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, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! dives into her early musical influences, her creative process, and why she’s played Ernie Ball from the very beginning. Find out the top six things we learned:


1) Guitar playing is the one thing Laura Jane Grace has consistently strived to improve on. (0:15)

“I love guitar playing. It’s a passion for me… it’s one of the few things I’ve been sure of in my entire life… it’s the one thing consistently throughout my life that I’ve strived to get better at and have always felt challenged and engaged in.”

2) Laura grew up listening to music on a Marantz 8 Track. (1:22)

“I really remember early on experiences with my dad’s high fi Marantz reel to reel 8 track – cool set up. I remember putting on headphones for the first time and realizing that it took you to a different place, especially when the headphones were on versus listening to it from the speakers.”

3) It’s always been Ernie Ball from the very beginning. (6:45)

“I remember being in the store and seeing all of the strings… but it’s always been the neon green f**ckin packaging and the list of the bands on it. I remember being like.. these are the real strings, these are what you want to play. I always just knew – that’s what I want to play. If I have an important show coming up, that’s what I want to get is Ernie Ball’s. If we’re going into the studio to record, that’s what we should put on our guitars before we start recording.”

4) Laura’s songwriting process. (8:48)

“For songwriting, even before it’s a finished song, even if it’s just a demo that I realize – oh that’s going to work, that’s a song and it’s f**ckin good. This is fun to play, this is fun to sing and it’s there. It’s a feeling that you can’t describe in any other way. It’s either there or it’s not. Sometimes that’s really easy to get to, but sometimes it’s so f**ckin hard. But for that split second when you do it, you’re golden and then 2 seconds later you’re back to I’ll never write again, I don’t know how to write a song, I don’t have any talent. But, it’s just that window.”

5) Laura Jane Grace’s studio standards vs. live performances. (9:49)

“Live, I get being in the moment and by no means do I do flawless technical performances live.. but in the studio I strive for that. In the studio I strive to have correct hand positioning. Tuning for me is like holiness. I just want it to be in tune and thank you Ernie Ball. Ernie Ball strings are in tune. That matters.”

6) What keeps driving Laura in her music journey. (12:57)

“It’s a healthy competitive thing of like, I want to play too, I want to show you an awesome thing as well. Where I don’t think the possibilities have run out so that keeps me engaged in that way and challenging yourself in that way too. I’m not an artist who’s had a #1 hit. My career is not based on stuff like that so there’s that drive to keep pushing yourself to reach more people with your music and to keep growing.”


Check out other similar guitarist String Theory films from Ernie Ball including, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Avenged Sevenfold, Jade Puget of AFI and many other amazing Ernie Ball artists. Watch additional episodes of Ernie Ball: String Theory.


Laura Jane Grace plays Ernie Ball PARADIGM Regular Slinkys and Regular Slinky electric strings.

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