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, Clint Black discusses his beginnings with music and guitar, his love of playing, and his relationship with Ernie Ball from the very beginning of his career. Watch as he dives into his creative process and find out the top six things we learned:


1) Music is something Clint Black has to do. (0:36)

“The need to play music is like feeding the soul. You can only go so long without it and then you have to have it back.”

2) Clint Black taught himself how to play guitar with songbooks. (1:20)

“I started learning songs from song books. It became a little bit more about technique and finger picking and over time that evolved and I really set out to learn more songs and work on my technique. I really had no lessons I had nothin’ to go by, I was just mimicking what I heard or getting it from a songbook.

3) Playing guitar came from wanting to be a singer, now it’s Clint’s obsession to be better. (2:55)

“One of my goals was a song from No Time To Kill called “Tuckered Out” which is really fast. It took me two years to get to the point where I could play those with the band on stage. It started out as just a way to be a singer and it’s turned into an obsession with becoming a more than average guitarist.

4) Ernie Ball electric and acoustic guitar strings have been with Clint from the beginning. (3:36)

“I bought Ernie Ball strings way back in the club days. On my electrics I use the 10s, but it also doesn’t give me too much bottom. You know, I don’t want a ton of fatness in the bottom strings. I tend to like something that feels a little more transparent. It’s the same with the acoustics.”

5) Clint Black continues to practice playing every day. (4:45)

“On most days I’ll play about two, maybe three hours, practicing what I already do or just noodling around. I’ll play with other people’s CDs, I’ll put on some Keb’ Mo’ and play along with him.”

6) Becoming better at improvising is Clint’s his biggest goal with music. (5:08)

“I can work up licks for an album or for a show but improvising to me is like the white whale. That’s the thing that’s still out there for me to feel confident enough that I can sit in with anyone and have something to say.”


Check out other similar guitarist String Theory films from Ernie Ball including, Don Felder, Clay Cook, Lissie, Steve Vai and many other amazing Ernie Ball artists. Watch additional episodes of Ernie Ball: String Theory.


Clint Black plays Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze acoustic strings and Regular Slinky electric strings.

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