Here we have a Maton El Toro bass guitar - one of only 45 manufactured between 1968 - 1973.
It has a Honduras Mahogany body, Northern Maple neck, and Rosewood fingerboard. Maton offered these in 3 colours with suitably Mexican names; Mexican Sand, Senora White and Toro Red.
This bass, however is decidedly black, so I took the bass around to Merv Cargill here in Melbourne to see if he remembered doing a refinish on the bass (the finish looks completely original, which points to a Merv Cargill job - he was, and remains, the top dog in this respect). He looked at it, and instantly remembered refinishing three instruments in black for the Aussie band The Strangers, back in the very early '70s. He was quite certain this was the bass he did.
So there you go! A bass in remarkable condition, and with some remarkable history, too, it would seem.
The original gold-plated hardware is still in remarkable condition, with minimal pitting on some components and as-new on others, and looks stunning against the jet black body with its white binding. Even the original bridge cover and flip-up mute are still in place, although the mute has long lost its rubber padding. There is one chip (about 1cm square) on the back of the neck in line with the 7th fret, which I will have repaired, as I intend to play the bass, and the chip is right where my thumb touches the neck.
Scale length on these basses is 32 1/4 inches, half way between a 30 inch short scale and 34 1/2 inch long scale!
I can not find a serial number on this bass anywhere (they are normally stamped into the back of the headstock), which I doubt is due to the thin nitrocellulose refinish by Merv Cargill way back 35 years ago. Merv mentioned that The Stranglers had been given the guitars by Maton as endorsees, which begs the question - is this bass an early pre-production prototype?
Click here to see a 1968 YouTube clip of The Strangers with a Senora White El-Toro (and matching guitars!) - is this the bass (and 2 guitars) Merv refinished in custom black all those years ago?
This beautiful vintage Maton comes with its original hard shell case.
Sold to Ken