Ernie Ball String Theory is a web series that explores the sonic origins of some of music’s most innovative guitar players. In this episode, we speak with Bethany Cosentino about her distinctive relationship with the power chord and the simplicity that helped shape the sound of Best Coast. Find out the top six things we learned below…
1. Drawn to Electric
BC: It was always electric. I didn’t care about acoustic guitar. I didn’t want an acoustic guitar. I wanted to be like a plugged-in power chord badass.
2. Power Chords Only
BC: And to this day, I still only know how to play power chords, which is really funny because I’m 12 years into my career as a professional musician. I’ve written four records and so many songs, and I’ve only ever been able to do them using power chords.
3. Ernie From the Start
BC: To me, when I think of guitar strings, I only think of Ernie Ball, genuinely, because that was what I was raised around. When I got my first guitar, my dad strung it for me and put Ernie Ball strings on it. I don’t remember a life without music. I genuinely don’t remember a life without Ernie Ball Strings.
4. Larger Than Life
BC: It just feels like a certain level of power comes from playing the guitar.
5. You Are the Only You
BC: The first thing I said to the guy on the phone was, “I’m not a good guitar player.” And he was just like, “Yeah, but you are like you. You are the player that you are and there’s something to be said about that.”
6. The Art of Simplicity
BC: Doing something simply is hard. Sure, doing something super classic, like flamenco guitar, I’m sure that’s really hard. But also writing a power-pop song with four chords and a melody that sticks with people, it’s also pretty hard.
Bethany Cosentino gets her signature sound using Ernie Ball Paradigm Slinky electric guitar strings.
Check out similar String Theory films from Ernie Ball featuring artists like Courtney Barnett, Larkin Poe, Lindsey Troy of Deap Valley, and her co-member of Best Coast, Bobb Bruno.