Matao Strat Clone MIJ c.1970sMatao
Vintage Matao Strat Clone Made In Japan 1970s
Few people are familiar with Matao guitars, but those in the know recognize them as the undiscovered gems of the lawsuit era. Matao was one of several badges produced in the 1970s by the legendary Hoshino Gakki co. along with Ibanez, Greco, and Tama, and were sold exclusively by a shop called Music West in Oregon and Washington State. They’re not the most common of instruments, but one lick is all it takes to see there’s something special here. Guitars like this one were the very reason Fender engaged these companies in a string of lawsuits. This one is modeled after a 1970s stratocaster and the headstock, contours, and bullet truss rod adjusters are all spot on. The maple fingerboard has wide flat frets and is smoother-than-butter, and the flat pole pickups sound just right. A few swirls, dings, and scratches go to show that this guitar has lived a life, but besides that and a small gouge in the headstock this guitar is in great condition.
Tone is raw and open, thick and juicy, reminiscent of SRV in his prime. These pickups love to be overdriven and thrive right on the verge of breakup. A 3 way pickup selector may seem limited by today’s standards (no clucky middle positions) but there are plenty of useable tones here. The middle position is particularly funky, hollow, and clear. If you need vintage vibes without the vintage Fender pricetag, scoop this Matao up asap.