Tag Archives: Ernie Ball

Ernie Ball Presents The “Hetfield and Hammett Experience”




Los Angeles, CA (September 7, 2017) – ERNIE BALL, the iconic maker of SLINKY guitar strings and instrument accessories, has announced the launch of the “Hetfield + Hammett Experience,” a partnership with longtime Ernie Ball artists and legendary guitarists JAMES HETFIELD and KIRK HAMMETT that will grant three lucky winners the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hang with the guitarists at METALLICA Headquarters in San Francisco, CA. Click HERE to see Hetfield and Hammett talking about “The Experience.”

Winners will also take home their choice of a Hetfield or Hammett Signature ESP Guitar as well as an Ernie Ball Prize Pack complete with their favorite gauge of SLINKY guitar strings and other prizes. The contest launches today, September 7, and runs through October 31.

“I have to say that HQ is kinda like NASA,” says Kirk Hammett. “You need the right credentials to get in; you need to know the right codes to get through the door. There are constantly people around making sure that whoever is there is there for a purpose. It’s pretty tight because it’s like the brain control…The mission control for all things Metallica.”

This is a pretty cool opportunity to get into Metallica’s creative space and see what it is, why it is, and what is in there that inspires us, said James Hetfield. “For me, as a fan of other bands, it would’ve been pretty awesome to have shown up in Phil Lynott’s writing space. This is gonna be an extraordinary moment for whoever gets to show up at HQ.”

“To have artists like Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield trust our strings for over 35 years is something the Ernie Ball family is incredibly thankful and proud of,” says Ernie Ball President Brian Ball. “It also means our strings have been along for the epic ride of ‘Seek & Destroy,’ ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls,’ ‘Sad But True’ and many of the band’s biggest hits. We’re excited about this contest and looking forward to connecting the band and a few lucky fans in a special way.”

Fans can enter Ernie Ball’s “Hetfield + Hammett Experience” by purchasing qualifying packs of Ernie Ball Strings at Guitar Center or from Musician’s Friend, then entering the codes found inside the packs at ernieball.com/metallica for a chance to win. 


Metallica formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield and has become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold 110 million albums worldwide while playing to millions of fans on literally all seven continents. They have scored several multi-platinum albums, including 1991’s Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), with sales of nearly 17 million copies in the United States alone, making it the best-selling album in the history of Soundscan. Metallica has also garnered numerous awards and accolades, including nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, and multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.  In December 2013, Metallica made history when they performed a rare concert in Antarctica, becoming the first act to ever play all seven continents all within a year, and earning themselves a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Metallica’s latest album Hardwired…To Self Destruct was released on November 18, 2016, on Metallica’s own Blackened Recordings record label and debuted at No. 1 around the world, selling over 800,000 copies worldwide in its first week.

Yngwie J Malmsteen and his Guitar Strings

By Andrew Catania

Yngwie Johann Malmsteen is an eminent legend, a famous guitarist, and renowned bandleader. He appeared for the first time in the 1980s for his classical heavy metal playing style. Time Magazine ratings of 2009 declared Malmsteen as one of the top electric guitarists in the history.

Malmsteen was known to be a heavy user of Fender equipment. His well-reputed usage of a Stratocaster namely “The Duck” was a viral voice of time as Fender replicated it with 100 copies and branded it by the name “Play Loud”  It grew the popularity of Fender and Malmsteen simultaneously.

In the early period of his career, Yngwie uses to play guitar Stratocasters other than Fender. However, he remained an exclusively Fender guitar user after that during most of his career period. The behind picture is that he possesses an enormous set of nearly similar designed Fender Stratocasters instead of using multiple guitar string brands. Each differentiated product under the parent brand of Fender was uniquely branded by its attributes, benefits, and functioning. The most favorites of Yngwie, include Fender Stratocaster Duck of 1971, Fender Stratocaster no. 1 of the same year, Fender Stratocaster no. 2 of the 1970s, Fender Stratocaster no. 3 of 1968, Fender Stratocaster of 1961, Fender Stratocaster of 1966, Fender Stratocaster of 1959, The Custom Shop Fender Stratocaster and Yngwie signature model of the Fender Stratocaster. Fender Stratocaster Duck was named so due to its association with Donald Duck, and he still uses to play it on an occasional basis while Stratocaster no. 1 was branded for its usage of soloing. Stratocaster number 2 was stamped for its harder sounds, the maple-cap neck was a unique branding point for number 3, Stratocaster of 1961 was branded for a simultaneous bridge, and pickup functioning and the custom shop was branded as noiseless pickups. Hence the usage of guitar strings by Yngwie is not of multiple trials of numerous manufacturers of branded guitar strings; rather he used a familiar name of Fender for various unique products.

Fender still enjoys significant rankings among the top manufacturing brands of guitar strings. The way Fender differentiated its products as sub-brands are remarkable and created hype in the laconic industry of related products. There left no room for doubt that the size of the guitar strings manufacturing sector is terse, but few other competing brands emerged over time and were in use of Yngwie. These include Ovation Viper CV68 and Carvin AC175 Thinline Yngwie Malmsteen.

