Ever since 1962, Ernie Ball has been dedicated to innovating strings for electric guitarists, bassists, acoustic guitarists, and all manner of stringed instruments. Over the last 56 years we’ve developed some of the world’s greatest technological improvements in guitar strings. From developing a reinforced ball end wrap with our RPS Slinky strings, to developing coatings, new metal alloys, and treatment processes to keep strings alive longer.
You may be asking yourself, “Well that’s all fine, but how do I know which one is right for me?” Well, thankfully we have just the resource to help you decide which type of Ernie Ball strings are right for you.
Ernie Ball Slinky Strings
The original and still the favorite: Ernie Ball Slinkys. Slinky wound strings are made from nickel plated steel wire that is wrapped around a tin plated hex-shaped core wire made from steel. Slinky plain strings are made from our specially tempered tin plated high-carbon steel, which has produced a well balanced tone for players reliably for 55+ years.
Slinkys are the crown jewel of Ernie Ball and the culmination of 55+ years of skill, knowledge, and innovation. They are the Colors Of Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Ernie Ball RPS Slinky Nickel Wound Strings
The Reinforced Plain String (or RPS) was one of Ernie Ball’s first innovations in extending string life. When guitarists start to play really hard, the treble strings tend to be the first to go, so why not improve on the design of plain strings? Well, by completely redesigning our construction of plain strings we did exactly that.
RPS uses a method of wrapping the plain strings to the ball end that provides far greater stability and resistance to slippage than other strings on the market. RPS strings use the same materials as Ernie Ball Slinky strings, so you won’t sacrifice anything in terms of tone or feel. Check out our String Theory video featuring Kirk Hammett, who has depended on RPS Slinkys from the studio to Metallica’s world tour, and they haven’t let him down yet.
Ernie Ball Slinky Cobalts
First released in 2012, Slinky Cobalt strings delivered on the simple concept that strings and pickups could get more from each other. Thus, Cobalt was born. The basic idea was that if the strings could harness a greater utility over the magnetic pull of the pickups, then overall the tone could be boosted or further shaped than it had before. Ernie Ball Cobalts are the choice of Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Get a feel for their relative sound in his String Theory video below:
Cobalt strings are proven to provide an extended dynamic range, fantastic harmonics, increased low end, and a tone profile that lends itself to really heavy playing, more of a “scooped mids” type of tone balance.
Ernie Ball M-Steel
Ernie Ball M-Steel Electric Guitar Strings picked up the torch that Cobalt had began when we realized we could take the technology even further. New enhancements in string wrap wire technology were improving at a fast pace with developments in core wire, and M-Steel is the product of just that. Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance from Avenged Sevenfold choose Ernie Ball M-Steel strings. See their episode of String Theory here:
They’ve gotten us through small gigs, beating up our guitars, beating up the strings, they’ve gotten us through hundreds of Warped Tour dates and dust and sand and mosh pits and swinging the guitar around my body like a maniac.
In order to fully realize the promise that M-Steel possessed, Ernie Ball began developing another new proprietary alloy: Super Cobalt alloy. We wrapped this new wrap wire around a Maraging steel hex core wire, which happens to provide an amazing low-end bass and overall output boost. M-Steel electric guitar strings are also wrapped in the same manner as RPS Slinkys to even further minimize wear and keep the strings as fresh and strong as the first time you cracked open a pack.
Ernie Ball PARADIGM
Ernie Ball Slinky PARADIGM electric guitar strings are currently the ultimate evolution of the electric guitar string. Designed from the ground up to provide unprecedented strength and longer life while retaining 100% Slinky tone and feel. Check out legendary recording artist Don Felder explain the benefits of PARADIGM:
For the development of this string, Ernie Ball began with our industry leading ultra-high strength steel included in both the wound and plain strings. From this point we took Ernie Ball’s Everlast nano-treatment and coupled it with a new breakthrough plasma enhanced wrap wire that provides added corrosion resistance and keeps a teflon slick surface on the strings, helping to keep the strings cleaner for longer, and thus sounding better for longer.