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Ernie Ball Guitars
Ernie Ball Guitars & Ed Roman
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Ok people, time to set the record straight about the incredibly egregious totally ridiculous  accusations against my company.

This should also serve to explain the silly frivolous lawsuit that lasted less than a week.
This will also explain exactly what we did with the OLP guitars.


1,  At No Time Did I Or Anyone Remotely Associated With Me Ever Create A Counterfeit Ernie Ball Guitar  !!   

2,  We Never Represented To Anyone That Any OLP Guitar Was An Ed Roman Guitar Or An Ernie Ball. We Sold them as upgraded OLP's  Just like we do with all other corporate brands like  PRS, Gibson & Fender.

3,  We Never Retopped Any OLP Guitar, There Was No Need,  Tops On Most OLP's Looked Better Than Most Of The Much More Expensive Ernie Ball Guitars Anyway.
If I had retopped them they would have been far more expensive than an Ernie Ball Van Halen Model MAKING THEM NON SALEABLE !!!

4,  The cost of refinishing the headstock and changing decals would have been absurdly expensive. It would have raised the price very close to the actual EVH model.  So not only is this story not even close to being true, It would have been a colossal stupid mistake to even attempt it.

THIS IS WHAT WE DID DO !!!!!!!!!!!!

We took a good little low cost guitar and turned it into something really great !!!!!!!!

The OLP guitar was a great little guitar. To this day 6 years later I have never seen another guitar that came close to it in value,  We used to buy them 24 at a time for somewhere between $120.00 and $140.00 depending on what kind of deal we could make at the time. We sold a lot of them without the mods and anybody who bought one was usually quite happy with them.  The evidence is they are hard to find today even on ebay they sell used for about $100.00 more than they were new.

1, We replaced the low cost Fender style OLP tremolo with a real Floyd Rose German made tremolo. Not even the original Ernie Ball models came with that. They actually came & still do come with an imitation licensed tremolo.

2, There was no need to change the tuning pegs because the real Floyd Rose came with excellent quality fine tuners and a hardened lock nut. Some people asked us to change the pegs anyway and they paid slightly extra for that.

3, We hard mounted  Seymour Duncan premium pickups which are usually superior to the less expensive Dimarzio's that came spring mounted in the more expensive "real" Ernie Ball. We also offered EMG's but there were only a few takers.

4, We worked a little of our secret sauce into the tone circuit and sometimes we would even add a tone control. depending on what the customer was looking for. It only costs us a couple of dollars to do this !!

5, Our apprentices in training would file the frets a little, sand & oil the neck and do a real nice setup. We would also do a little work to the neck cavity to get them to fit super tight. Each one was fully inspected by our shop foreman at the time.

(Better Pickups)    The Duncan's decimated the Dimarzio's in the EVH & Axis. To this day I feel that those OLP conversions were better sounding, than the expensive model Ernie Ball )
(Better Tremolo)   A real Floyd is always better than a copy.  The Ernie Ball EVH & Axis came with a less than adequate copy.  When I delivered an LSR Guitar to Eddie in 1998 I played one of his Music Man Guitars & One of his New Peavey's.  Both guitars had been changed to real Floyd Rose Trems. (what's up with that) They stayed in tune better and they felt much better than the stock Ernie Ball Model !!!!!
Summation,        The real German Floyd trem ran circles around the licensed Ernie Ball trem !!!
(Better Tops)        The Maple top on the OLP Guitar had more quilt and/or flame than most Ernie Ball's !!!
(Matching Paint)  The Color on the Ernie Ball models rarely matched the color on the headstock, The lower cost OLP's not only had more figuring & brighter colors they actually color matched the headstock & body better.

We Set Them Up Better, With Tighter Neck Joints, the fret ends were more precise, each one was built specifically for the actual customer who ordered it.  Some of them right out of the box came in so good we barely had to do much work to them.  As I mentioned above these were great little low cost guitars.

We could then easily sell these guitars for about $650.00 and still make a decent & fair profit. Plus you could not go anywhere else to buy one because most dealers don't have the imagination or will to do anything other than sell the same old crap that everyone else does.

We did this for three years and Ernie Ball never said a word to us about it.  during that era the Asian imports were still being sold for very high money so $650.00 was a real bargain.  There was no other guitar that came with real USA Seymour Duncan pickups under $1,000.00!!!  There was no other guitar that came with a real German Floyd under $1,250.00 in fact I can't think of one to this day that comes with one under $1,900.00.

The closest & Best Deal today is the Charvel So Cal & San Dimas and they don't come with a German Floyd, it doesn't come with hard-mounted black/back Duncan's either.

So here we were, doing a real solid service for the musician with not a lot of money and then we get flamed for it !!!!   Some people just don't get it !!!!!!!!

Just because you may be looking for a reason to flame me & you can't come up with anything really solid, don't print lies and half truths and try to make me into a counterfeiter !!!

I only copy products when they are no longer available, what would be the point of copying something that you could still buy the original. My handmade copies sell for more money than the originals, people who own them can tell you why.

Ed Roman


Let Me Address The Supposed Lawsuit.

As soon as Ernie Ball's contract ended with OLP they took them off the market. Maybe we were cutting severely into their sales of their expensive cash cow " The Axis" Model.  So if you have no life and you want to flame someone then I suggest you take a hard look at what really happened.

BTW,  The OLP Basses were really great also, their double-neck Van Halen Model for $399.00 was & still is the absolutely positively best deal there ever was on a playable good quality 6 X 12 doubleneck.  Too bad they are gone forever, The Asian manufacturer made them so good it was hurting sales on the ones that sold for 6 or 8  times as much !!!!   (Fender discontinued their Japanese made models for the same reason)
They even had a left handed OLP but no lefthanded Ernie Ball ever got released.

