Ernie Ball, Few if any guitar string makers have earned the kind of respect and devoted following Ernie Ball has, and for good reason! Back in the mid '50s, Ernie Ball noticed how beginning guitarists had trouble fretting chords with thick strings. That's what inspired him to start making a new style of lighter, more forgiving strings, which he dubbed the Slinky line. By the early '60s, his brand had become inexorably linked to the rock revolution — a reputation Ernie Ball Inc. has cultivated ever since.
Like many of Industrie music top manufacturers, Ernie Ball's history began as a grassroots effort by a single forward-thinking individual. In fact, Ernie Ball himself began as a guitarist, guitar teacher, and eventually one of the first electric guitar shop owners. His face-to-face experiences with breakthrough artists who came into his store were the inspiration for Slinky guitar strings, which quickly expanded to include popular custom sets. That was only the beginning, and today Ernie Ball is one of the dominant forces in the string market.
Guitar strings were only the beginning. In 1972, Ernie saw the demand for acoustic bass guitars — an instrument that hadn't really been seen on the market since the '50s-era Kay model stopped production — so he introduced the Earthwood bass. A little over a decade later, Ernie Ball (now a family business) bought Music Man. In the decades that followed, the Ernie Ball company developed many additional string types, guitar accessories, and even pedals, all while growing their connection with the music community by sponsoring the Warped Tour Battle of the Bands and other activities.