BEHIND THE BUILD:

Matt Eady

Matt Eady makes exceptional guitars, period. Blending the best elements of traditional solid-body guitars with modern contours and specs, Matt has provided guitarists with a contemporary guitar with all the benefits of modern construction coupled with killer vintage tones. After working for both the Gibson Custom Shop and archtop legend Bob Benedetto for nearly 10 years, Matt decided it was time to fulfill his lifelong dream of opening his own shop.

Posted by Eliot Hunt

Matt, appreciate you sitting down with us! Let's jump right in at the beginning. What led you to guitar building?

I would definitely say that my father had the biggest influence of me from a woodworking perspective. He came from a large family of builders and became a very skilled carpenter. While my father didn't exactly inspire me to build guitars, he did instill in me a strong work ethic and encouraged me to be passionate about my work. 

As a teenager, I started to play the guitar in high school and was quickly consumed with everything about the guitar. I found myself tinkering on friend's instruments in my father's shop. Every day I practiced to become a better player and to learn everything I could about the instrument. Playing and learning about the guitar was all I wanted to do. 

After graduating from high school and attending college, I soon realized that my real passion was in lutherie. I wanted to be in a shop and using my hands. In 2003, my journey began when I moved to British Columbia, Canada where I enrolled in the Master Luthier program at The Summit School of Guitar Building and Repair. After trade school I accepted an internship in Umea, Sweden in a guitar repair shop.

It's there I learned both the ins and outs of the day-to-day operations of a small shop and developed my repairs skills by getting a chance to have my hands on some finely made European instruments.

 

Who were some of your biggest influences, be it musicians, guitar builders, woodworkers, etc...and how did they play into this decision?

I would have to say that my earliest influences in the luthier community would be Bob Benedetto. His instruments honestly just blew me away, and at the same time, inspired me to be a better luthier.

Speaking of being blown away, your EG-Pro Model is such a incredible, well thought out design. There are elements of Gibson, Benedetto, and even a nod to Stratocasters if one looks closely. How did this design come about? Was the goal always to meld elements of these guitars, or like a musician writing a song, your influences simply surfaced in the work?

The EG-Pro Model has been an ongoing and evolving guitar project that I have been working on for close to five years. Honestly, I just wanted to build a guitar that would suit me as a player. That said, you can certainly see elements of various other guitars / guitar manufacturers because it is those very companies that shaped who I am. It would only be natural to incorporate all of those aspects that I liked and meld them into my own design. I have put a lot of focus on using the best wood that I can find and keeping my quality as high as possible. Truthfully, I look at my guitars as a modern spin on the solid bodies of the 50's and the 60's. I really want my guitars to feel like an old friend, and I think that I have achieved that.

"I look at my guitars as a modern spin on the solid bodies of the 50's and the 60's. I really want my guitars to feel like an old friend, and I think that I've achieved that."

Gibson-style guitars seem to be something you favor given the materials you use, the way the necks are carved...What is it about Gibson guitars that resonates with you?

When creating my line of guitars, I took an accumulation of the various guitars that I had grown up idolizing such as the 50's Gibsons that, in my opinion, are some of the best solid bodies that have ever been built. I had the opportunity to work on and restore some of the golden era instruments at the Gibson Custom Shop. I would say that they represent a compilation of guitars that I have loved, respected, and worked on throughout the years.

What were some of the challenges you faced coming up with the EG-Pro? From the outside looking in, it seems like quite a daunting task to

take classic guitar design elements - mahogany body, maple top, set neck construction, humbuckers - and do something new and fresh with those ingredients, so to speak.

I would have to say that the biggest challenge that I faced during this process was fully committing to the different aspects of the design itself. Whether it was to have three knobs as opposed to two, deciding on the headstock angle, the scale length, the fingerboard radius, etc...I took it one step at a time and carefully thought out each addition or modification to the guitar. I knew that this process would take time and not to rush into anything or settle until I knew it was right. Honestly, I enjoyed the process and, of course, logistical problems arose at every turn, but over the last five years and a few different versions I finally got it right.

If you could sum up your time working for Bob Benedetto and the Gibson Custom Shop in a word, what would that be? 

Quality.

What did both of those experiences teach you that you carry into your work today?

During my time at both companies there was nothing more important than the quality. It is my opinion that the only way to compete and stay relevant in this industry is to do better work than your competition and be passionate about the whole process.

Given that you've had your hands on so many exceptional instruments, what do you feel makes a guitar exceptional, and how do you try to achieve that in your own guitars?

It is my strong belief that you have to have a good foundation, and that lies in the quality of the wood itself. Once you have that solid foundation, I would then say that it's in the playing surface, the fret job, the setup,

the quality of the parts you are using, and paying close attention to detail. You can build a beautiful guitar, but it will only be as good as your fretwork, nut, and setup.

Matt, thanks so much for making the time to chat with TME! To wrap up, what projects are you currently working on? What's next for Eady Guitars?

Currently, I'm working on a couple of new models. The new models will be called the EG-1 and EG-2. They both come standard with either a two piece light weight, swamp ash, or alder body with a figured maple neck and fingerboard. I am going to do them in an array of classic translucent colors and they will come with a thin nitro finish. 

Throughout all of my years working with other builders on their finish work, I have developed a very light vintage finish that isn't aged, which allows the wood to resonate extremely well while providing a very comfortable feel and plenty of protection. I'm very excited about these new models and feel they'll be a nice compliment to my current Pro models.

Learn more about Matt Eady at his website, and be sure to
check out the Eady guitars for sale at The Music Emporium.

Guitar photos by TME's Andy Cambria.

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