With 2018 coming to a close, we want to take a look back at the best takeaways from this year’s String Theory episodes. String Theory is a web series from Ernie Ball that explores the sonic origins of some of music’s most innovative players. Ernie Ball is looking forward to the slew of creative content that will be introduced in 2019. With that, let’s take a look back at some of this year’s best moments with this awesome supercut video from Ernie Ball String Theory in 2018.


Guitar is the North Star.

“Guitar playing is so much more than a career choice. It’s a vehicle to do something outside of yourself… I cite guitar playing and I cite this band with pushing me forward and giving me that North Star. It’s a feeling, it’s a thing that you carry with you, it’s a fire.”


Halestorm uses Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom 10-52 gaugeParadigm Medium Light Phosphor Bronze acoustic, and Medium Nickel Wound 13-56 with Wound G strings to create their Grammy winning sounds.

Of Mice & Men

Embrace the struggle of improving.

“You have to suck at first. If you don’t suck at music, and you’re just Michael Jordan right away, that doesn’t work. To look back and think about how the progression has come now, to how we write songs – it’s crazy to me, it’s beautiful, it’s the growth. You have to have that sort of growth.”


Of Mice and Men play Ernie Ball Paradigm Super Slinkys and Super Slinky electric guitar strings.

Daron Malakian from System Of A Down

Style is constantly evolving.

“I feel like I have a certain style. I don’t know how that happens, but I always try to add to that style. I don’t just try to stick with it. I always try to add a certain color that maybe I didn’t use before… I started going into a songwriting direction and started getting influenced by songwriters, instead of riffs. People like Bowie or Neil Young, The Beatles, The Kinks and that type of stuff started bleeding into my writing.”


Daron plays Ernie Ball’s Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings to produce his legendary sounds.

Dave Navarro

Emotion drives creation.

“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.”


Navarro plays Ernie Ball Super Slinky, Power Slinky, and Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light strings.

Mick Mars

Playing guitar is about pushing your limits.

“I want to keep evolving and keep moving to keep that motivation going. If you stop learning, you might as well put the guitar down.”


Mick Mars relies on Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys, Coated Beefy Slinkys, and Nickel Light Strings.

Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!

It’s always been Ernie Ball for Laura Jane Grace.

“I remember being in the store and seeing all of the strings… 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.”


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

Clint Black

Success doesn’t mean you stop practicing.

“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.”


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

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

The worst thing you can do is self-censor.

“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.”


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

Tim McIlrath of Rise Against

Playing guitar is like writing a story.

“The guitar was like a language, each chord was like a sentence, each part was paragraph or a chapter, and then you could create a whole story, and I became obsessed.”


Tim McIlrath rips using Ernie Ball Regular Slinky electric guitar strings.

John Petrucci

Keep a bigger perspective.

“If you open your mind up to the idea that music is a sharing experience, it gives you a better mindset as far as creating and puts you in the right place.”


John Petrucci plays Ernie Ball Paradigm Regular Slinkys and uses the Ernie Ball 250k Mono Volume Pedal (for passive electronics).

Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails

Use music to make the best out of a bad situation.

“We moved the summer before my high school freshman year and I didn’t know anybody and I was pissed. I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to meet anybody. I just sat in the basement and played on my guitar all summer long. I excelled more that summer than I ever have in my life.”


Robin Finck shreds using Ernie Ball Regular Slinky electric guitar strings.

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