In this episode of Ernie Ball: String Theory, artist Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World dives into his creative process and why he’s always played with Ernie Ball strings. These are the top six things we learned:

1) Whenever you have an idea, simply pick up your guitar. (0:30)

Guitar playing is the conduit for the idea. Whenever I have an idea for something I’ll pick up the guitar.”

2) Jim Adkins became an Ernie Ball player after trying every other kind of string. (2:56) 

“It’s the honest truth—I went through every string. And Ernie Ball felt like the best. That’s it. I’ve tried them all, and it’s the best, so that’s what I play.”

3) How to keep the band together. (4:19)

“We’ve been a band for 23-24 years now. What’s kept us going is the sense of trying to keep things fun. You’re playing music, it should be fun. And trying to find new ways to challenge ourselves, new ways you can put yourself in a slightly uncomfortable position to achieve growth. That could look like trying to attempt something really complex or look like trying to give yourself a lot of restraint. It’s just trying to keep things different.”

4) Creating music is methodical. (5:16)

“I have a really structured way of looking at songwriting or guitar playing, especially when guitar playing is featured in anything… it’s really methodical how I want to hear something.”

5) Songwriting tips from Jim Adkins. (8:36)

“Songwriting for me is finding what the idea is and exploring the idea. You’re not questioning it, you’re just going with it.”

6) The worst thing you can do is self-censor. (8:53)

“The worst thing you can do is self-censor you just have to chase the idea to be the most realized version of what that idea wants to be and then you make a decision if it’s good or not. Then you collect all of those and you have an album’s worth of stuff.”


String Theory is a web series from Ernie Ball that explores the sonic origins of some of music’s most innovative players, including John PetrucciSteve VaiMac DeMarcoAvenged Sevenfold and many other amazing Ernie Ball artists. Watch additional episodes of Ernie Ball: String Theory.


Jim Adkins plays Ernie Ball Medium Gauge Nickel Wound Custom Gauge guitar strings.

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