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, Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction dives into his early musical influences, creative process, and why he chose Ernie Ball from the very beginning. Find out the top six things we learned:


1) Dave Navarro’s musical foundation began with learning piano. (1:00)

“My parents had me play piano when I was very young… I understood melody, I understood music, I understood it theoretically, but there was something about the piano that didn’t resonate with me, personally. When I was 7 or 8 years old and I learned a few guitar chords, I was able to take the musical knowledge that I’d been given by my parents on the piano and transpose that understanding to the guitar neck… what started off as three chords.. became second nature.”

2) Music allows expression to go beyond what lyrics describe. (2:05)

“Emotionally speaking, I can easily write down how I’m feeling in a very literal sense, I can tell someone how I’m feeling in a very literal sense, and I can do that lyrically in a song. But when it’s a soundscape, that you’re creating to express what’s going on inside of you, sometimes there aren’t words to express the multitude of feelings that we have as human beings. To be able to create a soundscape and to have that translate to the listener, is the ability to describe the indescribable.”

3) Dave Navarro’s relationship with Ernie Ball dates back to his earliest days learning guitar. (3:20)

“I think I first started playing Ernie Ball strings…I had to be about 10 years old. And this was back in the day when I couldn’t just go buy a pack of strings. I had to wait until one broke and bring that string into the store…They had an electric guitar wall in the back with a couple of amps, and every day after school they would let me in there and plug in a guitar…they got this ten year old kid learning guitar in the back of the store! They sold me single strings, and that’s when I bought my first Ernie Ball strings.”

4) Emotion drives creation. (7:10)

“If I need to express, I pick up the instrument. Sometimes its really aggressive, sometimes its really introspective. I think that’s one of the reasons why Jane’s Addiction was such a perfect band for me because we covered such a wide range of the human condition. We were all motivated by emotion and feeling and even the dynamics within the band…those elements really contributed to my formative years as a guitar player.”

5) Navarro draws on the visual arts for creative inspiration. (11:00)

“I’m inspired by the visual arts to put what I see into my music and into my playing, and there really is a serious connection, as different as the two are. The same side of the brain is being activated in terms of the creative process. And I just love the fact that everyone has a different reaction… the art that I tend to collect or the artists that I tend to love the most are as varied as the music that I like.”

6) Welcome and learn from mistakes. (12:50)

“As a guitar player, approaching the instrument, I pay attention to a lot of mistakes… a mistake that you make in the studio or live can eventually become the seed to grow your next masterpiece.”

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