Ernie Ball Music Man dresses its StingRay RS and Cutlass in metallic finishes for July's Ball Family Reserve collection

Ernie Ball Family Reserve July 2021
(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Ernie Ball Music Man has revealed its Ball Family Reserve models for July 2021, and the lineup includes new metallic finishes for the StingRay RS and Cutlass electric guitars, and two deluxe versions of its flagship bass guitars – the five-string dual-humbucker Bongo and StingRay Special HH.

Ball Family Reserve models are released monthly, are strictly limited edition, and offer a chance for the EBMM luthiers to show off a little with extra-luxury spec and finishes. The July 2021 drop is no different.

Finished in an exclusive Bullhead Blue Sparkle finish with matching headstock (praise be!), the BFR July 2021 Cutlass has an alder body and highly-figured maple neck. Its pickups are arranged in an HSS format, with a DiMarzio Custom Zebra humbucker at the bridge position, and two vintage-voiced Music Man custom-wound single-coils at middle and neck positions.

Of course it is the little touches that make these guitars so sweet. Just look at the detail on that figured maple fingerboard, which is of course topped with stainless steel frets

The BFR July 2021 Cutlass is fitted with a Silent Circuit to kill hum, and has a Music Man Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo and locking Schaller M6LA tuners. It is priced $2,999, with 65 instruments available worldwide.

This month's StingRay RS arrives in a very fashionable Governor Silver Burst finish on  a lightweight okoume body. It, too, has a bolt-on figured maple neck, and this is topped with an ebony fingerboard White Pearl Atlante block inlay. A vintage-modern offset double-cut, it has a Music Man Modern Tremolo with vintage bent steel saddles and has pair of custom-wound Music Man humbuckers.

Once more, you'll find a set of locking Schaller tuners, and a premium price tag of $2,799. The BFR July 2021 Cutlass is limited to 75 pieces worldwide

As for the bass guitars, we have a four-string StingRay Special with dual-humbuckers in a Kingpin Matte Black finish contrasted nicely with gold hardware and given a minimalist look with no pickguard. 

It has an ash body, a bolt-on maple neck with figured maple fingerboard. A high-performance bass guitar, it has 22 high-profile stainless steel frets, a sculpted neck joint for easy upper-fret access and an 18V preamp and active 3-band EQ.

Priced $2,799, it is available now, and limited to 106 instruments worldwide.

The Bongo 5 HH, meanwhile, arrives in a Crescendo White Sparkle gloss finish with gold hardware, and looks just the thing for today's funk player. As with the StingRay, even the pickup pole pieces are gold to match the hardware.

It has a basswood body, a roasted maple neck and fingerboard, a 34" scale and 11" radius fingerboard. It, too, has active electronics, with controls for master volume, blend, and a 4-band stacked EQ.

Priced $2,999, it is limited to 66 pieces worldwide. All BFR July 2021 models are available now from selected retails or direct from Ernie Ball Music Man.

See EBMM for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.