Oh man, have we got a treat for you. For this issue’s Hand Made department we have not one but three talented craftsmen who work exclusively with their hands. Three! They are guitar makers at Australia’s very own Maton Guitars. Since 1946 Maton have been producing some of the finest guitars the world has ever seen. Frankly, they make Gretsch look like Yamaha. That’s a very harsh thing to say, and we’re not sure if it’s true or if it even makes sense, but it’s out there now and we have to live with it.

Monster Children sat down with Andy, Cassy and Dario of Maton and asked them all the heavy, probing questions that make us the Vanity Fair for people who still live with their parents.

Name and occupation?

Andy: Andy Allen, custom shop/senior luthier.
Cassy: Cassy, assembler at Maton Guitars – fitting the neck to the body and finishing the neck.
Dario: Dario Camacho, guitar painter.

Why do you work by hand?

Andy: It’s a lot easier than using your feet.
Cassy: For the details, getting the right shape and fit.
Dario: Machines can’t do everything.

What machines have taken over the role of your hands?

Andy: None… My hands are awesome.
Cassy: CNC machines, band saws, table saws.
Dario: Disc sanders.

What are the tools of your trade?

Andy: Hands, heart and a passion for music.
Cassy: Mostly hammer, saw, chisel, spoke shavers, file, snips and ruler.
Dario: My mind, eyes, hands and spray gun.

How did you learn your trade?

Andy: Bruce Lee taught me before he died.
Cassy: Always been into woodwork, but they teach you on the job at Maton.
Dario: Self-taught.

What’s so great about doing things by hand?

Andy: You don’t get sore feet.
Cassy: The sense of achievement and I especially love being able to pay attention to the fine details.
Dario: Precision.

What’s the sucky part of doing things by hand?

Andy: People think it’s more impressive to use your feet.
Cassy: Splinters.

Besides crafting guitars what else are your hands good at?

Andy: Really… I can’t say, um… Scratching an itch.
Cassy: Playing guitar.
Dario: Massaging.

What do the lady folk say about your hands?

Andy: I couldn’t say.
Cassy: Well I’m a lady, and I’m proud of my calloused hardened man hands. The guys love it.
Dario: I should be a hand model.

If push came to shove, do you think you could make a guitar with your feet?

Andy: Of course.
Cassy: Let’s not be silly, I’m no monkey.
Dario: I would give it a shot.

How do you see the future of your handmade profession in the next ten years? 

Andy: With my eyes.
Cassy: There will most likely be more machines to improve the speed of our production, but I am sure we will always build most of our machines by hand.
Dario: Hopefully as strong as it is today.

What are your hands doing right now?

Andy: Again, I can’t say.
Cassy: Writing this.
Dario: Writing the answers to these questions.