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Ernie Ball...We made it 50 years. 50th Anniversary Blog

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50...it isn't just some number. It is really one that you have to digest, celebrate, reflect, and truly appreciate. Especially if you were there for all of them like I have.

The companies that have made it 50 years and that are still relevant are very few and I am deeply honored to have Ernie Ball join that club. It means validity of my fathers passion, creativity, and drive. It is a chance to soak in the work that I have dedicated my life to...it is watching my sons take it from here....(ok I'm not done yet) It is being rewarded for successfully reinventing ourselves numerous while retaining our DNA.

I can remember vividly the day my Dad called the neighbor kids and showed them one string package that was day glo pink and one that was black and white and asked us which one we preferred....We were market research child slave labor all wrapped into one. I remember his rejections and his milestones of success.

I didn't know that my father was an entrepreneur. He was a guy that sold guitars, taught guitar, wrote books teaching guitar, and creating products for the guitar. Started from scratch. No rich parents or uncles...just bull dog determination to prove that the ideas in his head were valid. He went broke three times. He never gave up.

In getting ready for this anniversary and reviewing all the material produced I realized that this like looking at my MRIís or x-rays... Bittersweet. I was there for all 50...I cant speak for him today because he is no longer here. But I can represent him. Please allow me to speak from my perspective and how I feel at this moment.

I always wanted to do what I did. Since I was probably 6 years old. My Dad was a great teacher and a good dad...but wasn't the toss the ball around and go fishing kind of Dad...he worked. That's what he did and I believe that my wanting to do this was a combination between fascination and understanding intuitively that this was the only way to be close to my father. Working his legacy in many ways makes him still here...in my heart and mind.

I remember so little and so much at the same time. From Tarzana, Newport Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Coachella...all eras with stories and memories. I cherish the friends that I have met and miss my mentors like Tommy Walker. I look back and wonder what I was thinking and how I made some of the decisions I made. No agony...just in the moment. I got lucky, really lucky.

My Dad taught me Ying and Yang. I lived it. Starting with being the bosses son. To this day I know that many people view me as a loud guy who got handed a business. I'm ok with that. That was the Ying. The Yang rocked my world. I might have won a few battles by people not taking me seriously.

My Dad taught me perspective. My youngest son Casey taught me reality. I really never had adversity until we found out he wasn't well. The perspective was that Ernie Ball was a great business, the reality was that we could make sick kids better.

We are celebrating a small business that managed to weave itself into pop music and itís culture and history. Ernie Ball strings were there for the Beach Boys, Beatles, Hendrix, Page, Clapton. A ton of todays stars and most in between use our products.

So lets pretend this is the Academy and we got a minor Statue/Award. This is where I get to thank people..,some who are still here and some who are gone. Thanks first off to my My trophy wife Stacey who I met at Ernie Ball as teenagers. Thanks to Ernie, Tommy, Dan Norton, Dudley, Luke, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Jim D 'Addario (that's right..a dear friend) John Petrucci, Reed and Bill, Ray, Marty,Rod Bradley, Kanda, Gotthold and Matthias, Rodney Crowell, Leo, Crump, Luke Chueh, and my boys...Scotty, Brian and Casey. I have left people out...sorry I have hit the blogging wall..


Sterling Ball Jan 2012

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  1. Norstorm's Avatar
    wow..

    Inspireing.. and mindful.
    Congratz, and thank you for sharing
    These are the days.. :=)
  2. guenter's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing and good luck for the next 50 years...
  3. drTStingray's Avatar
    Congratulations, and thanks for sharing. Excellent blog post.
  4. Smellybum's Avatar
    Very Cool BP, your right 50 is a huge number, half a century.... I struggle to find anything in my house apart form my guitars that can say that, and us a world of consumption you'd think there's be more things with a heritage. I raise a glass to you and your father for the things you've brought us and wish the true family company another 50 years of continued success.
  5. Norrin Radd's Avatar
    Well said, BP. And thank you for letting us inside a little bit. 50 is huge deal in the business world. Companies just don't survive that long without either folding or being bought up by a bigger fish. Well done!
  6. Thornton Davis's Avatar
    Congratulations Sterling! Your efforts along with your team members opened my eyes to EBMM products five years ago and for that I thank you all. I look forward to another 50 years of EBMM innovation. - TD
  7. lowliferumble's Avatar
    I (because I could not buy one ) hand cut a super brightly reflective "Ernie Ball" sticker (correct font , of course) that is 30 inches across , it is proudly affixed to my rear window in my cookie cutter of any automobile. Every time I see it (lights up like neon when headlights hit it) it serves to remind me of how lucky I am that there is a company that not only makes great products, but truly listens to it's customers wants, then exceeds them by leaps and bounds. I am honored to use the products of a business I respect , whose people impart passion and ingenuity into the products they produce. It is hard to top that.........
  8. tudo's Avatar
    Congratulations!!
  9. JayDawg's Avatar
    Well said BP! I hope 50 years is just the beginning for Ernie Ball/Music Man. You and your company have been an inspiration to many of us and the generosity of it has touched countless lives.
    Thank you for all that you do!
    Jason
  10. guitfiddle's Avatar
    Thanks for another great and insightful blog BP, and a huge congrats on the 50th anniversary!
  11. cjoz's Avatar
    Hi Sterling,
    It's been a long time, hasn't it. We've virtually grown up together and our Fathers were true friends. It's my absolute pleasure to be able to continue the Ernie Ball legacy in Australia and watch in awe and with total respect the next generation coming through. I'm looking forward to the celebrations at NAMM.
    Take care. Carole x
  12. Eggman's Avatar
    Congrats on 50, BP and here's to the next 50!
  13. Tollie's Avatar
    Well written and interesting saga, BP!

    Thank you for sharing with us...
  14. Mobay45's Avatar
    Congratulations! 50 years of anything is a great accomplishment!
  15. fogman's Avatar
    Congrats the big 50!!!!!
    Something to be proud of for sure.
    That only happens with a LOT of hard work from a lot of people.
  16. MattOfSweden's Avatar
    Congratulations on the first 50, thanks for everything all of you've done so far and all the best for the next 50!!
  17. cellkirk74's Avatar
    Congratulations on your anniversary!

    We really appreciate your work and constant development of new 'classics'. There'll be many more years to come.
  18. alf cockle's Avatar
    You*ve done a great job,BP.Felicitations!
  19. extramusical's Avatar
    Ernie Ball coming here soon
  20. Jeffrey Grimes's Avatar
    I am new to the forum and I don't really know who to send this to. But I think you are my best shot. I am highly upset because I prepaid and ordered a Music Man Axis and have never recieved it. It was an Ebay Music Man dealer and I specified by photographs that they posted what I wanted...top, finish etc... All of their ads looked very legitimate and the EBMM logos were all over the page. This ad ran for years...I assumed with the full knowledge of EBMM. I paid for and ordered a natural flame top with maple fingerboard and was told that all guitars were made to order and would take 90 days for delivery. I was Ok with that and was told that pictures would be sent at completion and before shipping. All seemed ok. Well, 90 days passed and no guitar. Supposedly a guitar was built and sent to wrong dealer with a similar name. It would take a couple more weeks. 120 days passed and no guitar. 150 days passed and no guitar. I threatened to contact EBMM myself and then he tells me: The store, Grand Central Music, Duluth, Minnesota, is bankrupt and going out of business. He (Luke Perry the owner) says that he has no money to reimburse me and suggests that I try to get it back from Visa...that would be great for him! However, I PayPal-ed the money straight from my checking account. I'm screwed!!! He finally says that he has one left in stock, a Transgold Quilt top with a ROSEWOOD fingerboard (exactly the opposite of what I wanted) which he will send me. I had to accept this, you know? Do you really think I would have ever gotten a penny back from this crook? The guitar actually arrives (serial # G66840) and there is not a scratch on it. However it is so back-bowed I'm thinking "who could have set this up." The strings are laying flat on the neck. Maybe it had 12s on it and then someone put 9s on it...... It makes no sense at all. Can anybody help me? This company scammed me totally and used your name (EBMM) to do it. Do you have any responsibility for the companies that sell your products? I still want an EBMM Axis Natural Flame top with a maple fingerboard!
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