Epiphone has unveiled a vintage-inspired ES-335 for one of the most popular guitar teachers on the planet, Marty Schwartz, kitting out his new signature guitar with a AAA figured maple veneer and Sixties Cherry finish.
Now, if you are one of the 3.88 million guitar players who subscribe to his YouTube channel, you will A) probably better know Schwartz as Marty Music, and B) will already have known this was coming.
Well, the wait is over, it’s here, it’s described as a limited run by Epiphone, and it’s indicative of where the Gibson-owned brand is at in terms of shortening the distance between its top-of-the-line and the entry-level instruments of its Gibson USA siblings.
In other words, this isn’t a cheap electric guitar a la the entry level Epiphone Power Players models, which are built very much as beginner electric guitars, but rather it’s a more accessible take on Gibson’s classic semi-hollow.
This is something you could gig, an instrument you could play in the studio, and if you’re just starting out on guitar, and you have saved up some beans and are looking to graduate to the next step up to that first serious guitar, this ES-335 would have to be a contender.
From the outset, Schwartz said it was a no-brainer that his signature model would be an Epiphone. That was the brand that would reach the widest demographic possible.
“I have so many different styles of students,” says Schwartz. “I’ve got advanced people watching, but I’ve got a lot of beginners, so I just wanted the most accessible guitar for the most people, but also the nicest-playing guitar for the price point.”
Whither Epiphone or Gibson on the headstock, the ES-335 is one of the most versatile electrics you can get. It can do rock and indie. It is a great blues guitar. It is a fine jazz guitar.
But Schwartz’s signature ES-335 takes the dual-humbucker platform further, wiring up the two Epiphone Alnico Pro Classic Pro pickups to a three-way pickup selector, and two volume, two tone control setup that also features push-pull coil-splitting, so you can access some single-coil voicings on the guitar.
The hardware is quality. Schwartz has gone for a set of Grover 502C Roto-Grip Rotomatic locking tuners and the now-familiar Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece. The body comprises five-ply maple, with that aforementioned figured maple veneer applying the wow factor.
Single-ply binding on body and neck ties the look together, and if you’re looking for an ostentatious signature detail here you will not find it. The big giveaway is the Marty Music logo that’s secreted on the back of the headstock. Again, this is a guitar for anyone to pick up.
"Teaming up with Epiphone to bring my dream guitar to life is an absolute milestone in my musical journey,” says Schwartz. “This guitar embodies everything I love about playing and teaching. We’ve truly created a guitar that’s as unique as the journey it represents.”
Proportions are as per the Epiphone style, with a 12” radius Indian laurel fingerboard topping a ‘60s SlimTaper Rounded C profile mahogany neck. Small pearloid block inlays count out the frets but should you find yourself in need of some more help with fingerboard navigation, well, Marty Music will have a lesson for that.