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Instruments currently produced in San Luis Obispo, CA under the Ernie Ball/Music Man trademark since 1984. Earlier Music Man models were produced in Fullerton, CA between 1976 and 1979. Currently distributed by Ernie Ball/Music Man.
Ernie Ball was born in Cleveland, OH in 1930. The American Depression pressured the family to move to Santa Monica, California in 1932. By age nine, Ball was practicing guitar, and this interest in music led to a twenty-year career as a professional steel guitarist, music teacher, and retailer.
During the 1950s, the steel guitar was a popular instrument to play - but there was some difficulty in obtaining a matched set of strings. Early electric guitar players were also turning to mixing sets of strings to get the desired string gauges, but at a waste of the other strings. Ball found great success in marketing prepackaged string sets in custom gauges, and the initial mail order business expanded into a nationwide wholesale operation of strings, picks and other accessories.
In the early 1970s, Ball founded the Earthwood company, and produced both electric guitars and acoustic basses for a number of years. After some production disagreements between the original Music Man company and Leo Fender's CLF Research in 1978 (see Music Man), Fender stopped building instruments exclusively for Music Man, and began designs and production for his final company (G & L). In 1984 Ernie Ball acquired the trademark and design rights to Music Man. Ball set up production in the factory that previously had built the Earthwood instruments. Ernie Ball/Music Man instruments have been in production at that location in San Luis Obispo, CA since 1984. In 2003, the string division of Ernie Ball moved to Indio, CA.
The first instruments that returned to production were Music Man basses, due to their popularity in the market. By 1987, the first guitar by Ernie Ball/Music Man was released. The Silhouette model was then followed by the Steve Morse model later in that year. Ernie Ball/Music Man has retained the high level of quality from original Fender/CLF designs, and has introduced some innovative designs to their current line. Ernie Ball passed away on September 9, 2004 at the age of 74. In 2008, Ernie Ball/Music Man introduced their Ball Family Reserve line of guitars that is a celebration of producing guitars in the U.S. For more information, visit Ernie Ball/Music Man's website or contact them directly.

From Blue Book Publications:

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