Besides, the most popular brands for guitar strings are D’Addario, Dean Markley, DR Handmade Strings, Dunlop, Elixir, Ernie Ball, GHS, La Bella, Martin Guitar Strings, Optima Guitar Strings, Rotosound, and Sfarzo. D’Addario is a provider of both acoustic guitars and electric guitars and is liked by consumers due to its branding strategy of environmental friendliness. Dean Markley possesses its facilities for manufacturing and is substantially accepted by modern guitarists of the era. DR handmade strings are the supplier of diverse range of related products with a perfect combination business model of standard and advanced equipment. Dunlop is the manufacturer of solely electrical guitar strings, whereas Elixir is a premium brand due to its significantly large charges for the durability of its offerings. Ernie Ball is the most famous brand due to well build and reputed goodwill while La Bella differentiated in its branding as it not only provides guitar strings but an array of musical instruments. Martin Guitar strings are known for its quality, and Optima guitar strings are a hot trend of time among top artists. Owing to unique features and offerings, brands of guitar strings do vary, but Fender remained an almost exclusive selection for Yngwie Malmsteen.

What’s Your Choice of Guitar Strings?

By Andrew Catania

There are more independent guitar makers than ever before, it appears, by all accounts making fantastic sounding and looking instruments. 

Now these fine instruments have to be superior in every sense of anything that rolls out of a factory,.  A guitar, whose words have been carefully selected and assembled with all the love and care of a master craftsman has to be intrinsically more musical and more valuable than any “production-line” guitar. 

There are many guitar string manufacturers today, makes and brands around the world, but here’s an overview of some of the most popular:


“The Players Choice”

Both electric and acoustic guitar strings are supplied in sets packaged within a single ‘corrosion intercept’ environmentally-friendly package. Individual strings are identified by the color of the ball-end, and a key to colors is supplied on the packaging.

Dean Markley

“Every product the very best in its field.

With their headquarters in California and with their own manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dean Markley Strings – or DMS for short – manufacture a wide range of popular electric and acoustic guitar strings that are used and endorsed by a wide range of artists, the most famous of which are the incredible guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen and more recently John5.

Acoustic strings include Alchemy, Vintage, and Blue Steel ranges, whereas electric strings include endorsed versions named after Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimi Hendrix and Floyd Rose among others. Floyd Rose “speedloader” strings are specially designed to be used with the incredible Speedloader Tremolo Bridge that enables you to change your strings and have them in tune in under a minute!

DR Handmade Strings

“Born in NYC, wound up in New Jersey.

Founded by Mark Dronge, son of the Guild Guitars founder, DR Handmade Strings make a diverse range of acoustic, electric and bass guitar strings which, not unsurprisingly, the test on Guild guitars! DR believe in combining old-fashioned craftsmanship with modern materials to create strings that give the feel and tone that players want. Endorsing Artists include U2’s, Adam Clayton. Voted Number One in Bass Player magazine’s 2008 Reader’s Choice Awards.


Heavy Metal Favourites

Dunlop electric guitar strings are made in California by Jim Dunlop, famous for the Cry Baby Wah-Wah pedal amongst other things. Bright, well balanced and punchy, these guitar strings are designed for extremely long life and provide low tension with minimum break-in time. Popular with heavy metal artists like Zakk Wylde.


Hi-tech coated strings

In 1995 Elixir started experimenting with coating strings with PTFE. After much trial and error and analysis, prototypes were tried by over 5,000 guitarists and other musicians before Elixir final released their masterpieces. Today their NANOWEB and POLYWEB coated strings are used by guitar players worldwide. Not cheap to buy, but claimed to last 3-5 times longer than ‘regular’ strings!

Ernie Ball

Probably the most famous brand of all.

Ernie Ball invented the trade Mary ‘Slinks’ range of guitar strings back in the 1950s and built a worldwide brand known for it’s a wide choice of ‘custom’ gauge sets. The regular choice of millions of guitarists worldwide.


Iconic maker of the Tele and Strat.

Fender invented an alternative to the ball end – the bullet end , especially for Fender guitars.

La Bella

America’s largest string maker.

E. & O. Mari, Inc., the maker of La Bella Strings, is one of America’s oldest and largest manufacturers of fine strings for virtually every kind of stringed instrument including guitars. La Bella is one of the only companies in the world still making traditional, real gut strings for antique and Baroque guitars. Other materials used include three different types of nylon, Kevlar, copper, brass, bronze, silver, aluminum, in addition to numerous types of steel. Each string is created using a combination of tradition and technology. Sophisticated, computer controlled and automated string-winding machinery is used where applicable, but hand-winding is still used where it delivers the best results.

Martin Guitar Strings

Acoustic favorites.

A wide range of Bronze, Phosphor Bronze and Coated strings in every conceivable gauge and type. CF Martin & Co are well known as makers of top quality acoustic guitars, and their strings are made to the same high standard. Core and wrap wires must meet strict requirements to make the grade, and Martin Strings are wound to precise specifications.

Optima Guitar Strings

Gold plated magic beloved of Brian May and others.

Quirky, elusive, sometimes hard to find, but some top guitarists will use nothing else, but German made Optima strings. Previously known as Maxima strings, they are best known for their goldplated electric strings used by Brian May, James Dean Bradfield and others.


As British as the Beatles

Famous for ROTO Color strings (ROTO Pinks, ROTO Yellows, etc.) developed in conjunction with some of the world’s top artists, these unique sets deliver a smooth, powerful tone that lasts while other strings have long gone dead.


Superior strings for superior guitarists.

Based in Santa Rosa, California, the Sforza String Company produce a range of strings including Nickel/Iron SFT Screamers; Signature Series Studio sets, Super Screamers (for a classic Rock ‘n’ Roll sound) and more.

Their following is growing, especially in the Heavy Rock and Metal genre where they are renown for long-lasting strings that hold their tuning well