Steve Earle gets his own Martin signature model

Rick Rubin? No - it's Steve Earle and his signature Martin
Rick Rubin? No - it's Steve Earle and his signature Martin

He's won Grammys, been in jail, hosted his own radio show, and made over a dozen alt-country/rock classics. Now, maverick singer-songwriter Steve Earle has his own signature guitar - the Martin M-21 Steve Earle Custom Edition.

Before he hooked up with Martin, Earle first got together with celebrated New York guitar maven Matt Uminov. Uminov introduced Earle to Martin's M body style, and it was love at first strum. The M quickly became Earle's favorite acoustic, and so when Martin came calling, the guitarist didn't have to think twice about what kind of model he wanted to base a signature edition around.

What Earle and Uminov have put together - they call it a "poor man's M" - is a guitar that is big on balanced sound and playing comfort. The top is Italian alpine spruce, revered for its clear, rich tone. The back and sides are East Indian rosewood for warmth and power. The low-profile neck is carved from mahogany. The headplate, fingerboard and bridge are all East Indian rosewood.

There are some very nice appointments as well. The rosette-and-checkerboard backstrip blend beautifully with the subtle top and back purfling and tortoise-color binding. The polished headplate frames the vintage gold C.F. Martin logo decal, and Waverly nickel tuners with butterbean buttons give the headstock a decidedly old-school look. The fingerboard features position markers becoming progressively smaller from the 5th to the 17th frets. The polished and beveled Delmar nitrate pickguard and aging toner on the top complete the instrument's vintage-inspired style.

Delivered in a blue molded hardshell case, each Martin M-21 Steve Earle Custom Edition guitar features an interior label personally signed by Steve Earle and Matt Umanov, numbered in sequence without a total. Left-handed instruments may be ordered at no additional charge. Factory-installed electronics and a sunburst finish are extra-cost options.

Authorized C.F. Martin dealers will begin accepting orders for the M-21 Steve Earle Custom Edition immediately and dealers participating in this "unlimited" edition will be posted on the official C.F. Martin website.

By Joe Bosso


MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts. TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars. STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.