With 2018 coming to a close, we want to take a look back at the highlights from this year for Ernie Ball Music Man. From product launches, to artist news, and the all new Inspired by series. We’re looking forward to all of the new product announcements happening at NAMM in January 2019 and the slew of creative content that will be introduced next year. With that, let’s take a look back at some of this year’s best moments for Ernie Ball Music Man in 2018.

“Inspired By” Series Debut

This year, Ernie Ball Music Man’s Inspired By series debuted, with five unique episodes dropping throughout the year. Inspired By delves into the inspirations, motivations, and history of today’s top guitar and bass players. By exploring the roots of these prominent artists, “Inspired By” provides a portal into never-before-revealed insight and details behind groundbreaking creations. Check out this year’s episodes below, and keep your eyes out for new episodes throughout 2019.

Tim Commerford

Dustin Kensrue of Thrice

Jason Richardson

Hunter Hayes

Stephen Egerton of The Descendents

Our Modern Classics “Get Roasted”

This year, we introduced the 2018 Cutlass RS and the 2018 StingRay RS. Both models dropped with our brand new figured roasted necks, resulting in elegant and timeless instruments.

The Cutlass RS

The 2018 Cutlass features a figured roasted neck with rosewood or maple fingerboard. The Cutlass retains all original specifications including vintage spec electronics, a super smooth tremolo system, and lightweight alder body. The Cutlass is a perfect culmination of old-world aesthetics and styling, with modern design and playability.


Watch as Hunter Hayes discusses why he plays the 2018 Cutlass RS to produce some of country music’s best sounds.

The StingRay RS

The 2018 Stingray RS features a roasted figured maple neck with Ebony, Rosewood or Maple fingerboard. The Stingray’s sound is big and bold when needed but smooth if desired – thanks to the perfectly voiced custom pickups. The flawless craftsmanship throughout the Stingray makes a perfect culmination of old world aesthetics and styling, with modern design and playability.


Watch as Steevis of The Fever 333 talks about his Stingray RS and why it provides him with superior sound.

The 2018 St. Vincent Models Launch

2018 was a monumental year for St. Vincent’s music and signature collection of Ernie Ball Music Man guitars. The 2018 St. Vincent HH signature model dropped in June, newly designed with a dual humbucking pickup configuration, hot-rodded and full bodied, with plenty of chime in the top end. The St.Vincent HH offers medium to high gain output, creating a distorted crunch tone with strong mids. The guitar boasts an evenly distributed frequency response for both the bridge and neck pickups. The bridge pickup has plenty of drive and is voiced with a clear and expressive high end, that’s not overly piercing. Check out Annie Clark’s (aka St.Vincent) reflection on designing this epic instrument, below.


Aside from her signature collection, St. Vincent played at the Coachella Music Festival and performed at the Oscars in April, and she has closed out the year with multiple Grammy nominations.

The 2018 Valentine Models Launch

The 2018 Valentine models dropped in May, featuring three new finishes and a new tremolo. The updated, super smooth tremolo goes along with a standard lightweight slab ash body, stunning figured roasted neck, and custom Ernie Ball Music Man electronics, that perfectly complement to the Valentine’s already dynamic and articulate signature tone. Check out Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine discuss the specs on his updated 2018 signature collection at the NAMM show.


The 2018 StingRay Special Bass Launch

First introduced in 1976, the StingRay bass has become one of the most iconic bass guitars in history. For the first time in 30 years, the Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay has been reimagined with features that provide a new level of playing comfort, while retaining that classic StingRay sound. Created by Casey Ball, the StingRay Special Blog Series highlights the 18v preamp, neodymium pickups, proprietary hardware and the new neck and body on the 2018 StingRay Special.


The contouring of the new StingRay Special is all about comfort and playability. The arm contour is less like a one directional ramp, and more spherical to allow for a comfortable place to rest your forearm at any angle. The 5 bolt neck joint combined with the neck joint contour improves fret access with an ergonomic carve that matches the shape of the players palm when in the upper registers.

Watch below as a few of Ernie Ball Music Man’s artists and CEO Sterling Ball demo and discuss the modernization of the 2018 StingRay Special.

Sterling Ball Demo

Tony Levin Demo

Stefan Lessard Demo

Mike Herrera Demo

Rob Chapman’s Mini Documentary Premiere: Guitars & Grills

Musician, filmmaker, entrepreneur, and friend of the Ball family Rob Chapman made the journey across the Atlantic to meet up with Ernie Ball Music Man CEO Sterling Ball, President Brian Ball, Head of Sales Scott Ball and other members of the Music Man team, to tour the Music Man facilities on the Central Coast of California.

What started as a quick and friendly visit, evolved into a full documentary, displaying the process, philosophy and care that goes into every Music Man instrument. Chapman discusses and plays several Music Man instruments, and follows engineers through the production process of the Armada model. Candid and light-hearted, the documentary gives a unique look into the mentality of Sterling Ball and the authentic mentality that comprises Music Man. Check out Guitars & Grills now.

Music Man Artists Grab Grammy Nominations

Ernie Ball Music Man artists have closed out 2018 in the best of ways, earning a total of five Grammy nominations. Nominated artists include St. Vincent, James Valentine of Maroon 5, and The Fever 333. Below are the particular awards our artists are up for at the 61st Grammy Awards, taking place on February 10th 2019, in Los Angeles.

St.  Vincent: Best Rock Song – (“Masseduction”), Best Alternative Album (Masseduction), Best Recording Package (Masseduction)

Maroon 5: Best Pop Group/Duo Performance – “Girls Like You” (feat. Cardi B)

The Fever 333: Best Rock Performance – Made In America 


Share this Post