about this product, click here. 


Fender Acoustisonic

Fender Acoustisonic

This guitar was one of the real highlights of the NAMM Show for me. I was in the market for a Fender electric guitar (Telecaster or Stratocaster), but I really love playing and writing with an acoustic guitar. I currently have a Godin steel string Multiac, an old Ovation from the 70s I play almost every day, and an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Goldtop. When I saw the Fender Acoustisonic I couldn’t wait to try one on for size. Although I don’t own one, I see one in my future. I loved the feel and and the look. It definitely attracts attention. The applications are obvious, particularly if you play in a band, as I do. Our repertoire includes hard rock and Eagles’ songs. Using the Fender Acoustisonic, I can travel light.


Thin and light with an open-pore satin finish, the hollow body is naturally loud and resonant with plenty of projection. An inset top and integrated forearm contour make it comfortable and easy to play.


A mix of classic analog and future technologies, the Fender and Fishman®-designed Acoustic Engine delivers a variety of acoustic and electric voices.


Fender’s patent-pending tuned soundport uses a “waterfall” design to control the flow of air into the body, creating a naturally loud voice and lively harmonics. For more information about this great guitar go to the Fender site: