Monday, 09 March 2009 10:14

25 Years.....Wow.

Written by  Sterling Ball
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Ok so here we are at 2009 and it's the the 25th Anniversary of Ernie Ball and Music Man.
I guess in relationships Anniversaries can be  pressure or for someone else.  In business it really gives you an opportunity to step back and pat yourself on the back, kick yourself in the shins, second guess yourself, and then give yourself carpel tunnel from patting your self on the back again just because you are still here.....Kind of like being in a marathon. Only you dont have to run.

Things just happened.  I was curious and persistant.I met Dudley Gimpel.  We had Dan Norton.  I was a kid who only wanted to do what my Dad did.  I gigged back when you actually could play live music and play loud stupid never ending jams.  I bought and sold stuff for gas and beer money.  Back then you could buy a Danelectro for about 15 bucks and if you knew where to go that was good for at least 25 bucks.  Vintage Fenders were cheap and fun to trade.

I got to go hang with Leo and Tommy. I loved Tommy Walker.  He taught me so much.  I was really curious about his new company and really loved being able to help in the ways I could. I didn't think that it was really bizarre to go to CLF and work with Leo on the Stingray prototypes..or the Sabre.  When ego got in the way and all the bad stuff with the original Music Man happened...I thought "Hey Dad, Lets buy it and make cool instruments"

I remember being at the auction with my Dad and Dan Norton.  We bought the Trademarks and some inventory of the last Music Man amps and some tooling. Now what do we do?
First thing is that the amp tooling was no good as I had decided that we couldn't really make amps after looking at the margins and hassles.  The second thing is that I shrink wrapped and palletized the last amps and pushed them in a corner.  They are sill on the pallets just different

What was I thinking back then?  Why did I think that we could take something Leo Fender started and make a go of it.  Didnt I know that I was putting a mole on the Mona Lisa?  I had ever designed a guitar.  I had disassembled,played, or sold just about every guitar made....

Oh yeah Im back rambling about the past.....let me tell you that getting ready to decide what the 25th Anniversary models would be. I walked through the factory and the back building and had the most rewarding quiet time.  I thought about 25 years.  Not all of my kids were born yet.
Tommy and Leo and my Dad were still alive. Lets see we had a Reagan, Two Bushes, a Clinton and an Obama.  I realized in my little private time just how many passionate makers had tried to make it and had to give up their dream.  I realized what rare company we were in to still be here making guitars in America.  Then I thought again about Leo and realized that we have made guitars longer than he did.  NOWHERE NEAR THE SIGNIFIGANCE OR IMPACT (I had to add that so people understood that I dont consider anything we may have done to be in the same ballpark as Leo)..but it kind of puts this in perspective since the electric guitar has only been around since the late forties that 25 years of continued production in America really is something worthy of commemorating and celebrating.

I think that Anniversary models should recognize your past present and future. Some companies celebrate by re-issuing something old.  Thats fine....but not what I think they should be.

Check out our new 25th Anniversary models....Playing and hearing them with the chambering of he guitar body along with the tone block is resonance and tonal nirvana....Check out the active/passive ffeatures on the bass and the tone block....


Last modified on Wednesday, 08 July 2009 09:19