For over 60 years, Ernie Ball Slinky® strings have been the premier choice of musicians around the world. In 1962, Ernie Ball pioneered electric guitar strings by creating new recipes that would become the voice of Rock and Roll and inspire musicians for generations to come. Optimal for every playing style, Ernie Ball strings are manufactured in our Coachella, California factory from the finest materials using state-of-the-art winding technology while undergoing strict quality control standards.
Ernie Ball, a professional steel guitar player, and musician, leaves the military and works in and around the LA area playing clubs with local musicians. During the day, he works on radio and TV recording jingles for KTLA Los Angeles.
Ernie Ball opens up a teaching studio, giving guitar lessons to aspiring players. It is through teaching these young students that he notices the difficulty of bending strings and fingering guitar chords with the thicker gauge strings.
In the mid-1950’s Ernie opened what was the first all-guitar store in the world. Never accepting the first forms of change, people warned him that he would go broke. Though he did just that many times, first and foremost Ernie always paid his bills. Finally in 1958 things started to turn around.
As the guitarist playing in this new Rock-n-roll genre became more prominent, guitar accessories quickly became a huge focal point for the aspiring player. Recognizing this burgeoning trend early on, Ernie's involvement grew in a rapidly growing industry.
Ernie Ball pioneers custom string gauges for the younger player in four distinct lighter gauges. Super, Regular, Power, and Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings are offered for the worldwide musician, and the Slinky line is officially born.
Ernie Ball closes the retail store and moves to Newport Beach, CA to concentrate on the string and accessories business. Ernie also had a vision of working part-time, surfing and flying airplanes. However the guitar business took a new and heightened direction and things would never be the same.
The new Earthwood acoustic instruments were big and bold. Powered by Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustic bronze strings, these instruments were revered for their overarching projection and big booming sound. The new Earthwood 80/20 Bronze alloy strings allowed the instrument to ring out with clarity and a crisp high end.
With the huge success of the Slinky line of electric guitar strings, sales were booming. The time was ripe to expand the operation. In March 1979, Ernie Ball moves corporate headquarters to the central coast of California. The string and Earthwood facilities are packed up on their way to a new modern factory in San Luis Obispo.
RPS (Reinforced Plain Strings) Slinkys enter the market and quickly become an artist favorite. During the 1980s heavy tremolo use was in fashion and RPS Slinkys were perfectly suited for this application. RPS strings feature an extra wrapping of brass around the ball end of the string for added strength and stability.
The very first Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands at the San Francisco Warped Tour stop. The Battle of the Bands 1 has 18 stops in its first year and develops into a long-lasting relationship with Kevin Lyman and The Warped Tour.
Beefy and Not Even sets join the Slinky lineup. Sensing the younger players needs for achieving a thicker, chunkier tone, Brian Ball creates string sets optimal for modern tunings including D, drop D and C#. The thicker core wire and wrap combinations of Beefy and Not Even Slinky strings, increase the tensions needed to keep strings playable at pitch.
Element Shield packaging launches with wide industry acclaim. Spearheaded by Brian Ball, the new packaging aims to keep your strings as fresh as the day they were made. “We wanted to give consumers the absolute freshest set of strings possible, in addition to enhancing the merchandising appeal for retailers” Element Shield packaging has also proven to combat counterfeiting!
Slinky Line up expands with half gauges and more Ernie Ball welcomes new half- gauge combinations to its world-famous Slinky line of electric guitars strings. Featuring the same great bright and balanced tone that Slinkys are known for, in new never-before-offered combinations that help musicians further refine their gauge preferences. All sets feature nickel-plated steel wrap wire around a tin-plated hex core for that iconic Slinky feel and tone that players have relied on for decades.
Ernie Ball welcomes four additional gauge gauge combinations to its world-famous Slinky line of electric guitars strings. Hyper, Magnum, Zippy, and Skinny Top Heavy Bottom 7-String Slinky guitar sets feature the same great bright and balanced tone that Slinkys are known for, in new never-before-offered combinations. All sets feature nickel-plated steel wrap wire around a tin-plated hex core for that iconic Slinky feel and tone that players have relied on for decade.