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Now here's a rare bird, or actually 'byrd', for you to ogle. The Maton Fyrbyrd is a very collectable guitar in its own right, but this 12-string version is especially so! Only 120 were made in 1965 and 1966, with serial numbers between 101 and 220. This one is serial 148, which probably dates it to late 1965.

The Maton brochure at the time said the following about the FB1220 model;

Another first in the "broad line" Maton range. Big full sound and recommended as a lead instrument. The slim neck is a revelation, yet twelve strings are handled as easily as six on this wide classic style fingerboard. The Maton Truss Rod Control leaves no problems of warp or bending due to the extra tension of strings. Three adjustable "magnametle" high flux pickups controlled by separate slide switches. Exclusive Bass Expander and Treble Extender controls for new dimensional sound. Master volume control. Maton Micromatic Bridge. Bigsby Tremolo Arm. Scale 25 ½ ". Solid chrome plating. Complete with leather shoulder strap. COLOURS AVAILABLE: Sunburst, Autumn Red, Jungle Green. Additional colours 5% extra. Complete in deluxe Plywood, plush-lined case.

Unfortunately the strap and case are no longer with the guitar some 45 years down the track, and the lack of case may explain some of the nicks, dents and scrapes the guitar displays (check out the detailed photos in the 'more pictures' link below), but this old byrd still plays and sounds as good as it ever did! I have purchased a new black tolex hardshell case for this guitar (a very hard-to-find size, also fitting the Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster models), so it need not suffer any more marks for its next 45 years.

The Maton neck is like all vintage Maton necks - perfectly adjustable with the truss rod to counteract any set of strings you may wish to throw at the guitar. It is presently set up for the new set of Ernie Ball 12-string medium strings fitted to the guitar (with gauge pairs 11/11, 15/15, 24w/10, 30w/14, 42w/22w and 52w/28w).

This vintage Maton is totally original. Tuners, knobs, pickups, bridge, Bigsby, finish, even the strap lugs are all original. There are many marks, dents and scrapes to the body as mentioned, but these most certainly do not detract from the vintage vibe of the guitar - in fact they add to it. The only 'break' is the small section of the scratchplate missing on the upper edge just under the 'treble' control. I have photographed this close-up, which can be seen in the 'more pictures' link below.

I love the layout of this guitar, which really maximises the 12-string sounds available. Each pickup has a slider switch to select or deselect that pickup, and there is a common volume control. However, there are two 'tone' controls - one for the 'Treble Extender' and one for the 'Bass Expander' - which give a much greater control over the range of sounds available than the usual treble cut (tone) control found on electric guitars. Through a nice Fender Twin or similar wide-range and powerful amp, this guitar is gobsmacking! Neil Finn (Crowded House) owns and gigs an Autumn Red 12-string Fyrbyrd (right).

Sold to Rodger

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