Clint Black: Five Things We Learned from His Ernie Ball 'String Theory’ Episode

Today, presents the exclusive premiere of the latest episode of String Theory, starring country music mega-star Clint Black. Watch it above.

A web series created by Ernie Ball, String Theory explores the sonic origins of influential and innovative musicians. In the episode, Black discusses his beginnings with music and guitar, his love of playing, and his relationship with Ernie Ball.

Below, you can find five facts revealed in the episode.

1. He first learned guitar as a way to accompany his singing (1:00): “When I first started playing guitar, it was just a means to an end. I wanted to sing, and so I just learned enough guitar chords to be able to sing some songs I knew.”

2. After that, he started focusing on his guitar playing more, citing James Taylor as an early influence (1:13): “I started learning some from song books, namely James Taylor, so it became a little more about technique and fingerpicking.”

3. For his Nothin’ but the Taillights album, Black set out to play all the electric guitar parts (1:55): “I decided I was going to play all the electric guitars on there, just as a challenge. I didn’t manage to do it [at first], because three songs Dan Huff had already played on, and I could never satisfy myself with what I was doing over what he did…I was in L.A. at the time, and I found a couple of guys and took guitar lessons. [Then I] continued on and finished the album. I was pretty happy with what I did.”

4. He’s used Ernie Ball strings since the beginning (3:36): “I bought Ernie Ball strings way back in the club days. On my electrics I use the 10s, [they give me] a nice feel, but it also doesn’t give me too much bottom. You know, I don’t want a ton of fatness in the bottom strings. I tend to like something that feels a little more transparent. It’s the same with the acoustics.”

5. Black practices almost every day, playing along to other artists’ CDs including Keb’ Mo’ (4:45): “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.”

Of course, these are just five facts pulled from the clip. Be sure to watch the entire episode above.

For the latest on Ernie Ball, visit

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.