Flame the people who really deserve to be flamed.  No that wouldn't be any fun !!!!!  You can continue to flame me if you like, I love the publicity.  It drives people directly to my site where the smart ones (The ones with money to spend) will pick up on the real deal and the not so smart will be sour grapes.

OLP guitars are not worth counterfeiting anyway, That would be like counterfeiting $10.00 bills.

Copying a guitar is a tribute and flattery to the guitar that is being copied. People copy my designs all the time look at ESP guitars, they copied my J Frog Skull N Bones. They did a lousy job and they charged more money but I didn't care.  Johnny Frog, my associate and creator of the original guitar insisted that we sue them so I did and ESP had to pay us a very large sum of money.

Yes I will copy guitars,  I will continue to do so. However be aware that most of the guitars I copy are ones that have been discontinued or simply are not available.  What would be the point of copying a guitar that can be bought at any Guitar Center in small town USA ???  I strive to make my copies better than the originals, It's a matter of pride.


These are my guesses !!

Probably because they were upset with the fact that we were making their guitars into real playable instruments and causing them to lose sales on their much more expensive models. Legally once someone owns something they can do whatever they want to it.

People modify cars, motorcycles etc etc. Recently I replaced the front grill, headlights & taillights on my Dodge Magnum. I put custom seats inside and chrome plated all the steel parts, I put a bitchin stereo in it and completely redesigned the dashboard & interior.

By Ernie Ball's logic Dodge should have sued me.  BTW  I also removed all the Dodge emblems on the car. 

Maybe because we outbid them on purchasing the Baker Guitar Company after the rumor had been spread throughout the industry that Ernie Ball had already purchased Baker.

Maybe because for 10 years I would not buy their strings and stock them in my store.


2,  In 2002 & 2003 I converted a couple of original Ernie Ball guitars for lefthanded people so that they could have a guitar that resembled their hero's guitar.   So Sue Me !!!!

A.  About 3 years later Ernie Ball did sue me!!!    (Oh No)
I thought & I still think that was a foolish thing to do. All they had to do was call me & voice their displeasure.  Instead they hired a lawyer and had me served.  Unfortunately this happened at a time when I was in the process of selling my company to some investors so I called Ernie Ball's Lawyer and settled the whole thing in a 4 to 5 minute conversation with their attorney.  The case never got past that, I agreed to write an apology for modifying their guitars and they dropped the case. I had all but forgotten about it when one of my good customers forwarded a thread from some stupid forum to me where it looked as if there was a federal case involved around the situation.

Normally I fight any lawsuit to the death, I can be a real Ass about it. The publicity of a lawsuit is great and it drives many more people to my site.  Seeing as how I rarely if ever spend dime one advertising, which is the reason the magazines don't review my guitars.  (That's another Rant)
I could have easily fought the case at no cost to me because I am insured to the hilt for this type of thing.  Frankly I have better things to do than help my attorneys prepare motions for discovery and depose every single one of Ernie Ball's employees and anyone who was remotely associated to their complaint. 

I think the case had something to do with the fact that I had very recently outbid Ernie Ball for the Baker Guitar Company and they were upset about it. 

It's a shame that I never got along well with the Ernie Ball Company after Ernie Ball himself retired. I was never a dealer for them at any time when they became Ernie Ball Music Man. I did have many good dealings with Ernie Ball himself over the 40 plus years I have been in the guitar business.  It's really too bad our two companies are at odds, in fact it's just plain silly.

They contacted me numerous times trying to get me to carry their instruments back in the 80's and I never did get on board with them. I thought their product was OK and I still do but I simply did not need another guitar line at that time.  When they signed Eddie Van Halen as an endorser we all knew they were now a credible line. Naturally I contacted them to become a dealer.

They basically told me that they did not want me as a dealer, It seemed to me like they were exacting a level of revenge on me for not buying the product when it was not a hot commodity. 

Fortunately for me I owned another store in Wisconsin & I became a dealer through that store.  I also assisted several small dealers to become dealers and therefore I was actually getting more product than most authorized dealers.  This information has been previously unbeknownst to anyone at Ernie Ball because I had the business in a family members name and my name never appeared on the dealership agreement.

I visited them several times at NAMM shows and their snotball slimey bespectacled little sales manager pretended I was invisible. Occasionally they would still call me and ask me to buy their strings and accessories. But they were holding the guitars for ransom. 

One time one of their lesser experienced sales people actually told me that if I bought lots of Ernie Ball Strings they would get me the EVH guitar dealership.  This is exactly the wrong thing to say to me, I don't like being pressured, especially from some little snot-nosed maggot weasel salesman. I am sure the brass at Ernie Ball would never have condoned that activity.

I have printed this because, some of the stories that my customers have mailed to me excerpted from some forums. are pure conjecture, lies and real evidence that people will simply guess at what they will commit to words. These public bathroom wall forums are for people who have nothing better to do than whine.
Some of the stories are made up completely and some of them are half truths mixed with different guesses.
These people have far too much time on their hands.  I actually feel sorry for most of them, because they will never make anything of themselves and they will always be jealous of anyone who has worked hard and enjoyed success.

If you want the straight story, read this again
Ed Roman



I actually called Sterling Ball before I posted this, I wanted to try and discuss it with him man to man. I assume he did not get my messages due to either gross incompetence in his office or maybe he just decided to ignore me !!!!!

Either way this story is 100% truthful and I stand by ever word.

Ed Roman