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Ernie Ball

The Ernie Ball tradition began in Tarzana, California in the late 1950s, when musician, music teacher and entrepreneur Ernie Ball opened the first all-guitar music store in the U.S. Responding to the needs of fellow guitar players and students, he developed the first sets of custom gauged guitar strings in the 1960’s. His first custom sets, Slinkys, have since have become one of the most respected brands among guitarists.

Merle Travis and The Ventures were among the first to use Ernie Ball Slinky strings. A few years later, the British Blues Invasion hit the United States. Cream, and their guitarist Eric Clapton, used custom gauged Slinkys. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones found Ernie Ball custom gauge electric strings on one of the Stones 1960s tours. Richards has used Ernie Ball strings for more than 40 years. By release of Led Zeppelin III, Jimmy Page had started using Ernie Balls, which he continues to do today. Jeff Beck, who like Page, is a former Yardbird, has also used Slinkys since the early 1970s. Pete Townshend of The Who has been using a custom gauge .011 - .052 set since the late 1970s. Slash of Guns n' Roses fame has used Slinkys since the mid-1980s.

Early in the 1970's Ernie Ball introduced Nickel Plated Steel Slinkys. They have since become the industry standard electric guitar string for rock and roll. By the mid-1980s, Ernie Ball also introduced Reinforced Plain Steel Slinkys, which are strong enough for heavy tremolo use and big bends. Stainless Steel Slinkys were introduced around the same time; they have the brightest, most powerful tone of any Ernie Ball guitar strings, making them suitable for the heavy metal of the day. 7-string Slinky sets were introduced in 2000. Ernie Ball continues to innovate today, with their recently introduced coated and cobalt string lines.
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