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Ernie Ball Music Man rolls out Spring 2022 Ball Family Reserve collection

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022
(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Ernie Ball Music Man’s Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 collection has been unveiled and it is a typically audacious display of high-end electric guitar making.

It sees EBMM’s Albert Lee, Valentine and Luke III models given a limited edition refresh, and rounding out the lineup is the StingRay 4 bass guitar, a short-scale stunner resplendent in Bombshell black with tortoiseshell block inlay.

As ever, these are not cheap and are not made in huge numbers. Only 55 of the Bigsby-equipped Valentine Carmelo models will be released worldwide, with 105 of the short-scale StingRays, 80 apiece of the Luke III Woody and Albert Lee Ghost In The Shell models. 

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 Albert Lee (Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Let’s start with the Albert Lee model. Priced $3,499, it has a solid Honduran mahogany body finished in translucent white (the figurative Ghost In The Shell), with a full rosewood neck, a laser-etched headstock, pearlescent block inlays and matching tuner buttons. 

It has a trio of single-coil MM-90 pickups, master volume and tone controls, a five-way blade-style pickup selector, and a vintage-style two-point tremolo for some on-tap whammy bar wobble.

If the factory wiggle stick is your vibe, the Valentine Carmelo (also priced $3,499) might be your speed. It has a solid ash body, a roasted figured-maple neck with a 10” radius rosewood fingerboard. 

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 Valentine Carmelo (Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

A pair of Custom “Ranger” humbuckers can be found at the neck and bridge positions, controlled by a three-way pickup selector plus volume and tone pots. And you can watch Cooper Carter put it through its paces in the demo below.

The Luke III Woody is a real boutique take on Steve Lukather’s next-gen signature guitar. It is no doubt named for that exquisite premium figured walnut burst burl maple top, which really does class up what was already a classy solid okoume chassis. Its tremolo plate comes hand-signed, and like the Lee signature model the headstock is laser-etched. 

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 Luke III Woody (Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

It’s built for high-performance, with a doublecut silhouette opening up all that upper-fret territory, and there are a pair of custom-wound humbuckers offering the heat of a ceramic magnet at the bridge position and a more vintage voiced Alnico model at the neck. Of course, should you need something else to puncture the mix, there is an active onboard preamp that can administer +12bB of boost. The Luke III Woody is priced $3,999.

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve Spring 2022 Shortscale StingRay 4 Bombshell (Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

Finally, the StingRay 4 in Bombshell offers an immaculate single-humbucker platform for the sort of plummy old-school thump that 30” short-scale basses specialise in. It has an ash body, a figured maple neck and fingerboard, and as mentioned above, that tortoiseshell ‘guard and block inlays look incredible. It is priced $2,899.

For more details, head over to Ernie Ball Music Man.

The BFR models, by their very nature, run a little on the pricey side, but that's okay – those looking for a more affordable take on EBMM design can check out the recently unveiled Sterling By Music Man 2022 models

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.