Customer Testimonials

Philosophy & History

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My commitment is to work with you and help you better express your musical voice as a guitarist.


I am inspired and love my work.


By taking the time to understand your musical style and to measure your instrument’s characteristics, I set out to resolve the shortcomings and find a balance that will allow you to play over the entire musical register, improving your guitar’s areas of musical tone, tuning and playability.


With this personalised approach I have been successful in helping many musicians over the years.

As a trained musician and luthier I have the experience, knowledge and confidence to realise your instruments potential.

 

EARLY HISTORY

 

I have always been interested in music with the influence of my older guitar playing cousins.

The fascination of rock music, including that of Jimi Hendrix, the Spanish guitar music of Segovia, as well as the Flamenco tradition, led to the inevitable formal guitar lessons beginning at the age of 10.

 

When playing electric guitar as a teenager, I found the performance of my inexpensive reproduction guitars did not compare to my cousin’s hand made Stewart Male electric. So I started experimenting in an attempt to get my guitars to play and sound better.

 

I "scalloped" fretboards, did re-frets, changed pickups, and custom re-wiring.

 

FIRST LUTHIER TRAINING EXPERIENCE

 

This enabled me, at the age of 16, to get a part time job in the repair department at Musical Repair & Trading in Sandringham.

 

MUSIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING

 

I studied music at Box Hill College of TAFE in 1989 (Advanced Cert. in Music Performance) with all the wonderful musicians/teachers, including Mario Lattuada and externally, Jochen Schubert. They all deepened my understanding of the language of music and music performance. On completion I was successful in being accepted into the Classical Guitar program at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1990.

 

LUTHERIE TRAINING

 

My lutherie training in Australia has been diverse. During my initial mentorships I studied guitar repair, custom electric guitar making & nitro cellulose finishing with Neil Kennedy. Maton Luthier George Sahpekidis assisted me in the art of acoustic guitar making, following the traditional American approach. He also demonstrated the proper use of hand tools and deepened my understanding how to repair and construct stable necks, including longed neck bouzoukis and electric basses.

 

Richard Howell imparted much knowledge regarding the sensitivity and philosophy required in making fine classical guitars, including French polishing, and I am honoured to have had an inspiring mentor.

 

ESTABLISHING MATHEAS GUITARS WORKSHOP

 

It was in 1994, upon making and selling custom guitars, that I made the decision to establish the Matheas Guitars workshop and was awarded a Queen’s Trust grant and support on successful completion of a NEIS business course.

 

SEEKING KNOWLEDGE

 

In 2002 my curiosity, desire for increasing my knowledge, and pursuit for excellence led me overseas to investigate.

 

I undertook professional development studies at Buzz Feiten Design in Los Angeles with Greg Back and Buzz Feiten, learning new principals in electric guitar intonation and tuning improvements. At the C.F. Martin & Co. in Pennsylvania I was introduced to the repair processes employed by the factory and experienced staff, primarily Lon Werner and Gary Lindenmoyer.

 

I spent time with luthiers and masters of their craft, including Frank Ford in Palo Alto, Hideo Kamimoto in San Jose, Yuris Zeltins in San Diego, Gary Brawer in San Francisco, John Carruthers in Venice Beach, Ervin Somogyi in Berklee, Fender and the Fender Custom shop in Corona, the Gibson guitar company in Nashville, Tennessee, Joe Glaser Instruments and the Gruhn guitars repair department, and Roger Sadowsky in Brooklyn, New York.

 

In Madrid, Spain, I visited Felix Manzanero, Viuda Faustino Conde Hermanos and Manuel Caceres. In Seville, Francisco Barba, and in Granada Antonio Duran, Antonio Marin Montero and Jose Marin Plazuelo. Guitar Salon International were gracious in allowing me to play a 1960s Robert Bouchet as well as a Herman Hauser 1 guitar amongst others.

 

PHYSICS & ACOUSTICS

 

In 2014 and I had the privilege of studying acoustics, modal tuning and material science with the very intelligent, clever and generous luthier, engineer and author Trevor Gore of NSW, Australia.

 

INSPIRATION

 

I feel fortunate to have had the life changing experience of meeting and spending time with Andrea Tacchi, my most favourite expressive master luthier from Firenze Italy. I love Andrea’s work, his vision and his human nature, which he manages to articulate well through his hands and this material we luthiers love.

 

I feel his own classical guitar model, the Coclea, is an expression of European Spanish guitars with a more modern response, resolving issues and producing a more responsive harmonic generator.

The current Australian classical guitar approach is to resolve the shortcomings and make functional and responsive guitars.

 

Between Trevor Gores intelligent understanding of the instrument and Andrea’s deep spirit, I feel more inspired to use my skills, intuition and soul to keep developing the voice of my own instruments. Since the establishment of my workshop I continue to practice lutherie with a deep love and enthusiasm. This feeling has not diminished, but rather continued my inquiry in many other areas.

 

I constantly aspire to achieve my highest level of craftsmanship and to contribute something for a meaningful human purpose.

Sincerely

Jim Matheas


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