Ernie Ball has been in the music business since the late 1950s, and initially sold only guitars and guitar accessories. In those days, there were no light gauge strings as we know them today, not even sets with plain G strings. I found a need among guitar students and professional musicians in the Los Angeles area for light gauge strings, and plain G strings that could bend with ease. Though many other music stores and even the big guitar companies such as Gibson and Fender thought he was crazy, he persisted in developing his own brand of light gauge electric guitar strings that could bend easily without breaking, and stay in tune. The new surf music trend and Rock &Roll guitar music of the 1960s was a natural customer for his amazing new kind of strings. This was the start of the Ernie Ball string brand.
The principal characteristic that distinguished Ernie Ball electric guitar strings from Gibson and Fender strings was their lighter gauges and the use of plain third strings. They were a hit, and soon became referred to as “SLINKY” strings, a name inspired by a popular toy of the 1960s that seemed to bend, twist, and stretch effortlessly on its own. Thus, the name SLINKY became his title name for Ernie Ball electric guitar strings.
The Ernie Ball strings of today continue the basic designs and traditions of the original SLINKY strings, and now in a wide range of string gauges. They are played and love by young guitarists who love to bend their strings, as well as old timers who grew up with them Once you try them, you realize these are really good strings.