Brian Ball of Ernie Ball/Music Man
In addition to looking over and discussing the wide range of current Ernie Ball/Music Man product offerings, Brian Ball gave us a hands-on demonstration of the company’s new product innovation, the GigBag Amp. As the name suggests, it’s a quality soft case for guitar with a built in Marshall(!) two-channel amplifier boasting an impressive array of tonal features and an auxiliary input, opening up new worlds of mobility and versatility to electric guitar players of all types.
MMR: Where did the idea for the GigBag Amp originate?
Brian Ball: We felt like there was a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with an amp manufacturer and design a case that was multi-functional and tremendously portable. We really wanted to give guitarists the ability to plug & play on the go with a fantastic sounding amp.
We also wanted to provide an option for guitarists to play along with their favorite songs through their iPod / MP3 player. The amp is equipped with stereo speakers which allows guitarists to play simultaneously with the MP3 player.
MMR: How has the initial reaction been to the amp?
BB: The reaction to the gig bag amp has been very positive. The gig bag is durable, extremely well padded, and attractive with embroidery and exclusive fabrics. The amp is lightweight, compact, yet surprisingly loud and powerful.
Marshall did a fantastic job with the design, and components used. We really worked hard at making sure the amp sounded great, while staying lightweight and compact in design.
Dealers have been very impressed with the pricing options and suggested street price of $119.99. We’ve already received commitments from many family owned independent stores, national chains, and international distributors in over 20 markets
MMR: How did the collaboration with Marshall develop?
BB: We wanted to partner with an iconic brand, who spoke to the Rock and Roll audience. Marshall clearly fits that bill, and they’ve been nothing short of a fantastic partner to work with. Both of our companies share a lot of common interests, goals, and coincidentally – both companies share the same 50 year anniversary in 2012.
BB: The new string packaging was a big undertaking, and something we are very proud of. Our strings are manufactured, packaged, and sealed within hours of testing and approving the raw materials we use. We want our strings to be the finest and freshest on the market, and the barrier we are providing our strings is second to none. We switched over in 2008, and have received a ton of positive feedback from consumers, dealers, and distributors.
MMR: Any other new developments on the horizon for Ernie Ball you can share?
BB: We’re placing a tremendous amount of energy on consistently improving the processes that go into manufacturing, quality control testing, and packaging of our core products. That’s been a big focus of ours, and will continue to be in the future.
Product wise, we’ve got some exciting new developments both on the Ernie Ball and Music Man side that I can’t quite divulge, but we are targeting at a 2011 launch.