- acoustic strings
- acoustic guitars
- bass guitars
Earthwood was a brand name of Ernie Ball acoustic bass and 6-string guitars made from 1972 until around 1985. Earthwood instruments were made in Newport Beach, California. Ernie Ball collaborated with George Fullerton, a former employee at Fender, to develop the Earthwood acoustic bass guitar, which was introduced in 1972. It is notable for being the first modern acoustic bass guitar and the Earthwood line was established mainly as a way to market this acoustic bass. Ernie Ball had strong opinions about what an acoustic bass should have: "Clarity, power, richness, no dead areas, and no plastic parts. I wanted a bass that was all wood." and the Earthwood name was chosen to reflect these ideals. At the same time an Earthwood range of strings was launched which featured a brighter, more powerful 80/20 metal alloy. These Earthwood strings were an immediate success, and generated enough revenue to support the unprofitable instruments.
The Earthwood guitar model featured a heel-less bolt-on hard rock maple neck, similar to that on Fender electric and acoustic guitars of the period. The design proved problematic, with too much stress for top. Warranty repairs became very expensive for the company. Later guitars were reinforced but production ceased in 1974 after only a couple of years. From the beginning Earthwood was plagued with production and personnel problems. Ernie Ball recalled: "I didn't want to spend my life with this hassle, so on a Sunday in 1974, I had the locks changed and shut down the operation!" A few years later Dan Norton, a friend and employee, convinced Ernie to reopen the Earthwood workshop. They installed a skeleton crew that made around four instruments a day. Ultimately about 2,000 Earthwood basses, guitars, mandolas, and baby guitars were built. Production finally ended in 1985.
Source: Earthwood catalog 1972