As was the case with the Ball Family Reserve expansion packs released last March, July and September, a quartet of models has been released, which introduces updated aesthetics and improved electronics.
Comprising three electrics and one bass, the lineup boasts a new-look Steve Lukather Luke II model – dubbed “a work of art” – and a HHH-configured Albert Lee guitar that sports a trio of P-90-style pickups.
There’s also an elegant Short Scale StringRay bass, loaded with tortoiseshell block inlays and body binding, and an overhauled Valentine “Carmelo” that flashes a newly appointed electronics package.
Read on to find out all you need to know about the March 2022 installment of the Ball Family Reserve collection.
Ernie Ball Music Man Valentine "Carmelo"
Perhaps the most overhauled – and undoubtedly the most exclusive – guitar of the drop is the Valentine “Carmelo”. Limited to only 55 pieces worldwide, the Butterscotch-colored six-string features a new-for-range electronics setup, as well as a Bigsby B5 vibrato tailpiece.
The circuitry comprises a pair of custom Ernie Ball Music Man “Ranger” pickups – which are favored over the usual humbucker/single-coil combo – and a flexible new five-way lever switch, utilized over the flagship Valentine's three-way selector. Other appointments include Schaller locking tuners, a solid ash body, a roasted maple neck and rosewood fingerboard.
Ernie Ball Music Man Luke III "Woody"
Up next is a new-look version of Steve Lukather’s Luke III axe, appropriately dubbed the “Woody”. Getting its name from the figured walnut burst maple burl top, the “Woody” is described by Ernie Ball as a “work of art”, and has been treated to a wealth of unique Ball Family Reserve-worthy features.
The okoume body, complete with an ebony veneer, is paired with a rosewood neck and ebony fretboard – an unusual neck wood combination – which sports 22 nickel frets and white dot inlays.
Elsewhere, proprietary gold-accented Luke III humbuckers, wired to Lukather’s specifications, also make the cut, as does stealthy all-black hardware. The Luke III “Woody” will be limited to 80 pieces worldwide.
Ernie Ball Music Man Albert Lee "Ghost in a Shell"
The last electric guitar of the drop is the “Ghost in a Shell” Albert Lee model – yet another Ball Family Reserve Albert Lee variant to boast a trio of P-90-style pickups. Linking up with the Ernie Ball Music Man MM-90 pickups is a Honduran mahogany body, finished in Translucent White, as well as a vintage-inspired tortoise shell pickguard and 22-fret rosewood neck.
Rosewood is also used for the headstock, which is complemented by all-chrome hardware and white pearlescent block fingerboard inlays. Only 80 Albert Lee “Ghost in a Shell” models will be produced.
Ernie Ball Music Man Short Scale StingRay "Bombshell"
Last but not least is the “Bombshell” Short Scale StringRay, which features a hi-gloss black finish and a color-matched headstock. The black colorway is contrasted with the gloss-finished white maple neck and fingerboard, which in turn is boasting rare tortoiseshell block inlays and tortoiseshell binding.
Other specs on the ornate four-string include a neodymium humbucking pickup, controlled via a three-way rotary switch that accesses parallel, single-coil and series tones, as well as chrome hardware and cloverleaf tuners.
105 examples of the “Bombshell” bass will be made worldwide.
Head over to Ernie Ball to find out more about the Ball Family Reserve collection.