Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Albert Lee Signature – #42 of 75
Ball in the FamilyWildwoodians, we are downright giddy to announce that we have welcomed Ernie Ball Music Man into the Wildwood family. So, we thought it was appropriate to kick things off with a selection from the Ball Family Reserve. For those who are unfamiliar, the Ball Family Reserve is a line of limited-production guitars that showcase exceptional tonewoods, drool-inducing finishes, and extra-elegant designs. Previously, these fine instruments were only available to members of the Ball family and Ernie Ball Music Man's roster of artists, but Sterling Ball and his sons, Brian and Scott, have graciously offered them to the public. Each piece in the Ball Family Reserve is lovingly crafted using a combination of precise, state-of-the-art modern manufacturing techniques and time-consuming old-world methods that involve lots of good 'o-fashioned elbow grease. Each piece is also VERY limited, and once they're gone, they're gone. We are privileged to showcase such rare, exquisite instruments, and we are proud to welcome Ernie Ball Music Man to the Wildwood Family.
A Country Boy From EnglandHow did one of the greatest masters of country guitar ever to walk the Earth come out of England and not Texas or Tennessee? It just goes to show you that music transcends borders and geography if you can feel it in your bones, and Albert Lee may feel that ever-elusive "it" better than anybody else when it comes to country guitar. Emmylou Harris best expressed his cosmic greatness when she said: "When Saint Peter asks me to chronicle my time down here on earth, I’ll be able to say (with pride if that’s allowed) that for a while I played rhythm guitar in a band with Albert Lee.” That's saying something, coming from a legend like Emmylou!
Naturally, we we were giddy with excitement when we heard that Ernie Ball Music Man would be releasing a super-limited run of his signature HH guitar as part of their Ball Family Reserve. We weren't disappointed when it arrived, because it is one HOT guitar. Only 75 of these ostentatious orange sparkle beauties will be made, and each one is hand-signed by Albert Lee himself on the tremolo backplate.
Even if it wasn't incredibly rare, this Albert Lee Signature would still be a jaw-dropping instrument. The orange crush sparkle finish looks great wrapped around the African mahogany body, which borrows its styling from both the classic SSS guitars of the fifties and the more angular styling of retro-futurist Harmony and Airline guitars. The roasted figured maple neck also looks sharp, and it provides a bit of vintage-style woodiness and clarity to the tone of the guitar.
It's a heck of an aesthetic, but it somehow manages to sound even better than it looks. Two custom DiMarzio pickups steal the show by providing an incredible range of tones in conjunction with the five-way selector. This configuration provides some rather uncommon switching options, so let's take a closer look at some of the killer tones it provides!
Position 1 is the bridge humbucker wired in series. It shows off a beefy bottom end with vocal upper mids and sweet, singing highs. It's fat enough for archetypical bridge pickup rock, but its highs (which remind me of Hank Williams Sr.'s voice) give it some twangy flavor for biting leads and snappy chicken pickin' rhythm parts.
Position 2 splits the coils of the humbuckers and activates the outside coil of each pickup wired in parallel. It's got lots of classic quack to go with cutting, glassy trebles and woody, twangy low mids. It's a great country lead sound, and it also works wonders for spankier rhythms.
Position 3 is both humbuckers in parallel. This position is full and balanced across the whole harmonic spectrum, and it will pretty much do anything you ask of it!
Position 4 splits the coils of both humbuckers and activates the inside coil of each pickup wired in parallel. It has deeper woody twang in the lows--which are quite sonorous and focused--and it has more high-end sparkle and chime. It sort of reminds me of a countrified Hendrix-style sound!
Position 5 is the neck humbucker wired in series. It has powerful lows, plenty of snap and pop in the upper mids, and clear, open highs. It's warm enough for jazz but clear enough for thick, crunchy rock rhythms.
As you can see, the Albert Lee Signature provides a plethora of inspiring tones while looking flashy enough to induce biblical levels of envy in your peers when you pull it out of the case! We are proud to showcase such an incredible instrument, and we are sure this country boy from England's signature guitar will prove a steadfast muse for years to come.
|Brand||Ernie Ball Music Man|
|Model||Ball Family Reserve Albert Lee Signature HH|
|Limited Series||#42 of 75 Pieces|
|Finish Color||Orange Crush Sparkle|
|Finish Type||High Gloss Polyester|
|Body Wood||African Mahogany|
|Neck Wood||Roasted Figured Maple|
|Neck Finish||Translucent Satin with Gloss Headstock|
|Neck Dimensions||.830 1st-.910 12th|
|Width at Nut||1.650"|
|Frets||22 High Profile Medium Width|
|Pickups||2 Custom DiMarzio Humbuckers|
|Controls||1 Volume, 1 Tone, 5-Way Switch|
|Bridge||Chrome-Plated Vintage-Style Music Man w/Bent Steel Saddles|
|Tuners||Schaller M6-IND Locking|
|Unique Features||Autographed Control Cover|
|Case||Molded Plastic Hardshell|
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