Ian Grushka is the badass bass player of Ernie Ball band, New Found Glory, who just finished another Vans Warped Tour and are still going strong at almost 20 years. We recently got the chance to talk to Ian about this year’s Vans Warped Tour and his brand-new Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass bass. Check out the interview below!
What is it about Ernie Ball and Ernie Ball Music Man that made you want to work with us?
My relationship with Ernie Ball goes back to when I was about 13 and I started playing guitar. I used Ernie Ball strings because the string packaging always stood out on the shelf. When I was 17, I switched to bass guitar. My bass teacher, Gary Nelson, had a StingRay and I loved it. I always thought the circular pickguard was the coolest thing in the world.
After a while, I made a deal with my dad and dropped out of college. He agreed to let me trade in my pre-paid college fund so I could buy a StingRay. I had a StingRay finally and wound up using it on the recording of “From The Screen To Your Stereo” Part 1.
Which Ernie Ball bass strings do you play? What do you like about them?
I use regular Slinky bass strings 105-50 for my standard tuning basses. For my dropped D bass, we swap out the 105 with a 110, and the other 3 strings stay the same gauge. The strings sound good, they stay in tune, and they are reliable. Just by looking at the packaging you can tell how much Ernie Ball cares about their artists. They put all their names on back of the package!
Which Ernie Ball basses have you all played? What do you like about them?
I loved the feel of the StingRay. Since it’s active, it’s definitely a little twangy. For most shows, it sounds great, but some shows I just wanted more bass and less twang on certain songs. Now I’ve been using the Cutlass, and I’m in love!
How did you start playing our new Cutlass passive bass? What do you like about it?
Right before the Vans Warped Tour this year, Tim Dove (my Ernie Ball rep) got ahold of me and told me about the new Cutlass and Caprice passive basses. He sent me a few to try out during rehearsal. The Cutlass felt great. It was easier to play than the bass I’ve been playing. The strings were a tiny bit closer together and I loved it. I felt like my hands were very comfortable on the fretboard. I added Seymour Duncan pickups to the bass since I have a sponsorship with them, but the bass sounded great right out of the box.
You played the Cutlass quite a bit on the Vans Warped Tour. What features of the Cutlass made it a go-to bass on this tour and for NFG’s sound in general?
These basses sound amazing. It’s been years since a bass felt that good on stage. Funny thing is, as soon as I played it the first day, a few other bands on the tour started asking me about it. Kelen, from The Story So Far, even texted me and came over the next day to try it out. Out of all the people who have tried my bass out, no one has complained. I’m stoked on them!
Warped Tour is brutal on instruments, how did the Cutlass stand up day after day.
Hahaha. The Vans Warped Tour is brutal on your body too. So hot, and being that it’s outdoors there is so much change in temperature and weather. The Cutlass held up great. I’m stoked to be part of the Ernie Ball Music Man family!
Ian plays Ernie Ball Regular Slinky bass strings. Find them here.